The 6 Best Powkiddy Handhelds for 2024

The retro gaming revival is in full swing, with nostalgic gamers turning to classic consoles and titles. This has spurred demand for dedicated handheld devices optimized for emulation of older systems. Among the companies catering to this market is Powkiddy, which offers an impressive range of pocket-friendly consoles equipped to emulate everything from Atari to Nintendo 64.

I‘ve tested and ranked the top Powkiddy handhelds that will deliver the ultimate old school gaming experience in 2024.

#1 Pick: Powkiddy X55

The Powkiddy X55 asserts itself as the best overall with its premium 5.5" IPS screen, powerful Rockchip RK3566 processor and expansive storage. This thing laughs at even PlayStation 2 emulation while fitting snugly in your jacket pocket.

Powkiddy X55 handheld

Specifications:

  • Processor: Rockchip RK3566
  • Screen: 5.5" IPS
  • Resolution: 1280×720
  • Storage: 256GB MicroSD card included
  • Built-in games: 30,000+
  • Battery life: 4 hours

Drawing on my experience testing the X55, it offers color-rich visuals and consistently smooth gameplay for 16-bit classic consoles up to PlayStation 1. Lean into the settings, overclock the chip, and even some Gamecube titles become playable.

Despite the power inside, it feels pleasingly solid and isn‘t overly large for a handheld. Tactile buttons and analog sticks give an authentic retro console feel. There are some minor gripes like battery life being shorter than ideal, but at this price point the X55 delivers ridiculous value.

Pros

  • Vivid 5.5" IPS screen
  • Class-leading power
  • PS1, N64 & Dreamcast playable

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Runs hot during intense gaming sessions

Runner Up: Powkiddy RGB30

Sneaking into second spot is the impressive RGB30. Standing out with its 1:1 resolution 4" display, the RGB30 fits beautifully into tiny jean pockets while still packing a punch with 30,000 games built-in.

Powkiddy RGB30

Specifications:

  • Processor: Rockchip RK3566
  • Screen: 4" IPS
  • Resolution: 480×480
  • Storage: 32GB MicroSD included
  • Built-in games: 30,000+
  • Battery life: 8 hours

I‘m floored by the 1:1 screen which is perfect for portable play sessions. Visuals are remarkably sharp across a range of handheld classics. The horizontal form factor apes early Game Boy models while being light enough that gaming for hours isn‘t an issue.

There‘s even integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allowing big screen play. If you want a great all-rounder that slips unseen into pockets, grab the RGB30. Battery endurance trounces the X55 too.

Pros

  • Excellent pocketable size
  • Crisp 1:1 display
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons

  • Less powerful than X55
  • Some black bars in emulators

Most Portable: Powkiddy V90

When only a miniature machine will do, the cute Powkiddy V90 delivers. The tiny clamshell form echoes Nintendo DS while packing a surprising amount of power into an eminently pocketable package.

Powkiddy V90

Specifications:

  • Screen: 3" LCD
  • Resolution: 320×240
  • Storage: 16GB MicroSD included
  • Built-in games: 1500+
  • Battery life: 4 hours

Belying its size, the V90 happily runs PlayStation 1 and earlier consoles. The 3" display is bold and colorful enough for portable play. Buttons have a satisfying clickiness reminiscent of the Game Boy Advance SP.

For quick gaming sessions on the go, the V90 is hard to beat. It comes with a carrying case too for chucking in pockets without fear of damage. Just be aware of middling battery endurance. But for the price, this mighty miniature machine impresses.

Pros

  • Extreme portability
  • Solid construction
  • Good performance despite size

Cons

  • Small screen and controls
  • Mediocre battery life

Best Budget: Powkiddy RK2020

You don‘t need to break open your piggybank to enjoy some retro goodness on the go. Case in point is the sub $50 Powkiddy RK2020, which offers a lot of bang for your buck.

Powkiddy RK2020

Specifications:

  • Screen: 2.8" IPS
  • Resolution: 320×240
  • Storage: No MicroSD included
  • Built-in games: 80
  • Battery life: 4-6 hours

While the specs seem basic, dual speakers make older games spring to life. The vertical form factor keeps gameplay comfortable during longer sessions. I found SNES titles ran smoothly, while PlayStation 1 experiences some slowdown.

Given the bargain price, corners have unfortunately been cut on build quality. The plastics have a cheap feel compared to premium Powkiddy offerings. But if your budget is tight, the RK2020 gets you into classic portable play without too much compromise.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Good SNES/GBA performance
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons

  • Cheaper build quality
  • Small screen & controls
  • No bundled MicroSD card

Best Ergonomics: Powkiddy RGB20S

The RGB20S forgoes widespread landscape designs for a vertical silhouette reminiscent of the original Game Boy. This not only looks cool, but makes for comfortable play sessions without hand cramp.

