After finishing Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance on the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus, I consider the newer version of the old Retroid Pocket 2 to be the budget GameCube emulator with decent resolution and mediocre gameplay for GameCube. It isn’t good, obviously, because even the flagship Retroid Pocket 3+ struggles with these high-graphics GameCube games. But hey, after reading my Retroid Pocket 2+ review, perhaps you will change your mind about this discontinued product.
We know of Retroid for its popular Retroid Pocket 3 Plus, but don’t forget there is something that is still a good retro handheld emulator for N64 and Dreamcast with its 4:3 screen, and more importantly, it can even emulate some GameCube and Wii games.
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Review: Price
- Commonly found at: $100
- Costs 1.49 times the RG35XX
The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus doesn’t change the game – particularly if you considered it as a N64 and PSP emulator – but it is a more enhanced experience for PSP especially, as this time you can fully play the whole library. Moreover, you can barely touch the surface of the GameCube library. It’s time to try some great Nintendo titles on handheld mode.
It lacks a headline feature that makes it really stand out compared to its predecessor – the Retroid Pocket 2, but the spec upgrade is worth the money. It is the same as the Retroid Pocket 3 that is released one year later, and honestly it can beat most of the RockChip RK3566 variants on market – I mean the Anbernic RG353 series.
At $100 you can buy the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus, and I mean it is a bargain because most RG351 series of Anbernic, like the Anbernic RG351M and Anbernic RG351MP, still ask you the same money for outdated specs. The Retroid Pocket 2+ blow them out of water with stable N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulations, and the device itself can touch GameCube. Yes, GameCube! I want to enjoy the adventure with Ike again.
Sadly, there is an official Retroid Pocket 2S at the moment, and even if you can save $5-$10 with the Retroid Pocket 2+, I don’t suggest doing this. The Retroid Pocket 2S is another story with more updated Android system, better specs so you will see Ike at full resolution.
Related post: Best handheld gaming console.
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Review: Design and Build Quality
|Retroid Pocket 2+
|150 mm x 81 mm x 17 mm
|3.5 inch IPS, 640 x 480, 228 PPI, 4:3 aspect ratio
|Black, Indigo, Yellow/Orange, Retro Gray, 16 Bit Gray
|Internal 32 GB eMMC, External microSD
|3.5mm headphone jack
- A pocketable handheld
- Improved D-Pad than the original
- Front facing speakers are actually better
- 4:3 retro-purist screen
The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus doesn’t have a distinct look from its origin, as it is just an upgraded PCB in the same shell. Still, there is a minor design tweaks here that distinguish it from the older retro handheld in the lineup. The D-Pad buttons now have direction indicators, and change from metal dome switches to conductive rubber. In general, it is more stable and precise for inputs than the original Retroid Pocket 2.
Or else, it is so alike, and if you choose a same color for these two devices, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between them. The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus is labeled only as “Retroid Pocket 2”, both from the front and back of the device.
While the community really praise the Retroid Pocket 3+, I would consider getting the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus more, providing that I can find a cheaper deal for the handheld. The handset measures 150 mm x 81 mm x 17 mm so it will be smaller than most 3.5-inch Anbernic handhelds.
I found it comfortable to use in two hands, however, one thing that I don’t like from this Retroid Pocket 2 Plus is its lower-placement D-Pad buttons. I’m the type who use D-Pad buttons more than analog sticks, so the lower D-Pad in such a short length from the bottom is not suitable for me. In short, if you emulate systems that require D-Pad buttons a lot, you will get hand fatigue.
The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus features a 3.5-inch display that feels good, because it is an IPS screen that is widely used in low-end retro handheld emulators. The display is certainly better than your classic handhelds, so many people will prefer retro handheld emulators than original hardware. The screen resolution is 640 x 480, which works out to 228 pixels per inch. It isn’t as good as the Retroid Pocket 3 Plus, but I found the colors were still beautifully reproduced.
One thing that I like about the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus is that it has front-facing speaker placement. The speaker is overall clearer than even the flagship, and you won’t block the speaker holes with your hand, so it is a good design.
Though being the later model, the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus reuses the plastic shell from the original models, mostly to clear stock. As a result, it will come with less color options, and there is no limited edition for the “plus” device. I know you’re going to disappoint, but hey, even the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus is too old at the moment, so don’t expect it to be spectacular.
As a Retroid handheld, the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus has both USB-C and mini HDMI ports for exporting images to TV. It would be a plus for many people, but not me. I only use handhelds exclusively in handheld mode.
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Review: Gaming Experience
|Retroid Pocket 2+
|UNISOC Tiger T310 (1 cores Cortex-A75, 3 cores Cortex-A55), 4 cores 4 threads @ 2 GHz
|PowerVR GE8300 @ 800 MHz
|2 GB LPDDR4X
|WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.0
- Targeted system emulator: all systems up to N64, Dreamcast and PSP
- Can touch some GameCube and Wii titles
- SNES and PS1 work flawlessly, especially with 4:3 screen
- Targeted game genres: all game genres
Related post: Best retro handheld emulator.
