In a world where gaming has become more advanced and sophisticated, there’s still a special place in our hearts for retro games. These classics bring back a sense of nostalgia, taking us back to a time when gaming was simple yet engaging.
That’s where the Powkiddy V90 handheld retro game console comes in. This little device has taken the gaming community by storm, providing a pocket-sized solution for those who crave a taste of the past, at a rock bottom price. In this review, we’ll dive deep into the features of the Powkiddy V90 handheld and evaluate its performance, so you can decide if it’s the retro gaming companion for you.
The Power of Nostalgia: Emulation Galore
The Powkiddy V90’s primary selling point is its ability to emulate a wide range of classic gaming systems. From the iconic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, to various Gameboy consoles, this little device has you covered.
NES and SNES: 8-bit and 16-bit Nintendo Magic
For Nintendo fans, the Powkiddy V90 handheld delivers an authentic experience. The NES emulation is spot-on, with games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda running smoothly and providing that unmistakable 8-bit charm. Meanwhile, SNES emulation is similarly impressive, with Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Donkey Kong Country playing flawlessly. The V90’s responsive controls and crisp visuals make these classic games look and feel awesome.
Genesis and Master System: Sega’s Retro Glory
For those who bleed Sega blue, the Powkiddy V90 does not disappoint. The console’s Genesis emulation is nearly perfect, with games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Streets of Rage 2 running seamlessly. The Master System is equally well-represented, with games like Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Phantasy Star playing smoothly. In both cases, the V90’s sound emulation is reasonably accurate (although the tiny speaker leaves a bit to be desired), allowing you to enjoy the catchy tunes of your favorite Sega games, which was very important to me as a Sega music nut.
Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance: Portable Nintendo Classics
The Powkiddy V90 shines when it comes to Gameboy emulation, especially given the GBA-like form factor, offering excellent performance across all three generations of the portable console. Pokémon RedBlue, /The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Super Mario Land play just as well as you remember, with accurate sound and visuals. Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance games are similarly well-emulated, allowing you to enjoy titles like Pokémon GoldSilver/ and Metroid Fusion on the go.
Portability, Battery Life, and Form Factor: Gaming on the Go
The Powkiddy V90 handheld is designed with portability in mind. Its compact form factor easily fits in your pocket, making it perfect for gaming on the go. The V90 sports a clamshell design reminiscent of the Gameboy Advance SP, offering a sense of familiarity for those who grew up with Nintendo’s portable systems.
The device’s 3-inch IPS display provides crisp, vibrant visuals that do justice to the retro games it emulates. The built-in controls are comfortable and responsive, allowing for precise input during intense gaming sessions.
Battery life is another area where the Powkiddy V90 shines. With a 1020mAh battery, the console can provide up to 4 hours of continuous gaming on a single charge – which is quite decent for a device of this size, with this power, and at this pricepoint.
Technical Specs: Powering the Retro Experience
Underneath its nostalgic exterior, the Powkiddy V90 boasts a set of modest technical specifications that enable it to deliver an impressive emulation experience without breaking the bank. Let’s take a closer look at the hardware.
Processor and RAM: A Capable Combo
The Powkiddy V90 is equipped with an Allwinner F1C100S CPU with a single 702 MHz core, which provides ample processing power for running a wide variety of early era retro games. While these specs may not be cutting-edge by modern standards, they are more than sufficient for the V90’s intended purpose: reliving the glory days of classic gaming on the NES, SNES, Gameboy, and equivalent Sega systems.
Display: Crisp and Clear
The V90 features a 3-inch IPS display with a resolution of 320×240 pixels. This screen size and resolution are well-suited for the retro games the console emulates, as most of these titles were originally designed for CRT TVs or lower-resolution portable systems. The display delivers bright, vivid colors and sharp images, making the most of the pixel art that defined the games of yesteryear. Some screen tearing is evident, but doesn’t get in the way of gameplay in my experience, and is acceptable at this price point.
Construction Materials: Built to Last
The Powkiddy V90’s construction materials strike a balance between durability, portability and price. The device’s outer shell is made from a combination of ABS and polycarbonate plastics, which provide a lightweight yet sturdy structure. This construction ensures that the V90 can withstand the rigors of daily use and travel while maintaining a slim profile. The buttons and D-pad are made from decent materials as well, and while there’s a little sponginess (again, to be expected at this pricepoint , and not gameplay breaking by any means) ensuring responsive and comfortable gameplay.
