Handheld Addict

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back from China again

So... I was in China again... spent almost 5 weeks there-- again-- and I got back about a week ago. Like last time, there was no way to access this blog, or anything Google-related. All blocked in mainland China. Oddly, I spent a total of around 2 weeks in Hong Kong, but I couldn't find much free wi-fi so I had no real internet access in HK... where I *can* access this blog or anything else online. Not blocked there.

The overall handheld scene isn't as vibrant as it was when I was there 2 years ago. I chalk it up to the general sad state we're in as far as handhelds, more than anything else. 2 years ago, the PSP was still fairly vibrant especially with hacking-- which was naturally big in China-- and it was very easy to get an R4 card for a DS Lite.

I did see "R4 for 3DS" in Beijing, but I was very suspicious about the actual quality of them. The problem is that the 3DS is region-locked, so even if there was an R4 for it, they would probably be Asia-3DS specific? I dunno. All I can say is, I saw these and had LITTLE confidence that they would work in my 3DS. And seeing how Super Mario 3D Land forces a firmware update on us (PSP-style) I wonder if they're already blocking these things.

Not that it was all about hacking & piracy. Last time, I was searching for a 16GB memory stick micro (M2) which I was happy to find for my PSPgo. This time around I had no major goal like that.

But last time, I had very little knowledge of mobile phones, and this time around, I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous (to myself)... I was *very* tempted to buy a phone in Hong Kong. They are about the same price/more expensive than Canadian prices, but the main key is that they're unlocked. Yes you pay $600.00-$700.00 (Cdn) for them, but there is no demand for a 3 year contract or other BS. Even if you go into a Canadian store with $700.00 cash, plunk it down & say, "I want to buy a phone, right now", the chances are that even then, they will NOT sell you a phone outright. You will STILL need to commit to at least 1 months service, which means you'll need to go through a credit check. You'll probably have to pay for an "activation fee" and other BS fees. All this even if they say the no-contract price for the phone is $599.99 or whatever. That STILL isn't the actual price you pay. How screwed up is the Canadian mobile phone market anyway? There should be laws.

Considering all this, you can see how it would be so tempting to walk into a reputable Hong Kong store, plunk down the $$$, and walk out then & there with a shiny new phone. But still, $600-$700 for a phone, I just couldn't do that. My little HTC Legend still does its job, and being unlocked I could actually use it with a cheap HK sim card.

But man, was I ever EVER tempted to pick up an HTC Evo 3D or Samsung Galaxy S2.

So, the other handheld issue of my trip is what handhelds did I actually take with me? I took a lot less than last time. Believe it or not, NO PSP, not even my PSPgo! I actually haven't taken that with me on trips at all this year (2011) which is the first time since getting a PSP in 2006 that I haven't brought one with me on a trip.

All I took with me was my netbook, and my HTC Legend phone. No PSPgo. No 3DS. The problem with the PSP (& PSPgo) is that the battery life is very short. My phone can play the same video content, has games (though not as robust as PSP ones), has my entire music collection, AND the battery life lasts like 9 hours. And it's smaller. And a phone. So my HTC Legend has become my go-to handheld because of size & versatility.

One annoying thing about the 3DS is the AC adapter is NOT universal. At least the PSP AC adapter can accept voltage from 120-240V. Pretty sure the 3DS AC adapter can't. And I wanted to pack light; I didn't want to bring my voltage converter--which doesn't even work that well-- so the only hope I had would be if I could buy a 3DS AC adapter in China/Hong Kong. Seemed like too much bother so the 3DS had to stay at home.

I did miss my 3DS a lot during those 4 1/2 weeks I was in China. I saw a guy playing a flame-red 3DS on a bus in Hong Kong, and I thought about how much I missed banging out a few (ok a lot of) sessions of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries.

So not long after coming back home, I bought a bunch of 3DS games. Super Mario 3D Land, Star Fox 64 3D, Street Fighter 3D... couldn't resist because Toys 'R Us had a sale where you buy 3 games & get 25% off. I also bought Kirby Mass Attack, and yesterday I picked up Asphalt 3D from EB Games for $10.00 new. And I still haven't picked up Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy which is my most anticipated 3DS game....

I also seemed to miss out the Hong Kong announcements of the PS Vita, not that I would have been allowed in or anything, it was probably just for press. I also wish my timing was closer to the PS Vita japan/Asia launch, I'm pretty sure I would've snagged one early there if I could have. Oh well, I just put my preorder in for one, the $300.00 bundle. Yeah I'm still nutty for handhelds.