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P5 Glove (hardware) Review

By Exxorcyst

    The P5 glove by Essential Reality was supposed to be what the Power Glove for Nintendo tried to be.  It is an interface device that fits over your hand, lets you bend fingers to “click,” and detects motions in three dimensions.  Compared to a mouse with only three buttons and two-dimensional motion, the P5 glove would appear to be the superior gaming device.  Essential Reality is more than happy to let consumers think just that (just read any of the “reviews” on their page or linked to from their page), however there are a few problems that keep this from being true.

     First of all, the infrared sensor is not particularly strong.  Your hand must at all times stay in a range between 1-2 ft of the sensor.  Too close or too far and your pointer will start to go haywire.  Turning off the lights seems to help somewhat, but the range is still limited.  In terms of moving the pointer, it is hard to move large distances very quickly or accurately.  Small tasks such as browsing the Internet or moving desktop windows around are easily accomplished.  However, this is being marketed as a GAMING peripheral.  Indeed, it comes with three games (a special version of Hitman 2, along with two forgettable titles).  As a gaming peripheral, the P5 glove falls well short of expectations.  There just isn’t enough accuracy to warrant using the glove over a mouse in even the simplest of games.

    To add to the frustration, the glove does not come with any sort of configuration utility to customize the glove for use in gaming.  Currently, the glove is only fully supported by the games it is packaged with.  Lack of accuracy aside, I could see the glove being incredibly useful in joystick friendly games that require many buttons such as the Descent or Mechwarrior series.  However, the lack of a configuration utility or support for many games makes it a moot point.

     This is not to say that there isn’t hope.  Even before the initial launch of the P5 glove, Essential Reality announced plans to make a revision of the glove that will work with next generation console systems (one can only assume XBox, PS2, and Gamecube) as well as the PC.  Perhaps these next generation devices will come with the accuracy and support software needed to catapult glove peripherals to the next level.

Overall:

It definitely scores points in the fancy department.  The glove itself is aesthetically pleasing, however, it lacks the preciseness of a mouse needed for gaming.  Once the novelty wears off, you’ll want your $150 back.

7.75

                                                 

 

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