In summary, the Powkiddy V90’s technical specifications and construction materials contribute to its ability to deliver an enjoyable and authentic retro gaming experience. Its combination of a capable processor, a crisp display, and decently durable construction make it an ideal option for gamers seeking a portable and reliable way to relive the classics.
Ergonomics and Handling: A Comfortable Blast from the Past
When it comes to handheld gaming devices, comfort and ease of use are of paramount importance. After all, nobody wants to deal with hand cramps or awkward controls while trying to enjoy their favorite retro games. Fortunately, the Powkiddy V90 has been designed with ergonomics in mind, offering a comfortable and intuitive gaming experience.
A Familiar Clamshell Design
The Powkiddy V90 features a clamshell design reminiscent of the Gameboy Advance SP, which provides a sense of familiarity for those who grew up with Nintendo’s portable systems. This design choice not only offers a nostalgic throwback, but also serves a practical purpose: protecting the screen when the console is closed, ensuring its longevity.
Button Layout and D-Pad*
The button layout on the Powkiddy V90 is both intuitive and ergonomic. The face buttons are positioned in a diamond pattern, similar to the Super Nintendo and other classic consoles. This arrangement allows for easy access to all buttons during gameplay, making it simple to execute those critical moves in your favorite retro games.
The D-pad is designed with comfort and precision in mind, allowing for accurate input and smooth movement in all directions. It has a tactile feel and a well-defined center, with a small but acceptable amount of sponginess.
Size and Weight: Easy on the Hands
The Powkiddy V90’s compact form factor makes it an ideal companion for gaming on the go. Measuring just 3.6 inches (9.1 cm) wide, 3.1 inches (7.9 cm) tall, and 0.8 inches (2 cm) thick when closed, the device is small enough to fit comfortably in your hands without causing strain during extended gaming sessions.
The V90’s lightweight design is another factor that contributes to its comfort. Weighing in at just 5.3 ounces (150 grams), the console is light enough to be held for long periods without causing fatigue.
In conclusion, the Powkiddy V90 has been thoughtfully designed to provide a comfortable and enjoyable gaming experience. Its familiar clamshell design, intuitive button layout, responsive D-pad, and compact size all contribute to its ease of use, making it a pleasure to hold and play for hours on end.
The Other Side of the Coin: Powkiddy V90’s Downsides
While the Powkiddy V90 excels in many areas, it is not without its shortcomings. Like any device, there are certain aspects that could be improved upon or may not meet everyone’s expectations. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the downsides of the Powkiddy V90 handheld.
Limited Emulation for More Advanced Systems
While the V90 does an excellent job of emulating NES, SNES, Genesis, Master System, and Gameboy games, its performance with more advanced systems is somewhat limited. The device’s hardware may struggle to run games from consoles like the PlayStation 1, Nintendo 64, or Sega Dreamcast with the same level of accuracy and smoothness as it does for the earlier systems. If you’re looking to play games from these more advanced consoles, the Powkiddy V90 might not be the ideal choice for you.
No Official Game Support
One important thing to note is that the Powkiddy V90 does not have official support from game publishers. Depending on where you buy it, it may come preloaded with ROMs that are of dubious legal standing.
This means that users are responsible for obtaining their own game ROMs to load onto the device, which can be a legal gray area depending on the jurisdiction and the specific games in question. It’s essential to research and understand the legal implications of using ROMs before diving into the world of retro gaming with the Powkiddy V90.
While the emulation of the sound in the Powkiddy V90 is generally accurate, the device’s built-in speaker may not provide the best audio experience. Some users have reported that the sound can be tinny or distorted at higher volumes. That being said, the V90 does include a 3.5mm headphone jack, which allows you to enjoy your retro gaming sessions with a pair of headphones for better sound quality.
Limited Customization and Firmware Updates
Compared to some other retro handhelds, the Powkiddy V90 offers limited customization options and firmware updates. While the device’s stock firmware is functional and user-friendly, it may not provide the same level of flexibility or customizability as other devices on the market. Users looking for a more customizable retro gaming experience might find the V90’s options somewhat limited.
In summary, the Powkiddy V90 is not without its flaws. The device’s limited emulation capabilities for more advanced systems, lack of official game support, sound quality issues, and limited customization options might be deal-breakers for some users. However, for those who are primarily interested in playing games from the supported retro consoles and appreciate its portability and comfortable design, the Powkiddy V90 remains an attractive option.