262 of 271 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2012
I'm sure the readers of this product may want more info, so I'll do my best to provide additional details (G155 comparison included):
The case is made out of thick plastic just like G155, so its sturdy. The dimension almost identical at 20" x 14" x 6.5" excluding handle, which satisfies virtually all major airlines carry-on size requirement. The handle adds 2" and makes the height 16", but no one at airport will realistically factor that in. The screen side of the case is less round, perhaps to accommodate the larger screen. I think this design also strengthens the latch gripping better under stress. The shoulder strap with padding (has UNSC logo) is a greatly appreciated item when an extra hand is needed. The design permits the strap to be attached or removed within a few seconds.
With the case having the same length and width of the 15.6" G155, it is remarkable that GAEMS fitted a 19" screen. Actually, the screen measures 18.5" diagonally but looks bigger than that! The lighting on buttons are all blue (G155 is red). The blue background lighting on two sides of the screen is a nice touch - not fancy so doesn't compete with the game content. Like G155, my PS3 recognizes it as 1080p with 2 audio channels. The display is much brighter and seems faster in response time.
The best part of the display other than size? It's the vastly improved display angle. Horizontally, I can line up 4 kids in front row and all can see the screen well! Vertically, kids standing up in second row can see also! As for the player, I tried sitting on the floor, sitting on a soft mattress (sunk in deep), and sitting on a chair with Vanguard on higher desk. The display angle passed in all scenarios! This wasn't the case with G155. There is a little kickstand allow the screen side to adjust up by a few degrees, which is really thoughtful feature. Kudos to GAEMS for listening to users on these improvement!
Audio and Controls
The speakers are located on the bottom left and right corners. The drivers are about size of a golf ball (1.25" I think). They are open and masked slightly by 5 horizontal bars - more like the cosmetic mud guards installed on 4x4 SUVs! The sound quality is vastly improved. The Halo 4 main menu music is a STUNNING demo of its range and depth. It's pretty good at high and mid-range. The debris and electrical buzzing effects from Halo 4 are sharp and realistic. Bass can be adjusted in menu, and it's adequate. Voice is still deep and clear! It has pretty good power too. I put Vanguard on 70% volume in a room, then go to kitchen about 50 feet away with 3 walls in between and I can hear the music pretty well. I also didn't hear distortion at 85% volume! With such loudness, there is really no need for external speakers to truly enjoy gaming away from home!
The bottom center of the display panel has the same two headset output, an HDMI input with the 7" cable, and DC 12V input from the power supply.
The console rests on a pad. One side has inset shaped to fit XBox and PS3. The other side has a small 9" x 7" footprint, which fits neither consoles (Nintendo Wii?) The two straps are thinner than G155, perhaps to allow better ventilation on the XBox 360 Slim.
The 2 side storage bags can be freely picked up (no Velcro underneath). They are same size as G155. With XBox having an external power brick, one storage bag will be used up for the two power supplies (one for display). This leaves the other for two controllers. Quick thought: since both XBox and the screen display use DC 12V as input, I wonder there is an DC Y-adapter that can allow both device to share one large power supply...
Since PS3's transformer is built-in the machine, there will be extra room available in the storage bags.
Note on Portable powerpacks
I have two battery-based jump-starters with inverter kept in family cars. I used them to power G155, and will power the Vanguard as well when AC outlets are not available (e.g., picnic/camping). Vanguard consumes average of 90 watts (XBox 360S 4GB w extra 256GB HDD and Wi-Fi active) with medium volume and brightness during play. Here are actual run times with the two that I own:
Duracell DRPP600 Powerpack 600 Jump Starter and Emergency Power Source: 1hr 55min
Wagan Power Dome EX 400-Watt Jump Starter with Built-In Air Compressor: 1hr 3min
I'm sure with Wi-Fi turned off one can run longer times. Same if the HDD is not needed or replaced with SSD.
