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Review Bittboy Pocket Go Handheld Emulation Console, Extreme Screen Tearing Edition


hey everybody gets lines I’ve been and we’re taking a look today at the pocket go from bit boy this is a little portable emulation console I really like these little devices that’s not all that expensive it costs about $40 give or take and can run a lot of 8 and 16-bit games including some arcade games as well we’re gonna take a look at all the things that it can do in just a minute and there are some gotchas on this one too but I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure if this came in free of charge from bit boy all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this little device is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware again this cost around $40 which is a lot less than some of the other emulation devices we have looked at but there are some gotchas that come with a device at this price point the first is the display now the display itself looks pretty nice it’s a 2.4 inch 320 by 240 display that is very low resolution but

when you’re playing 8 and 16-bit games from the 80s and 90s that’s really all you need but there are some issues with the backlight on it as you can see in the upper left hand corner there’s a light bleeding through you don’t typically see it when you’re looking at a bright screen like this one but on darker scenes it’ll become more evident and then when you’re in darkness you’ll actually see that light glowing through the plastic so it’s just one of those things that you get when you have a cheap device like this but overall the display looks pretty good – that issue they even put some Gorilla Glass here over it so it adds a little bit of class to an otherwise low-cost device the directional pad is a little springy and it’s a little tighter than I would like it would have like something that felt closer to an NES gamepad so it’s not bad for playing games but it does feel a little off and it was something that I thought might take some people a little time to get used to so it wasn’t crazy about that I do like the buttons though they have a lot of travel here as you can see they’re pretty springy and over all the buttons are well spaced and a good size despite how small this little guy is so I think they did ok on the buttons the d-pad could have been a little bit better you got to select and start button here and a little speaker for playing back the games it is a

mono speaker what was interesting though is that when you’ve got stereo games you’re only going to get one side out of the speaker and I noticed this when I loaded up the Sega CD BIOS which usually has a sonic ring sound and go out of the left and the right I think I only heard the right coming out of this speaker so you could plug in headphones at the top if you wanted to do something else with it so you’ve got the full button layout here and then you also have a left and right shoulder button here at the top so it largely mirrors the Super Nintendo layout so you should be fine with most of the consoles that it supports from a control standpoint they give you an 8 gigabyte microSD card in the box that goes in here that has the operating system and all the emulators pre-loaded on it there will occasionally be updates that come out and you’re going to have to repartition the card and do your own installation in the future so it’s going to be possible to update the firmware on this it’s just not going to be easy to do so but there are some websites out there to help you through that now you do have two jacks on the top here that look like headphone jacks this is the headphone jack here but they also have an AV out so if you wanted to hook it up to an analog TV with RCA cables you can get that done just by plugging it in there so there is a TV out but it’s not HDMI out it’s just standard video that you would plug into an old television set over here is a USB charger and they give you a cable in the box to accomplish that and the battery life on this one is about three to four hours not

spectacular but good enough to get a good round of retro gaming in and then of course you could use it while it is plugged in you also have a reset button here which is what you use to get out of an emulator to its menu or back out to the main menu so it’s actually pretty easy to navigate here it looks a lot like the GCW zeroes interface that was an emulation device we looked at a number of years ago that did a very nice job of emulating these old consoles this one doesn’t do as good of a job but it is running the same open source emulators that you’ll find there it supports a lot of different consoles again mostly 80s and 90s 8 and 16-bit stuff including the Game Boy Game Boy Color the GBA the NES the SNES the Sega Master System the Mega Drive and Genesis the Atari 2600 pc-engine including the super graphics ps1 barely and we’ll talk about that in a minute some name arcade games that support it Neo Geo dos even and then a few other extra Gameboy emulators on here so it’s got a good selection of systems that I think will be good for fans of that era and that is pretty much it there’s nothing here on the back you do have a volume control here for the speaker and or headphones and then over here is the power switch although they do recommend that you shut it down through the menu first and then throw the switch and that is the best way to get it turned off it is powered by a little all winner at f1c 100 s processor it’s a little ARM chip and it only has 32 megabytes of RAM but that’s all it needs and it’s able to get the job done with that limited amount of hardware there so that’s how they can

keep the price down on this and I think if you are looking to play these games it’s probably all you need now speaking of games let’s take a look and see how it performs there are some serious issues with how it renders video which I think really detracts from the experience overall but I think it might be fixable let’s take a look now one thing you’ll notice right out of the gate is that this has a tremendous amount of screen tearing on every single one of the emulators you’ll run on this device so I think there’s something in software here that they have to rectify because right now it is just unplayable in some instances Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo is probably the worst offender but there’s just a lot of this screen tearing that will make its way into just about every game that you play on this console and as such I’m having a hard time recommending this to anyone at the moment even at this price point because the games just don’t look or play right when you have such distracting amounts of screen tearing going on but that said I did soldier through and tried out a bunch of other stuff so we’re going to go over to the game boy here we ran Batman on that it seemed to run just fine I like how it defaults to this green hue and this was something the GC w0 did as well but you will see some screen tearing of course on Batman I think you can adjust the color schemes on the Game Boy emulator to it does Game Boy Color games also and we ran zelda links awakening d and that looked and ran pretty nicely I found that a lot of games that are scrolling top to bottom versus left-to-right seem to be a

