Where do I even begin with this handheld. It’s not often I have a love/hate relationship with handhelds, it is usually either love or hate, but the Retroid Pocket 3+ which I have here is a handheld I thoroughly enjoy using, but GoRetroid’s recent marketing stunt has really hit a nerve with me.
Enticing as many customers as possible to buy one, and even informing myself that this is their new “flagship” device, which you could say was slight marketing manipulation, as they were hiding information from influencers and publishers about a new handheld was just a few weeks away.
The Retroid Pocket 3 was great, i loved it, and even though I heard that it has been in production for a good while, I didn’t think GoRetroid were capable of kicking all of its customers between the legs just two months later.
Without enough time for previous customers to get accustomed to their new handheld, they then release the Retroid Pocket 3+ for just $20 more than the original, which comes with a new chip allowing for even better emulation performance.
And to annoy previous customers even more, they decided to reduce the Pocket 3 price to $99 for black friday…
This to me is straight up disrespectful, and I have always held GoRetroid on a high pedestal, but moving forward it seems they have become like every other Chinese handheld manufacturer… greedy bastards.
I have to apologise to anyone that purchased a Retroid Pocket 3 through my recommendation, i am disappointed that I couldn’t see this coming, and i should have done better at guessing that this would happen, it sucks that GoRetroid would even do this, and what fuels my hatred more is that they absolutely knew they were launching the + a few weeks after the launch of the 3, but they kept it under wraps, playing us like all like a flute just for profits.
So because of that I am not recommending you buy the 3+, even though it’s a pretty solid handheld.
Buying one of these will entice not only GoRetroid but other manufacturers to use this scammy marketing tactic moving forward.
We’ve seen ANBERNIC do this time and time again, and it’s why I only speak highly of a few of their handhelds because i don’t want you to fall into that trap of buying them every couple of months.
But to see GoRetroid start this strategy scares me a little, because I genuinely thought they were better than that, but i was wrong.
So this review is going to be a little different, I have spoken about my concerns here, and i hope you take them into consideration, but i do want to review this handheld as is, because it’s a great device and let’s face it, we are all adults here, you can spend your money on what you want, but i just had to start the article off with my opinions on their marketing strategy and advise that you don’t buy it because it seems they genuinely don’t give a toss about their customers.
So, now, to the actual handheld.
Retroid Pocket 3+ Specifications
- 2.0ghz Octa-core Unisoc Tiger T618 CPU
- Mali G52 MC2 @850MHz GPU
- 4GB RAM
- 128GB Storage
- 4.7″ Touch-screen Display – 750×1334 @60fps (450nits)
- 4500mAh battery
- Android 11
How does it feel?
The Retroid Pocket 3+ uses the same design, the same buttons, the same shell, and the same screen as the original Retroid Pocket 3.
The differences are the new T618 chip, alongside upgraded 4GB’s of RAM, allowing you to emulate games that require a bit more power.
Like I said in our Pocket 3 review, I absolutely love this design. It’s not the smallest of handhelds, and I wouldn’t even class it as pocket friendly, but it’s incredibly slim, features a nice bright touchscreen display, and it has perfectly placed stacked shoulder buttons that are nearly identical to the Nintendo Switch, making it look like a Switch Lite Mini if it were real.
I did notice that they have changed the conductive rubbers on the 3+ to give it far more feedback than the original, it now feels like I am actually pressing the buttons down on the 3+ instead of lightly touching them on the 3. This is a welcome upgrade.
With the launch of the 3+ and to encourage old customers to spend an additional $140, they have released two new colours, my favourite being this atomic purple, I can’t lie, it does look fire.
They have also added an extra 500MAH’s of battery inside, taking the total to 4500MAH’s, this is to simply keep the 6 – 7 hour lifespan on one charge.
When you turn it on, again just like the 3 you will be greeted with a custom setup process, something that I think every handheld should have, the handheld will even install all of the emulators needed on Android 11 automatically, making setup easy and ready for you in just two minutes.
There’s also a Retroid Pocket launcher which showcases your emulators and games instead of the typical Android homepage with apps.
And yes before you ask, the Google Play Store is available straight out of the box, which is something I can’t say for the new ANBERNIC RG505, making it easy for you to install extra emulators, android games or console streaming apps.
How does it play?
To keep it short and sweet, the original Pocket 3 was capped at emulating the best Dreamcast games, which for $139 is great, it could also handle most of the best PSP games. This seems to be the norm now, especially under $150, but GoRetroid wanted to take it a step further with the new T618 chip, and it does just that.
After days of testing I found that the Retroid Pocket 3+ could emulate Dreamcast, PSP at 2x native resolution, most Gamecube games, and a handful of smaller PS2 games.
Which on paper is incredible, especially when you consider this to be an “affordable” handheld, priced at under $150. These devices really are moving in the right direction, and because the market is oversaturated it’s forcing competition to lower prices and follow suit.
Dreamcast works flawlessly with large games like Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi performing like it should on original hardware.
One of the marketing points of the Pocket 3+ is that it can run PSP at 2x native resolution, which I was surprised to see, and after testing I can confirm that it does just that, even with big games such as God of War. It looks absolutely stunning, especially on this 16:9 screen.
Then, the most impressive outcome for me has to be the Gamecube performance. I jumped straight in with a high intensity game that is Simpsons Hit & Run, and to my astonishment it worked very well, i’ll admit not flawlessly, but still very well at original resolution.
Although it was advertised as being able to play the best PS2 games it cannot play them all, for example I was trying to get Grand Theft Auto to run smoothly on here, but after changing settings and tweaking features it didn’t run very well, which is why I said it can’t run large PS2 games.
But games less strenuous like marvel vs capcom can run, so if you are buying this for PS2 games i advise waiting out a few months for something else to come onto the market at this price point. Don’t get me wrong, PS2 emulation on a $150 device is great, and it proves that high end emulation is getting more and more affordable as the years go by but its not quite there yet.
Smaller consoles like Gameboy, Nintendo DS, Playstation 1 and N64 will work very well here without any troubles, just like a high-end Android smartphone does using the apps.
One feature that i wasn’t planning to use as much as I did and its still available on the original 3 is game streaming.
I synced this up to my Xbox account and i had the pleasure of playing my collection on the go without any hiccups.
Yes the screen is a little small but the horizontal layout, and comfortable design makes it’s genuine pleasure to play on, just make sure you bring your glasses because the text is very small!
All of that packaged in a high quality, slim, portable handheld that lasts a good 5 hours all for under $150 is what makes it a great device, and one that sits high on our best retro handhelds list.
This makes the original Retroid Pocket 3 redundant, and the one you bought already outdated.
Do I advise upgrading from the 3 to the Plus, absolutely not, it’s not worth splashing more money at GoRetroid, but if you have a $150 budget and want one of the best retro handhelds on the market that can emulate Gamecube games and you don’t care about the shady marketing tactics, then sure, go for it.
It’s a great handheld, but the lies… not so much.
Shame on you GoRetroid.
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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.