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GAEMS G155 game unit saves a marriage

While it's designed to let players take their consoles anywhere, the GAEMS G155 portable unit can also let couples amicably split their TV and game time.

John Scott Lewinski/CNET

OK, the above headline is admittedly a little dramatic, so maybe we should knock it down a peg: "GAEMS G155 aids a marriage by letting an overgrown-kid husband get his gaming in without hogging the TV."

The GAEMS (Gaming and Entertainment Mobile Systems) G155 is a self-contained gaming unit that essentially transforms any Xbox 360 or PS3 Slim into a console in a briefcase. It combines a sturdy carrying case with a 15.5-inch 720p LED-lit monitor, an HDMI connection, stereo speakers, and dual 3.5 mm headphone jacks--all for $299.

Unique so far in design and function, it's advertised as a way for young gaming fanatics to take their Modern Warfare with them wherever they gather with other gadget-obsessed hipsters. I wouldn't be surprised to find one at the core of Occupy Wall Street. But I wanted to see if I could put the GAEMS unit's capabilities to use another way.

John Scott Lewinski/CNET

While writing globally, I product-tested locally by employing my sister and brother-in-law for a field test. My sister is a devoted reality-TV fan who has a full viewing schedule for an hour or two on most nights after the kids are in bed. The brother-in-law is an avid gamer with a penchant for anything Madden or MLB-themed. Alas, they have but one TV, leaving plenty of room for minor squabbles.

I decided to set up the GAEMS G155 with a PS3 Slim and let the husband try it out while I monitored. To use the GAEMS rig, you simply plug in your respective console to the internal power source and monitor connection, and you're ready to play. At 20 inches wide, 15 inches deep, and 6.8 inches high, the GAEMS G155 weighs just a shade under 9 pounds.

While the wife took in whichever pageant of the bizarre she preferred, the GAEMS G155 functioned flawlessly. My only minor quibble seeing the unit in action is that the screen leaves something to be desired compared with gaming on a larger HD unit, but the visual quality is adequate even for the most visually rich game. In other words, the screen provides the quality of a small, modestly priced flat-screen monitor. While a high-quality, HD screen would definitely increase the cost of the unit, it's also possible such a screen would prove too delicate to include in a portable device. Sure, the GAEMS is well-padded, but the screen is still going to take on more wear, tear, dings, and potential dents than a living room-bound TV.

Inside the case, there's adequate storage space for controllers and games with room left over for guide books or other peripherals. The entire setup felt sturdy enough to stand up to travel rigors and always answered the call when the residential TV surrendered to "reality." Both husband and wife now sleep happily in the same bed (anything that happens beyond that was not considered a part of this test).

The GAEMS 155 hit the market this summer and is available at major retail outlets and online at Amazon, Best Buy, and the usual suspects. Personally, since the GAEMS 155 passed my spontaneous experiment, I think the manufacturer should consider changing its advertising plan to just target happy husbands who can now play Batman: Arkham City or Star Wars: Force Unleashed 2 whenever they like. The company can send me a cut of any profits that campaign produces.