ZPG A1 Unicorn Handheld Revealed, Adding Some Spice To The Scene

ZPG A1 Unicorn

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The incredible new ZPG A1 Unicorn handheld has just been announced from the people behind GKD and RetroCN.

This news comes just one day after the official reveal of the pocket friendly GKD Pixel, which is also looking quite nice.

But as you can in our preview image, this new “Unicorn” device is living up to its name as something beautiful, rare, and magical.

Let’s dig into the juicy details that are currently available for this new device.

ZPG A1 Unicorn

ZPG A1 Unicorn
Image Source: ZPG / RetroCN

All of the information we currently have about the upcoming Android-based ZPG A1 Unicorn comes directly from RetroCN, who acts as a proxy to the west for ZPG and GKD.

Thanks to their participation on Discord and Twitter, as well as the new promo images shared today, we know quite a bit about what to expect from the Unicorn.

The appearance of the A1 Unicorn reminds me of my number one device of 2023, the Powkiddy RGB30.

And it shares that unique 4 inch 720×720 screen that is absolutely perfect for 8, 16, and 32 bit gaming. Game Boy, Neo Geo Pocket, and Pico8 look absolutely incredible on the square aspect ratio display.

But where the Unicorn really sets itself apart from a device like the RGB30 is in the power it is promising.

Performance Expectations

ZPG A1 Unicorn
Image Source: ZPG / RetroCN

We still do not know the actual processing unit that will be used inside the A1 Unicorn, but they are certainly hyping it up to be something quite powerful.

They have also compared it to the KT-R1, which is exactly what came to mind when I saw the A1 Unicorn and heard the way RetroCN and GKD were describing it.

The KT-R1 uses a MediaTek G99 processor to power a 4.5” IPS display with a resolution of 1620×1080, and that power is justified in a device of that size and proportions.

While I do not necessarily think that a 4 inch square device needs that kind of power behind it, I know there will be a lot of Powkiddy RGB30 fans eager to try that form with a more capable processor for Game Cube and PS2 game play.

If you’ve read my past articles here on Retro Dodo, then you know I tend to stick to the 8-64 bit stuff, and I max out at N64 for my own game tastes. So the Unicorn will probably have way more power than I would ever take advantage of.

But the outer appearances of the ZPG A1 Unicorn are something that I really can’t pass up.

It’s like my two favorite handhelds of 2023, the RGB30 and the Anbernic RG-Arc, had a beautiful baby. Hard not to love that!

Button Configuration

ZPG A1 Unicorn
Image Source: ZPG / RetroCN

The button configuration of the Unicorn is also quite unique.

Taking advantage of the alternating analogue stick position that many are a fan of.

And it has a unique circular dpad that looks a lot like what is on the AYANEO Kun.

I would not expect this circular dpad to feel like the Sega style pad used on the new Anbernic RG-Arc. That has a very specific feel, and I’m expecting the Unicorn’s dpad to feel more like the Nintendo style dpads, just circular in shape.

As to be expected in a premium handheld in 2023, the new Unicorn will also have hall sensor analogue sticks. Step up your game, Powkiddy.

Overall, I cannot find anything to be too upset about if we’re rating the ZPG A1 Unicorn off the photos alone. It’s clearly a beautiful device.

If it performs half as good as it promises, the buttons feel good, and it actually arrives when (not if) we order it… I’ll be very happy.

Release Information

Right now, there is no definitive release information available, except the hope that it is coming by the end of the year (via RetroCN).

There is also not an official retail price announced, but again – RetroCN is promising something very favorable.

Discord users suggested around $150usd to be competitive, and Rex from RetroCN’s response was “Will surprise you”.

So it sounds like this awesome new handheld could be coming in somewhere between the price of a Retroid Pocket 2S and the Anbernic RG405M. But with (subjectively) better looks and performance.

Overall, we’re quite surprised with this one, and very much interested in getting our hands on it as soon as possible.

From the sounds of it, we shouldn’t have to wait too long. Fingers crossed for a December retail launch!

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