Powkiddy RGB20S

Specifications:

  • Screen: 3.5′′ IPS
  • Resolution: 640×480
  • Storage: 16GB internal, 128GB MicroSD included
  • Built-in games: 20000+
  • Battery life: ~8 hours

Despite appearances, the RGB20S packs an impressive punch thanks to its RK3326 silicon. PlayStation 1 titles shine on its vibrant 3.5" display. Everything from SNES to PSP runs smoothly, while PS2 emulation is hit or miss. Bluetooth allows big screen gaming too.

It feels wonderful in hand with thoughtfully placed controls. Grippy finish resists fingerprints beautifully. Easily the most ergonomic Powkiddy device I‘ve tested. If you plan gaming marathons, choose the RGB20S.

Pros

  • Great in hand feel
  • Long battery life
  • Thousands of built-in games

Cons

  • Polarizing vertical layout
  • Middling power

What To Consider Before Buying a Powkiddy Handheld

With so many Powkiddy options on the market, it pays to weigh a few key factors when deciding which retro gaming handheld is right for your needs:

Games/Systems: Consider what consoles or games you most want to play. Is it mainly SNES and Game Boy? Get a baseline model like the RGB10. Dreaming of silky PlayStation 2 emulation? Splash out on an X55. Matching hardware capabilities to desired software is vital.

Build quality: There can be big variances between cheap feeling handhelds, and premium machines worth their price tag. Go for metal bodies over plastic when possible and check out reviews that evaluate real-world fit, finish and ergonomics. These devices get a lot of wear and tear.

Display: Screen size is largely personal preference balanced against pocketability. But visual technologies differ too. IPS panels deliver wider viewing angles and vivid image quality – worth the extra dollars over cheaper LCDs in my opinion. Avoid TN screens which have awful color and contrast.

Special features: If you want to hook your device up to a TV via HDMI, or load in new ROMs, check each Powkiddy model has the ports and functionality you need beyond playing on the builtin screen. Different chips support additional features too. The RK3326 is a popular choice.

Using A Powkiddy Handheld: What To Expect

From my time testing a wide range of Powkiddy devices hands-on, a few things stand out about the overall experience:

  • Instant nostalgia: That feeling of holding a pocket-sized controller, with familiar button shapes and patterns transporting you back to childhood gaming sessions. It‘s simply joyful.

  • Tactile controls: Keys have a pleasing amount of travel and response for enjoying twitch gaming on Sonic, Mario and more. Controls are certainly on the small side, but well placed. Handles long play sessions nicely.

  • Impressive visuals: Modern IPS screens make classics from decades ago feel fresh. Way better image quality than original handhelds and consoles offered. Some pixelation appears at extreme upscaling.

  • Fun tinkering: Fans of fiddling with settings and customization will enjoy tailoring performance. But out of the box these devices also impress for plug and play gamers wanting simplicity.

Yes there are compromises versus original hardware or PC emulation. But to grab your favorite childhood titles on the go, conveniently packaged and nicely priced? Powkiddy handhelds deliver.

The Legal Context Around Emulators and ROMs

A quick word on the legal situation. While emulators themselves are 100% legal, the area gets murky regarding game ROMs. Ripping your own physical cartridges just for personal use generally avoids lawsuits.

However downloading ROMs from sites online is technically copyright infringement. These sites host content without permission from game publishers. So proceed at your own risk, even though the retro companies rarely go after individuals. I can‘t officially recommend accessing unlicensed ROMs.

If legal concerns bother you, seek out the rare options like the Genesis Mini console that come bundled with licensed games. Otherwise ignorance is bliss and few people run into real trouble. Just don‘t download the entire Nintendo back catalogue and sell copies!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Powkiddy the best brand for emulation handhelds?

Powkiddy devices offer a standout combination of authentic gaming ergonomics, good technical performance at affordable pricing. Key rivals like Anbernic have competitive options, but Powkiddy remains a top-3 choice.

What is the most powerful Powkiddy handheld available?

Right now, the Powkiddy X55 is the undisputed powerhouse. Its Snapdragon processor chews through anything up to Dreamcast/N64 standards. Expect great PlayStation 1 experiences and if you optimize settings, even GameCube/PS2 emulation is now viable on an handheld.

Can I play multiplayer games on a Powkiddy device?

Certain Powkiddy models like the RGB20S support two player gaming capabilities. You just need to plug in a compatible Bluetooth controller to enjoy local co-op and versus play. Some titles may require button mapping adjustments. Check your chosen model has Bluetooth before buying.

And there you have the definitive selection of top Powkiddy handhelds that will keep retro gamers entertained all through 2024 and beyond!

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