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Retroid Pocket 3 Review - Should You Buy It?

After playing a lot of video games, it's time to make them myself!

retroid-pocket-3-review-should-you-buy-it

Steam Deck recently revolutionized how we see handheld consoles—especially high-profile ones. Valve has raised the bar of the best handheld console money can buy.

Following this trend, other companies are joining the race for the most potent Console trophy. Among these, we can include the Aya Neo or the Ayn.

Retroid, on the other hand, has raised the bar of the best handheld console money can buy at a fair and affordable price.

The Retroid Pocket series consoles are not designed to rival the performance of the new Valve console. They're for a completely different market.

The first console took inspiration for its shape from the famous Game Boy while the second model took inspiration from the Game Boy Advance.

The third model is more inspired by the Nintendo Switch Lite.

Today, we are faced with a more advanced line and less "brick-shaped" product.

The ergonomics have improved greatly, and the feeling is that of a premium console.

During the evolution of the consoles, Retroid listened to users' feedback by adding more RAM and improving the internal components, improving the screen, and finally adding L3/R3 sensitivity.

Specs

Retroid Pocket 2Retroid Pocket 2+Retroid Pocket 3

CPU

4x A7

1x A75 + 3x A55

1x A75 + 3x A55

GPU

Mali 450 MP2

PoweVR GE8300

PoweVR GE8300

RAM

1 GB

2 GB

2 GB / 3 GB

Storage

8 GB

32 GB

32 GB

Wi-Fi

2.4G

2.4G + 5G

2.4G + 5G

OS

Android 8.1

Android 9

Android 11

Screen

3.5 inch 640*480p (without touch screen)

3.5 inch 640*480p touch screen

4.7 inch 750*1334p touch screen

Size

150*81*30mm

150*81*30mm

184.65*81.38*24.23mm

Price (Retroid Store)

No longer available on the Retroid Store

99$ + Tax/Shipping

119$ (2GB Ram) / 129$ (3GB Ram) + Tax/Shipping

retroid-pocket-3-review-should-you-buy-it

As you can see in the datasheet, the three models have similarities. The Retroid Pocket 2 and Retroid Pocket 2+ models (RP2 and RP2+ for short) are built on the same chassis with a very square-ish structure. The Retroid Pocket 3 (RP3 for short) shares a lot with the RP2+ in terms of hardware.

In terms of emulation, the RP2 is perfectly capable of emulating many of the best consoles of our childhood. It is capable of emulating Arcade games, Atari consoles and many others up to the maximum limit of the Playstation One and the PSP.
This means that we will also have access to gaming consoles like the Dreamcast, the Nintendo 64 and many handheld consoles from the same manufacturer.
The emulation in this case stops at the Nintendo DS.

This allows us to play and bring with us a catalogue of over 2000+ games that are always available.

The turning point takes place with the RP2+ adding the Playstation 2, the Nintendo Gamecube and the Nintendo DS/3DS (for the less demanding games). In addition to reducing energy consumption. RP2+ is the best console under $ 100.

The hope for the RP3 is to be able to improve these platforms further thanks to the adoption of Android 11 and the upgrading of the Ram. Another advantage will be the reduction of battery consumption.

A few months after the launch, versions of the emulators optimized for the RP3 are already coming out and the results are encouraging.

Changing the chassis greatly improves portability and comfort, especially in long gaming sessions. The inclusion of a metal heatsink also helped with heat dissipation and structural rigidity.

The shell is slightly satin to the touch for a better grip. A minor flaw I've found during my gaming sessions is the position of the volume buttons that remain in the palm of the left hand and that can be accidentally pressed in the most intense game sessions such as fighting games like Street Fighter or Tekken.

Speaking of fighting games, the D-pad is very comfortable and with a good level of precision even in the most exciting phases. It is very reminiscent of the PS Vita.

Another important point for ergonomics is the very comfortable shoulder buttons, positioned like those of the Switch Lite or as a common PS or XBOX controller. I am not a fan of other manufacturers' choices (such as Ambernic) to position the shoulder buttons along the same axis. In that case, it is possible to press several keys at the same time or feel discomfort in the fingers after prolonged use.

Should You Buy the Retroid Pocket 3?

Here is what you should think about before buying the Retroid Pocket 3.

If You Have No Experience With Emulators

Absolutely yes.

Retroid Pocket 3 is a good starting point because the emulators are easy to set to allow almost immediate use. It is possible to play the best old console titles and arcade titles right away. Then, it will be possible to add other games and additional apps or emulators.

If You Already Own the Retroid Pocket 2 or a Similar Device

Yes.

Retroid Pocket 3 is more powerful than Retroid Pocket 2 by a fair margin, allowing the emulation of more powerful consoles such as Playstation 2 and Nintendo DS.
The screen is of better quality (640*480p vs 750*1334p) and is touch-enabled. Android 11 and the Ram increase will allow you to play and download different apps from the Play Store.

If You Already Own the Retroid Pocket 2+ or a Similar Device

No, unless special conditions occur.

For example, if we are already experts with emulation and we want to squeeze as much as possible from the console and we want to see how much the improvement of the android version and the increase of Ram can affect the final performance compared to the RP2+.
Or if the screen improvement and its upgrade from 4:3 to 16:9 can make a difference, especially when we try to emulate newer consoles or if we use Moonlight consistently.

For an average user, there is no need to upgrade to the latest model, unless it is sold at a discount.

© 2022 Christian Allasia