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Retroid Pocket 2 Review

From the left, the "8 Bit", "Indigo" and "Retro" color options for the Retroid Pocket 2. There are up to 16 different colors.

From the left, the "8 Bit", "Indigo" and "Retro" color options for the Retroid Pocket 2. There are up to 16 different colors.

Retroid Pocket 2 Design

Retroid Pocket 2 is a Dual Boot device, which allows us to access two different operating systems according to our needs. These OS are loaded into the supplied SD Card (usually 32 GB).

The design is very linear and all the buttons are accessible and this guarantees a good feeling during use. For example, the back of the Retroid Pocket 2 is textured to ensure a good grip even in the most hectic phases of the game or in fighting games. The buttons are slightly hard but become more comfortable with use. Particularly convenient is the use of the shoulder buttons which, in this case, are well made and easy to use. This is a common pitfall of many other small handheld consoles. With other small handheld consoles, it may happen to press both shoulder buttons by mistake. With this one, I have never encountered the problem.

The layout of the main buttons is almost identical to that of a Nintendo Switch Lite and mounts a 3.5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 640x480. Unfortunately, the screen does not have touch functionality but still guarantees good visibility. If necessary, we can adjust the brightness by holding down the "Start" button and using the Volume Button. The images on the display are sharp and do not lose much detail when moving the Retroid Pocket 2.

Moving to the Audio, two speakers on the front of the console provide great feedback and clean sound. It's also possible to connect headphones via the audio jack (at the bottom) or Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

retroid-pocket-2-review

Retroid Pocket 2 is available in different colours that pay homage to the different consoles of the past. I bought the "RS1" version that pays homage to the Playstation 1. This model has a Gray colour with Black Buttons, while the ABXY buttons show the iconic colours of the Sony brand.

There are many other cosmetic options, such as the Indigo model that pays homage to the Game Boy Advance (although many think it refers to the GameCube.) The Funtastic series features even transparent colours.

All the colours are sold on the official store at the same price (80 $ + Shipping from China) and as a gift, they also contain a screen protector. Delivery times from the manufacturer in China are quite long and can reach up to two months of waiting. It is also available on Amazon through resellers at a price of around $ 120.

Some examples of the Funtastic Collection

Some examples of the Funtastic Collection

The first OS available is Android 6.0 that we can upgrade up to Android 8.1 (by downloading it from the manufacturer's website). The second OS (a.k.a. Retroid OS) transforms the device into a retro gaming console to be used in handheld mode or to be connected to the TV with an HDMI cable.


If you decide to connect the Retroid Pocket 2 to a TV, you can connect controllers via Bluetooth 4.0. One of the best controllers is the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro + controller which can be easily recognized without having to map the different buttons.

Retroid OS

Retroid OS

Android OS

Android OS

Retroid Pocket 2 is a multifunction system with various applications already installed. Android 6.0 allows us to use the device completely autonomously from the second Operating System. This method of use allows us to use the device with the greatest possible freedom of customization. We will be able to install new apps or games through the Play Store. We can also use a browser for multimedia content, such as Youtube or Hubpages.

DIG; RetroArch and ClassicBoy are already present as pre-installed APPs. So the skilled users can already use those tools and customize the console the way they want. The look of emulators can be changed by downloading new themes and settings can be changed to optimize games. Moonlight and Steam Link are also pre-installed and can be linked to our library. In this way, we will also have remote access to our PC and play our favourite games in streaming.

The first time we turn on the Retroid Pocket 2, Android 6.0 will open. To access the second operating system we will need to install the Retroid Pocket App. It will be necessary to connect our Retroid Pocket 2 to the internet via Wi-Fi, open the "Toolbox" App and proceed with the installation.

After this operation, it will be possible to change the operating system at any time we want even without an Internet connection. This procedure is for the first start only.

Scroll to Continue

Running the Retroid OS mode will be much easier to use even by the average user. This is because all basic settings have already been made. In this mode, we will have access to a library of over 3000 games available without further installations or connections to the Internet. Simply scroll through the list and press the "A" button to start the games.

The whole list of games is not so easy to use, so we can always use the search functions, scroll the list by categories or create a list of our favourite games. The favourites will be automatically moved to the first results.

retroid-pocket-2-review

Retroid Pocket 2 runs a 1.5 GHz Quad-Core Cortex processor with 1GB of DDR3 RAM and 8GB of internal memory. That allows it to emulate different game consoles such as the Nintendo GameBoy, Playstation, Sega Dreamcast, Famicom, PSP, etc.

The Technical specifications are enough for emulating the older console pretty easily. The same is not so easy with newer consoles. Some higher-end 3D games emulated via PPSSPP can cause problems like Midnight Club 3 or God of War: Ghost of Sparta.

The 4000mAh battery could run out quickly while playing those games. For less demanding games it can last up to double. In mixed-use conditions, the battery is enough for 4 - 5 hours of play.

Retroid Pocket 2 can not emulate GameCube, PS2 and other more recent consoles. But we can install Drastik (or other similar emulators) from the Play Store to be able to emulate the Nintendo DS.

retroid-pocket-2-review

Running games by emulation some options of the games may not be active. For example, it will not be possible to save PS1 games on the memory card. But, it will be possible to save the emulator state for non-arcade games. With this tool, we may also have several saves for the same game. This becomes particularly useful for those games that didn't allow more than one save slot like the pokémon series.

These saves can be done on the fly and do not need any for the in-game objects like checkpoints or save machines. Not even the ink ribbons like in an iconic Capcom game: Resident Evil.

What we try next? Metal Slug? Mortal Kombat? Gran Turismo?

What we try next? Metal Slug? Mortal Kombat? Gran Turismo?

Retroid Pocket 2 supports TF Cards up to 128 GB of memory and to make the change it is enough to make a copy of the original TF Card to a bigger one.

However, I recommend everyone to make a backup copy of the TF card, useful for any eventuality. This is a good practice both when you want to upgrade to Android 8.1 or if you want to put your hand to the settings of the individual emulators. This can be useful also as an extra method to organize your game collections.

PROCONS

Simple design and robust manufacturing

L3 and R3 buttons are missing

Excellent value for money

Some minor flaws with the emulation of more complex titles

Excellent screen brightness, excellent positioning of the shoulder Buttons and powerful speakers

Screen without touch functionality

Possibility of Upgrade to Android 8.1

It has been a few months since I received the Retroid Pocket 2 and I am very happy with this device.

Generally speaking, the upgrade to the Android 8.1 version is not mandatory. But it could be useful for those who want to optimize the different emulator settings or want to add other emulators or apps or games via the Play Store.

Retroid Pocket 2 is positioned in a price range that makes it easily accessible and enjoyable even without other extra costs. If you (like me) fall in love with Retroid Pocket 2, with only $ 5 we can add Drastik. Drastik can give us access to the Nintendo DS library and a larger TF Card (even one 64 GB) we can improve everything a lot.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Christian Allasia

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