If you cast your minds back a short while, you'll recall that we reviewed the BittBoy Portable Video Game Handheld, a dinky little Game Boy clone that came packed with 300 NES games, many of which were pretty dire – not to mention legally questionable. Despite this, we couldn't help warming to this truly pocket-sized portable, thanks in no small part to the excellent IPS screen rechargeable battery. Tantalisingly, the unit came with a slot in its casing into which a MicroSD card would fit, but inside there was no actual card-reading tech – it was a tease, but one which the console's manufacturer would eventually remedy.
You see, the 'New' BittBoy has just launched and it does support MicroSD cards – in fact, if you don't insert one, it's little more than a paperweight. This new model doesn't have any games pre-loaded – a handy way of avoiding any potential legal action from copyright holders – but instead expects buyers to get their hands dirty by loading up ROM images for NES, Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.
Before we get into that, it's worth noting that the New BittBoy has a larger 2.4-inch IPS LCD screen this time around, and it's fantastic. Colours really pop and viewing angles are superb; it really says something about how far screen tech has come in the past few years that a device which costs $40 can ship with such an amazing display.
The other big news is that the console is packing the very capable AllWinner F1C500S system-on-a-chip – it's not the most powerful piece of silicon on the planet but it more than gets the job done here. Elsewhere, the 3.5mm headphone socket remains in place, and this doubles as a composite AV output if you fancy running this on your TV – the image quality is predictably poor, however. The internal lithium battery has been boosted from 500mAh to 700mAh, but that still only results in around three hours of use between charges (it comes with a Micro USB cable) – pretty much the same as the original BittBoy.
The New BittBoy comes with a suite of emulators under the 'Miyoo' banner: NES, Game Boy and Game Boy Color. All you need to do is drag-and-drop your ROM files onto a MicroSD card and insert it into the console – the Miyoo software will automatically sort the files into their respective systems, which are then presented in three different categories from the main menu.
During play, hitting the 'R' button located beneath the screen brings up the emulator's sub-menu. From here, you can adjust the ratio of the screen ('Full' stretches the image out so it uses all 2.4-inches, while 'Default' aims for the original aspect ratio, leaving black borders around the image). You can also create and load save states – which is vital as in-game saves don't work – and toggle between the console's display and your TV when using the AV-out cable. Holding down the R button in-game will return you to the main menu.
Outside of this menu, all other functions are mapped rather clumsily to button combinations. 'Select' and either A or B held together raises and lowers the volume, while 'Select' and either TA or TB (two additional buttons which simply replicate the action of the A and B buttons in-game) changes the brightness. It's not an elegant system and the lack of any instructions in the box means you're largely ignorant of such shortcuts.
So how does the New BittBoy actually perform? Well, getting it to play nice with a MicroSD card could well be your first battle. We tried three different Samsung cards (1GB, 8GB and 32GB) and only the 32GB card worked; with the other two, the console simply paused on the boot screen and refused to load up the Miyoo emulator menu. There doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rules on which cards work and which don't, but we'd recommend going for one with a relatively fast read/write rating (our 32GB card was an Evo variant). If your card was purchased in the past few years, you should be fine.
Once you've gotten past that potential hurdle, it's relatively plain sailing. The New BittBoy recognised every ROM we threw at it and performance is generally good, especially on NES games; switch the viewing mode to 'Default' and you get an almost pixel-perfect replication of what these titles looked like running on a proper TV. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles, which, even when running in 'Default' video mode, have an odd distortion effect which makes everything shimmer when there's movement. It's a real shame as it makes some titles look downright ugly, although they're all perfectly playable. Interestingly, Game Boy and Game Boy Color emulation doesn't seem to be quite as smooth as NES emulation in the Miyoo software; during Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition we noticed a small amount of stutter when moving around the game world, and audio is also rather patchy.
Speaking of which, the New BittBoy's mono speaker is surprisingly powerful but awfully tinny. There are a few bum notes as far as audio emulation is concerned, but sometimes it feels like it's the fault of the speaker rather than the software, which makes certain notes seem more painful than you remember. Playing via headphones isn't much better.
Other things to note: built quality is predictably average; there's a lot of light bleed through the plastic casing and there was a large speck of dirt under the screen on our review unit, which we'd have to take the console apart in order to remove. These issues aside, the New BittBoy is exactly how you'd expect a $40 portable console to feel – cheap, but not so cheap that you wouldn't dare take it out of the house. In fact, the New BittBoy makes for the perfect travelling companion, as it's small enough to fit in your pocket and will slip into your bag without you even noticing – in fact, it would probably get hopelessly lost in most rucksacks. It's a shame that the battery life isn't better, but you can always carry a spare; the battery is user-serviceable and is actually an aftermarket replacement for the one inside the Game Boy Advance SP.
