It seems like there’s a new retro console popping up every other day lately, and deciding which one is the one for you is harder than ever, with the sheer number of retro game consoles coming out in 2020 and beyond growing rapidly with every week, it can be quite a daunting task for the uninitiated to figure out which suits them best. That’s where we come in, we’re gonna do a breakdown of the top 5 retro game handhelds we could find and have tested, and do a complete breakdown on everything from screen size/quality, to price, to compatibility, to ergonomic design and feel when playing, all for you. Aren’t we nice?
We will endeavor to keep this list up to date as new consoles are released and old ones fade away into the ether. I have decided to focus purely on the consoles being released out of China for this list.
Best Retro Game Consoles
|Handheld||Price||OS / CPU||Key Specs||Supporting||Pros||Cons||Final Words|
|RG350||$85||OpenDingux / Ingenic JZ4770||320x240 3.5" IPS USB C and mini HDMI (not working for now) Dual joy-sticks 2500 mAh battery||NES, GBA, GB, GBC, MD, SMS, MAME, NeoGeo, SNES, PS1||Mature and stable system Wonderful build quality Nice build quality||Challenging for beginners Not all hardware features working||The best open source game console. Best compatibility.|
|GKD350H||$79||OpenDingux / Ingenic X1830||320x240 3.5" IPS 2300mAh battery||NES, GBA, GB, GBC, MD, SMS, MAME, NeoGeo, SNES, PS1||Increase in running speed Fluid gameplay, high frame rate||Poor build quality Absence of L2/R2 button||The fastest emulation machine. A higher performance on PS1 titles.|
|New PocketGo||$65||OpenDingux / Ingenic JZ4770||320x240 3.5" IPS 2000mAh battery||NES, GBA, GB, GBC, MD, SMS, MAME, NeoGeo, SNES, PS1||Portable Cost-effective 2 SD card slots||Slippery joy-stick Buttons not responsive enough||A portable and best-value JZ4770 handheld. Bigger than PocketGo, added an analogue stick.|
|Pandora Super Retro Box Mini (PowKiddy A19)||$85||Custom Android / MTK6580||640x480 3.5" IPS Support TV output 4000mAh battery||PSP, N64, MAME, FBA, GBA, GBC, PS, WSC, FC, SFC, MD, PCE||Beginners-friendly Six action button for arcade games||A little pricey for some No shoulder buttons||A fashionable arcade emulator. A reasonable priced Android handhelds.|
|Odroid-Go Advance||$55||Custom Emulation Station/ RetroArch / RockChip RK3266||480x320 3.5" LCD 3000mAh battery||atari2600, atari5200, atari7800, atarilynx, gamegear, GB, GBA, GBC, mastersystem, megadrive, NES, pcengine, pcenginecd, psx, segacd, SNES, PSP||Inexpensive Perfect GBA emulation N64 and PSP supported||Need to be assembled Undeveloped system Poor build quality||The best single-board computer emulation retro handheld. Have fun while DIY.|
The one you really want, the one you’re waiting for, the best of the best, no expense spared, if you want the best portable retro gaming handheld experience in 2020, then you want the RG350.
With dual analog support, the full suite of triggers and bumpers, the biggest screen of all these consoles, and nice firm tactile XYAB and dpad buttons, the RG350 just cannot be beaten at the moment. The performance of the console is fantastic, running every game from every console at full speed with no lag or hiccups, the most modern IO with USB C charging support and mini HDMI out for connecting to modern televisions, the RG350 truly is the best retro gaming console your money can buy. With the launch of RG350m aluminum alloy, RG350’s series claim an extraordinary position in your 2020’s best-buy list.
We would say we are being considerate for your wallet and all these five items are quite bargains (otherwise you will be skimming through Nintendo or Sega’s best). Overall, each unit has its speciality but RG350 ranks the first for a relatively wonderful performance in gaming and its nice build quality. If you find RG350 moderate and not creative, the other four machines may be your thing. If you seek for faster running speed and smoother experience with PS1 titles, go for GKD350H. Those who’d love to have a portable lovely device could delightfully choose PG2. Feel like having a fashionable and handy arcade emulator? PowKiddy A19 is your choice. And finally, OGA is definitely a must-buy for players having a tinkerer’s heart.
