I bought the first Gameboy when it was launched in the late 80s, and that was a game changer.
Having spent a whole load of coins in arcades, gaming on the go was the secret sauce that was missing in life.
Today gaming is either on a PC, console and of course at the arcades where avaiable.
So as a nostalgic trip back to where it all began, I got myself the Odroid Go and the Gameshell. But neither sort of measured up.
The most recent purchase before the Pocket Go was the Clockwork Pi Gameshell.
That didn't work as well as it should have as a game console as the included emulators were pretty poor at emulating.
The Odroid Go was fine for Gameboy color games but didn't do any Gameboy Advance emulation, and even if it did, you need the shoulder buttons that was lacking. The Gameshell had shoulder buttons but it had to be optionally includeded and not built into the console. And once you added it, it practically looked silly as the contraption would stick out.
So then came the Bittboy Pocket Go.
A fine beast that is good for stuff up to the PC Engine and Gameboy Advance. But the included emulators would have you believe that it could emulate the SNES, which it did to some extent but doesn't quite achieve the full spectrum of games.
The PSX or Playstation Classic is unplayable as the emulators are laggy. But if you are gereatric, it plays fine.
Don't Do Video or Music
There is a media player too included in the Pocket Go, but it plays media badly. I tried putting a MP3 and FLAC file into it and it plays but when it does, it just keeps scrollning a commandline response when it plays. There is no UI for the music playback.
This leaves me to think that the firmware for Bittboy needs work. In fact, it needs load of work before even coming close to a proper playback.
It also plays MP4 video files, badly. So let's not even go there.
For me, a complete console should allow some playback.
For example on the GameShell, you can play FLAC files but the quality of those files are far from good. Audio through headphones reveal that it was probably processing at a much lower bitrate than the 24-bit flac requirement. So I would not use that for music playback.
Lower Your Expectations
Some folks at Reddit have argued that the Pocket Go isn't suppose to be anything more than a Gameboy emulator.
For this I agree.
The Pocket Go has two shoulder buttons and emulates GB Advance games and there is no reason to expect more.
The problem is that the Bittboy is a publicly developed Linux front end. There is a new update which I have flashed to a TF card and the changes are minor.
The AllWinner CPU isn't going to acheive miracles. So don't expect too much from this.
Is it worth getting for about US$50?
Sure. If you are only thinking of playing GBA games and that you have small hands.
I have huge hands and playing this is difficult.
I may not even continue to play after this review because it just is too small for my hands. But this is great for kids.
Even when the kid in me wants to have some quality time on this console, the problem with the size of the keys and D-pad will stop me.
Looks like I need to buy a full fized handheld.