The Powkiddy V90 is quite literally a fake Gameboy Advance SP with the ability to emulate most consoles up to Playstation 1. It’s basically a Bittboy Pocket Go inside of a new clamshell design.
For those of you that don’t know Powkiddy, they are a Chinese company who create handheld games consoles, and although they aren’t the best in the industry, they are starting to be the most innovative.
The Powkiddy V90 isn’t one of the best retro handhelds on the market, but it’s priced so competitively that it’s hard to ignore, especially when it comes pre-loaded with thousands of ROMs.
Originally before we posted our video to our YouTube channel, the Powkiddy V90 was priced at $30.99, but since then, they have increased the price to $40, probably due to the rise in traffic.
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Powkiddy V90 Specifications
- Open Linux OS
- ARM9 CPU
- 3″ IPS LCD Display (320 X 240)
- 1020MAH Batter (2.5 hours)
- USB -C Charging
On paper the specifications are nothing special, and that’s because it’s based on an old handheld that’s about 2 years old already. But, that doesn’t mean it sucks, and that’s why Powkiddy has priced it fairly low, because they know it’s not going to beat its competitors in that lane.
USB-C charging is also very welcome, it’s good to see that this is becoming the norm. Any handhelds that don’t come out with it are instantly behind. Micro USB is dead.
Powkiddy V90 Emulators
Here is a list of what games that Powkiddy V90 can emulate, but please read our full review to see if this is actually true or not:
- Gameboy Color
- Gameboy Advance
- Game Gear
- Mega Drive
- Super Famicom
- Mega Drive
- Neo Geo
- Neo Geo Color
- Wonder Swan
The Powkiddy V90 is like any other $40/$50 handheld. The materials used for their shell feel cheap, and can probably be snapped if you happen to rage quit on occassion.
The clamshell design makes a snap noise, but it’s nowhere near as satisfying as the real deal. The DPAD is actually really nice, and has satisfying feedback when pressed.
THE ABXY buttons are pretty average, and the start/select buttons are well placed, but they’re not circle like the GBA SP.
You’ll also notice no analogue stick, which may annoy people, but when using the Powkiddy V90 you don’t really miss it because PS1 emulation doesn’t work as well as we’d hope, but we’ll get onto that later in our review.
The speakers have been poorly placed. They’re located directly under your thumbs when playing, and at times we did notice our Shrek fingers distorting the noise.
The sound quality from the speakers are actually pretty good, not too loud that it starts cracking, but enough to make it feel nostalgic, just the way we like it.
Not only does the Powkiddhy V90 use USB-C for charging, it also has a headphone jack, which is located at the bottom of the device. This is the perfect location, and we can’t stick finding headphone jacks at the back of handhelds! It makes the cables get tangled.
The Powkiddy V90 has four shoulder buttons on the back which we were shocked to see, usually Powkiddy screws this up, just like the Powkiddy A19, but not this time.
As much as it’s nice to see them they’re literally useless. Because the Powkiddy V90 struggles to play most PS1 games, we found ourselves never using these extra shoulder buttons, all we needed was a R1/L1. We guess Powkiddy are adding them just for aesthetic purposes.
This is the first time we’ve seen a clamshell handheld console come out of China and for that we have to respect Powkiddy for doing so. They’re the first guys to do it, and we hope Bittboy and ANBERNIC follow with something better.
It’s a light handheld, the plastic is average quality, button location is great, and the screen is perfect for a handheld console of this size. The viewing angles are good, and we are very please that Powkiddy went the extra mile with their display, it makes the handheld feel finished.
For $40, they’ve done a great job, and it’s about time we saw an affordable handheld come out of China that looks great and performs well.
Now, let’s talk about performance.
Powkiddy V90 Performance
The Powkiddy V90 does not use a powerful chip, nor does it have a lot of RAM. Do not expect this to play any of the big consoles. It will not play N64, PSP or Dreamcast like the RK2020.
Heck, it even struggles with PS1. Before we jump into performance we
Does the Powkiddy V90 come pre-loaded with games?
Yes, and a lot of them. It’s not often we see handhelds come pre-loaded with games, it’s usually hit and miss when it comes to the best retro handhelds but the Powkiddy V90 has made us a very happy customer.
Selling handhelds pre-loaded with ROMs is technically illegal, but if fortunately the customer buys a handheld that comes with it, they are not in the wrong.
Thankfully for Powkiddy V90 customers, the handheld comes with thousands upon thousands of pre-loaded games. Most of them AAA games such as Pokemon, Super Mario and Zelda.
That alone, almost makes it worth it as you can then load these ROMs onto other SD cards for all of your other handhelds.
As a business we must declare that we do not advise buying ROMs, but if Powkiddy gives us the games… we will play them. Just be sure to NEVER share them, that’s how you get into trouble.
How Well Does It Play Games?
The Powkiddy V90 in all honesty is a handheld you buy to play consoles from Gameboy to Mega Drive, that’s it. It can technically paly PS1 games, but not well at all.
We experience a lot of frame rate drops, and cracking of audio when playing Playstation 1 games, so if you’re looking for a cheap handheld to play PS1 games, this isn’t the one for you, we advise the Retro Game 350 or Bittboy Pocket Go V2.
We started testing Gameboy, and some of the best Gameboy color games that came loaded, and it performed very well, perfect in fact.
But we did notice some screen tearing on a few Gameboy Advance games when testing. Apparently installing Bittboy Pocket Go firmware on here fixes this issue, but we have yet to try that.
Sega Mega Drive performed impressively well, even on some 3D games, and the likes of SNES, Famicom and Game Gear also performed well with very little issues.
The only downfall we noticed in terms of performance of the Powkiddy V90 was the battery life, it states 4 hours of game time, but it’s more towards 2.5 hours instead.
Expect to charge the Powkiddy V90 a lot as it only has a small 1020MAH battery capacity and it’s got to power a 3″ LCD display.
The Powkiddy V90 is the perfect handheld for playing Gameboy, SEGA and SNES games on the cheap, and the fact that it works straight out of the box with preloaded games makes it the perfect pick up for yourself or a friend.
It might not have the best build quality, it might not be the most powerful handheld of 2020, but the affordable clamshell package is a great addition to any collectors library.
It’s a handheld you buy that you don’t mind breaking, or scratching. It has a stunning display, a portable design and USB-C charging, it’s a look into what’s about to come out of China and we love it.
We hope Bittboy and ANBERNIC take inspiration from this, and we cannot wait to see a metal version down the line!
This is a worth pick up, if you’re looking for a handheld on a budget.