Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

While it's certainly true that Nintendo rules the roost as far as dedicated handheld games consoles are concerned, the past few years have given us a host of pocket-sized consoles that rely mainly on emulation to grab your hard-earned cash. Over a decade ago we had the Gamepark GP32, then there was the GP2X, Wiz, Pandora and even the Nvidia Shield handheld, the latter of which is a close relation to Nintendo's Switch.

In more recent times, consoles like the BittBoy and Odroid-Go have offered low-cost emulation packed inside tiny cases, with the latter opening up a high degree of customisation that has made it a popular choice with handheld retro addicts.

Some of the most "interesting" gaming gear comes out of China (as indeed does most of our other consumer technology), so it shouldn't come as a massive shock to learn that even the mighty Odroid-Go has been cloned by a Chinese rival. The RK2020 is that clone, and it offers a D-pad, analogue stick, four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, USB (both Type-C and standard) and MicroSD card support. It's also packing a bright and sharp 3.5 inch 480×320 LCD screen which really shows how far the tech has come – there's no ghosting to speak of and viewing angles are rock-solid.

While it's running on the same basic framework as the recent Odroid-Go Advance, you can flash a new OS image to customise your experience – but out of the box, the machine is capable of playing games for a massive range of systems, including the NES, SNES, Game Boy, GBA, N64, PlayStation, PSP and even the Sega Dreamcast. Performance is generally pretty solid, too; N64 and Dreamcast don't run 100% perfectly but older systems work well enough, and the console's candy bar form-factor means it's comfortable to use for prolonged periods.

While the build quality naturally isn't a match for Nintendo's systems, we quite like the look of the RK2020, and the time we've spent with it has been pretty enjoyable – although, as is the case with many of these systems, you really do need to put the time and effort in to make the most of its features and get it working just how you want, and even when you do all of that, the experience isn't anywhere near as polished as you'd find on a Nintendo or Sony handheld (plus, the topic of emulation is still a sore point for many gamers, which means this machine will be entirely off-limits).

Still, if you fancy taking the plunge, the RK2020 is available now for $65.99.

Thanks to RK Console for supplying the RK2020 used in this piece.

This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Thu 25th June, 2020.