Retroid Pocket 2+ Review – Powerful AND cheap?

BEST RETRO GAMING HANDHELD OF 2022
Review
  • Build Quality
    (5)
  • Performance
    (5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Ease of Use
    (4.5)

Summary

Despite 2022 only just starting we have an amazing retro gaming handheld that will be hard to beat in this price range. It is not as ‘plug and play’ as other devices but with a little work, it will out perform them!

Overall
4.9
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User Review
0 (0 votes)

Pros

  • New faster processor
  • Touch Screen
  • Improved controls
  • More built in storage
  • More RAM
  • Emulates faster
  • Newer Android version
  • WiFi 5G supported

Cons

  • Not user friendly for beginners
  • Takes a while to set everything up

Today we are checking out the Retroid Pocket 2+ Android handheld. In this Retroid Pocket 2+ review, we will be unboxing it, taking a closer look at the device and then checking out the OS. Followed by an overview of the emulators and Android games for their performance. Grab a cuppa tea, it’s a long article!

Retroid Pocket 2+ Review Video

Retroid Pocket 2+ Unboxing

Inside we have the Retroid Pocket 2+ which we will show in more detail shortly.

Retroid Pocket 2+
Retroid Pocket 2+

Underneath is a user guide which gives a brief overview of the functions. There is a screen protector to fit on your device if you wish to. And last but not least is a USB Type-C charge cable.

Retroid Pocket 2+ Unboxed
Retroid Pocket 2+ Unboxed

Overview

The Retroid Pocket 2+ retro gaming handheld measures 5.9 x 3.1 x 0.98 inches (15 x 8 x 2.5 cm) and weighs 194 grams. The display is a 3.5 inch 480p touch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio. It’s great for retro gaming!

To the left of the display is a non clickable left analogue stick and classic D-Pad. To the right of the screen are four gaming buttons and the right non clickable analogue stick. Below the screen are Home, Select and Start buttons.

Retroid Pocket 2+ Dimensions and Front View
Retroid Pocket 2+ Dimensions and Front View

On the top of the device are Left and Right shoulder and trigger buttons. There is a Micro HDMI port for connecting to your display to play on a larger screen, we will show this later in the article. There is a USB Type-C port, volume buttons and finally a power button.

Retroid Pocket 2+ Top View
Retroid Pocket 2+ Top View

On the bottom is a Micro SD Card slot protected by a rubber cap and a 3.5mm headphone port.

Retroid Pocket 2+ Top View
Retroid Pocket 2+ Top View

The Pocket 2+ is available in five colours,16bit, Retro, Orange, Indigo and Black.

Retroid Pocket 2+ colours
Retroid Pocket 2+ colours

We will compare the technical specifications to the original Retroid Pocket 2 shortly. Physically the actual devices are very similar. 

If you look closely you will notice that the D-Pad and gaming buttons are slightly more raised on the 2+. This gives a more responsive and tactile feeling when using the controls.

Retroid Pocket 2+ compared to Retroid Pocket 2
Retroid Pocket 2+ compared to Retroid Pocket 2

Retroid Pocket 2+ Technical Specifications

Retroid Pocket 2Retroid Pocket 2+
CPUQuad Core Cortex A7Quad-core Tiger T310 ( 1x A75, 3x A55)
GPUMali 450 MP2 PowerVR GE8300
RAM1GB LPDDR32GB LPDDR4x
STORAGE8GB eMMC32GB eMMC
WIFI2.4G2.4G + 5G
OSAndroid 6.0 / 8.1Android 9.0
BATTERY4000 mAh 4000 mAh
Retroid Pocket 2 vs Retroid Pocket 2+ Specs

Battery life will vary depending on what you are doing. We left Daytona USA on Dreamcast running on the attract mode for one hour and it used around 20% battery.

Operating System

When first booted you are presented with a welcome screen that guides you through the initial setup process which is a nice touch. However once you are in the custom launcher you are pretty much left to your own devices to work out what to do. We will have an easy to follow guide on our blog for setting up the launcher to play emulators.

Android OS for Retroid Pocket 2+
Android OS for Retroid Pocket 2+

Personally I ditched the Retroid launcher and used the standard launcher which gives you instant access to your apps. It means you miss out on the nice interface, but I found it faster to configure the emulators separately without having to scan for boxart etc.

You can navigate around the menus via the controls or by the touchscreen. However, you may find some apps do not support controls and you are forced to use touchscreen 

Retroid Pocket 2+ Review: HDMI Output

You can connect the HDMI to your TV or monitor for some large screen gaming. There are some options in the Android Settings menu if you want the device’s display left on or switched off while using the HDMI. It simply works without hassle and we had no issues when switching between menus and apps for example.

Retroid Pocket 2+ HDMI Output
Retroid Pocket 2+ HDMI Output

Retroid Pocket 2+ Review: Emulation tests

First we will start off with what most people want to see, the emulators! The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus can handle all the 8 and 16 bit systems just fine. Thanks to RetroArch you can install many cores for everything from the Fairchild right up to the PSP. You can be assured that for the majority of cores pre PlayStation era, they should work great.

We will be concentrating on the more recent gaming systems to see how they perform. We are using a mix of app based emulators and RetroArch cores.

3DS Emulator Citra

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus 3DS Citra Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus 3DS Citra Emulator

We start off with the 3DS emulator Citra and Retro City Rampage DX which plays perfect. The basic games should run fine, but you will find that more advanced games will generally struggle. A good example of this is Sonic Generations which is essentially unplayable. With a few settings tweaks you can improve the performance a bit but don’t expect a massive improvement.