When GAEMS released G155, I was excited - finally a practical solution for console gaming away from home. I used it on travel and always in awe just having that ability to play console games somewhere else! Even as a happy user, there is always room for improvements. GAEMS was listening to the passionate G155 owners and all key improvements are in this Vanguard product. After playing with Vanguard for few hours, I'm thoroughly impressed, satisfied, and with absolutely ZERO complaints (for now)! For us console gaming lovers, GAEMS has done a great service to not only make gaming away from home possible with G155, but now with truly immersive experience with Vanguard. It's absolutely worth the price.
103 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2012
This is a bit long-winded sorry but bear with me as I'm trying to be thorough.
I preordered my Vanguard back on Sep 29th when I stumbled upon it while browsing Halo 4 stuff. I had previously seen the G155 unit in action, and while thoroughly impressed with that unit, I had always hesitated to pull the trigger because of minor qualms such as the viewing angle and the speakers not being quite powerful enough for my liking even though they were plenty loud.
When I saw in this product's description that the viewing angle had been overhauled to allow for viewing from just about any conceivable real-world use scenario, and that on top of that they upgraded the speakers for a more robust audio experience, I decided to bite.
Needless to say, I am not only not disappointed, but the unit and the overall customer service experience has exceeded my highest expectations and then some! I have already ordered a 2nd Vanguard from them.
My litmus test of the display was for bright-lighting scenarios. I placed the unit on my kitchen island with my Halo 4 console strapped in and ready to go and popped in the Halo 4 disc. My kitchen window at that time of day lets in direct sunlight, and even with the brightly lit room the contrast on the screen was absolutely superb, with zero glare on the screen thanks to the matte-finished outer layer of the screen. I wish my 50" plasma TV had this type of outer layer, seriously. I was even able to take a picture using my crappy cell phone camera of the cinematic with Dr Halsey without even being able to pause the playback and the picture came out crystal clear. My cell phone is not known for pictures that good of moving images, speaking further to the crisp resolution and glare-resistant display.
You can read reviews all day but you seriously have to hear this thing to believe it. I've had high-end gaming laptops in the past the likes of Asus and Alien Ware, and these speakers blow most of those out of the park. You could use this unit as your home television if need be, the audio is THAT good. I'll almost be sad to have to use the headphone jacks when my wife is watching the big TV when I'm gaming, because I just loved the sound of these speakers. Now if I REALLY need to be truly nitpicky and find a single flaw, the bass isn't going to boom you out of your seat. Don't get me wrong. It's plenty loud even at 40% volume; full, rich, and deep and allows for appreciation of the full range of the orchestral score in any AAA game or movie, but don't expect the thumping you hear when some teenager drives down the block with 24" speakers in his trunk that are rattling his windows loose. I could not detect any audio distortion even at max 100% volume either. Why anyone would play with the volume THAT loud is beyond me, but you could if you wanted to.
The case itself feels very solid. While I wouldn't want to, I also wouldn't freak out if my unit gets dropped by some less-than-attentive airport security official. The pad under the Xbox feels like it would absorb any shock from short drops if it lands on its bottom, and if it lands on its side or top the straps have just enough stretch to absorb some shock without letting the Xbox come loose and damage itself or the screen. My one minor qualm with the case's build is the hinge between the base and the top portion that contains the screen. The hinge itself works fine, but it just feels a tad bit "soft" compared to the rest of the case. I can't describe it very well, but basically when the hinge rotates when you're closing the unit, it has a tiny fraction too much play in it, meaning you have to make sure you align the perimeter of the top over the edges of the bottom to properly and securely close the unit. I think this stems from the fact that the hinge ends a couple inches or so from the edge on either side, allowing for a slight bit of torque or twisting of the top portion as you're closing it. Perhaps in future iterations GAEMS could run the hinge all the way across the back of the unit to prevent this or rethink how the hinge mechanism works. This is a very minor qualm and doesn't bother me all that much, but I want to mention it so people don't think there's something "wrong" with their unit if they purchase one. Overall though the build quality is superb.
