A long time ago (OK, not that long – only 3 years ago), a new retro handheld emulator set PowKiddy’s handheld fortunes alight: the RGB10. It isn’t actually the first handheld using the Rockchip RK3326 processor, but it had done everything right to deserve to be the original model. My PowKiddy RGB10 review will tell you whether the RGB10 is a viable option at the moment.
PowKiddy has been toe-to-toe with Anbernic since the very start of retro handheld gaming, making devices after devices using the same internal hardware. The PowKiddy RGB10 is the original device to use the Rockchip RK3326, which is considered as the best retro processor for its time.
PowKiddy RGB10 Review: Price
- Commonly found at: $80
- Costs 1.19 times the RG35XX
It may have been only 3 years ago, but that’s a long time in retro handheld world, as we don’t have a perfect system that can cover every ‘retro’ thing, yet. And that’s why we should expect better devices than the PowKiddy RGB10 at the moment, and even better ones in the near future.
Originally shipping with stock firmware, the community has made a lot of custom firmware for any devices using the same Rockchip RK3326 chipset. Released before the RG351P, the PowKiddy RGB10 was supposed to be the best retro handheld emulator at that time, having the capability to emulate up to N64 and PSP.
There are better devices even among PowKiddy family: the PowKiddy RGB10 Max and PowKiddy RGB10 Max 2 target directly at emulating PlayStation Portable with a 16:9 screen, the PowKiddy RGB10S is considered as the direct upgrade of our today unit with better screen and built-in Wi-Fi feature. If you’re looking for an alternative for the current RG353 series of Anbernic, you should consider the PowKiddy RGB30, PowKiddy X55 or RK2023.
If you want to buy the PowKiddy RGB10 brand new, there is no better option than buying on AliExpress. The long shipping time and nearly non-existent warranty will discourage you, but hey, I’ve already said that it isn’t a viable option at the moment.
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PowKiddy RGB10 Review: Design and Build Quality
|Dimensions||144 mm x 63 mm x 16 mm|
|Screen||3.5 inch IPS, 480 x 320, 164.83 PPI, 3:2 aspect ratio|
|Colors||Yellow, Black, Grey|
|Speaker placement||Bottom facing|
|Audio output||3.5mm headphone jack|
- Smaller and lighter than the RG351P, definitely pocketable
- Screen is only suitable for GBA system
- Build quality is one step behind the Anbernic
- Speaker placement makes it terrible
- Easy to accidentally press RESET button
Usually, if we are talking about build quality, Anbernic is widely known as the better when considering Anbernic vs PowKiddy. For many people, including me, the money we save buying a PowKiddy device isn’t worth the loss of design and build quality. It’s hard to describe, but the plastic material and general feel when using the PowKiddy RGB10 are very inferior to the Anbernic RG351P.
So, you should expect a cheap-feeling retro handheld with mushy buttons overall. I know the D-Pad isn’t the best in the RG351P, but the PowKiddy RGB10 is still worse. Diagonal movement is so bad, and I don’t want to mention that I carelessly press RESET button while playing, so I blame the PowKiddy RGB10 design.
Talking about bad design, the PowKiddy RGB10 supports an USB-A OTG, which you can plug in the Wi-Fi dongle, but the location is on the bottom. People who want to use both the PowKiddy RGB10 with Wi-Fi on will find problem on holding. You can’t let it stand up and take good photos when plugging in the dongle, so minus 10 points for the design.
Other than that, I think the PowKiddy RGB10 is compact and pocketable, perhaps if you use it side-by-side with the RG351P, you will feel the difference. It has one less analog stick, so it won’t be accidentally stuck in pocket. Believe me, the analog stick is easier to be drifted when put in pockets. It is in fact quite similar to the RG351MP in size, though the PowKiddy RGB10 has a different screen.
Perhaps because of the Odroid Go Advance – the original retro handheld using RK3326 chipset, all of the later copied versions are all using the same 3.5-inch screen with 3:2 aspect ratio. That’s not bad for playing Game Boy Advance, but all mini handheld can do it good enough that we don’t need such power of the PowKiddy RGB10. However, 3:2 aspect ratio isn’t suitable for most home consoles using 4:3 screen, and just like the RG351P, I don’t like the PowKiddy RGB10 when playing SNES or PSX. Moreover, the PowKiddy RGB10 doesn’t have OCA laminated screen like the Anbernic counterpart, so you can expect a lower image quality, as well as lower durability for the tempered glass.
You could say the screen is much like the rest of the package you get here – not bad for the price. There’s an obvious step up in screen quality to handhelds in the same price like the RG351V or RG353PS.