PSP Emulator PPSSPP

The PSP is overall very good with the majority of games I tried. They were running at full speed and were very playable. On a decent number of games you can also increase the resolution to 2x to improve the quality. God Of War is however still struggling, it’s a common sight on these handhelds!

Retroidf Pocket 2 Plus PPSSPP PSP Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus PPSSPP PSP Emulator

N64 Emulator M64Plus FZ

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus N64 Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus N64 Emulator

Next we check out the M64Plus FZ emulator and GoldenEye 007. I can’t play this game but it runs at a good speed and is definitely playable.

V-Rally Edition 99 is up next, again it is very playable and there’s no game breaking lag.. Overall the console is supported very well and there’s a large number of playable games which previously on other handhelds were not playable.

GameCube and Wii Emulator Dolphin

Next is the Dolphin emulator. We start off with Burnout 2 which runs at a playable speed.

Retroid Pocket 2+ GameCube Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2+ GameCube Emulator

Gauntlet Dark Legacy also works very well and is definitely playable. My recommendation for many games is to change the resolution to around 70% and you will see a good increase in performance. Not every game will work but many do.

While it is possible to run Wii games that the Dolphin emulator supports. You won’t find a great deal that are playable. If you stick to the more basic games such as Cave Story then they will run great. Otherwise you will need to decrease the resolution and tweak other settings to get anywhere near something playable if you are lucky.

Retroid Pocket 2+ Wii Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2+ Wii Emulator

Dreamcast Emulator Redream

The Dreamcast emulator Redream is up next. Sonic Adventure 2 blazes along at full speed with no issues at all on this retro gaming console. You can change the settings in the emulator to improve the graphics quality.

Retroid Pocket 2+ Dreamcast Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2+ Dreamcast Emulator

It is much the same for Daytona USA. Pretty much every game I tried ran perfectly. There’s a small number of games that have some issues which may be due to the emulator itself rather than a performance issue.

SEGA Saturn Emulator Yaba Sanshiro 2

The Pocket 2+ comes with the free with ads version of Yaba Sanshiro 2 Saturn emulator. It is definitely worth buying if you play a lot of Saturn games.

Retroid Pocket 2+ Saturn Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2+ Saturn Emulator

Nights into Dreams is very playable as is Sonic R. There is some frame skipping being used on many games but it smooths out somehow and makes it look far nicer than it would otherwise.

DS Emulators melonDS and DraStic 

I was using melonDS on RetroArch, but you can also use Drastic which works great. The Dual Screen handheld overall works OK. You will find a few games with some issues such as SEGA SuperStars Tennis, try the alternative RetroArch core and usually that resolves it.

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus DS Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus DS Emulator

PlayStation 2 Emulator AetherSX2 

The recently released AetherSX2 works on the Pocket 2+ so we can try out a few PlayStation 2 games. Please be aware that the emulator is in the early stages of development so many games are broken, underperforming or not supported.

Despite the beta state of the emulator it performs very well for some games. You will  definitely need to play around with the settings though.

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus PlayStation 2 Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus PlayStation 2 Emulator

Sonic Heroes is an example of a game that works great. With a few tweaks you can get it running at a very playable frame rate. 

Crash Twinsanity is not very playable as an example. The emulator will improve over time and we expect to see some great developments for it this year.

PlayStation Emulator DuckStation

PlayStation emulation is overall pretty much spot on now for the Retroid Pocket 2+. I tried many games and did not have any issues at all either with compatibility or performance. You can tweak the graphics settings to get nicer visuals and it will not affect the performance too much.

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus PlayStation Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus PlayStation Emulator

GBA Emulator VBA-Next

My favourite retro handheld is next. I tried many games and none of them had any issues either with compatibility or performance. Here is some footage from Contra Advance and  Street Fighter Alpha 3 which looks great on the 3.5 inch display.

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus GBA Emulator
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus GBA Emulator

Android Games Test

I spent some time trying a bunch of Android games that support game controllers. Overall I did not have any issues with games failing or performance issues. You may find a few games where the text is hard to read

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Horizon Chase Android Game
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Horizon Chase Android Game

Retroid Pocket 2+ Review: Summary

Overall I think it is an amazing handheld! It supports a large number of systems right up to the PSP and beyond and it generally runs the emulators very well. 

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Oceanhorn Android Game
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Oceanhorn Android Game

For the newer systems there are some bottlenecks in performance which are simply out of the scope of this handheld for them to be improved on. But I think with AetherSX2 we will see some nice improvements over time and more playable PS2 games to enjoy. Considering the price of the Retroid Pocket 2, especially compared to more expensive devices such as the RG552 and GPD XP, it is amazing performance versus price. 

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Dan the Man Android Game
Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Dan the Man Android Game

The Retroid Pocket 2+ can be a bit troublesome to set up if you are a newcomer to Android and/or emulation in general. We will have some guides on our site to help get you started. If you want something plug and play then we would recommend an Anbernic handheld such as the RG552. If you don’t mind a little playing around with setting up, then you will get some amazing results, even beating the performance of the RG552.

Where to buy the Retroid Pocket 2+

You can learn more and buy your Retroid Pocket 2+ here. Or browse our wide range of Retro Gaming Handhelds here.

DaveC
Bringer of videos, text and images! AKA the social media guy at DroiX. Massive retro gaming fan and collector, with a far too large collection of consoles and computers from 1970's to modern.
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Is it a great retro handheld to start off 2022? In our Retroid Pocket 2+ review, we unbox and take a closer look and test all the emulators...Read full article

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