A few weeks ago a YouTube video about the G-Boy kit caught my interest. This isn't a portable cobbled together from old smartphone components, but an actual Wii PCB, cut down to remove unnecessary components & to make in smaller, then wired up to custom PCB to provide battery power, controls, LCD interface and replace the DVD drive with an SD card, and finally put in a custom case with the LCD etc. Of course, many Wii titles would be problematic without the Wii remote, but the Wii can play GameCube games natively not to mention emulators and other homebrew.
However, this is definitely not an easy project and the more I thought about it the more negatives I saw. First the actual build would require several tools I don't have, increasing the cost. New tools also means new skills, which increases the risk of failure. The possibility of catastrophic failure (or at least failure beyond my ability to troubleshoot & repair) is also very high. So there's a high risk of failure and the end result, while cool, doesn't provide me with anything I don't have already except for portability. Finally, the hobbyists who created the kit didn't seem to be selling them anymore, so I'd need to do a lot more DIY as well.
But it got me to thinking. What I kinda / sorta want is something like a GBA with a big screen which could emulate GB/GBC/GBA/NES/SNES and other classic 8 & 16 bit consoles. I knew these devices existed, but I needed to do some research to see which ones would satisfy my requirements and how much they would cost. Fortunately there's some YouTube channels which focus on these devices and do a great job comparing them. The challenge is there are new devices being offered all the time so what was top of the heap a few months ago may now be an also ran (or now that more people have them, the flaws have been discovered). However, for me there is a clear winner - the
PowKiddy RGB10 Max.
One of the big advantages it has over similar devices is the 5 inch screen. While the 16:9 aspect ratio isn't required for classic consoles, it's the same as a 4 inch 4:3 screen (or a 4.4 inch 3:2 screen) - which is still larger than the majority of other devices. The processor seems to be powerful enough for my requirements and the reviews are fairly positive about the controls. The two negatives are the single off-center speaker and the screen not being particularly bright. It also seems like the internals and software were cloned from the Odroid Go Super (but given the purpose of the device is to play copied games I'm not going to feel guilty). And it's only C$150 shipped from China.
However, while I want it and can afford it . . . I'm having trouble justifying it.
- I have multiple other options to run emulators on devices I already own. (I just need to take the time & effort to get everything installed & configured.) So I don't need it to play the games.
- While portability is nice, I don't actually regularly need something portable in order to play games (e.g. commuting by public transit). Plus I already have several portable devices which I could play games with.
- Finally, my main constraint is free time, not ways to spend that free time.