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GAEMS Vanguard Review – Gaming on the Go

Ever wish you could take your home console with you? GAEMS Vanguard makes that dream a reality.

If you are at all like me, you don’t always have the best opportunities to sit back and enjoy console gaming as much as you should. With 2 kids at home, I’m usually finding that my TV is serving more as a way to placate the children than to serve as personal entertainment. GAEMS hooked me up with the Vanguard so I could take it for a spin and spread the gospel of portable gaming environments, but is it worth the investment?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer?

The GAEMS Vanguard is just the right size of display at 19″ and offers just the right amount of audio to really captivate you. The physical unit itself can take an absolute beating, I’ve dropped it, had my kids jump or climb on it, checked it on a flight and closed it in a door at least once. The system requires its own power supply, which means you’ll need 2 outlets to get both the screen and your system up and running, but the power brick is so small that it’s more of a minor inconvenience.

With a native 720p display that upconverts to 1080p, you may think that there is some visual peasantry going on here. Fortunately for the most part, in my experience with the unit, the games I’ve played on PS4 and Xbox One have looked just as sharp and crisp as they have on my 60″ TV. The speakers on the unit get deceptively loud but stay clearer than most of the built-in audio that you would find in a traditional TV. Oddly enough though, the volume seems really quiet until you hit the 50s, then gets incredibly loud from there up. Finding a sweet spot when in public and without a headset may take some fine tuning.

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All in all, I like the GAEMS Vanguard. The cost of admissions is steep, but ultimately fair, when you consider the durability and ease of access is so high. It would have been neat to have some sort of power converter built into the unit, that way there is only one power plug to run from the Vanguard, but as I said before, it’s nitpicking. The system comes with 2 soft foam bases that kinda fit all 4 of the systems I attempt to ferry around at different times, they offer specific ones for the PS4 and Xbox One but I’m making it work anyhow. The last oddity I’ve met is that while the GAEMS Vanguard has a small remote that is super handy, using other remotes around it will sometimes result in shenanigans. I discovered that using a few TV remotes in proximity to the GAEMS Vanguard would do weird things like turn the power on and off or mess with the volume. Something to keep in mind if you are trying to use it around other devices.

Pros:

  • GAEMS Vanguard is incredibly durable, has saved my systems and itself from ridiculous accidents
  • Right mix of video and audio to really pull you in
  • quick to set up and even faster to pack up

Cons:

  • It’s bulky, there’s no denying that
  • Without carrying around a power strip, finding 2 outlets is a pain… Especially in an airport
  • I had to cover the IR receiver when using it in the living room to stop our TV remote from interacting with it

Verdict:

$350 may be a healthy chunk of change to throw at something that isn’t exactly a TV and not exactly a monitor, but this is a luxury item. I mean the other option would be not playing games at all, and who wants that?

Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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