Friday, May 6, 2011

How to tell the difference between the various “next gen” A330/A380 models

Another A330 is now for sale on DealExtreme; this time, it’s the Dingoo A330LE Portable 3.0" LCD Game Console MP3/MP4 Player with FM/TV-out/Micro SD - White (4GB):

Main Product Picture - click to enlarge

- Can be used as MP3, MP4 player, game player, FM radio, picture viewer and memory storage
- Built-in 4GB memory
- 3.0" LCD display (320 x 240 resolution)
- Expansion card: supports max 32GB Micro SD card
- Video format: RM, RMVB, MP4, AVI, MOV, FLV and MKV etc.
- Audio format: MP3, WMA, WAV, APE and FLAC etc.
- Image format: JPG, GIF, PNG and BMP
- FM frequency: 88.2~107.5MHz
- Built-in rechargeable 1800mAh battery
- Interface: 3.5mm audio + mini USB + TV-Out + Micro SD slot
- Supports below language: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and English etc.
- Package includes:
- 1 x A330LE game console
- 1 x 3.5mm earphone
- 1 x USB cable
- 1 x Screen guard
- 1 x Micro SD card adapter
- 1 x English manual
Yep; look’s like an A330 to me! Meneer Jensen (author of the excellent A320 Quick Reference Guide and this other piece of top Dingoo Journalism) tries to clear the confusion up here:
I remember that there was a topic with the same title as this one, but it was about the various Dingoo A320 manufacturers. I'm a bit confused too, hence the title.
There are a few interesting other portable consoles like our beloved Dingoo A320. As far as I'm concerned these are the:
  • Gemei A330 (aka 'Dingoo A330EX') w/o wireless inter-connectivity its called: 'Gemei Fashion' aka the '$68 Gemei A330' from DelaExtrreme.
  • Dingoo Technology A330
  • Dingoo Technology A380

To me that's very confusing: no less than 3 models are called "A330" and a few claim the 'Dingoo' name again. I'll try to list what I know and what I'd like to know. I'd like verification from you about the things marked in red.

1. The Gemei A330

  • Also known as/sold as: 'Dingoo A330EX' (DealExtreme).
  • Without the wireless inter-Gemei connection it is also sold. For a cheaper price! Then it is called the 'Gemei Fashion' or simply 'Gemei A330'(DealExtreme) too.
  • You can buy it at: Dingoo dig. USA, Focalprice.com or DealExtreme. It costs about $95-100. The cheaper version w/o the wireless inter-connection can be bought at DealExtreme for $68.
  • You can play against each other with two GA330's that support wireless inter-connectivity (i.e. the expensive GA330's). No other peripherals (like a joypad) can be connected to an GA330.
  • Info on the 'net: Dingoowiki and GBAtemp.
  • No NeoGeo probs. like the Dingoo Tech. A330 and the "HK" Dingoo 320's have.

2. The Dingoo technology A330

  • It looks like a PSP though 90% of its hardware is the same as the old Dingoo A320. Only addition seems to be the wireless receptor for one, and only one, controller and 64 MB of ram instead of 32 MB.
  • A wireless controller can be bought (the F16) that connects to it. No other peripherals connect to it. See Dingoo.hk for the controller. Unfortunately it does not allow you to play 2 person games. It's only meant to pay games via your TV more easily.
  • You used to be able to buy it via Dingoo Dig. USA, but they don't sell it anymore. On the GBAtemp review page there are links at the top right of sellers that still do. I do not know if there trustworthy though...
  • It appears to be backwards compatible w/ the A320's native firmware (be it the "HK" version (??)) according to GBAatemp's review.
  • It can run a 64 MB int. mem. supported version Dingux which, for example, can be downloaded from GBAtemp here. It appears to be fully backwards compatibe w/ all Dingux applications that have been available to us for so long. See reply No. 6 in this here topic.
  • There's a very large review at GBAtemp of it.
  • Suffers from the same garbled sprites NeoGeo issues as the so-called "HK" Dingoo A320's in the native OS.
  • Price: the handheld ~$100 and the wireless controller $21.50-30.

3. The Dingoo Technology A380

  • Looks like the old Dingoo A230 but w/ better build quality. Screen is larger too. It's 400x240 pixels instead of the old 320x240.
  • Can be bought from the trustworthy Dingoo Digital USA. It costs about $100.
  • It is said to run some sort of Linux/Dingux as its firmware (see this topic, replly 5 by Zear). I do not know if its compatible w/ Dingux files and apps (verification needed).
  • Some were sold by Electronix Mart that appeared to be prototypes. Those did not function very well and could be exchanged.
  • There's no review of it at GBAtemp.
  • It too can be connected to the wireless F16 controller. To two of them no less. It allows for 2 player gameplay according to the Dingoo Techsite..
  • A custom version of Dingux runs on it. Dingux applications have to be recompiled to run on this device because it has a different CPU. I do not know if a SDK is released for it. Some developers in the community have discovered that certain elements of the OS and/or software has been copied from the scene without respecting licences. Therefore they are thinking of not supporting the machine. See this Dingoonity topic.
  • Update: 1 October 2011 - Reviewed here: http://dingoo-scene.blogspot.com/2011/10/dingoo-a380-review.html  


All in all the Gemei A330 "light" (w/o wireless) seems like a nice sucessor to the Dingoo, but there's no Linux/Dingux for it. There appears to be a SDK but not many custom applications have appeard as of yet.
The Dingoo Tech. A380 seemed a very promising platform for a while because of its out-of-the-box dingux support. As of yet, imho, that promise has not resulted in a whole lot of ported apps. yet. Correct me if I'm wrong... But the possibility to upgrade it w/ a wireless controller for two player fun is irresistible.  ;)
And what about a 2nd hand PSP now that Sony intrduces its all new and improved PSP-phone thingy? Because, if I'm not mistaken, a lot of the emulators that were ported to the Dingoo/Dingux were developed for the PSP. Not? One might be better of w/ a $100 2nd had PSP(slim) than w/ a $100 Chinese Dingoo like machine...
The really depressing part is that most developers have other priorities now (read: lost interest) than programming for these nice cheap and promising devices. Hence, I'm afraid that we'll have to live with the omission of some of the things that we hoped for in the beginning like MAMEfor the GA330, a real port of Linux/Dingux to one of the devices etc. This also has to do with the absence of proper SDK's.[/list][/list]

2 comments :

  1. This is a very interesting clarification. The DX Gemei is challenging since it's 46€ boxed and delivered... But no dingux. Howevere, like you said, I think there will be in the wild a whole lot of PSP 2nd hand, and if you have iOS device iControlPad it's a must. Seems a critical time for the dingoo scene.



    @DailyHandheld

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