Today I have the pleasure of introducing our readers to an awesome new handheld emulator stepping onto the scene, the Powkiddy RGB10MAX3 Pro.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on this device quite early. Which means that I am one of very few people to actually experience the RGB10MAX3 Pro in person yet.
Powkiddy has already begun their pre-sale cycle on their website and aim to ship these consoles in mid-July.
Let’s take a closer look and see why this is one you’ll want to keep on your radar.
Table of Contents
RGB10MAX3 Pro First Impressions
The Powkiddy RGB10MAX3 Pro is a new horizontal format device with a 5 inch display. And what a beautiful display it is!
Powkiddy has obviously made connections with a great supplier for screens. Because this, along with their previous device the RK2023 both have absolutely incredible screens.
They get very bright and have very nice color to them. Most definitely one of the nicest screens on the scene today.
This screen is provided its content from an Amlogic A311D chipset. Which is something we have not seen in another device on the market.
It would rate similar in performance to the T618, and perhaps even better in some areas. But more real world testing will reveal the differences.
That means that we have a device that can play game consoles up to Game Cube and some easier to emulate Playstation 2 titles. Consoles like Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, PSP, and anything earlier will certainly have no problems on this handheld.
Game Play Experience
Because there literally was not an OS for the RGB10MAX3 Pro just a week ago, the working dev version of JELOS still has some ways to go.
But that being said, I was able to jump in and test out everything up to Game Cube and things were looking great!
Game Boy Advance was particularly enjoyable, since it filled up most of the 16×9 screen, and the pixels looked giant on the display.
I managed to play some Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on Dreamcast as well, and things felt silky smooth.
It was here that I could get a good feel of the buttons, and they felt great. Nearly identical to an Anbernic device. Maybe just a bit more stiff and needed to get some more play on them.
My own tastes in games tends to be in the 8-32 bit eras, so I found myself gravitating to things like Tetris DX, Super Mario World, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Because I can spot the performance and feel of these quickly. All three passed my test with flying colors.
But obviously this thing can do way more than that, so I also jumped into Mario Kart: Double Dash and Luigi’s Mansion on Game Cube to see how that went. And all was looking quite nice.
I would not say that the buttons and shape of the new RGB10MAX3 Pro feel quite as comfortable as an Anbernic device. And obviously there’s no ergonomic design happening here.
But I could easily see myself getting lost in an RPG on the RGB10MAX3 Pro for a few hours. The large display certainly makes it easy since there’s no strain to see those pixels.
And the 4000mAh battery should support at least 6 hours of game play on a single charge.
One area where I would say Powkiddy is doing things much better than the competition is their willingness to work directly with the community to improve the experience for buyers.
In fact, the only reason I was able to get my hands on the RGB10MAX3 Pro so early is because they sent one out to my friend James Dewitz to help with the firmware.
It’s important to emphasize that there are only a couple RGB10MAX3 Pros out in the wild with firmware still in active development. So improvements are coming daily, even before the public will ever see it.
But it is expected that the team behind JELOS will have a custom Linux firmware ready to ship with the RGB10MAX3 Pro.
I strongly prefer the all-in-one aspect of Linux firmware over the Android experience. Linux just works and stays out of your way, allowing the games to be the focus. Perfection.
And it is very good to see that Powkiddy understands how important the dev community is to the success of new handhelds.
RGB10MAX3 Pro Build Quality
The appearance of the RGB10MAX3 Pro is very sleek and modern. In fact, it looks almost identical to one of my personal favorite devices, the ANBERNIC RG353M. Just a bit more grown up.
Even the buttons used on the RGB10MAX3 Pro are very very similar. The device has a nice dpad, abxy buttons, four aligned triggers (not stacked), and two analogue joysticks.
These are more cost effective joysticks to help keep the price low on the device. So we won’t be getting the hall sensor joysticks that are becoming standard. But I have no complaint about the feel of the ones here.
The 16×9 dimensions make for a great fit for PSP (16×9), GBA (16×11) and Game Cube (16×11). And the 4×3 or similar consoles will just get black borders on the sides. Which are less annoying on a horizontal device.
And I would be be remiss if I didn’t mention that the dual front facing speakers pack quite a punch and sound great. Some of the best sounds out of a handheld.
Powkiddy has chosen to skip on one feature that might be a deal breaker for many – wifi. Yes, they decided the addition of wifi would push the price point beyond their goal.
For me personally, wifi isn’t a must have. But I do think that should be the standard in 2023.
The three colorway options are beautiful, especially the unique blue color that is unlike anything I have seen in a handheld.
If you turn the device over, you will notice a stylish vent to allow for passive airflow.
There is not a fan inside, and I have not noticed much heat ever coming from the RGB10MAX3 Pro. But if you push it to the max with PS2 or Game Cube, there’s the possibility.
The lack of any kind of branding on the device is quite nice. Though it does leave the rear looking incomplete. It does have a lot of nice space for some stickers, though.
If you did leave the rear exposed, it will certainly get some scratches from sitting on a surface. This is perhaps one area where Powkiddy could have taken even more cues from the Anbernic horizontal devices and created some kind of bumpers.
As with any device that aims to be affordable, you have to weigh the cons against the benefit of saving on the final pricetag.
And I would say that any areas that Powkiddy tried to be conservative doesn’t cripple the device or make it not worth the purchase.
Overall, I’m totally okay with the minor flaws present, because the pros outweigh those cons by far, in my opinion.
Powkiddy RGB10MAX3 Pro Specifications
- CPU: Amlogic A311D
- RAM: LPDDR4X 2GB
- Built-in EMMC: 16GB
- Screen: 5.0 inch IPS OCA full fit (16:9, 854 x 480)
- Battery: 4000 mAh li-polymer
- Charging interface: USB-C
- Audio: Dual speakers and 3.5 mm headphone jack
- Dimensions: 183 mm x 84.5 mm x18 mm
If it were not clear already, I am quite a fan of the Powkiddy RGB10MAX3 Pro.
I have only seen the blue colorway in person, and that’s all I ever need to see. It’s perfect.
That unique color with all black buttons and no distracting graphics on the screen bezel all make for a very modern looking handheld. It fits right in with some of my other favorites from Anbernic and Pimax.
And Powkiddy has also delivered a new console that actually does fit within a unique empty space in the giant sea of handhelds…
It remains compact enough to still be considered portable and pocketable. And it plays post 64-bit consoles quite comfortably without the excessive heat of the T618 chipset that everybody else is currently using.
The conservative choices result in a very affordable device that does lack some features, but are not so missed that it ruins the experience.
I can certainly live without wifi and hall joysticks to have a beautiful 5 inch screen handheld for only $114.99 usd.[This is the current marked down price from the original $134.99 usd. Unknown if they intend to go to that price after pre-sale.]
I’m quite pleased with Powkiddy’s track record lately, and the RGB10MAX3 Pro handheld is a perfect example of how to approach something that can be both affordable and proficient.
If you’re in the market for a new horizontal format emulator, I would strongly suggest taking a good hard look at the RGB10MAX3 Pro.
Of all of the devices being released this year, I would say that this is one of the most appealing so far.
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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.