Recent Retro Game Consoles
|Handheld||Price||OS / CPU||Key Specs||Supporting||Pros||Cons||Final Words|
|LDK Game||$49||RetroFW / Ingenic JZ4760B||320x240 2.6" TFT 1000mAh battery||NES, GBA, GB, GBC, MD, SMS, MAME, NeoGeo||Mini-sized Clear display Slightly stronger CPU than LDK landscape||Too small for big hands||Nice and compact, though with bigger screen than BittBoy and PocketGo. PS1 performance is better than BittBoy. Lots of color options.|
|LDK Landscape||$55||RetroFW / JZ4760||320x240 2.6" TFT 1020mAh battery||NES, GBA, GB, GBC, MD, SMS, MAME, NeoGeo||Small and lightweight Comfortable buttons Up to 30 emulators supported||Cheap plastic shell Poor performance in big PS1 titles||Added joystick missing from LDK Game. PS1 performance, and anything earlier, is much better than other cheap consoles. With ergonomic buttons less likely to cause cramping.|
|NEW BittBoy||$29||NxHope / AllWinner F1C100S||320x240 2.4" IPS 700mAh lithium battery||Perfectly for NES, GBA, GB, GBC, MD, SMS, MAME, NeoGeo.||Retro design Nice screen||Tearing in some games Lacking shoulder buttons||Cheapest console on list. All fifth gen and earlier games are compatible. Supports custom firmware. Comes with no games preloaded.|
|PocketGo||$35||NxHope / F1C100S||320x240 2.4" IPS 1000mAh battery||Perfectly for NES, GBA, GB, GBC, MD, SMS, MAME, NeoGeo.||Portable Better SNES and GBA performance than New BittBoy||Screen tearing in some games Speakers hissing||Smallest console available. Wide compatibility including selected PS1 support. Supports custom firmware|
|RG300||$55||OpenDingux / JZ4760B||320x240 3.0" TFT 1800mAh battery||NES, GBA, GB, GBC, MD, SMS, MAME, NeoGeo||Comfortable design Stable emulation||Poor viewing angles of screen||Lower price than RG350. Wide compatibility range for fifth gen and earlier. IPS screen version is updated.|
|Powkiddy Q90||$50||NxHope / F1C100S||320x240 3.0" IPS 1500mAh battery||GB, GBC, GBA, MD, FC, GG, SFC, NGP, MS, WS, PS, FBA, PCE, CPS, NEOGEO||Adorable appearance High quality speaker Replaceable battery||Pricey Lower joystick||Looks like a Switch Lite Mini. Using same chip as PocketGo. Preloaded with many retro games. Pricey among similar products.|
|Subor Q400||$70||Linux / RK3128||800x480 3.5" LCD 2400mAh Battery HDMI supported 4 players supported||Perfectly for NES, GBA, MD, SFC, MAME||Adjustable resolution Dual Switch analog sticks Fantastic stereo speakers||Speakers are covered when holding the machine||Ergonomic design. Powerful enough to run fluid in games.|
|Subor Q900||$80||Linux / RK3128||1080x680 7" LCD 4000mAh Battery HDMI supported||Perfectly for NES, GBA, MD, SFC, MAME||Big screen Reliable game performance Dual Switch analog sticks Fantastic stereo speakers||Pixels display Unresponsive d-pad Speakers are covered when holding the machine||A moderate device with a big screen. Looks like Switch at the first sight.|
All of these consoles have no trouble playing retro games, however, some, like the BittBoy and Pocket Go, are just not up to speed to play full-speed PlayStation 1 titles, anything less than that and every console can keep up fine. So what do you want out of the console? Are you just here for retro gaming and don’t care about PS1 that much? Then the answer of what’s best is probably what’s cheapest. And at that point, the new BittBoy or Pocket Go are both great options. For as low as 30 dollars USD, the new BittBoy can play any classic console you throw at it and play it superbly, with an absolutely gorgeous IPS display, the new BittBoy is a masterclass on how to make something with a certain level of quality, but for the right price. If you just want to play some older games and not spend a fortune, you can’t go wrong with either of these consoles, given their similar price range, the only major distinction is if you prefer the landscape Game Boy Advance stylings of the Pocket Go, or the more vertical, classic layout reminiscent of the original Game Boy lines, used by the new BittBoy.
So if you want something good and don’t want to spend a lot, buy the Bitt Boy or Pocket Go.
If you want something a bit more premium but don’t want to break the bank completely, the LDK series is my recommendation. For around 55USD, these consoles have a slightly bigger screen than the 2.4-inch BittBoy and Pocket Go, clocking in at 2.7 inches, and with the addition of the analog stick on the landscape version, the LDK has a premium feel with more accessible button layouts, without costing an absolute fortune. Performance on most consoles is largely the same between the LDK and BittBoy / Pocket Go, however, the performance boost can really be felt on PS1 games, where the LDK usually has no trouble hitting 50 FPS easily on most games compared to the other consoles usually striving to hit 40 FPS. Its really up to you if that is worth the increased price though, but as far as mid-tier consoles go, the LDK is still worth the price, the LDK game in particular is smaller than my wallet, it makes for a great conversation starter if nothing else.