The Analogue Pocket is by far one of the most wanted handhelds of 2022, but unfortunately due to demand Analogue have had to spread out the shipping throughout 2022 and 2023. This leaves many gamers looking at their letter box for well over a year in hopes the unicorn of handhelds arrive.
So I thought it would be a good time to shine some light on other products in the handheld world and give you an insight into how the Analogue Pocket compares with a Modded Gameboy and these oh so popular handheld emulators.
First of all if you haven’t seen our Analogue Pocket review, we suggest you do, as it gives you an idea of how the FPGA technology works, and how the handheld performs overall. But because I don’t want to lose you a minute into this video, we gave the Analogue Pocket a solid 9/10.
It’s a phenomenal handheld with superb build quality and flawless gameplay performance. It did have some places where it fell short, for example the cartridge slot is a little flexible and the volume buttons are very hard to press in the dark but apart from that it’s great.
The Analogue Pocket targets handheld enthusiasts who have a large budget, because at $219, it better be a great handheld otherwise it would have flopped, but for those of you that are waiting for your order to come, or want something a little different i’m going to compare it to a modded Gameboy and a handheld emulator in hopes you find what handheld you truly want.
Should you buy a Modded Gameboy?
First up is the modded Gameboy. Modded Gameboys have exploded in popularity over the coming years, not only because they enhance the gameplay quality but because they are also highly customisable allowing you to make your dream Gameboy become a reality for far less then the price of a Analogue Pocket.
Nintendo sold over 100M Gameboys, meaning a lot of people have them lying around. Admittedly they may be in poor quality or even broken, but that’s the magic of modding. You can turn a $20 broken Gameboy into a brand new handheld that plays your old cartridges on a crispy screen, just like the Analogue Pocket.
So for example, this Gameboy Color here made by RetroGearCustoms would cost you around $150 to mod yourself or $230 if you want him to do it for you, these prices include a new Gameboy. This mod adds a brand new IPS display, light up LED’s, a custom shell, new membranes, capacitors and buttons.
You can do all of this all while keeping the nostalgic feeling of an original Gameboy and it’s playing your cartridges on original hardware too so you know there will never be problems with “emulation quality”.
This is a good choice for those of you that are wanting something nostalgic that pays respects to the past, and it also gives you the ability to learn about the modding scene if you want to do it yourself, it’s honestly not that hard at all.
You can upgrade your Gameboy further should you have the budget, for example we’ve seen wireless charging mods, glass screens, and even USB-C charging too, the possibilities are endless, I can’t help but sticking with the classic AA batteries, it makes it feel like the good ol days.
The only downfall with a modded Gameboy compared to the Analogue Pocket is that you are limited to Gameboy games, whereas the Analogue Pocket allows you to purchase adapters in order to play other consoles like the Neo Geo Pocket and Game Gear.
But do take into consideration that you could get a modded Gameboy tomorrow, whereas you’ll have to wait until 2023 for the Analogue Pocket or pay a premium on eBay.
Should you buy a handheld emulator?
Now moving onto handheld emulators in this Analogue Pocket VS Modded Gameboy VS Handheld Emulator. As you know we cover a lot of these on our channel and across our site and there’s more and more being released every month so it’s hard to find what works for you.
But, there is a reason why these are growing in popularity, and it comes down to affordability and the ability to run ROMs, which are basically game files.
In this video I am going to use the RG351V as an example, it was one of the best retro handhelds of 2021 and has the ability to play most retro consoles up to and including the Playstation 1 for just $110.
The RG351V is made by a company called ANBERNIC who are well known for creating very good handheld, this RG351V features a 3.5” IPS display with a resolution of 640 x 480, a quad core processor, 1GB RAM and 3900MAHs of battery.
It’s a little powerhouse, and even comes with an analogue stick for playing your Playstation games, alongside four shoulder buttons.
Many retro gamers love to play their old ROMs on new hardware, and even explore the many many rom hacks that the community has to offer. The RG351V already comes with the emulators built in and at times even comes preloaded with games which is a little bit naughty.
There’s nothing illegal about downloading ROMs, but sharing them on the internet is where Nintendo starts to get involved. You can rip ROMs from your actual discs and cartridges should you want to go down the correct route, but nobody has been sued for downloading a cheeky Pokemon ROM, even if we don’t recommend doing so.
The crisp display, quad core processor and comfortable ergonomics makes this handheld and absolute pleasure to play on, and it allows you to bring hundreds of different games across many different consoles with you when you travel, instead of having to pay extortinate prices for cartridges and retro games nowadays.
And that’s the biggest reason why I think handheld emulators are exploding in popularity, because those who want to play their favourite retro games can’t afford to go out, buy the hardware, buy the games, and buy the cables. Retro games have increased in price far beyond what the average gamer can afford, so moving to handheld emulators gives gamers the chance to play the games they once loved on new, well built hardware.
If you’re not a fan of the way the RG351V looks don’t worry, there’s so many different handhelds to choose from, for exmaple this Retroid Pocket 2+ can play Dreamcast games very well, this Funkey S, is the world’s smallest foldable handheld and this RG351MP is made of metal!
The choices are endless.
Why you’d choose one of these over an Analogue Pocket is simple. It gives you more choice for half the price. Yes, you will need to learn about emulators and how to add your own ROMs but it’s fairly easy and once you start to tinker you’ll find an endless niche of handheld enthusiasts who love to push these things to the limit.
The handheld emulator niche is still in its early stages, but China are really investing in it and throughout 2022 there’s going to be bigger screens, PS2 emulator, Android operating systems and even portable PC’s that target us retro gamers.
It’s an exciting time, and i personally think if you don’t want to wait for an Analogue Pocket or can’t afford it with all of the add-ons, docks and cables then seriously consider looking at a handheld emulator or a modded Gameboy, you will not be dissapointed.
So there’s a look at the Analogue Pocket VS Modded Gameboy VS Handheld Emulator!
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A 29 year old fella that’s had a Gameboy addiction ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and created a YouTube channel with 240,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.