For PSP lovers, installing emulators on PC or our smartphones is not rocket science, but let’s not forget that PC is not portable; on the other hand, sometimes we just like to get our hands on a real handheld when beating a PSP title. This is when we yearn for a pocket handheld that’s capable of PSP emulation. If you care for a PSP binge during the commute, this new retro console — RK2020 that comes out from China in 2020 may scratch your itch. It runs on RetroArch using a quad-core RK3326 chip. Unlike Odroid-Go Advance that needs self-assembly, RK2020 comes pre-built.
First of all, don’t judge a handheld by its appearance. It looks plain and normal, but are capable of PSP, Dreamcast and N64 emulations, along with other mainstream emulators. The launch of RK2020 immediately makes a splash among the Chinese handheld markets.
|CPU||RockChip RK3326 (Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A35 1.3GHz)|
|Display||3.5inch 320×480 IPS screen|
|Memory||1GB (DDR3L 786Mhz, 32 Bits bus width)|
|Supporting games||GB, GBA, GBC, Megadrive, NES, SNES, PS1, N64, DC, PSP etc.|
|Storage:||64GB TF card supported|
|Input Buttons||D-pad, A, B, X, Y, shoulder buttons: L1/L2, R1/R2, Analog joystick, Select, Start, Power-on|
|Ports||USB type C for charging, USB type A for WiFi Dongle/ External Controller, external Micro SD slot|
How it looks
RK2020 has a portable size between LDK and OGA yet with a 3.5” IPS screen of 3:2 aspect ratio, a screen large enough for you to enjoy the clarity of PSP games. It has a frosted black transparent case with all-black plastic buttons. It has only one speaker down the bottom and doesn’t have volume buttons.
The ABXY buttons are a little bigger than the normal ones. Unlike the normal protruding or flat buttons, they are slightly concave. I guess it’s for increasing the contact area of the buttons which relieves the pain caused by the finger pressing for a long time. The recoil when pressing is not intense and is easy to press down. Below the ABXY buttons are the Select and Start buttons. But they don’t rise much and aren’t easily touched by big fingers pressing action buttons. I would say it’s a considerate button design.
The joystick rotates spherically. Each RK2020 now comes with a silicone joystick cap. It is still level with all the buttons after adding the silicone cap. The surface of the bare joystick has a non-slip pattern, but it’s a bit slippery for my thumb to press on. The friction increases after applying the cap. Now it doesn’t require me to spend extra efforts to hold the joystick, and easier for me to operate in games.
Some argue for a second joystick. But I guess one is enough for most of the games it supports unless you are fond of PS1 games that require a second one.
The d-pad has a soft clicky feel when pressing it, and it’s not mushy. It looks like a New PocketGo d-pad, and they feel the same.
The RK2020 has two pairs of shoulder buttons. Press RK2020’s shoulder buttons gently and you’ll get the clicky response. L2 and R2 are slightly higher than L1 and R1, so we can control L2 and R2 without moving our fingers much, during the game.
On top of RK2020, there are a USB port, a type-c charging port, and an audio jack. Flip to the back of the machine, you’ll find corresponding texts near these ports. It is said that we can connect to a WiFi receiver via the USB port.
I mainly tested three emulators, PSP, N64 and Dreamcast. The PSP game animation is fluid without frame skipping or tearing. RK2020 is capable of most PSP games. We can see that the picture of PSP games is steady, it doesn’t skip frames or result in lag or stutter. The only problem is that, games with rich 3D animation effects might be choppy.
The N64 and Dreamcast emulations we’ve tested can run without stutters. The outline of the graphic display is not smooth, but it only affects the display and does no harm to the game running.
The control is sensitive, the operation on the joystick and action buttons reflects instantly in the games without delay.
There are different hotkeys in the PSP emulator and other emulators. In a random emulation other than PSP, to adjust the volume, we can use the hotkeys select+↑/↓, or L2+↑/↓. If we want to adjust the brightness, use the hotkeys L2+←/→. Interestingly, while playing some games requiring shoulder buttons, I accidentally found that L2+R1 can mute the game, then press again to unmute. These hotkeys can be tricky during some game playing… So we better adjust these settings after we pause the game. To exit the game, press select+start simultaneously twice.
The button settings in the PSP emulator is slightly different from the others. In terms of hotkeys, the brightness and mute hotkeys are the same as the other emulators. But we can only use L2+↑/↓ to adjust the volume. Because SELECT is the exit hotkey in PSP, which I strongly advise you not to touch when you’re enjoying the games.
And a little grumble here: my hands are not big but long time play with this device still causes my thumbs cramping.
Should I purchase it?
If you long for a PSP retro trip but don’t fancy self-assembly like that of Odroid-Go Advance, RK2020 totally cut the mustard for you. It runs some PSP, Dreamcast and N64 games quite good and the buttons are comfortable to press. And it fits right into our pockets, so we can enjoy these retro games anytime, anywhere. What’s a bit frustrating is the odd button Settings and my cramp fingers.
I won’t say it’s a perfect device for all, especially if you’ve already owned an OGA or are about to get the new one. For those who already owned RG350 or RG350m and basically just get their hands on PS1 titles using dual joysticks, RK2020 is not your choice today.
Anyhow, for me, RK2020 is a promising rival to OGA. After all, RK2020 does not require me to bother assembling it. Green hands like me might prefer a machine that we can play with right away. A price of $65.99 is acceptable, though the shipping fees depending on regions can be upsetting. I hope there will be more devices that run PSP titles smoothly.
Where to Buy?
Buy it here: http://rkconsole.com?aff=3
Pros and Cons
|Pros||Supports PSP, DC, N64|
4 shoulder buttons
Ergonomic button design
|Cons||Thumb cramping for a long time play|
Different button control
|Final word||A portable device for PSP, DC and N64 nostalgia|