This unit is definitely tops in portability. It's so light that even with my Xbox, power brick, and controllers in it I don't feel like my arm is going to fall off carrying it through the airport. I haven't travelled yet but I carried it around my neighborhood for about 30 minutes and had no problems. Even if your arms get tired, the shoulder strap that comes with the Vanguard would solve that problem. I've been looking around lately just to see what else is out there because I've never really known of similar items prior to seeing their G155, and there really just ISN'T anything else like it out there. Making console gaming portable was definitely an underserved market prior to GAEMS, but any new contenders in the arena are going to have a decidedly uphill battle on their hands because I can't brainstorm any better alternatives. Even pie-in-the-sky scenarios I try to come up are too far in the future based on technology limitations. For the foreseeable future, GAEMS is the end-all of what we as gamers both want and need in making our systems travel-ready. They have some other things in the pipeline that aren't out yet that will also take this to the next level.
While I don't normally include customer service in reviews, I think it bears mentioning here. If you read the GAEMS Vanguard discussion here on Amazon you may see some "heated" posts by users upset that they didn't get their unit on Nov 6th as anticipated. This stems from two main factors: hurricane Sandy possibly disrupting shipping channels, and GAEMS being inundated with preorders far surpassing expectations and thus creating a demand larger than initial supply could keep up with. The Vanguard unit (perhaps not Halo-themed, but the same basic build) was originally slated for a 2013 release. GAEMS ramped up their schedule to meet a request from Microsoft and 343i to have the Halo-themed version ready for Halo 4's launch. With preorders growing more rapidly than production could keep up with, a bottleneck arose that led to some frustrations.
All that said, John (co-founder of GAEMS) personally answered numerous questions and went so far beyond the typical canned-response actions we've come to expect as consumers that it deserves praise. I had resigned myself to receiving my unit in mid-December rather than Nov 6th. To my surprise it came via overnight FedEx on Nov 8th. GAEMS made the decision themselves to make sure buyers got their units as fast as possible, including overnight-shipping most (to my knowledge) if not all of existing preorders as they became available. Overnight shipping is costly and cuts into their profit margin, but they are making sure they make the experience as pleasant as possible for us.
Beyond that, they actually WANT us to send back units that have even the most minor flaws such as 1 or 2 dead pixels. Every, and I mean EVERY high-def TV or display I have ever owned has had the stray dead pixel or 2. I just assumed it was normal and it doesn't bother me. I'm typing on a screen with a few as I write this. Despite the commonality of this, GAEMS says NO, if you have dead pixels send it back to us and we'll replace it. Usually you have to fight with a company, or at least REQUEST an exchange, even for more significant problems. For GAEMS to preemptively tell their customers that they want to make sure we swap out our units for even the slightest most insignificant of flaws so that we receive a "perfect" product speaks volumes. Speaking with John on the phone, I could tell beyond doubt that what they say about their company is true. They are Gamers building products for Gamers, not just suits out to make a buck. They will be my go-to for gaming-related gear from here on out.
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2013
Update: Nov. 24th, 2014
For those wondering I did eventually receive the D rings about 9 months later.
The system is still up and kicking - that's very good.
I recently tried to transport my Xbox One to work for a little Destiny party but I had to remove the rubber/foam insert to make the Xbox One fit. It was a little awkward and a little risky. The velcro straps barely held it in place. I see they have an Xbox One upgrade kit for it. I'm going to order it and see how that works out.
I will say that there's no way an Xbox One, power brick, controller and cables will fit in the Vanguard altogether so be prepared to carry many of those items separately. It's kind of a bummer but to be fair it was not designed for the Xbox One. Might be nice to see an updated unit that will fit both an Xbox One and all the accessories and also support 1080P natively.
Update: Jan. 23rd, 2013
Still have not heard from them with regard to the missing D rings. I'm starting to think they fein concern for the sake of looking good but don't actual act on it. Come on guys it's just two pieces of plastic probably worth 25 cents. In any event they lost a star because of this...