As with the original BittBoy, we can't help but warm to this revised product, despite the obvious legal issues involved with sourcing ROMs to play on it – a process which, in 2018, has become a lot more difficult thanks to Nintendo's moves to shut down sites which illegally distribute its software. Given this moral quandary, you may wish to avoid the New BittBoy if you'd rather keep your hands clean; for less ethically-minded individuals, however, this is a cheap way of keeping your hands busy when you're travelling and rediscovering some classic titles in the process.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Fri 21st December, 2018.
No Soulja boy endorsement no buy!
no GBA support, no sale
Ok I want this.
It comes with microSD, but game ROMs are not loaded.... where do I download those.....I've been to the site and do not see anything about downloads, etc.
"get your hands dirty" as in break the law.
@msvt I'm afraid due to the fact that those downloads are illegal, you'll have a rough time getting anybody to tell you where they are
"Do not link to illegal content; Linking to any illegal download sites, torrents or other resources that allow users to gain access to illegal content such as copyrighted ROMs, games, movies, music, TV shows, software or related activities is strictly prohibited."
I don't wanna get banned, but a quick google search could fill you in. Good luck with breaking the law
Ahhhhhh....... I'm new to the ROM thing, in fact I didn't really understand 'exactly' what this was about. Well I kind of did, but didn't quite realize how this works, etc.
Such a cool looking little device. A bit of too good to be true. Thanks all.
@CharlieSmile my psp 3000 does the same thing and it plays gba games and it has a better screen too, this really is a novelty item for retro enthusiasts i guess.
Honestly, I'm still waiting on the Retro-Bit Super Retro Boy.
@huyi a psp is also more expensive and hard to find new (there’s only one on amazon atm, and it’s $400). plus what’s the comparison of battery life? also every since they fragged my PS3’s blu-ray drive with a system update and refused to fix it i generally stay away from anything coming from sony
@Medic_alert I think it's fair play as long as you make the ROMS yourself.
"U.S. copyright law permits the creation of a backup copy of computer programs for archival purposes, but the law only allows a consumer to make an archival copy of the actual copy that he or she legally possesses, not to make a copy of a file that someone else legally possesses (by downloading it from a website or via a peer-to-peer client, for example), nor to post an archival copy of his or her original copy in a location where it can be widely distributed."
Amen to that ...... kind of sent me down a fairly dark rabbit hole for a minute there too.
@msvt NICE TRY REGGIE
@tekknik are they really that much now? crazy, i'm wondering how much a PSP go must go for as i have one of those too.
and it's a shame about your ps3 blu ray, sony are well known when it comes to any disc drives (DRE on ps2 for example)
@BitLounger ah, i remember that but nothing more came of it, it was a cool device and i even wanted one as it plays real carts, it's a shame we haven't heard anything since about it.
The most optimally pocket friendly portable I own is the PS Vita. For the screen to bulk ratio it can’t be beat! It’s a real shame if that form factor never comes back in an official device. A Switch 2.0 option should look just like a Vita if you ask me
Still would rather use this than Soulja Boy's crap
Looks great. I want one.
Nice that it offer microSD card rom support. Still disappointed that there won't be any built-in games but hey I like to have choices so this is okay. I do wish there to be Turbo Grafx-16, Sega Genesis, Game Gear, NeoGeo Pocket Color, and Sega Master System roms support as well, the Nintendo stuffs are just getting old at this point.
That's right! And I'm here to take names and kick ass!!
@NewAdvent Agreed. Nintendo could end all of this in one fell swoop if they even just announced that they would be bringing over next to everything that previously existed from NES to Gamecube through either a virtual console experience such as NES online or availability to purchase them in the eShop. The Switch would sell billions.
But instead Nintendo is clearly going the snail pace route to maximize sales between generations. I will be utterly shocked if we don't start getting SNES titles in the fall of 2019.
The Game Boy classic can't come soon enough.
My PSVita can emulate every GameBoys with much better results.
@Medic_alert No where does the law say it has to be on the same device. Emulators and ROMs you own are legal. Even downloading is iffy. Sharing is clearly illegal.
@Kal_el_0724 no it won't. I didn't even know about the VC until I got a Switch.
