What is it?
The Gaems Vanguard is a “Personal Gaming Environment” as per the marketing buzzwords but in layman's terms it is a console carry case with an integrated HD screen that truly makes any current-gen and last-gen HDMI powered console portable.
What does it do?
The Vanguard provides protection, storage and the ability to play your games on the go, albeit with an outlet close by for your console and the included 19-in 1080i LED display.
What's wrong with it?
If I have learned anything while traveling with expensive camera equipment or other gadgets and gear, it is that logos are capable of attracting a bit more attention than one would like, and the Vanguard, with its prominent logo, can definitely get some attention. The easy solution is to of course cover the logo, but it is something worth noting if you plan to commute on mass transit versus flying. This is definitely not a deal breaker but something worth addressing when you are walking around with a $350 carrying case loaded with $600 bucks or more in gaming equipment.
While the Vanguard is a durable and protective beast, it can at times be a pain to get open and this is a both gift and a curse since you want your stuff packed tightly with minimal room for movement, but the accessibility can be cumbersome at times. I was not a fan of the clasp system that kept the case closed as I felt they were not high quality and appeared somewhat flimsy even when the case was closed. Throwing in some sort of a combo lock system would have been a nice touch as well due to its recommended travel usage and would have provided an added level of security.
Weight-wise you are getting an 11 lb. case that when packed with a console, games and accessories will easily approach 20+lbs. I think adding wheels would have been a nice touch and given those with shoulder issues, would be an alternative method of transport versus slinging it over your shoulder.
Why do you/don't you need it?
If you are a gamer that likes to have their console with them at all times or if you travel a lot then this may be a solid albeit expensive investment. The $349.99 price tag may be a bit off-putting, but with a high definition LED monitor and small footprint it truly is a self-contained travel alternative for your consoles. If you feel at ease tossing your $400-$500 console in a book bag or duffle and are hoping for the best then I cannot recommend this enough since it keeps everything tidy and protected. I know many reviewers made it a point to talk about the weight of the case but let's not kid ourselves – it is not a shocker that this unit is going to be a bit heavy, especially with a powerhouse Xbox One in there. The 17 lb. weight of the case is manageable with the included sling but again be warned that prolonged wear will definitely test your resolve as the additional 5-10 lbs. of gear will certainly catch up with you. If you opt to just connect your system to a TV at your destination versus carrying a monitor there are plenty of durable and affordable options, but of course you lose the whole “personal gaming environment” vibe.
The Gaems Vanguard was surprisingly easy to use and worked as well as you'd expect. The Vanguard ensures that your console arrives at its destination intact and functional. The $350 price will make you cringe at first I'll admit, but if you travel consistently and take your console with you then the expense to protect your gear and games anywhere is worth exploring. Gaems also makes the smaller Sentry case as well which you can find for less than $200 at most retailers. If you do opt for the smaller Sentry case and need to carry an Xbox One then you'll have to buy an insert which will run you an additional $20 on top of the $199 for the Sentry case. This is also sadly the case with the Vanguard review unit that did not have the Xbox One insert. I just wanted to put that out there to give you options. The Vanguard is a tough item to endorse 100% because on one hand you get complete protection and a full console experience, but on the other you can protect your console for less yet not enjoy the perk of using your console anywhere two outlets are. It's a tough call and your wallet and necessity will surely be the deciding factors.