A Review Of The DGT Centaur Chess Computer

A Review Of The DGT Centaur Chess Computer

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Table of Contents

In this article, I’ll delve into the specs of the DGT Centaur – a chess computer designed to play against you in a simplified, interactive way. 

It adjusts to your playing level, provides an enjoyable challenge, and gently nudges you towards aspects that can help you enhance your skills. 

Let’s get started.

Unboxing the DGT Centaur

The DGT Centaur, aesthetically speaking, is sleek and elegantly packed. 

Unwrapping it, you’ll find:

  • The chess computer board, (with an ePaper display),
  • user manual,
  • quick start guide, 
  • chess pieces, 
  • a power adapter and other power sources.

The design simplicity renders an immediate sense of user-friendliness that the DGT team was clearly striving to achieve.

Initial Look and Feel

The ePaper display is engineered to perform optimally, in low light, bright light, or any environment. 

You can turn the board on by pressing the button in the corner; the startup sequence begins and you can start placing the chess pieces on the board. 

These chess pieces have great heft to them, adding a sense of realism to the game.

The board is powered by an internal battery that comes with a USB-type charger. 

While it does have an initial charge, you are first advised to charge it fully before use.

Upon booting up and setting the pieces, the computer recognizes the beginning position and is ready for the first move to be made.

The unique onboard display of this machine is unlike any other chess computer available. 

Exploring the Display Features

For those who may find the display a tad small, worry not.

You can increase the text display size with ease. 

One of the most standout elements of the DGT Centaur is its simplicity. 

A quick run through the settings proves that there are only the most necessary options:

  • Game Mode: Choose between ‘friendly’, ‘challenging’, or ‘expert’ based on your skill level and the kind of challenge you’re seeking.
  • Computer’s Colour: You can select whether the computer plays black or white.
  • Game Times: You can set game duration ranging from as quick as 2 minutes to as long as 90 minutes.
  • Set Pieces: You can manually set up the board and the computer will recognize and begin from your configuration.
  • Display: Choose from a range of display options – show clock, show score or show hints, all, or any combination of the three.

Simply put, the Centaur is designed with the enhanced user experience prioritized over overly complex features.

Diving Deeper into the Hardware

The board size is a comfortable 17.5 inches by 16 inches, with just a half inch of thickness, and the chess pieces are just under 3.5 inches tall. 

It’s worth mentioning that though the pieces have a smooth, hard surface rather than a more traditional felt, this is essential for the individual chip within each piece to be sensed on the board.

Importantly, the DGT Centaur is designed as a standalone device and, hence, doesn’t contain any extraneous ports such as an SD card slot or those for computer connectivity.

Verdict on the Centaur

In my opinion, the Centaur delivers an incredibly enjoyable, easy-to-use chess-playing experience. 

It successfully encapsulates basic yet pivotal features for hands-on play experience. 

Although some advanced functions like rating calculation are missed, the essentials for a solo practice session are all present.

While the Centaur might not be the perfect fit for those seeking advanced functionalities, it is excellent for those seeking a solo, enjoyable, chess-playing experience. 

Its ability to adapt to your skill level is truly its winning feature – for every level, you’ll find a challenging or slightly easier game. 

In short, if you seek to improve your chess game, the DGT Centaur is a great option.

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