I'll keep this somewhat short (not really) and sweet. All-in-all a solid buy. I think it's a great little luxury (I got it as a Christmas gift) for those with the extra cash. Keep in mind this review is relative to the cost (i.e., it's a ~$350 unit and the value your getting for that price point). Is it great? - yes! Can it compare to a $2K TV? - no, but still pretty damn good.
So here's the nuts and bolts:
I use the plus symbol (+) for things I like, minus symbol for things I don't (-) and tilde (~) for things I'm indifferent about.
Build & Packaging:
(+) Solid product construction.
(+) Great care was taken to package the unit so it doesn't get damaged in shipping. This is a rarity these days.
(+) It keeps your console snug and secure.
(-) My unit was missing the little "D" rings which attaches the shoulder straps to the case. So basically cannot use the strap.
(+) Picture quality is very good. I used Digital Video Essentials to calibrate the picture because out of the box (default settings) it was a tiny bit bright and washed out. All sorted after making adjustments.
(+) Bright and crisp picture.
(+) 720P (native) but accepts 1080P input as well. I've done a cursory look and this fact doesn't seem to be advertised on their site. There's a tiny blob about the resolution in the manual but nothing is said on any advertising about the unit or on their site.
(~) I have two stuck pixels but I'm fine with that. Others might not be so forgiving so I'm putting it out there for those who may care more than I do. I don't even notice it unless the screen is completely black and even then you have to look for it.
(+) The sound blew me away. Loud, clear and without distortion. I read other reviews saying the sound was great but I was a little skeptical.
(+) Two headphone jacks - nice touch.
(~) Volume output for the headphone jack is okay. I had to raise the volume control near max for my taste. I mainly use A40s (MLG edition) headphones but I tried others and still have the same concern.
(~) Cables, connectors and accessory storage is a bit tight but satisfactory (I'm using a non-slim xbox). I have to be careful when closing the unit to make sure the mesh bags (they provide) don't get caught in seams.
(-) In addition to storing all the cables/connectors/power/etc. you'll need to play, you can only store one controller. I was a bit bummed by this but it's really a minor concern. Other folks may not even be concerned about this.
(-) If I had to have a criticism it would be their support structure. Their site list a few ways to get support: forum, Twitter, etc. so I tweeted them about the missing "D" rings and haven't heard back. Kind of a bummer.
Truth be told I know they pay extremely close attention to Amazon reviews so if I want immediate resolution to this - without having to give the gift back to the gift giver and have them exchange it (kind of a pain for something so small) I have to write a review. This is an awkward way to get immediate support methinks...
On the positive side they care about the products they put out. This is evident by their careful attention to reviews and by attempting to address all concerns raised by reviewers in a positive and professional manner. So their you have it...
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2012
When I pre-ordered this in late October, I was extremely excited, as my brother and I were contemplating whether or not to get a Flat screen TV or find a carrying case for our Xbox, as when ever we would go to visit relatives, we wouldn't have a proper carrying case, and thus our older Xbox took more of a beating than it was designed to. When we stumbled across this however, we almost immediately decided to order it, as it gave us a good alternative to both problems.
After I pre-ordered it, I decided to do some research on the older model (The G155)on Amazon. I read a few of the many positive reviews, and then proceeded to read the "one star" reviews. after that, I found myself a little Skeptical. Some people (Very few) were saying that they had been having problems with the screen and speakers not functioning as good as hoped. Even so, I didn't cancel the order, in the hopes that this model wouldn't have any of those problems.
That hope was not misplaced. This is one of the best decisions I have made when it comes to buying electronics. This thing is absolutely Amazing! Right from the moment I took it out of the box, I knew I was going to love it. The case on this thing looks totally awesome, and it has that durable feel to it. Also, the Screen and Speakers work perfectly!! I had the volume set to 20, but I was on the other side of the house, and I could still hear the music from the Halo 4 main Menu!
I also accessed my Amazon prime account through my Xbox, and found a TV show that had episodes in HD. To say the least, it was crystal clear!
