I purchased the Mephisto Phoenix T chess computer and have used it extensively over the last four weeks.
The board and pieces are beautiful, well-crafted and function very well. I like the large tournament board quite a bit. The board corner LEDs and piece recognition are very welcome technology. The computer and human always agree on the exact position at all times. Various chess positions are a snap to set up. I also like how the physical board position is displayed on screen and updated every move.
The Take Back function works well, but the machine doesn’t seem to have the ability to step forward through the moves again. A minor issue, but once you have taken back all the moves you want, you can then start playing from that point in the game.
The module screen has good clear resolution and I believe the information is displayed well, given the size of the screen. Compromises were obviously made, but I think well chosen. Of course, the screen is quite large relative to all previous chess computers I've owned. Consequently, it displays much more helpful info.
The documentation is fairly good and does answer a lot of questions. I’m aware that differs from most reviews. I would have written some sections a bit differently and added some clarification. At times, the choice of words could be better.
I recommend visiting the Millennium website and reading the FAQ section. That will answer questions not addressed in the Owner’s Manual. I anticipate the module software will have features added and perhaps UI enhancements in the months ahead.
If not interested in the legacy chess emulations, just ignore them. I spend most of my time on the module’s primary side, if you will, which includes multiple top chess engines, such as Shredder, and many playing options, levels and profiles. I appreciate the various pre-configured playing profiles associated with most of the chess engines, and the ability to customize any of them to my liking and saving them. A minor issue, but I would like to name each customized profile myself vice the system naming them User 1, User 2, etc.
Getting back to the emulations, if you find them fascinating, like I do, then you are left to figure out how to interact with each of them substantially on your own. Due to copyright laws, you are advised to download the online Owner’s Manual for each emulation. I try to find a manual for each category of emulation, which I believe I counted five different general types; all interesting.
The emulations interact with the board somewhat differently from one to another. I found that manuals for at least each category of emulation are available, though some I only found in a foreign language, such as Spanish or German. I used an online translator to convert them to English, which was effective but not efficient. That is, I made progress, but it was slow progress. I wish all manuals were available online in English, as the emulations are certainly a curiosity of mine.
I connected the module to my WIFI network and downloaded the latest module updates without difficulty.
Is this chess computer worth the money spent? When you consider how expensive everything is today for everyone—including manufacturers and merchants—then I would say, emphatically, Yes. I think Millennium has done a fine job.
I would not recommend it as a great “bang for the buck” model. There are many other far less expensive models to satisfy that demand. This machine was clearly created as a blue ribbon offering. and I’m delighted to own it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I had a minor concern initially. I notified Chess House of the issue, which was not their fault. Yet they quickly remedied the situation to my complete satisfaction. What can I say? Thank you for the great customer service! Keep up the good work.