little bit better with that screen tearing issue and that was one game that didn’t distract me all that much so that was okay we also ran the gameboy advance emulator Kirby in the amazing mirror ran fine and then Super Mario 3 was also running but again the screen tearing was taking away from a lot of that experience and on the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive emulator we loaded up sonic 3 and that seemed to work better than most of the other games that we tried on the system I didn’t really notice the screen tearing there for some reason that was rather odd but nonetheless it looked great we also were able to get Sega CD games to load up on here – you do have to put the BIOS in the right spot on the card I’ll put a link down below to give you a guide as to where to get those bios’s place then once they’re there you can boot up an ISO and have at it and we ran sylphy which is one of my favorite shoot-’em-ups from the Sega CD era but here that screen tearing issue comes into play once again so check out this scene of these big laser blasts coming in and taking out one of the ships and now take a look at what it’s supposed to look like and this gives you an idea as to maybe some of the issues that are happening under the hood and so far as video rendering is concerned it’s really kind of taking away from the accuracy of these emulators which I know can do a better job than what we’re seeing on this hardware now the emulator can play 32x games but the hardware really cannot so you can get the 32x games to load up but it’s going to be very sluggish and completely unplayable given the low end hardware at work here but again the Sega CD and the Genesis and Mega Drive stuff should be just fine it also runs of course the turbo graphics 16 also known as the PC engine depending on what part of the world that you’re in and that emulator also supports CD based games so we loaded up Rondo of blood which is the Castlevania game that many say was the best one ever made and that one ran nicely on here all the audio work great and of course the visuals and gameplay were pretty consistent as well and NeoGeo titles ran very nicely on here you’re watching a little bit of a

samurai shodown game here that played very smoothly great frame rates it looked very nice on the display no problems there whatsoever we also ran metal slug and that one also ran very nicely in here too so I think you’ll have a very good experience with a lot of the Neo Geo games you might come across it does an okay job with arcade titles but not great on some of the newer arcade games I tried out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles using the main emulator that comes built-in that was playable but it wasn’t running at its full frame rate and I was hearing some audio breaking up in the process of playing the game as well so I think you’ll probably want to stick to some of the older 8-bit arcade titles as opposed to some of the newer 16-bit ones now it does support PlayStation 1 games but as you can see here the performance is kind of all over the place so it’s really not going to do well with some of the 3d based games you might be able to find a 2-d game here or there that might perform somewhat consistently but overall PlayStation is just beyond what this system is capable of and I would not recommend it for people looking to play those games now to load roms onto the system you need to shut down the device and pop out the SD card here again they give you an 8 gig card now I found on the Mac it didn’t read things at all Windows does but you’re going to get all of these dialogs that are going to pop up asking you to format the drive you’re going to say no or cancel to all of these because this is where the operating system of the pocket go lives so just ignore these offers to format the drive hit cancel and when you’re done with that you’ll be left with two different drives you can

see on your Windows Device boot and main and what you want to do is go over to main and then go over to the roms folder and that’s where you can drop roms in for all of the emulators that are supported on the Pocket go and then some of the emulators themselves have their own directories so for example when we wanted to get the Sega CD bios loaded up we dropped the BIOS files here into Pico Drive to get those to work with that particular emulator so just be advised Mac users are going to have a hard time getting rums onto the system it just didn’t recognize the card at all windows is fine but you’re going to see a lot of stuff fly on screen when you do it and because everything is on the SD card here you’re going to have to do firmware updates yourself which involves downloading we’re and having the card get partitions correctly for the pocket go here there are some tools that will do it for you but it’s not as simple as just plugging in and running a firmware updater so just be advised when they do fix things you’re going to spend a little bit of time having to get everything installed properly on the card to get the pocket go working better now given the low price tag of this device I was not expecting much and I was actually not surprised to see things like that backlight bleed or the buzzing that I’m hearing out of the speaker when the volume is turned up and those sorts of things but the screen tearing issue was one thing I did not expect given that it shouldn’t be happening and I think it’s something that prevents me from

recommending this to anyone at the moment even at this low price it really just isn’t a good experience and I know this hardware can do better than what we’re seeing on here currently so what I’m gonna do is hang on to this and if they do address the issue I will come back and do an update on it but at the moment I’m not going to recommend this because I know people that buy these devices buy them to enjoy old games and the old games given the screen issues are just not enjoyable even at $40 and I think we need to get that rectified before I can start recommending people pick one of these things up to relive some of the classics from the past it’s got a lot of potential this is a really cool form factor I like the way it feels I like the price I just don’t like the way these games look and that is something that they need to fix before we go further with it until next time this is LAN Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold-level supporters the four guys with quarters podcasts Tom Albrecht Brian Parker and Kellyanne Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe visit LAN TV slash s

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