As you would expect when it comes to a handheld that’s this affordable, you don’t get stereo speakers. The mono speaker is located on bottom, so it is even worse than a mini retro handheld like the Miyoo Mini Plus or Anbernic RG35XX with front facing speaker.
PowKiddy RGB10 Review: Gaming Experience
|CPU||RockChip RK3326 (Cortex-A35), 4 cores 4 threads @ 1.5 GHz|
|GPU||Mali-G31 MP2 @ 650 MHz|
|Memory||1 GB DDR3|
- Targeted system emulator: GBA
- SNES and PS1 work flawlessly, albeit different aspect ratio
- Can play some PSP games well
- Targeted game genres: all game genres
- Lower battery life than the RG351P
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The PowKiddy RGB10 is one of the first handhelds using the RockChip RK3326 chipset, which was considered to be best retro handheld emulator at its time. It is capable of emulating up to Nintendo 64, Dreamcast and PlayStation Portable, though it requires heavy tinkering with RetroArch settings.
As you would expect from a retro handheld emulator with such chipset, you will get full performance for anything up to GBA, SNES and PSX. Inside the PowKiddy RGB10, beside the Rockchip RK3326 that is also featured in the RG351P, RG351M and RG351MP, we have a mere 1 GB RAM, which is a lot more than the RG35XX. Those specs are more or less scraping the barrel for what we can play Nintendo DS, but it will struggle playing N64. Dreamcast and PSP will be a bit easier experience, but you really should read the RG351’s PSP compatibility list, which is also applicable to the PowKiddy RGB10. Another 351elec RG351’s N64 compatibility list is fully comparable to the PowKiddy RGB10 as well.
You might find yourself limited in terms of gaming, because the newer PowKiddy RGB30 or RK2023 can do much more for the same price. Playing N64 and Dreamcast is not a smooth experience, as I constantly notice skipping, so as a lazy handheld man, I don’t think the PowKiddy RGB30 is suitable for this task.
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Holding the PowKiddy RGB10 is a lot worse experience than using the RG351P, because it is smaller and shorter, making it a bit “mini” for my average hands. The START and SELECT buttons are in weird position, and I wish they could change the mapping for + and – buttons.
There are no L3 and R3 buttons for mapping in the PowKiddy RGB10. It makes the retro handheld not as good as the RG351P, though I personally don’t use them, I think I would tell you the fact.
For the screen of the PowKiddy RGB10, I would wager that the company outsourced in the same place as Anbernic. The device has a 3:2 aspect ratio for screen, making it perfect for emulating Game Boy Advance. However, the aspect ratio is not that good for everything else, making the screen has less color saturation than, said, the RG35XX with cheaper price.
The PowKiddy RGB10 is an okay device to emulate PSP system, but I recommend looking for the PowKiddy RGB10 Max and PowKiddy RGB10 Max 2 for 16:9 screens, which is the native aspect ratio of the PlayStation Portable. These newer devices also provides a better grip than the original RGB10, for long gaming sessions.
The PowKiddy RGB10 is not recommended for use in any Nintendo DS emulation. While the emulator’s NDS performance is excellent, the 3.5-inch screen is very little (it’s almost the same as the size of the original Nintendo DS Lite) and it’s really challenging to recreate the dual screens of a DS system on such a small screen. Additionally, many NDS games that make extensive use of the touchscreen capability will be inaccessible on the PowKiddy RGB10 since it does not support touch control. Due to the unique nature of the dual-screen experience, I do not advocate utilizing any traditional handheld device to simulate NDS and 3DS games.
Being one of the first models using RockChip RK3326 chipset, the PowKiddy RGB10 doesn’t prepare much for the battery capacity. It only has a 2800-mAh battery, which is far inferior than its later brothers in the same family. Even the previous Odroid Go Advance caps at 3000 mAh, so I think you should get the RG351P over this retro handheld emulator. In real-world test, the PowKiddy RGB10 can last for only 2 hours to 4 hours, depending on the most used system.
You can use the normal USB-C cable for the PowKiddy RGB10, and it needs 3 hours to be fully charged. Fast charging can speed up the charging process, but it will degrade your battery.
The PowKiddy RGB10 is not the most powerful retro handheld in the same price, and even when you said you don’t need the newest processor, it is still behind the competition of the RG351P. The build quality is generally worse, the design is not as comfortable as I think and the battery life is subpar. So many reasons not to get the PowKiddy RGB10.
And that’s it, my verdict for buying the PowKiddy RGB10 or not. At the moment, unless you can get it at a very low price, just don’t.
- It is cheaper than asked price, like a lot