The Powkiddy Max 2 is yet another Powkiddy handheld with yet the same RK3326 chip that we’ve been playing on for a couple of years now, but that doesn’t stop me from really liking it.
As you know, I’ve reviewed a lot of Powkiddy handhelds in the past, but this one here, is by far their best handheld yet, and in fact, it’s the first handheld that actually competes with ANBERNIC’s products who are currently the go to in this affordable market with the RG351MP.
What Powkiddy has done, like their other handhelds, is rush new features to the market, which here is the larger screen with an ergonomic design, and previously their rushed products have been bad, just like the Powkiddy X18S which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago, and somehow, they’ve managed to nail this one.
But in Powkiddy fashion, they really, REALLY screwed this up in one place, which has never happened in a handheld review before, in fact, this is the first time i’ve seen this in my whole retro gaming career.
Let’s take a look.
First of all let’s compare it to the older Powkiddy RGB10 Max, which only recently came out too, the quick decision to create a second version is unlike Powkiddy, but we have it in our hands either way.
The new Max 2 has a 5” IPS display which is in fact the same size as the original Max, but slightly brighter making it a selling point to potentially upgrade.
The most obvious change is the new ergonomic design and thinner style towards the center of the device. Around the analogue sticks the shell protrudes with a rounded, comfortable grip which feels superb in the hand.
Because of this, my fingers rested exactly where they needed to be, making it feel close to perfect in the hand. Our thumbs rest on the D-PAD and action buttons, and our index finger on the back trigger buttons.
The back shoulder buttons are stacked and slightly flared and again, protrude slightly out of the shell making the back look curvy in the right places.
R1 and L2 slide around the sides of the handheld slightly making it easier to press but I did notice that it’s better to press it lower down the buttons than on top, as where my fingers rested at times didn’t even press at all.
When you hold this, the handheld kind of disappears in your hand, in a good way, this makes the screen grab your attention more than anything adding a nice immersive experience when holding it near your face.
Powkiddy has hidden all of the non-important buttons too, for example your reset buttons, on/off, wifi, headphone jack, volume buttons and your USB-C ports are all hiding on top of the device, out of the way which i like.
Then on the bottom you’ll find your two speaker grills which are located away from your hands and fingers allowing for the best possible sound experience.
It doesn’t have the best quality speakers in it, but it’s enough to get by when playing your best retro games on the go.
Moving back to the face buttons, your analogue sticks dip into the handheld allowing you to put this in your pocket our bag without ripping them off, and the DPAD alongside the action buttons are bouncy and responsive.
The only change I would personally make would be to make the ABXY buttons slightly larger, because they are quite small, but this is just me being picky.
One of my favourite features of the Powkiddy Max 2 is one that may go unnoticed, and that’s the incredibly small bezels around the display, this tiny change adds this high quality touch to the device and again adds to the immersive experience you get with this handheld.
Overall I personally really like the way the Max 2 looks and feels, it’s a step in the right direction. The new plastic used has a matte touch to it that doesn’t show fingerprints, the brighter display is welcome and the new ergonomic design makes it feel like a completely new handheld.
Powkiddy Max 2 Specifications
The Powkiddy Max 2 features a Quad Core RKK3326 chipset which runs at 1.5GHZ, 1GB RAM, a 5” LCD display with a resolution of 854 x 480, 4200MAH battery, WiFi and USB-C charging.
Does that sound familiar? Well it should because it’s nearly identical to the older RGB10 Max, the only difference is the brighter display, the shell design, and some better quality buttons.
Like many of Powkiddy products everything comes preloaded, this one they sent us has thousands of games installed, and they’ve even added some very nice custom firmware which makes the handheld easy to use straight of the box.
However, somehow and probably through very poor quality checks our unit came with a section that… well, makes us think that there could have been some adult material added to the console.
How this got here I do not know, and the files inside are called CCTV, which are first scared the living crap out of me, but it turns out that these are infact chinese tv stations and the part we are in is simply the media player, but that said, somehow this well known brand logo got into the device and that itself is worrying.
Because of that I cannot recommend giving this to a child. After contacting Powkiddy they said they have removed it from their handhelds, but i’ve heard that before so please, if you are buying this for a child the easiest thing to do is simply go into the UI settings and change the theme, this will remove the adult logo part.
You can go into the SD card files to remove it completely. I had to feature this as it’s the first time i’ve seen this in any handheld, and it’s incredibly unprofessional, but this is what you get with these types of retro handhelds from China, the quality control is non-existent.
Moving on to performance, like any RK3326 chipset it’s capped at playing everything up to PS1 games. So your NES, Gameboy, SNES, Neo Geo, Mega Drive and so on will work perfectly on this thing.
And because of the 16:9 screen, the OS automatically adds borders for you so that you’re not just seeing black boxes.
Some may say the 16:9 screen on a RK3326 chipset that is capped at PS1 is a bit over the top, and I would agree, but the UI alongside the borders makes it look less out of place and something I can live with.
For those of you that are looking for N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation, I recommend waiting a few months for some newer handhelds like the RG552 and the Retroid Pocket 2+ which are just around the corner and can outperform this by a mile.
The bright screen alongside the well placed high quality buttons packaged in a very ergonomic, thin, light handheld makes this a real fun device to play on.
In fact it’s up there with the RG351P in terms of enjoyment and if you’ve been around for a while, you know I love that handheld to pieces.
It’s Powkiddy’s first handheld that I highly recommend picking up IF it’s your first RK3326 handheld. Should you buy it if you already have a handheld, no, probably not, but if you’re new to the scene, and want one of the best RK3326 handhelds on the block then this is a good shout for those of you that want a 5’ screen.
If you want quality, then i recommend looking at the RG351MP. Both are great, but both have their own advantages.
And because this Powkiddy MAX 2 is stacked full of ROMs, has superb firmware and feels great in the hand straight out of the box it’s a handheld i can recommend to anyone who doesn’t want to tinker through emulators just to get a few more frames out of the best N64 games.
This is undoubtedly one of the best RK3326 handhelds on the market, but it’s arrived slightly to late the party, and if you’re like me, you already have your eyes on other handhelds with more powerful chips, for a similar price.
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A 31 year old British fella that’s had a Gameboy ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and has created a YouTube channel with 260,000 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.