GAEMS has been in business since 2010. For those not familiar with their products, they produce a Personal Gaming Experience (PGE for short). This is a way for console gamers to take their favourite console on the road. By designing a carrying case for a monitor and a console to be packed together, along with a controller or two and the necessary power cables, gamers can hit the road with their setup. It started with the G155 Sentry with a 15-inch monitor and this led to the Vanguard, a case with a 19-inch monitor and better speakers. You can check out our review of the Vanguard right HERE. Since the Sentry and Vanguard were released, GAEMS has continued to look at new ways to allow gamers to take their consoles with them. This includes the recently released M155, a 15 inch standalone monitor that, when bundled up with their gaming backpack, allows you to take your console and M155 on the road on your back. The monitor is powered by a USB plug, so you can plug it directly into your console of choice and game away.
“After a few weeks gaming on [the M240] I have to say that I am somewhat impressed with what they have produced.”
Not just satisfied with the new M155, GAEMS has a fresh monitor that is set to be released at the end of May 2015, and that monitor is the M240. It is a 24-inch console and PC gaming monitor that has a handle/stand, built in speakers and a whole whack of other features. It’s what one could call their premier product so to speak. We here at COG have been lucky enough to have been using a special edition pre-release version and we’ve been cleared to give you our opinion of our time with it. After a few weeks gaming on it I have to say that I am somewhat impressed with what they have produced.
In the box you get the monitor, a hybrid carrying handle/stand, a cover (if you want to transport it) and a small sheet with quick set up instructions. To set up the monitor on your desk or table, it’s as easy as clicking the handle/stand in place and turning it to the “stand” position. Voila, you have a new 24-inch monitor ready to go. The M240 is also VESA compliant, so should you wish to mount it on the wall in your office, dorm room, or wherever you want to hang it, or install it on a VESA compatible computer monitor stand/arm, feel free to do so. I put our review unit on small table in my home office where my secondary Xbox One is. You can one of the pictures I took how it looks in size in comparison to the Xbox One and Kinect. And yes, I put it the M240 on a Yahtzee box as the size was perfect to raise it up a bit. On a side note, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to put the Xbox One’s Kinect on top of it, but I found a great little mount at one of my local videogame stores that also fits the PS4’s optional camera.
I thought I should explain that I mainly tested the M240 with my Xbox One, as I am a console gamer by heart. I did take some time to hook up my Surface Pro 3 to see how some PC functions and minor PC games looked, but my heavy “gaming” took place using Microsoft’s console.
When I initially turned on the monitor the first thing I noticed was how bright the M240 is. This thing is a bit of a light cannon as it really does have some bright settings right out of the box. I also had to fiddle with the settings which was where I discovered the review unit I had was in PC Mode. Once I switched to Console Mode the unit wasn’t as bright as when first turned on, but I needed to adjust the settings using the Xbox One calibration mode. This is where I did run into a bit of trouble, if you can call it that. I found that the brightness as a whole couldn’t be adjusted to match the Xbox One’s brightness calibration. I did discuss this with GAEMS, and they were aware of the problem with PC users, and I was able to confirm with them that the PC brightness problem on pre-release units is the same as the one I reported for the Xbox One. Did this hamper any of my experience with it? No, as I was able to get the brightness low enough where I was still able to have clean, crisp images with vibrant colours. I will be honest though as I would love to see the difference between the final retail unit and the pre-release unit I was reviewing in this area.
I proceeded to go through the menus a bit more to learn the ins and outs, and low and behold this monitor is quite customizable in picture, audio and other areas. In regards to the picture, from traditional brightness, contrast, and sharpness settings to such things as colour temperature, noise reduction and picture mode, you should be able to find a picture setting you like. I found my Xbox One looked very sharp. I played a variety of games, from Destiny, Forza Horizon 2, State of Decay: Year One Edition to Powerstar Golf, Happy Wars, Lara Croft: Temple of Osiris and the Fable Legends closed beta. I found that I didn’t have any issues playing any one of these games. They all stood out, frame rates were consistent (refresh rate), and there wasn’t any input lag/delay when controlling the on-screen action. I even gave my kids some time with this new monitor and they loved playing Minecraft on it. When playing split screen they were able to have enough visual real estate that they didn’t have any issues doing what they needed too. I was a bit worried about this as I thought it’s be too small, but they enjoyed playing together on it.
