Game Over Online ~ Presenter-to-Go

GameOver Game Reviews - Presenter-to-Go (c) Margi, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Presenter-to-Go (c) Margi
System Requirements Pocket PC
Overall Rating 85%
Date Published Friday, January 18th, 2002 at 05:09 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Margi's Presenter-to-Go is a product that allows you to transfer what you have on your PDA on to anything that supports a normal analog VGA interface. Presenter-to-Go is much more than merely a piece of hardware though. It includes a powerful program that allows you to directly export your PowerPoint presentations into PDA format. You can then review your slides on your PDA and use your PDA as a cueing device during your presentations. The bundled software is critically acclaimed for its ease of use and tight integration with productivity applications. The fact that you don't have to rely on third party vendors for the software also means that Margi could easily facilitate an infrared remote, which you can use to control the output of slides. Both the card and remote come in a convenient pouch case but even with the accompanying cables, the set-up is fairly simple.

Although Margi has recently issued a price drop on the Presenter-to-Go product, it still errs on the pricey side. As such, the omission of a printed manual is rather disconcerting, considering the complexities of the package as a whole. The product is simple to set-up but I thought the price point warranted some documentation. Installation of the driver and presentation software is a little over one megabyte on the PDA. There is no way, however, to separate the presentation software from the Margi Mirror application. This could potentially be important and I'll highlight how the Margi Mirror program is one of the neatest things about this package. After you get the software side set-up on your PDA, the rest of the process includes you inserting the CompactFlash card and the cable dongle. The dongle itself is short but should be sufficient for most applications. There is a connector included to attach the Presenter-to-Go to LCD projectors. Hooking up is a snap but keeping the device hooked up is another matter altogether. There are clear big bold letters to warn you about not removing the CompactFlash side of the dongle without properly releasing the connector by pressing on the ejection buttons. Like notebook PCMCIA accessories, the ejection mechanism keeps the dongle attached. Even with this safeguard, I found it was too easy for the VGA dongle to lose its connection. Apparently, it's quite sensitive and it's best to leave it on a stationary flat surface instead of hanging mid-air.

Presentations aside, the Presenter-to-Go can output at resolutions of 800x600 and 1024x768 through the Margi Mirror application. For entertainment purposes, this could be the piece de resistance of the product since you can effectively build a mini-docking station with the Presenter-to-Go. Moreover, since it only takes up a CompactFlash slot, I was able to attach accessories like Stowaway keyboards or the Zeta Joypad. With emulators for consoles, MAME and other titles in the works, you can easily guess why this could be an attractive but costly combination. Margi Mirror works completely on the fly, allowing you to configure resolution and vertical refresh rates to deal with your display setup. All but the oldest VGA monitors work and so do LCD panels. In fact, Margi Mirror can digitally zoom up to three times the original image as well as rotate it ninety degrees to accommodate your setup.

Presentation slides usually don't have too much animation. Those that do don’t even approach the amount of animation present in an average Pocket PC game. As such, I was initially in fear that the Margi Mirror application would not be able to keep up with the action of Pocket PC titles. One potential source would be the hardware, where the Compactflash card cannot convey a respectable number of frames per second to the display. The other may actually be the Margi Mirror application itself. It may have too much overhead. But neither bog down the display and the Margi Mirror application handles most entertainment titles, including those with frenetic action, with ease.

Altogether, the Presenter-to-Go product does what it advertises very well. For the traveling consultant who has to set up presentations, this is an incredible way to lose some baggage weight since all you need is your PDA and the Presenter-to-Go. In our post September 11th landscape, this could be a real time and stress saver at the airports. For the consumer though, it is hard to justify using the Presenter-to-Go to replace all your old vintage consoles or to be your standard gaming platform. If your title uses the stylus for input, it's a bit hard to co-ordinate with the external display. Furthermore, the setup I had with the external gamepad, the CompactFlash sleeve, the LCD panel and Presenter-to-Go is very much only available to those hardcore PDA aficionados. Apart from these assumptions on the consumer, the steep price will prevent this from penetrating into the mass market. But suffice to say, as the moniker Pocket PC denotes, popular proliferation of these types of products could replace your PC and PDA needs altogether. Presenter-to-Go is definitely a positive step in that direction.


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