- SNES: Star Fox! Starwing
- PS1: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Metal Slug X, Bloody Roar 2
- N64: New Super Mario Bros
- PSP: God of War: Ghost of Sparta
- GameCube: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
- Wii: Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus features a UNISOC Tiger T310, a very distinct chipset that is only used in this handheld and the later Retroid Pocket 3. It is a quad-core processor that is quite similar to the RockChip RK3566, albeit it has one Cortex-A75 core and higher clock at 2.0 GHz. However, the internal GPU is a PowerVR GE8300 with lower clock at 800 MHz.
However, the more powerful chip is capable of emulating N64 and Dreamcast overall better, as these systems don’t require much GPU. It isn’t able to run all PSP titles perfectly, but yes, you can play all games.
I recommend to read this community’s Retroid Pocket 2 Plus’ compatibility list, as it mentions all the titles in all the systems you can try with this handheld. As you can see, the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus can push itself even further from the PSP realm, and it can emulate quite well some GameCube, and even Wii titles at about 50% resolution. It is still better than nothing, if you have a tight budget.
I don’t recommend to try PS2 or 3DS with the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus, as it is nearly impossible to run them without burning your handheld.
Related post: Best handheld gaming PC.
As I mentioned earlier, the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus is better if you can use the analog stick. And because I’m not the type who use analog sticks for retro games, I don’t find the D-Pad buttons’ location is suitable with the handheld’s size. You will get fatigue for playing intensive games that requires only D-Pad buttons, for example SNES system.
Other than that, it is pocketable, and I don’t mind playing retro games in a 3.5-inch display. It is a bit lighter than the Retroid Pocket 3 Plus, and thanks to its horizontal form factor, I don’t feel it is heavier than, said, a Miyoo Mini Plus. It is a far lighter experience than the PlayStation Vita, which is a handheld that I use for a longer time.
As an Android device, you can try the handheld with benchmarking software, and it is about 300 for single-core score, which is about 13% of a typical smartphone that installs Android 11 as stock firmware. But hey, you don’t need such power to emulate up to PlayStation Portable, though Android will always try to run something in background. On the plus side, Android offers more applications than a custom Linux-based firmware.
The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus initially comes with Android 9, but with an upgrade from 8-GB internal storage to 32 GB, you can try to install Android 10 and even Android 11 on this handheld. It isn’t worth the trouble, yes, but at least you can tinker with different system and hope for a future OTA update.
My recommendation is to opt for the Android 9 stock firmware, and don’t think of this device as another Android multimedia device. You won’t want the hassle of having to delete things to free-up space, even though the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus features microSD expansion.
At the moment, quad-core processors of retro handheld emulators can only emulate up to N64, Dreamcast and PlayStation Portable. However, the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus can touch some GameCube titles such as Fire Emblem Tellius series first game, and even pull out the juice to run the sequel from Wii system. You need to sacrifice by lowering the resolution to only 0.5, but yeah the emulator does a good job at figuring out itself the working settings. It is a plus for a lazy handheld man like me, something that I can accept Android system over any Linux-based systems.
So far, at the price I spent for the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus, it is certainly the most handful device.
The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus retains the battery from the predecessor at 4000 mAh, which is more than enough to run games up to 6 hours. If you’re looking for trying the handheld with more demanding systems like GameCube, Wii and even 3DS, make sure that the mediocre experience is worth the significant reduce in battery life.
You can use the normal USB-C cable for the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus, and it needs 3 hours to be fully charged. Fast charging can speed up the charging process, but it will degrade your battery. Also, fast charging isn’t recommended by the manufacturer.
One main problem for Android retro handheld emulators is that if you try fast charging, your handheld can experience bad things like ghost touching, which is really, really annoying.
The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus did up the retro scene with a more powerful chipset that can touch a few GameCube titles. It is superseded completely by the Retroid Pocket 2S, but if you’re lucky at finding a good deal for the handheld, you can think of it as a budget GameCube emulator. It isn’t perfect, but it will ease the desire to have a GameCube handheld emulator that I kept dreaming in the past.
But it still has its own design flaws, and the low resolution in 3.5-inch display is no way the best experience for our aging eyes. So, unless you really want to save money, going with the Retroid Pocket 2S proves to be a far better option.
- You can get it at asked price, or cheaper
- You want 4:3 screen instead of 16:9 in Retroid Pocket 3
- You want a handheld with mini HDMI port
- You want a vertical device: Get the RG353V
- You want a better PSP emulator: Get the Retroid Pocket 3 instead
- You want a better value: Get the Retroid Pocket 2S