“ Manufacturer: Einstein / Type: Electronic Toy „
I purchased this as a little extra gift for my husband for Christmas, as I'm just not in his chess league and therefore it's no fun at all for him to continually win against me, much less practice techniques and strategies on! I thought he would get a more suitable partner from an electronic brain and who better than 'Einstein'?
Of course I know that this is essentially an electronic toy and not an electronic chess training device such as Grand Masters might use for practice and training, even if the blurb that goes with it does say that it is a mind training chess game which acts as a 'virtual chess coach'. Now at the higher level, these electronic chess trainers can cost around £200, so with this one being under £20 I am well aware that you do get what you pay for, but I'm afraid to say that even as a 'toy', this chess set did not even offer the fun and games element that would be more than suitable for the Christmas period, let alone prove to be a worthy chess opponent!
Basic details (from the packaging):
Size: (HWD) 7.93 x 11.4 x 1.6 cm
Power: 2 x AAA batteries, not included
Suitable age: 13 years +
Players: 1 player
Features: Easy to read touch screen
Coaching features to help improve your game
Display shows chess timer and your moves
Ergonomic stylus for comfort
Now, you first need to be aware that although the game is of a useful, hand-held size, the actual screen does not fill the whole of the 11.4 cm width, the first thing we noted when it came out of the packaging was that the screen itself is less than 8cm wide which, given that this is then broken down into the 8 x 8 chess grid, plus side menu, means that the visuals on the chess pieces are quite small - not really the 'easy to read' screen that we were led to believe.
The second thing we noted was that the game felt very fragile and was clearly not of a very high quality plastic, the case actually felt quite pliable when in hand and not at all robust.
With batteries not being included, the first thing we did was to insert some rechargeable batteries. As far as we knew these had a full charge, but the contrast of the visual display was pitiful, so we assumed that the batteries must be low. We charged up another pair and inserted these, fully charged instead. There was little difference to the contrast - everything was still very faint on the screen, so we decided that this must be one of those gadgets that just doesn't like rechargeable batteries. So, my husband was unable to play with his new toy over Christmas until we got to the shops to buy him some 'proper' batteries!
Unfortunately, even with new Duracell batteries, the visuals for the game were the same - very faint and with a contrast against the background that was so poor that once the chess pieces were off their home squares and out in the game, it was quite hard to distinguish between the pieces enough to be able to relax and enjoy the game. With that said, I can't speak for the kind of battery life you get from this game because my husband was unable to play a whole game through without getting frustrated at the poor visual quality.
There were some good points:
* The navigation and set up is very easy and the ergonomic stylus makes it easy to work the touch screen (you wouldn't want to lose this though because the screen's so small there's no way you'd be able to use your fingers to do this)!
* Hand-held device makes this a very portable game.
However, the fact that the contrast for the visuals was so poor means that ultimately my husband just gave up on the whole thing, and it's now on its way back to where it came from for a refund, which is very disappointing for him, to say the least and a lesson learned for me. Clearly with these types of gadgety games you do get what you pay for and now that I know that he likes the idea of having an electronic chess game to try out his moves on, I'll be saving up to get him a 'proper' one. In the meantime, due to our poor experience, I wouldn't be recommending this one to anyone.