@Medic_alert There's a difference between making excuses for illegal behavior, and describing the reasons that contribute to illegal behavior. You can certainly describe the factors that drive folks to piracy without condoning it.
Separate from that topic, there's also a difference between legality and morality, and I've got no moral qualms with having ROMs of many of my favorite Nintendo games on a flash cart, especially given that I own them many times over and would likely purchase them again on Switch when given an opportunity. Piracy is a form a theft, for sure, but it is also not the same as stealing physical goods. In my scenario - which is still completely illegal - there is absolutely no harm done to Nintendo in any way. Obviously that's not the case for many (most?) people, and piracy can lead to extreme harm, which is why I think it should be illegal. But that doesn't mean I'm always morally opposed in all cases, either - especially for titles you legally own.
EDIT: @Medic_alert, sorry, but your last statement in your response to @Trajan is incorrect. Emulation has been tried and proven time and again as legal. It is perfectly legal to play your own copy - be it an archival copy, or original copy - on other devices than the one it was originally intended. The archival law written for computer software is certainly flimsy for sure - and depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to legally make backup copies. But assuming you have a legal copy (Backup or original) you can certainly use it on other devices.
Look into the ODROID GO for SMS and GG support.
Better battery life, too.
Will post a link if allowed.
@ALinkttPresent playing Roms is not ilegal, it is only illegal to earn money due to them (either by selling them or by advertise on sites or any other type of monetisation)
Coming up next on NintendoLife , How to start a car without using a key or ignition switch..,
@Medic_alert First, let me state I agree with you - downloading ROMs is clearly illegal and my personal morality should have nothing to do with it. I just know from past experience that it always seems to get brought up, and thought I would address it up front, that legality is not the same as morality. So glad we can agree there
Second, I'll also agree that the law is quite fuzzy on the subject. However, the precedent has been set - you can use legally obtained games on other hardware via emulation, typically even when it is explicitly forbidden by a company's EULA. Company policy does not trump law. Of course, this differs depending on where you life, but generally speaking you are in the clear using your own software on other hardware via emulation. It's also a very different scenario from attempting to re-release previously licensed software, as that is an agreement between two parties for commercial distribution/sale of goods. We're talking about personal use of a legally obtain video game that you already own.
At the end of the day, it actually seems like we agree more than not. I don't think anyone has a "right" to pirate any software just because a company chose not to release it. If I could wave a magic wand and eliminate all piracy, I would. But since I can't, and I know I support the game company's by purchasing their games anyway, I have no personal issue downloading and playing roms that I already own.
@Medic_alert More of this on the internet, please!
I want this, but I'm upset it doesn't come with a 4:3 screen that would fit all of these games perfectly? What was the ratio on the original bittboy's screen?
Seeing how Nintendo shows no interest in giving us a Virtual Console for the Switch or a GB mini of their own design, I will definitely grab one of these units posthaste...
@CharlieSmile you could just emulate those into the unit...
@roadrunner343 like @Medic_alert said people mistake illegality and immorality. But I will add that you owning the games does not matter. In court you won't be condemned for using roms (as long as you did not earn money with them)
@lifepsychedelic I 100% agree. When I stated next to everything, I meant everything that's popular and within reason (licensing issues). When it comes to quality I wish they would go the porting route that Hamster has been doing. I would rather own my games through means such as that rather than having a library tied to a subscription service that will eventually render all of the content untouchable.
@NewAdvent you can buy a lot of gameboy, gameboy color, nes and even snes games legally on a 3ds/2ds which is a current hardware still supported by nintendo
I see they still have the buttons in the wrong place on this, making it essentially unusable.
I still say this site is the only one on the internet whose commenters don't like boobs and piracy
Edit: I mean the only cool site
@Medic_alert Well it’s not like Nintendo wants to take our money and actually sell them anymore while Norway is suing them for anti-consumer practices regarding preorders and refunds.
@nathatruc The library no where touches the Wii and the SNES games are only on New 3DS. The lack of Virtual Console on Switch is baffling and the 3DS excuse can barely fly at this point.
@Balta666 I think you may have missed my intended point. I'm the one that originally pointed out that many people equate morality to legality - which I clearly do not. I even said it is and should be illegal to download ROMs. I don't disagree with anything you said.
@Medic_alert same to you - great talk, always pleasant when people can remain civil in a relatively contentious topic.
