ezJam Wireless Guitar Review

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Company: ezGear
Platform: PlayStation 3 (also works with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2)

The ezJam Wireless Guitar is the logical evolutionary step from ezJam's original ezJam S-10, a wireless version of a refined guitar controller with two sets of fret bars. One set of fret bars is similar to other conventional guitar controllers, but the controller also sports a second set of fret bars, smaller and closer to the strum bar.

Kyle Ackerman

Manufacturer ezGear describes its ezJam Guitar as the "first Guitar Hero controller with keys for smaller hands." Certainly, this is a great controller for those of you with small hands, but the ezJam Guitar is so much more than you might expect.

First, the guitar: The ezJam Wireless Guitar has a stylish, red design framing out a guitar controller with all the functionality you need for Guitar Hero II or Guitar Hero III. The fret buttons are responsive and the strum bar features great action, properly ticking off every strum in both directions. The tilt sensor lets air guitarists like me use the games' "star power," and while I had a little trouble with the whammy bar, I always have trouble with the whammy bar, so I doubt that had anything to do with the ezJam controller.

The wireless connection works beautifully – it will cross a lot of air, although it doesn't work well through flesh (so try to face the screen while playing). The controller is intended for the PlayStation 3, but it worked just fine with the PlayStation 2, playing Guitar Hero games on both platforms. A version of the controller is also being made for the Xbox 360. A wireless receiver plugs into the console and communicates with the controller dangling from the console's USB port.

Used like an ordinary guitar controller, the ezJam Wireless Guitar works beautifully. But the second set of frets add a new dimension to play. Whether you are looking to help out a child or just a friend with smaller hands, the smaller frets that are closer to the strum bar make it easy for anyone to play Guitar Hero games without uncomfortably stretching fingers or holding a too-large controller.

For me, the second set of frets opened up a new set of possibilities. Not only is it possible to play the guitar (for me) even more comfortably using the smaller set of frets, I could lay the controller out on my knees and bring my Guitar Hero play to an entirely new level. Yes, playing that way has all the sex appeal of playing air autoharp, but it's supremely easier for someone like me who is better at air keyboard than air guitar. (Although, autoharp heroes have trouble using star power.)

The controller is great, but it's not perfect. The battery case on the back is a little small, so I had to struggle for a time to get the four AA batteries into the controller without having them pop out. The switch for the wireless controller is also small and hidden, so the guitar looks cool, but it might take you a moment to find it the first time. Once the batteries were in and the controller was on, everything worked like a charm.

The whole ezJam Wireless Guitar will run you $80, but if you're serious about your air guitar and don't want to rip your PlayStation 3 off the shelf when you tug on the guitar cord, this is a great controller. If you want options for smaller hands, more precise control or other styles of guitar play, the controller is ideal.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on March 5, 2008 8:25 AM.

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