Overall, I am quite pleased with this purchase, while $350 seems like a lot at first, you won't regret it after turning it on with a game system hooked up. This was definitely worth the $350, and I would recommend to everyone that I know and it to anyone that is planning on getting a carrying case for their Game system!
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2012
I rarely write reviews, but this product deserves a mention. I think we can all agree it's an excellent product and serves its purpose very well. But I just want to add, I had this item shipped to me during deployment. A lot of times, our mail arrives with bumps, scrapes, etc. It is packed onto large pallets and airlifted to our ship and it can take over a month at times to get a piece of mail. I was worried that the item would arrive with scratches or a broken screen. I have to say, that Amazon packed it very well and the packaging used by GAEMS was fantastic. I am sure my box got dropped, kicked, thrown or worse. The outside was beat up pretty bad. But the packaging surrounding the unit was superb and it looked like I just picked it up in the store and carefully took it home in my car. Wonderful. I played HALO for several hours last night on it and it was heavenly. Thank you so much for not just a great product GAEMS and AMAZON, but for making sure it arrives to anywhere in the world in mint condition. AAAA+++++
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2012
This is my second Gaems purchase and I am completely satisfied with my purchase. This portable Gaeming case is excellent for mobile gamers, families, LAN parties, students, military and anyone who wants to protect their Xbox or PS3 while having the option to quickly and easily move it. I have been in all of those categories and used it for all of those purposes. It is great for around the house. In my experience when I am gaeming in my room and my wife wants to go to bed I can pack up, move into the living room and continue my gaeming session. I highly recommend buying this product before it sells out.
Once I received my Vanguard, I placed my H4 Console into it and powered them up. The blue accent lighting on the side of the display is not too strong to impede gaming but adds to its aesthetics. Unfortunately due to school, I did not get to fully test the Vanguard until the following week...after a car accident which placed me on bed-rest for a few days. Anyway, it meant that the Vanguard would get my full attention and keep me company with Black Ops 2.
The display on it is pretty awesome, cut scenes from Halo 4 and Black Ops 2 looked sharp as the Vanguard produced great looking picture. My Xbox defaults to 720p and I find no major difference between 720p and 1080p on displays this size. Gaems has worked hard to create a lag-free gameplay and I credit the Vanguard (and the G155 before it) for making me a better gamer because I am able to react faster. I have played my vanguard during day/night sessions and have not been affected by glare or an inability to see the screen in any setting, The G155 had what I felt were limited viewing angles (I mainly played by myself on it anyway) but the Vanguard does not seem to suffer from these limited viewing angles. I have played and watched others play my Vanguard and can see from every angle. A feature that Gaems added to help gamers adjust the view of the screen is a kind of kickstand on the lid of the case. The G155 did not have this and I found myself on certain surfaces or locations having to place a game box or something underneath it to prop it up and give me the best viewing angle on it. The kickstand on the vanguard props it up to the perfect height on all the surfaces and locations I had a minor problem with on the G155. It goes to show that Gaems listens to its customers which brings me to something I brought up in my G155 review...Sound
The sound on the G155 was good and could get pretty loud but I felt something was missing. The Vanguard arrived and when I booted it up with the Halo 4 opening cinematic...it blew me away! I felt that the sound was richer and deep. I have slightly adjusted the equalizer to add more of a bass presence. I am extremely happy with the sound quality of the speakers.
The build quality is amazing. I am a big fan of Halo 4 and this case does Halo justice. It is gorgeous to say the least. It instantly grabs the attention of people that see it and they look at it in awe. Once I open it the Vanguard seems to be a magnet and draws people to it and they ask what it is and where they can get one. The case is durable and can survive falls, bumps and my three year old son. (That in itself is pretty good considering he has destroyed an Otter Box but luckily not the device it was protecting) I did like how the G155 handle would kind of disappear into the case when not in use but I do like the solid grip that the Vanguard handle has. The latches are sturdy and lock easily. The strap is comfortable and really helps when I am walking long distances with the Vanguard. Your Xbox 360 or PS3 will not overheat in the Vanguard. It has been designed to breathe well and allow you to game for hours without worry. Trust me I know first hand
Gaems Customer Service and their devotion to making certain you have an amazing experience with them and their product is exceptional. Some of you may have read the forums and you can see that the Co-Founder John has been active in answering questions and addressing concerns for both the Vanguard and their first product the G155. They are quick to reply and quick to act in making sure their fans are happy. They really take customer service to a whole other level. Thank you Gaems!
