ExperimentalPi just launched their latest Raspberry Pi console kit, and this one is the most pocketable and most beautiful yet: the new PiBoy Mini.
Just launched today, this new kit for the Raspberry Pi Zero or Zero 2 computer is surely intended to go head to head with some of the recent handheld emulators we know and love.
(I’m looking at you Anbernic and Miyoo).
Obviously, past ExperimentalPi kits are inspired by our favorite classic handheld consoles like the Game Boy.
But what is not as obvious is how much knowledge they have of the current handheld emulation market.
Something tells me that they have been watching and saw this as their moment to offer something competitive.
We’ve covered previous ExperimentalPi kits like the PiBoy XRS and PiBoy DMG. Those kits are gorgeous, but they are quite chunky. Made for fans of beefy old handhelds, like the DMG.
This new kit, however, is quite slim. And feels a lot more like the type of devices we want to see in 2023.
So let’s dive into the PiBoy Mini and see if it stands up to other emulators out there.
PiBoy Mini Details
The PiBoy Mini is a beautifully designed console kit.
As we mentioned, this is a kit that is designed to encase a Raspberry Pi Zero mini computer (sold separately).
That means the PiBoy Mini is a DIY kit that requires a bit of assembly.
Its dimensions put it just a tiny bit larger than the new Anbernic RG35XX and Miyoo Mini +. But the difference is so small, that we are really splitting hairs now.
It’s small. We know that. But not so small that it will hurt your hands, like the original Miyoo Mini.
All three devices (PiBoy Mini, RG35XX, Mini+) share the same 3.5inch screen at a 4:3 aspect ratio. Which, as I have said many times in the past, is the ideal size for retro gaming.
That screen is going to be a perfect pair with my favorite retro consoles, such as the Game Boy Color, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, etc. All of the 8-32 bit era.
From the button configuration on the new PiBoy Mini, we know that this would not be intended to go into the 64 bit stuff.
It can with the power of the Raspberry Pi computer, but you wouldn’t get an enjoyable experience without an analogue stick and four triggers.
And honestly, that’s fine with me. I’m kind of exhausted from companies trying to shove two joysticks on the front of what would otherwise be a simple retro emulator.
I’m glad we are seeing a lot of fun options for more grounded emulation. Keeping it a little bit more basic with the buttons.
So let’s talk about those buttons; I think they look great. And something we see a lot of companies struggle with… those shoulder buttons aren’t too bad.
What I like about them is they are out of the way. Again, for 8-32 bit, you won’t need them often. I rarely touch my triggers on devices like the RG351V. So just keep them simple, looking nice, and out of my way.
PiBoy Mini Specifications
- Raspberry Pi Zero or Zero 2 computer (does not come with kit)
- 3.5″ LCD (640×480)
- HDMI Out
- 2800mAh LiPo Battery
- USB-C charging 5VDC @3Amps
- Micro SD Card card slot
- Dimensions: 88 x 112 x 20mm
Honestly, I kind of love it. The design is great. It looks like it would be a heck of a lot of fun.
So the only question is what would be the cons of a device like this?
Well, for starters, the price. All in, you’re looking at around $150. That’s about twice as much as similar devices.
The DIY aspect of it could be part of the charm, if you’re actually interested in building your own console. Some will like that, most will not.
Because it does not require any soldering at all, it should be a simple build. So I wouldn’t mind the process. I’d mostly just hate that I have to source my own Raspberry Pi.
But those minor gripes aside, I’d say that ExperimentalPi has created a very competitive emulation handheld that would fit right in with some of our favorites, and I would love to add one to my own collection.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.