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Next level gaming

You’ve heard of gaming on your mobile phone of course, but this is a bit of a new concept, at least for the Indian market. You may have seen the Akshay Kumar ad on TV, with him giggling ridiculously, jumping around and waving the handset in the air.

tech reviews Updated: Apr 27, 2010 17:19 IST
Shayne Rana

You’ve heard of gaming on your mobile phone of course, but this is a bit of a new concept, at least for the Indian market. You may have seen the Akshay Kumar ad on TV, with him giggling ridiculously, jumping around and waving the handset in the air.

The ad is a bit queer, but does get the message across. Micromax’s G4 Gamolution mobile handset is designed to take mobile phone gaming to a slightly new level, here’s a closer look.

Form
The G4 is a sleek looking handset. Its black, brushed metal finish and gold tinted chrome keys and borders gives it an air of luxury. The buttons and navigation system are well designed and very comfortable to type with. The weight of the handset makes it seem sturdy.

I’d seriously recommend getting a screen guard for the 2.4-inch display (240 x 320 pixels), as it tends to get scratches after a bit of wear and tear. The handset has a sturdy, adjustable strap.The navigation pad and three chromed buttons double up for game-play.

The Bluetooth sensor that ties in to the tiny USB BT dongle supplied is located at the bottom of the handset. A CD with the GSensorGame software is provided.

Two games are free and a code card (that refused to work for me) is also bundled to access the other games. Games like NFS Underground and Virtual tennis seem like they’re available, but we couldn’t see any information on how to download them.

Interface
Underneath the jazzed up UI beats a Java heart. Other than the slick looking interface all functionality is typical of a standard Java handset. There’s no lag in transitions or while accessing features. Dual SIM handling is easy to use.

Media
It’s quite unfortunate that we have a handset that’s well designed, with a lot of work, money and effort going into its development, but the company just found the cheapest set of earphones to go with it. Audio for calls, music, radio and any other feature that would require you to use the handsfree sounds hollow and drab.

You’ll never enjoy the EQ presets and its 8-band customisable option thanks to the quality of the earphones.The radio’s auto-scan function seemed to recognise even static as a channel and I ended up with over four more channels in addition to the nine actual ones. A scheduled FM recorder option is available in addition to the voice recorder.Standard 3GP and MPEG4 mobile videos framed badly during playback and the phone couldn’t read MPEG4 video.

G4 Gaming
It’s a simple set up process, install the software plug in the Bluetooth Dongle pair the handset, launch the software and you’re good to go.If you find that game-play is sluggish reduce the display quality to suit your computer’s configuration.The games are very Wii like and so is the UI.

The G4 uses Bluetooth and a motion sensor as opposed to the Wii’s IR sensor. The games are just like the Wii’s and fun too. If you have a friend with the same handset and a large enough monitor, you can play co-op or against each other. You can also configure the handset to work as a controller for other games you might have loaded on your PC.

The screen automatically switched off when you’re connected to the system to save on battery life. Calls take priority to interrupt your game.Even though the technology isn’t as sophisticated as the Nintendo’s, the game play is still strenuous.

Connectivity
The G4 supports GPRS and WAP connectivity, MMS and downloading emails from POP or IMAP accounts. The handset doesn’t have any social networking or chat apps. There’s USB for using the handset as a webcam or transfering data.

Features
Besides the usual features like a Calendar, Alarm, E-Book reader, currency (not universal) converter, the handset has nothing special to offer.The photos from the VGA camera weren’t bad.Battery life was decent. The 850mAh battery can dish out about 3 hours of talk time on an average. You should get a little over a day and half of usage with a few calls, messages, music and gaming.

Verdict
Micromax’s G4 is priced at Rs 6,000 (MRP). It’s got a great gimmick as a wireless Wii-like gaming mobile and that works almost as well as the ad says it does. It’s also very well designed with a sophisticated look but its features could have been better managed.

Micromax could have invested in a better handsfree kit, included a better camera and a few social networking options as well.Even if that increased the price it would have still made the phone a worthwhile option. Nevertheless it’s a one of a kind handset and its core function is quite noteworthy. If you don’t have the money to invest in a Nintendo Wii or its Mitashi clone, this is as close as you can get.