As noted in the featured section, there dual HDMI inputs on the back, as well as one HDMI output. The dual input is a no brainer. You can use your console and your PC on the same M240, which is a handy feature. As for the HDMI out, you can output the same signal you have on the M240 to a bigger screen should you wish, but I also envision those who want to capture video footage possibly using this HDMI output. Regardless of what you do, having an HDMI output is a feature that some will, and some wont, use, but the option is there nonetheless.
One area that I was not expecting to be as nearly good as it was is the area of sound. I’ll be honest, GAEMS has really outdone themselves here. The speakers that adorn the sides of the M240 are excellent. There are a total of six speakers in a 3×3 configuration. Two speakers per side are those that are found on the Vanguard, and there is a bigger speaker on each side that handles the deeper bass tones. There is also a fair bit of customizability here too such as the traditional bass and treble, but also digital tone (standard, personal, music) and a 5 band EQ. As with the picture, you’ll find something to suit your aural needs, including those for specific genres of movies, games and music.
“…I truly didn’t have any idea that the speakers would be able to handle such a wide variety of treble and bass that all the games threw at them without straining one bit no matter what volume I listened at.”
I did not anticipate what kind of sound would come out of these speakers, but it sounds good. From the distinct sound of Destiny’s Thorn handgun, the echo of Lara Croft’s footsteps as you guide her through any level in The Temple of Osiris, to the sound of a Lamborghini racing down a European highway or the blast of a shotgun as you blow off a zombie’s head, all the different sounds were distinct, clear and did not suffer from any distortion or overstraining from the speakers. There was directionality too, but more from the left and right and not so much from behind. Games that had music managed to sound balanced as well. If it sounds like I am gushing somewhat about the sound I won’t deny it, as I truly didn’t have any idea that the speakers would be able to handle such a wide variety of treble and bass that all the games threw at them without straining one bit no matter what volume I listened at. If there is one thing that might have benefitted some gamers is the ability to add a set of small rear speakers for full surround sound, but I don’t know the this would be feasible or not, but it is something worth mentioning.
I did get a chance to watch a movie or two on the M240 as well. On the same day this review was written, I took some time to watch Marvel Avengers as my son hadn’t seen it before and it was a good chance for him to get caught up. As we watched I was fairly impressed with how things looked. It had a movie like appearance without feeling too digital. The sound, as expected, was solid, and when I put it in Theater mode you could hear the difference immediately, as the speakers produced a wider spectrum of sound as it tried to reproduce a “Theatre” like setting. With my time using it as a movie screen I wasn’t disappointed at all, but there is no denying that it doesn’t add up to sitting in a movie theatre or one’s own media room. That being said, the M240 is no slouch in this area and can do in a pinch when you don’t have the room for a big screen or want to watch a movie in your office or dorm room.
As mentioned, I hooked up my Surface Pro 3 to the M240 to check out general PC performance. I was able to check my email, work on documents, surf the web and check out online videos without any issues. Being able to put the Surface Pro 3 on the M240 was a treat. I checked out a few simple games like Plants vs. Zombies, Angry Birds and whatnot, but given that I am not a PC gamer, I did not put any traditional PC games that many gamers play today, as I don’t have any (don’t judge me). Overall my experience with the Surface Pro 3 on M240 was enjoyable and I had no issues with it.
GAEMS seems to be working hard and with the M240 Gaming Monitor it once again seems they have hit it out of the park. You can use the M240 as a desktop monitor for your PC gaming rig, as a standalone console gaming monitor (which I am using it for), for both, and yes, you can also take it with you on the road as long as you have a way to take your PC or console with you. In terms of the monitor’s overall performance, it was almost flawless except for the hiccup with the brightness on the pre-release edition we reviewed. GAEMS says they are aware and should have this fixed. Of course the built in speakers are great sounding too. At the end of the day I have no problem recommending the M240, be it for your office, your dorm room, or as a secondary gaming monitor at home, the performance it provides for the dollar is pretty darn good, plain and simple.
***A pre-release review unit was provided for our review purposes***