The Retroid Pocket Flip is a clamshell handheld for retrogaming on the go
Whether you’ll like this handheld hinges on whether you like hinges
Portable gaming was once limited by the size of your pockets. You’d need spectacularly comical ones to carry around more than a handful of cartridges; today’s flash memory-based retro handhelds let you cart about decades of gaming history. The latest entry is the Retroid Pocket Flip, a natty Wi-Fi-enabled clamshell that runs Android.
The unit’s size and appearance invites comparisons with the Nintendo DS Lite, but puts Stuff more in mind of the mid-2010s GPD XD. There’s just the one screen – a 4.7in 1334×750 touchscreen. That means the unit’s bottom half is dedicated to controls. These include hall-effect sliders with clickable L3/R3 that Retroid reckons are akin to those on the Nintendo 3DS.
Elsewhere you get all the usual buttons and triggers, to play titles from the dawn of gaming right up to the present – with gaps regarding more recent fare when the unit runs out of grunt. Since it has mostly the same innards as the Retroid Pocket 3+ we covered in our retro handhelds feature, that suggests the Flip will emulate everything up to the PSP with no problem, along with some GameCube and PS2 titles.
Android games will also run,, due to the Retroid Pocket Flip having a touchscreen and Google Play, and tech changes might give it the edge over the Pocket 3+. Notably there’s an active cooling system, although it remains to be seen whether that will meaningfully impact on the performance of more demanding titles. If nothing else, it should at least stop the unit heating up when playing processor-intensive fare.
What should make a difference is updates to the controls. The ABXY buttons are now double injection moulded, which Retroid says increases durability. The triggers are analogue. And the unit has a larger battery, which may give you precious extra minutes immersed in anything from Alter Ego on the NES through to the native version of Limbo.
The main downside we see over the Pocket 3+ is the Flip won’t be much cop for flipping 90 degrees and playing vertical titles. But the clamshell design does mean you’ll be able to bung the thing in a bag, without worrying whether the screen will subsequently emerge with a massive scratch.
The Retroid Pocket Flip is up for pre-order from 22 March, direct from Retroid. It will cost $159 for the Black, Indigo or ‘16BitUS’ models. The translucent red (‘Watermelon’) and limited edition Sport Red will set you back an extra $5. Buy during the pre-order window (22–28 March) and you get a small discount. Retroid expects pre-ordered units to ship on 10 April.