Thanks to Dinodirect for supplying this JXD S601 for review.
The JXD S601 is a Chinese Android Gaming Handheld Gaming Device. The S601 is one of the earliest gaming devices to feature the Android OS. The design of the device would be familiar to anyone who has held the PSP. In this review I will take a look at the physical design of the device, the internal hardware, the software and compare it to some other Android Gaming devices on the market to day.
JXD S601 – Box and First Impressions
The JXD S601 comes well packaged in a cardboard box. This type of packaging would be familiar to anyone who has previously purchased a JXD device. The front of the box is printed with a picture of the device itself. The front also features a JXD logo and a Cortex A9 logo. The S601 runs on a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor. The device itself it well protected inside the box. It is wrapped up in bubble wrap and slotted into a little cardboard shelf. The device itself is unlikely to get damaged during shipping thanks to the care taken to package it. Inside the box you will find the following:
- The JXD S601 in your chosen colour (black or white)
- A small package containing earphones
- A mini-USB cable, allowing you to connect the device to your computer for data transfer
- A standard wall charger with a mini-usb connector (The charger has a Chinese plug, but Dinodirect supplied a UK adapter in the packet)
- A short system guide for helping you getting the device set up.
JXD S602 – Physical Design
It’s hard to ignore the JXD S601′s resemblance to the more expensive PSP. The button layouts, size etc. are all very similar. In your hands though, the S601 feels lighter than the original PSP. On the top of the device you will find a headphone jack, a mini-USB port, a TV-out (for outputting the video to a TV screen etc.), Volume up and Down buttons and Left and Right bumper triggers (as is also found on the PSP). On the bottom you will a power button, a slot for your micro SD stick and a switch which allows you to lock and unlock the device (when the device is locked, the buttons on the device will not work, allowing you to watch a movie without the fear of clicking a button). On the front of the JXD S601 you will find the screen, 4 directional buttons, menu, select, start and back buttons and a joystick (mimicking the controls of the 4 directional buttons). On the back of the device you will find a measly 0.3MP camera, allowing you to take some quick shots if you wish. I do like the overall design of the device, but there are some areas where the JXD S601 could do with improvement. The screen on the S601 is resistive, and although it is a good resistive screen, it is still resistive. The screen makes playing some games (using the touchscreen for controls) more difficult than it needs to be. Playing Angry Birds for example is much easier when played on a capacitive device. Another dissappointment with the screen is its low resolution of 480×272 (matching the original PSP’s). Other devices on the market today offer a much higher resolution than can be found on the S610. The screen also recesses into the S601 (i.e it does not sit flush) which can make it difficult to press the screen near the edges.[bq_right]The screen on the S601 is resistive, and although it is a good resistive screen, it is still resistive.[/bq_right] The D-Pad on the device is made of two separate pieces of plastic. I would much rather if it were made of a single piece. This design choice makes it more difficult to perform complicated moves in some games. The bumper triggers on the device are also difficult to press. This is due to the location of where the switch for the bumper is actually located. When holding the device, your fingers will come to rest on the outer left and right edges of the bumpers, but the switches are located on the inner left and right edges. Unless you have fairly long fingers, you’re hands will likely tire when using the bumpers.
I was impressed however with the build quality of the device. There was little creaking when pressure was put on the device, and it gave the impression that it could survive a drop from my pocket (although I hope I never have to test out this theory). The paint is well applied and there were no areas where the paint was flaking (a common sight on many Chinese branded electronics). Internal Hardware Moving onto the internal hardware of the JXD S601. The manufacturers quote the JXD S601 as running on the Amlogic M3 ARM Cortex A9 1GHZ CPU, with graphics being powered by the ARM Mali400. This setup is pretty average as far as todays Android Gaming Handhelds go. As is common with many Chinese manufacturers, they tend to exaggerate the speed of the CPU. After testing the S601 it was found that the CPU was infact running at 600MHz, a full 400Mhz slower than the quoted speed. The likely reason for this is either to avoid over-heating the device or to preserve battery power. Another thing they may be doing is adding the speed of the GPU to the CPU. The extra 400MHz could have very well provided some much needed power. During use, the S601 does get quite hot, but not hot enough to cause me to think that something was wrong with it. It gets warmer than the original PSP. I believe this may be due the battery being placed to the rear of the device. As mentioned earlier, the device features a 0.3MP camera on the rear. As expected, this camera is not up to much, with no auto-focus, zoom or flash. You’ll probably find a much better camera on your own mobile phone. The only good thing I think this camera does is allows you to scan QR codes. Although, I don’t think I would miss this capability too much had they not included the camera in the S601.
JXD S601 – Software
When you first start up the device you will land on the S601′s modified ‘launcher’ software – ‘Game Hub’. The device does come with a variety of emulators and games pre-installed. The launcher is quite child friendly as each of the pre-installed emulators are labelled to the platform. The NES emulator for example is labelled ‘NES EMU’ and show a picture of the NES controller. This helps avoid any confusion when trying to run games on your chosen platform. Those who are familiar with the vanilla Android 2.3 OS may find the launcher to be slightly annoying, making it harder to perform some functions. It is however quite easy to remove the launcher and to install your chosen launcher for example. I made do with the built in software for this review. Game-wise, the JXD S601 performs as a device with a 600MHz CPU could be expected to perform. Most of the Android games tested worked without any obvious problems. The small problems that were there, were due to the use of the resistive screen and lack of button mapping options available within the game. Some of the more graphic intensive games such as GTA 3 required some work before they could be run on the S601. These steps included installation and setting up of Chainfire 3D. Even when I did manage to get the game running, the frame rate was rather slow and made it pretty much unplayable. Don’t expect to run the latest Android 3D games on this device. Look for a device with at least a 1GHZ CPU. Again, Emulator tests were as expected. The S601 can play roms for all major systems released before the likes of the PS1 and N64. Although there are N64 and PS1 emulators on the device, the hassle in setting up the system and emulators to play the roms at a satisfactory frame rate is just not worth the effort. Look elsewhere for your PS1 and N64 gaming needs.
JXD S601 – Where to buy
See the table below to find out how to get your hands on the JXD S601.
|Above are our Recommended Retailers. See more here.|
The JXD S601 isn’t a bad Android Gaming Device, but it is starting to show its age. Other devices such as the JXD S5110 and the Yinlips YDPG19 aren’t that much more expensive, yet they offer better screens and better overall performance. If you’re on a tight budget then the JXD S601 is a good device to go for. If you have a few extra bucks lying around, you should consider some of the other Android handhelds on the market.
JXD S601 Review – Android Handheld Gaming Device,