Retro consoles have surged in popularity recently, charming gamers with a blend of nostalgia and contemporary technology. These devices allow players to experience classic games in their original form, yet benefit from the advancements of modern tech. Aesthetically, they are a delightful addition to any space, be it displayed openly or tucked inside a cabinet. Each retro console comes with its unique advantages and drawbacks, tailored to its specific function. However, amidst this diverse array, certain consoles stand out, capturing the essence of vintage gaming while seamlessly integrating current technological enhancements.
The Powkiddy RGB20S is a notable entrant in the handheld gaming market, distinguished by its affordability and impressive features. Priced at a modest $89.99, this vertically designed device boasts a RK3326 1.5GHZ Quad-Core CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a striking 3.5″ IPS Display. While the plastic build may not exude premium quality and the abundance of buttons can feel somewhat cramped, the device delivers a commendable performance up to the PS1 emulation level and offers a comfortable grip during gameplay. Its compact size enhances portability, with the analog sticks extending just right for ease of use. Despite its shortcomings, the Powkiddy RGB20S arrives pre-loaded with ROMs, allowing users to dive into gaming adventures without delay.
In the bustling realm of mini retro handhelds, ANBERNIC made a notable entry in December 2022 with their RG35XX model. Despite its slightly larger size compared to its peers, the RG35XX didn’t fail to capture attention. The device features a 3.5″ IPS display with a resolution of 640 x 480, an ideal setup for reliving classics from the NES, SNES, and Game Boy Advance era. While it’s only equipped with 256MB of RAM and a quad-core processor, the RG35XX manages to smoothly run games up to the Playstation 1 level. Remarkably, it achieves this without compromising on elements like an analog stick, often sacrificed in smaller models. Admittedly, the device has its drawbacks, such as a less intuitive operating system and somewhat challenging shoulder buttons. However, its high-quality screen and affordable pricing structure make it an attractive option, particularly for those new to the world of retro handheld gaming.
The RG353V, a fresh addition to the handheld gaming scene, made its debut in September 2022, boasting a redesigned look and enhanced specifications. This device is available in two variants: the “VS” edition, which is equipped with 1GB of RAM and a Linux operating system, and the original RG353V model, featuring 2GB of RAM, dual OS support for Android/Linux, and a touchscreen display. Priced competitively at around $109, the RG353V seeks to challenge peers like the Retroid Pocket 3.
While it may not match the feature set of some higher-end competitors, the RG353V’s vertical form factor, complemented by dual analog sticks, makes it a visually appealing and capable device. It has the power to smoothly run classic games ranging from the PS1 to the PSP era. The device also supports a selection of Dreamcast games, though some user adjustments might be necessary for optimal performance.
Despite some of this year’s models falling short in terms of innovation or quality, the RG353V represents a notable step forward. Vertical handhelds like this add diversity and excitement to the gaming market. However, potential buyers should be aware of the device’s less-than-ideal shoulder buttons, a minor caveat in an otherwise impressive offering.
ANBERNIC, recognized for its blend of high-quality and budget-friendly handheld gaming devices, has seen fluctuating sales in recent times. However, the introduction of their latest creation, the RG353M, is poised to revolutionize their market standing. This new device is encased in a striking metal exterior and powered by a RK3566 CPU, adept at emulating Dreamcast games.
Offering users the flexibility to choose between Android and Linux operating systems, the RG353M is equipped with 2GB of RAM, a 1.8GHZ processor, a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, and a 3500MAH battery capable of sustaining over 5 hours of gameplay on a single charge. The engineering quality of the RG353M is particularly noteworthy. Crafted from a single block of metal, it provides a robust and refined feel. Its ability to flawlessly run Dreamcast games is a standout feature.
Additionally, the RG353M efficiently emulates a range of other platforms, including Gameboy Advance, N64, PS1, and most PSP titles, although it might struggle with more demanding high-end PSP games. Complementing its capabilities are a crisp display, a user-friendly Linux operating system, and newly designed ergonomic joysticks. All these elements come together to position the RG353M as a formidable contender in the realm of retro handheld gaming.
Powkiddy’s RGB10 Max, with its expansive 5.5-inch display, marks their foray into the realm of affordable handheld devices. Surpassing expectations, this device features a rubberized matte texture, lending it a premium feel. Its modern design is accentuated by thin bezels and a clean face devoid of any branding. The analog sticks, reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch’s, and the resilient action and D-pad buttons, contribute to its reliability as a gaming device.
Powered by the RK3326, a processor common in many top retro game consoles, the RGB10 Max includes a quad-core 1.5GHZ CPU, 1GB RAM, and a Mali 31 GPU. Its 4200 MAH battery capacity is another notable attribute. In terms of emulation capabilities, the device comfortably handles games up to the N64 era without hitches. However, more demanding titles from the Dreamcast or PSP libraries may encounter slight lags.
The large screen of the RGB10 Max offers an ideal platform for games like Mario Kart 64, where its display size truly enhances the gaming experience. Nonetheless, attempting to play more graphically intense games may result in a less satisfactory performance, underscoring the device’s limitations with higher-end gaming titles.
Miyoo Mini Plus
In March 2023, Miyoo introduced an enhanced iteration of their compact gaming console, the Miyoo Mini Plus. Catering to the wishes of its audience for a marginally larger device, this new version features a 3.5-inch screen maintaining the nostalgic 4:3 aspect ratio. Acknowledging user input, Miyoo has refined the shoulder buttons in this model, enhancing their comfort compared to the previous generation.
The Miyoo Mini Plus is equipped with a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU and 128MB of RAM, which, surprisingly, supports robust performance. Its 3000mAh battery is capable of sustaining up to 5 hours of continuous gameplay. However, keeping up with the demand for Miyoo’s handhelds has been a challenge. The immense popularity of both the Miyoo Mini Plus and its predecessor, the Miyoo Mini, has often led to rapid sell-outs, with scalpers and eager consumers quickly snapping up new stock as soon as it becomes available online.
Despite these stocking challenges, the Miyoo Mini Plus stands out as a remarkable and portable console. It’s adept at running a wide array of retro games, extending its compatibility up to Playstation 1 titles, making it a prized choice for enthusiasts of classic gaming.
Retroid Pocket 3+
The Retroid Pocket 3+ headlines our selection of the best retro handhelds this year, standing as an upgraded and slightly larger successor to its predecessor. Priced attractively at just $149 and boasting the capability to emulate games up to the Gamecube level, it’s clear why this device is receiving considerable attention.
GoRetroid has equipped its new creation with an Octa-core T618 CPU,a good-appearing 4.7-inch touchscreen display and 4GB of RAM, all encapsulated within a design that emphasizes both style and ergonomic comfort. Given these features, it’s no surprise that the Retroid Pocket 3+ is a frontrunner in the market of retro gaming devices, striking an impressive balance between affordability and high performance.
Game consoles hold a special place in the hearts of gamers, often evoking cherished childhood memories or serving as delightful sources of leisurely entertainment. Undoubtedly, the world of gaming consoles is vast, with numerous outstanding options each possessing their unique advantages and drawbacks. The choice of which console to embrace is deeply personal, hinging on individual preferences and experiences.
If you’re still on the hunt for that perfect gaming companion that resonates with your heart, consider exploring the aforementioned game consoles. Additionally, delving into the realms of lego lightsabers and 3D metal puzzles could bring an unexpected yet fulfilling dimension to your gaming and leisure activities. Trying out these options might be a decision you won’t regret. On the contrary, the regret might stem from not giving them a chance to enrich your gaming world.