@NIN10DOXD all the new 2ds, (the only currently sold by nintendo) all support snes games, and I was just responding to the fact that it's possible to still buy gameboy, gameboy color ans snes on current hardware by nintendo even if it's the new 2ds, but I do agree that the lack of virtual console on switch is really stupid, I didn't even launch the nes app on switch because that's not what I want, and I have lots of virtual console games on my 3ds and wiiu. The portable nature of the switch is perfecy for retro gaming they should really do something about it. But that's not an excuse to endorse piracy.
Eh, I'll pass. I've had one unofficial knock off thingy. It emitted a poisonous smell when it was turned on, it came with a sharp chip with 100 games. A good chunk of which were the same game under different names, the emulation was bad and the cords for the plugs were so thin they snapped. Plus I couldn't use the zapper.
Lesson learned, I will never buy a sucky knock-off ever again!
The site is confusing. Oh don't talk about roms and how to download but hey here's a device that uses roms
@canucksfan989 It's alright to constructively talk about flash carts, emulators, homebrew, etc. when it's for older generation of consoles such as the Gameboy in the article, however if it's for something still current, then that's not allowed.
Yuck. What is the resolution of the screen, because it appears that all Game Boy games are being stretched horizontally. :/
The shimmer when moving is caused by incorrect screen aspect ratio. Game Boy had different screen res to NES so it creates a shimmer when moving as horizontal to vertical no. of pixels is out of kilter. Probably better off with a GBA x5 card from kirkzz and an original GBA SP-101. The NES emulator that works on the GBA x5 is outstanding as well.
No one has to steal to use a device like this. That's on them. You can just load it with games you still own a physical version of, or have bought a digital license for. That seems fair to me.
I'm surprised Nintendo is ok with this, I'm pretty sure this item is in some copyright violation or two
Wait, in-game saves don't work? This thing is absolutely worthless! Take Pokemon Gold for example. You know what happens when you beat the Elite 4? You watch the credits and go back to the title screen. If you have no in-game save, you just lost your entire adventure. Or you reload your save state and cannot progress through the second half of the game.
The lack of GBA and SNES support would also kill any hope for this device for me, but even before that, the lack of support for SAVING GAMES normally, is a complete deal breaker!
Check this comparison video review between New BittBoy and Odroid Go: https://youtu.be/Vtdc8Ls48C0
@BoFiS the resolution is 320x240. The screen is LG IPS.
@Heavyarms55 you can save the games while playing games. Check the tips on how to do this here:
Here is the video tutorial:
That's useful, thanks
The only problem I have is that he says they all get the same battery life, whereas the ODROID GO is on a weaker board that drains less power AND comes with a larger battery (1200mAh).
NL quoted around 3 hours on the Bitt Boy, where I get around 7 on my ODROID GO.
You do have to assemble the ODROID GO, but it is all soiderless clips. The hardest part was the screen, just have to angle it in with just the right amount of pressure or you could risk cracking it.
am I the only one who keeps reading "buttboy?"
@nathatruc I’m not really endorsing piracy, but it’s also hard to feel bad for these corporations especially ones like Nintendo who can be bafflingly ignorant toward fan demand. They can’t even let people make videos on YouTube about their games when it’s free advertisement nor will they offer refunds on the EShop even for the dailies things. Responding with a “meh” to Nintendo’s dumber policies isn’t necessarily a ringing endorsement, it’s not even nearly as detrimental as piracy of current gen games which I am wholly against and actually would actively speak out against.
@DragonWon oh, so that's 4:3, which means the stretched option is actually ideal for NES titles since that's how they were designed to be displayed even if rendered internally with square pixels.
@BoFiS you can change the screen to 4:3 in the settings of you want
It seems like I'm the only one here who actually dumps their own ROMs
@Kirbtastic Could you tell us how you do it for each system? I always make sure I have bought a digital licence or own the physical game, and will never play through a game I don't actually own in one of those ways, but then I do use rom's from elsewhere because I can't dump. And in essence it is the same file. So each to their own but I'm not a fan of any form of stealing so this is the way I work with a broken industry, as my 'legal' way to play the game, but if I could go 'fully legit' with personal dumps I would.
@zztfox ODROID GO has no headphone jack right? That's game over for me.
@brunojenso I usually mod my system to dump it directly from the system. I've done this for my DS lite, 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and Switch games. Which also allows me to dump GameCube and GBA games. For older games you can get a Retrode Or something like this: https://shop.insidegadgets.com/product/gbxcart-rw/
They have one you can plug in via the GPIO pins, and the emulators support switching to it via Volume+Left.
@zztfox That's great. What's your overall impression of it? Good Emulation? Which System's work best?
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