It’s not every day that a new handheld like the PiBoy XRS is revealed to the world, especially under such mysterious circumstances. So, imagine our surprise when not one but two new handhelds came to our attention – we feel like kids in a candy store!
The PiBoy XRS has leaked into the retro gaming world alongside another new handheld, the PiBoy CM4X. That’s two new consoles for the price of one today, readers. Retro Dodo really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Correspondence from an unknown recipient named only as ‘DarkPi’ containing images of the two consoles has made its way onto the web.
Who DarkPi is remains a mystery, but the images of both consoles contain the ExperimentalPi logo, which is huge news!
If you carry on reading until the bottom of this article you will see that DarkPi was in fact correct, and the recent news as of 28th March shows that Experimental Pi are actually making this a reality.
Everything We Know About The PiBoy XRS!
Here it is in all it’s glory! For those of you that haven’t got a clue about anything I’ve said so far, let me fill you in.
It bears a strong resemblance to the original DMG Gameboy, hence the name, and features extra buttons and functions to allow gamers to play all of their favourite retro games from yesteryear.
The PiBoy DMG came from the brilliant minds over at ExperimentalPi, and it seems that the PiBoy XRS and the PiBoy CMX4 are two new consoles that the company is currently working on.
Now, we want to stress that we don’t know who this DarkPi is or if they work for ExperimentalPi. One thing remains clear, however; no one in their right mind would go to all of the trouble of designing two consoles to such a high degree before adding on a company logo if they weren’t real…
DarkPi has us convinced that these consoles are in fact real, and as of 28th March 2022, Experimental Pi has officially revealed these designs alongside a pre-order date for the PiBoy XRS Handheld.
PiBoy XRS Design Features
One of the things that I loved the most about the original PiBoy DMG was the fact that it added a modern touch to such a classic and iconic handheld.
While the PiBoy XRS uses a horizontal design, it still looks very familiar, try turning your laptop of phone 90 degrees. Yep; it looks like a DMG tilted on its side.
How cool is that! The lines from the original console all appear where they should, but the DMG looks as though it has been stretched out and given multi-button super powers.
Where do I sign up?!
I much prefer using horizontal handhelds. Don’t get me wrong, the Gameboy Color and consoles like the RG351V are great, but the GBA changed everything for me.
The PiBoy XRS makes the most of its horizontal design by using two analog sticks, a common feature on pretty much every modern home console controller and one that every handheld mimics after the success of the Nintendo Switch.
The handheld has four shoulder buttons up on the top of the device and four face buttons. This should give plenty of functionality for playing games up to N64 and Dreamcast. And with a full Raspberry Pi 4 computer housed away inside it, you know that this thing is going to be able to handle anything we throw at it!
So, we know it has a Raspberry Pi 4 tucked away within the casing. We can also see from the vents on the back that the PiBoy XRS comes equipped with heat sync and a fan to keep everything cool. Raspberry Pi 4 modules kick out some heat, but it won’t be anything to worry about with this setup.
As it’s a Raspberry Pi product, there are more ports than you can shake a stick at in this thing. Four USB ports and a full-size ethernet port can be found on the op of the console, while a HDMI out sits nestled neatly beside a USB-C charging port on the bottom of the console.
Already we can see that this is a console that can be used either in handheld mode or connected up to a TV or monitor, a little like the Creqode Lyra.
PiBoy XRS Specifications
- Raspberry Pi 4
- Built-in heatsink and cooling fan
- USB-C charging
- 4500mAh battery
- Dual Analog Joystick
- HDMI Out
- 640×480 IPS 3.5″ LCD tempered glass screen
- 4x shoulder buttons
- Ethernet port
I know this is the bit that everyone has been waiting for, so here goes.
The PiBoy XRS comes equipped with a Raspberry Pi 4 computer. That’s the bit that makes everything happen behind the scenes.
The console houses a 4500mAh battery which should be great for gaming on the go, and the USB-C port means fast charging and no waiting around.
The PiBoy XRS uses a 640×480 IPS 3.5″ LCD screen. I know what you’re thinking; it would have been better if this screen was a little bigger. Still, 3.5″ is plenty for gaming on the go, and don’t forget that these are early prototypes of the consoles.
To put that screen size into perspective for any newbies to the retropie world, it’s 2″ smaller than the Nintendo Switch Lite screen.
Expiremental Pi updated their website with the following:
“PiBoy XRS is a horizontal handheld gaming system powered by a Raspberry Pi4. Taking emulation to the next level! Play N64, PSP, Dreamcast and more games like never before. PiBoy XRS is designed for hacking, modding and upgrades. With the PiBoy XRS unique RPi faceplate design future Pi upgrades are possible. In addition the PiBoy XRS includes a quiet cooling fan with integrated heat sink for easy overclocking of the Pi4.
The PiBoy XRS system is not your typical retro game system. It utilizes the DPI mode of the Raspberry Pi which allows games to run at frame rates up to 60fps without affecting the performance of the RPi. It includes an accurate D-pad, 2 Analog Joystick and 8 button play with dedicated Select, Start and Menu buttons. PiBoy XRS fully manages the Raspberry Pi4 with active cooling and safe shut downs. Built-in calibration and test menus make setup a snap”.
Like with most other Experimental Pi products, the XRS will come partially assembled, meaning all you have to do is add a Raspberry Pi 4, which is pretty easy, and most gamers can do it themselves.
PiBoy XRS Pricing & Release Date
The XRS will cost $149.99, but that’s without the Raspberry pi 4. A 1GB Raspberry Pi 4 will cost you roughly $40, or if you want to go all out, the 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 costs approximately $90 pushing the total of this handheld between $189.99 and $239.99.
In our opinion, that’s fair expensive, seeing as you can buy a AYN Odin or an Analogue Pocket for the same price, but i need to remember these types of handhelds are typically aimed at modders and tinkerers in the space, not your average consumers.
The listing states that pre-orders go live on 31st March 2022, with no information on when they will ship, but we can imagine there will be a few months wait, maybe even longer for them to land on your desk.
We’re super excited about both handhelds, but I just can’t get enough of that altered DMG design. ExperimentalPi always manages to create handhelds that pay homage to the past in the most stunning ways, and we can’t wait to get our hands on both the PiBoy XRS and the CMX4!
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.