Monday, May 02, 2011

My CAANOO review

I remember I wanted a Gamepark GP32 long time ago, but I waited for a device to get 128 MB of RAM in it so it wouldn't be limited. The GP2x Wiz only had 64 MB of RAM.

Download firmwares, emulators

The Caanoo is a solid build device with a light but tight feel. The buttons feel good when you press down on them and the analog stick feels good when in use but sometimes it feels weird to use when you are playing a game that was originally built for a D-Pad. it will take some time to get use to that in some cases but its not too bad.

The screen is a 3.5in 320×240 LCD with a resistive touch screen that makes the 16-bit style games look awesome while still giving off good quality when playing video and pictures. The touch screen is ok but not the greatest but a stylus is available to make the experience easier. I’m sure a resistive screen was chosen to lower cost and its not a main feature that will be used on the device so.

The 533mhz processor runs fine for most games but there can be slow down in some games that are heavy on the animation with a lot enemies on the screen. The dual stereo speaker are nice and loud and have good quality sound. The build in Wi-Fi is used to allow you to play network enabled games against friends and upload your high scores. Storage is done via SD card which support up to 32GB of storage and you download content on the device via the proprietary USB cable included. Overall the hardware package is solid and gives you what you need to have a good experience.


The UI of the Caanoo is a Linux based system that is an open platform so anyone can develop for it. The system allows you not only to play games you can also listen to music, view pictures, watch movies, use apps and read e-books via text. The Caanoo supports your most comment files with music that supports MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG files and for video the device supports Xvid, Divx, Avi and MPEG 4. Pictures support is JPG, BMP, GIF, and PNG files. E-Books are supported via text only.


CAANOO is practically paid for if I instead bought Earthbound and Final Fantasy III for Super NES.

The system comes with games preloaded such as Hellfire, Rhytmos, Snow Bros 2 and other games made by FunGP. The system also comes with an MAME emulator and Neo Geo emulator as well with preloaded games. Games do load up fast and play well although some games will run a bit slow when there is a lot of sprites on the screen but its nothing that you haven’t experience before in the 16 bit era of gaming. Flash games are also supported as well.

Super Castlevania 4 $22.99
Castlevania Bloodlines $17.99
Final Fantasy III $36.95
Chrono Trigger $54.99.
Phantasy Star IV $13.94
Phantasy Star II $7.00
Earthbound: $98.00
Secret of Evermore $24.95

SoC (System on a Chip): MagicEyes Pollux VR3520F
CPU: ARM926EJ 533 MHz embedded on SoC (architecture version ARMv5TEJ)
GPU: 3D hardware engine embedded on SoC (OpenGL ES 1.1 support)
3D performance: 133M Texel/s and 1,33M Polygon/s
main RAM: 128 Mbytes DDR SDRAM 133 MHz (peak memory bandwidth: 533 Mbytes/s)
video buffer: about 16 Mbytes of main RAM are reserved for the video/texture information
Operating System: GNU/Linux based (2.6.24)
Flash memory: None (128 Mbytes reserved to the OS)
Connection to PC: USB 2.0 High Speed through EXT Port
USB Host: USB 1.1 standard socket
Supports SD / SDHC memory cards (up to 32 Gigabytes)
G-Sensor/Vibration Motor
High precision analog stick
Display: 3.5 inch LCD 320×240 pixel (resistive touchscreen)
Stereo audio DAC: Wolfson Microelectronics WM1800
Embedded Microphone and stereo Loudspeakers
Power: Internal 1850mAh Lithium Polymer Battery (approx. 5/6 hours game/video playback)
Dimensions : 146 (w) × 70 (h) × 18.5 (d) mm
Weight : 136g
WiFi via adapter (USB dongle – Purchased separately)
Colors: Black/Blue, White


Container files: AVI, mp4
Video formats: DivX, XviD, MPEG4, H264
Audio formats: MP3, OGG, WMA, WAV
Maximum Resolution: 640×480 pixel
Maximum Frame Rate: 30 frame/s
Maximum Video Bitrate: 2500kbit/s
Maximum Audio Bitrate: 384kbit/s
Captions: SMI


Audio formats: MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WAV
Channels: Stereo
Frequency Range: 20Hz - 20kHz
Power output: ?
Sample Resolution/Rate: 16bit/8–48 kHz, in 8bit/22kHz


Supports JPG, PNG, GIF, Bitmap File Formats

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ update ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I played SNES, Genesis, NES, Neo Geo on it. The emulators didn't read all the roms (roms damaged). The Caanoo runs Linux kernel 2.6.22. The 1.6 firmware has the same 2.6.22 kernel as 1.0.1. I always format my Linux OS, because it is hard to update. I saw a few kernel panics  years ago.

Actually, I had problems with the 1.6 firmware and went back to 1.0.1. The stock 1.5 firmware was stable. Don't upgrade the firmware. If you do download firmware, just trust the downloads area. I got my file from the unofficial site and failed. It took me 5 attempts, around 15-20 minutes to restore the firmware to 1.0.1.

I don't think I needed the 1.6 firmware. I didn't need AD-HOC support with a dongle.

The SD cards are formatted in FAT-16.

Windows command FORMAT G: /FS:FAT /V:CAANOO
Linux command sudo mkdosfs -F 16 /dev/sda1

This is openSUSE 10.3 with Linux kernel 2.6.22

Linux kernel 7.2
 KDE 3.5.7 (with a few games from the upcoming KDE 4 thrown in)
 GNOME 2.20
GIMP 2.2.17 2.3
 K3b 1.0.3  

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