Update: I have been using this for a couple months now and it is my primary gaming device. I bought another one just to keep on my desk for gaming and to keep one super clean. The other has traveled with me and is extremely sturdy. My gaming experience has changed for the better. I am doing so much better on FPS and catching details in games I would have missed on any other screen. I cannot say enough good things about this product. Even if you don't travel a lot or at all, this beast will become your primary gaming device. My Asus monitors are completely jelly.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2013
This is a great case. It is sturdy, the screen is very very good for what it is (brights are bright, darks are dark, etc), sound is far better than expected, and I really love how you can adjust the brightness from the remote and the monitor without having to go into the menu.
Only negative here is the obvious, it is bulky and heavy when loaded with no room for anything aside from cables and the AC adaptor, but that is a neccessary evil.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2012
My son in law just broke his ankle so is not working and my daughter is an full time student, they are very short of money and are not going to have an Christmas , so I knew that he wanted this really bad so I got it. I gave it to him when it arrived on the 17th of December he was so happy he started to cry It made me feel so good that I was able to get this for him. The thing is really COOL. Love the screen it great.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2013
not sure why some people were complaining about dead pixels and that the d rings were bad and the latches didnt hold, every thing that people saied is wrong with it i am finding to be false. The d rings are strong and hold nicely, the latches are strong, almost too strong, and hold greatly, and the monitor i swear is almost better then my computer monitor.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2013
There's a ton of positive reviews on here and for the most part the product lives up to them short of a few flaws that were mentioned in some reviews that I feel do bear repeating.
My son happily unwrapped his vanguard christmas morning and was excited at the prospect of taking it on our annual vacation just two days later. Upon going through security on the first leg of our trip a TSA agent grabbed the shoulder strap to pull the unit off of the conveyor belt to inspect it. The shoulder strap had been twisted when placed onto the conveyor, and the untwisting of the strap as the case was being picked up overstressed the plastic clip on the case that the shoulder strap D-ring connects to. While the clip did not break off, the clip is now bent enough that the D-ring easily falls out under the weight of the strap.
Given GAEMS good record of addressing concerns on Amazon thus far I have no doubt they'd consider replacement of my unit but given the weakness of the design of the shoulder strap connection to the case itself I will not be persuing that course of action. I'm concerned however that with the design of the clip as it is, it is inevitable that a replacement case will exhibit the same issue at some point in its lifetime. So, rather than waste an otherwise perfectly good case I'll be modifying it to have a more secure D-Ring connection by grinding off the current clips, drilling through the case and installing metal D-ring clips with metal reinforcing instead. Once done I'll likely post my modification on the GAEMS forum for others to see.
Other minor cons worth noting are that there isnt enough resistance on the latches that keep the case closed. Carrying the case with a shoulder strap it's easy to accidentally rub the latches against something in such a way as to cause them to pop open. Typically latches of this type of design require more force than this to open/close. Placing cheap carabiners through the lock holes is my solution to this but it does add to the complexity of opening/closing the case.
Also the shallow design of the rubber foot channels on the bottom of the case means that thin rubber strips need to be used to provide that non-skid bottom interface with the surface you place the case on. This thin rubber easily peels off and will be a maintenance issue down the road (the ends of mine are already curled back) after less than a month of light use.
There's lots to love about this case and I don't regret my purchase in the least. I just want to point out that there are some minor issues that a buyer should be aware of. As presented/designed there is a perceived level of durability that some parts of the case have the potential to not live up to.