Miyoo Mini
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Everyone seems to be talking about retro gaming handhelds these days, thanks in no small part to the long-awaited release of the gorgeous Analogue Pocket. Boasting FPGA power, a sleek design and fantastic screen, it's little wonder that this portable gem is in high demand – and some people who have placed orders this year are being told they will have to wait until 2023 to get their hands on one. Eek.

If you're tempted to splash $200 on an Analogue Pocket but don't fancy waiting that long (or suffering a drop in overall quality) then there's no shortage of vastly cheaper emulation-based handhelds on the market, the latest of which is the Miyoo Mini. While the name 'Miyoo' might not be instantly familiar, this Chinese company has pumped out plenty of similar products under different brands, including BittBoy and PocketGo. The Miyoo Mini feels like an evolution of the former, taking inspiration from the iconic Game Boy design.

The good news first. Build quality is excellent, with responsive buttons and a fantastic D-Pad. The 2.8″ LCD screen is also better than you might expect from a device that costs $60; it boasts a 640×480 pixel resolution and has very, very thin bezels, making it look extremely appealing. The unit has a 1900mAh battery which provides around 5 to 6 hours of play, and the unit charges over USB-C. Software is stored on a MicroSD card. Systems supported include the Game Boy, NES, SNES, Mega Drive, PC Engine and Neo Geo.

As has been the case with pretty much all of these Chinese-made devices, you'll need to be comfortable with the idea of downloading ROMs from the web to make the most out of it. There are, of course, options for dumping your own cartridges if you want to keep things legal.

This issue aside, the biggest stumbling block for the Miyoo at present is the fact that emulation performance isn't brilliant. Putting aside the fact that it uses the standard 'system-on-a-chip' approach combined with software emulation rather than the more accurate FPGA approach seen in the Analogue Pocket, there's noticeable lag on some of the higher-end emulators and audio quality isn't brilliant.

The stock firmware (which, rather hilariously, uses the PS Vita menu music) needs some work, but it's highly likely that the community to beat Miyoo to the punch; custom firmware is commonplace on these Chinese-made handhelds and we'll probably see vast improvements over the next few months as coders adapt their own software for the Miyoo Mini.

The verdict, then? This is certainly a neat little device for the cost, and we love the fact that it's truly pocket-friendly. Can it compete with the Analogue Pocket, though? Of course not, but then again, it costs a quarter of the price.

If you're keen to see the Miyoo Mini in action, here's Retro Dodo's review:

Thanks to Keep Retro for supplying the Miyoo Mini used in this piece.

This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Fri 14th January, 2022.