Just Received My Caanoo


Still Fresh
Apr 22, 2012
Immediate impression when I opened the box it comes in? I like it. The weight is good, not heavy with with lead that some reviews led me to believe, but just enough for gravity to give it a litte tug. The shoulder buttons are my favorite on any handheld, or console control for that matter. They are firm (resistance wise) with a satisfying click that I hope will last. The buttons feel good with their concave face, nicer than the NDS or 3DS, although I wish they offered a fraction more resistance.

I did not know what to expect with the analogue stick. I knew it would be a difference feeling, since it is more like controlling with a ball than a stick. I was surprised. I had gotten used to the circle pad on the 3DS, so I had to get used to the arc, the greater distance from the center to a direction, but I did quickly. The D-Pad is a great invention, and excellent way to control games, but I am glad GPH went with this. Sure, D-Pads are always welcomed for games only need four directions, but with games that utilize eight directions, and every Isometric game, I prefer this.The power button is kind of stupid, only because unlocking it can easily lead to turning of the system. I just have to be careful I guess.

Overall, it feels great in my hands. I find the CAANOO to be a handsome system, with all the ports shielded, and the volume slider on top. I don't know, aesthetically, it was a great buy. Natch, the speakers in the back are a bit annoying, but that can easily be remedied with headphones.

Turning on the system, I was a little underwhelmed by the display. I don't mind the resolution, but it sometimes feels like I am looking at an early smartphone. I mean, my old BlackBerry Curve doesn't wash out the colors that badly when changing viewing angles. The more I play with it, the more I get over it, and I start to love the system again.

On my SD card, I loaded the Yoshi Starter pack, or whatever it is, and added some games. I have only tried out the SMS, GameBoy, NES, and PC-Engine emulator. Only Turbo-Grafx games give me trouble, but I think that is just a matter with adjusting the clock speed, right? I am very new to this, since all my emulation had been done either on my laptop, Wii, and DS, where I cannot improve anything directly.

Metal Slug Zombies works perfectly. Streets of Rage Remake v5 has some slow downs. That Zelda Solarus had major slow downs, and crappy controls I would need to remap.

I bought this device knowing it had some major limitations, and that I would need to work to enjoy my games. That is fine with me. This is my first Open Source console, and I am smitten. I wish it was more of a success, so that more devices like these could be make, with higher expectations of quality.

I hope this doesn't come off as a "review," anyone should already know what they got into when they bought the CAANOO. Personally, I am just hoping that the GameBoy Advance emulator plays all the games I never got to play or finish, because that seems to be a hard one to get perfect.
This is my opinion:

All emulated stuff requires you to tweak the emulator to get ´there´, I´m fine with it, I knew it would be that way.
Screen is just fine, of course it will look ugly if by the side of newer stuff, but if not, no problem at all.

Control is fine for me too, shoulder buttons are quite hard, can´t map shooting to it for example, but inventories or menu, just fine.
The analog joy is ok too, felt a little weak at first but is going great through the time (have a caanoo for about 8 months).
It is no good for fighting games, for example, where you have to shift directions too quick and also need to double tap for a few moves, but of course, you will only notice it if you have been playing the likes of KOF 98 for 12 years on the expert level :rolleyes: otherwise, if you are not ´this´ sick, no problem.

Controls are quite good by itself I would say, but holding a xbox controller in comparison (similar to the screen) makes me feel otherwise.

Homebrew archive could be bigger, but I guess that depends on us.
I got a Caanoo so I could port my games to it, love the 320x240 res.

It is really made of good quality, it has nice weight, I have abused it a little and so far all fine.
Battery life is quite good too, can hold 4-6h on constant play with everything to the full.

Expandability is nice, can hook extra joy, keyboard a few more.
It has some productivity tools too, like milkytracker or grafx, I wish for more.

Response on the stylus touch is immediate , this is one of the reasons I came to this handheld...can´t stand touch devices where you draw and it takes a second or two or three for it to display. Quite a shame on modern tablets! Caanoo can hold that just like paper and pen.

Overall it is THE handheld that attends my needs, perfect so far.
It is nice to read user´s reviews, as we can see different points of view and learn from that!

Enjoy your new machine OpenTortoise!
Oh wow. I just reread my post, and it reads as if English is not my first language. Technically it is not, but that is an irrelevant point. Whatevs.

Yeah, this thing feels like it is geared more towards game developers than straight up gamers. Sure, that is because it is an open source console, and the entire premise of it is so that individual or independent developers have a platform to share their games without going through a major company, or limiting themselves to releases on PCs and or Xbox 360.

Unfortunately, I am not a game developer. I cannot even program, for anything. I may learn to do so eventually, and if I start now, this is a great device to learn on.

Having played more with the joystick, I think it makes some games easier, and a lot of times smoother. What I mean is, just for regular movement, there is a lot less effort needed to go towards whatever directions. with D-Pads, I lose contact of the buttons reaching from one direction to another. If I played a D-pad like a do this analogue ball/stick, I would wear my thumb raw. The best thing I can say about the joystick is that it was a necessary compromise, because the D-Pad is just to limiting on it's own.

Eh, I think I wil just respond to comments now. I could write a lot about this device, but I know I will just be repeating past sentiments that are surely splattered across this forum. All I can really say is that may or may not be new is, I want to buy its future. I want a new open source device that isn't just an android machine dedicated to gaming. I want to give my money to a competitor that may actually challenge Sony and Nintendo, and to a growing extent, Apple. And Google?

Ahh, I know there are plenty of counter arguments for everything I just said, and maybe solutions for the things I want. But I won't type to myself.
I surely agree with you, even on the joy stuff, is way better then a d-pad and the sensibility of the analog is greater then most controllers I´ve seen.

You don´t need to be a programmer, you can draw, do music and a few things more too.
You can do a game using the INSTEAD engine, you can use pictures and you will need good text.
For a better wide programming tool, I have to recommend GLBasic as it is what I´m using and it all goes soo great, and did I say it is Basic?

It is great to share our impressions on the caanoo.