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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 easily accessible and guarantee a good feeling during their use. For example, the back of the Retroid Pocket 2 is slightly textured to ensure a good grip even in the most hectic phases of the game or in fighting games. The buttons are initially slightly hard but become more comfortable with use.
Particularly convenient is the use of the shoulder buttons which, unlike other small handheld consoles, in this case are well made and easy to use.
With other small handheld consoles it may happen to press both L1 and L2 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 is developed around a 3.5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 640x480.
Unfortunately, the screen does not have touch functionality but still guarantees good visibility, we can easily adjust the brightness by holding down the "Start" button and using the buttons for audio adjustment.
The images on the display are sharp and do not lose much detail when moving the Retroid Pocket 2.

For the audio part, we have two speakers on the front and the possibility of connecting headphones via the audio jack at the bottom or via Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

retroid-pocket-2-review

Retroid Pocket 2 is available in different colors that pay homage to the different consoles of the past, I personally opted for the "RS1" version that pays homage to the Playstation 1 with a Gray color with Black Buttons, while the ABXY buttons show the iconic colors of the Sony brand.

Particularly interesting are also the Indigo that pays homage to the Game Boy Advance (although many think it refers to the GameCube) or the transparent colors of the Funtastic series.

All the colors 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 (but with the possibility of Upgrading to the Android 8.1 version by downloading it from the manufacturer's website) while the second (called Retroid OS) transforms the device into a console exclusively for retrogaming to be used in handheld mode or to be connected to the TV with an HDMI cable.

If you decide to connect everything to a TV, you can connect controllers via Bluetooth 4.0 such as 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

Android 6.0 allows us to use the device completely autonomously from the second Operating System and in this case the Retroid Pocket 2 becomes a multifunction system with various applications already installed.
This method of use allows us to use the device with the greatest possible freedom of customization, being able to install new apps or games through the Play Store as well as accessing multimedia content or our favorite sites via browser, such as Hubpages.

As pre-installed APPs we will have access to DIG; RetroArch, ClassicBoy and many others allowing those with more skills and knowledge in emulation to download wallpapers and themes for various applications, adjust the settings of the different emulators according to the different games and customize their gaming experience to the maximum.
Moonlight and Steam Link are also pre-installed to be able to access the game libraries on PC and take advantage of the streaming game features and cross save functionality.

Android 6.0 will be the standard mode to which we will have access when first turning on the Retroid Pocket 2 and in order to access the second mode (Retroid OS) 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 of the “Retroid Pocket App”.

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.

The system will then restart in Retroid OS mode, much easier to use even by less experienced emulation users as all the basic settings have already been performed. 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.

If the list is not easy to use, we can always use the search functions, scroll the list by categories or create our favorites which will be automatically moved to the first results.

retroid-pocket-2-review

Retroid Pocket 2 is equipped with a 1.5 Ghz Quad Core Cortex processor with 1GB of DDR3 RAM and 8GB of internal memory that allow it to emulate different game consoles such as Atari, Nintendo GameBoy, Playstation, Sega Dreamcast, Famicom, PSP, etc. .

With these technical specifications you can easily emulate older consoles while there may be some slow down with higher-end 3D games such as with some PSP games emulated via PPSSPP such as with Midnight Club 3 or God of War: Ghost of Sparta . In these cases the 4000mAh battery could wear out quickly while for other less demanding games it can last up to double. In mixed use conditions the battery is sufficient for 4 - 5 hours of play.

With Retroid Pocket 2 it is not possible to emulate GameCube, PS2 and other more recent consoles while it is possible to install Drastik (or other similar emulators) from the Play Store to be able to emulate the Nintendo DS.

retroid-pocket-2-review

By resorting to emulation it will not be possible to save with the in game mode offered by the various games but we will be able to save and reload the states of the emulators, which could potentially be even more useful especially for those games that only guarantee a slot for saving such as for example the Pokémon series.

Also these saves can be done on the fly unlike normal scheduled checkpoints or save machines such as Resident Evil's Ink Ribbons or even on games that didn't have the save function like Arcade games.

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

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

Retroid Pocket 2 supports SD Cards up to a maximum of 128 GB of memory and to make the change it is sufficient to make a copy of the original SD Card.

However, I recommend everyone to make a backup copy of the SD card, useful for any eventuality, 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 or as an additional method to organize your own 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 absolutely not mandatory for those who will use the Retroid Pocket 2 only with the Retroid OS 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 additional costs, but with only $ 5 we can add Drastik (and have access to the Nintendo DS library) and a larger SD Card (even just 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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