I have a problem. I’ve said it before I’ll say it again; I buy too many handhelds. Unfortunately, this isn’t something I can through into a Space Saver bag and suck all the air out to save space. So I have a lot of space taken up by these.

There’s another problem. I want to talk about all of these handhelds but don’t have a way to do so. At least until now. So welcome to the first article, in hopefully a series where I pull a few handhelds out and just talk. What do I do with them? Do I even use them? Is it still any good? 

For this first article of four (randomly) selected handhelds I’ve ended up with the Nintendo DS Lite, Powkiddy V90, Retroid Pocket 3+, and the Pimax Portal. So buckle in while I fill the 1200-word allotment of all of my thoughts and likely poor opinions.

Nintendo DS Lite

Nintendo DS Lite

First up, I want to talk about the Nintendo DS Lite. The only corpo console on this list and the oldest one to boot. This black and red combo was actually picked up from someone in the Retro Handhelds Discord, and outside a scratch on the bottom screen has been an incredibly fun handheld to use. 

I can’t say it’s the most comfortable handheld for me to use. The shoulder buttons aren’t my favorite, and the D-Pad feels incredibly loose to me, but that may just be its age. However, when paired with the EZ Flash Parallel I grabbed for like $20, it covers just about every DS game I’d want to play. Honestly, it would be my first pick for playing DS games if it weren’t for the Nintendo DSi XL

Nintendo DS Lite with the EZ Flash

Compared to the other DS systems in my collection, this one is the smallest by far, and honestly compared to some of my normal handhelds the DS Lite stands as one compact little nugget of a handheld. If you haven’t had a DS Lite yet, I’d say at least give it a shot.

Powkiddy V90

Powkiddy V90

Following up a pretty great device that feels solid in hand is the Powkiddy V90. Admittedly this is now my second one as I owned a Black model but sold it to a friend for a bargain bin price. Which, if you’re looking to pick up a V90 they’re going for as low as $25 if you know the right place to look. 

As for the handheld itself? It’s fine. You can tell it’s a classic in the handheld scene. It feels cheap and like a toy, the Allwinner FC100S chip in it puts a lot of effort into running the few systems it can do well, and man, I don’t miss the old firmware. If you get a V90, I highly recommend tossing Miyoo CFW onto it for the best experience around. 

The V90 plays those really basic systems well. NES, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and even NeoGeo Pocket and Pocket Color. But you’re not really going to get PS1 or even full-on SNES without some extra work behind it. If that’s not what you’re looking for that’s great!

This is one I don’t use too much, but it has been a pretty good device for playing Rosy Retrospection’s Tetris ROM hack. Do I recommend it? Well. Can you spend more than $40? If not; maybe a Miyoo Mini Plus instead. Does it need to be a clamshell? If yes to both questions, I guess the V90 is really your only answer. Just don’t expect the world from it.

But damn if it doesn’t have a satisfying click to it.

Retroid Pocket 3+

Retroid Pocket 3+

Flipping the switch to something quite a bit more modern we hit the Retroid Pocket 3+. An Android-based, T618 handheld, that held probably more playtime in 2023 than just about any other handheld I owned. 

Another one nabbed in the RH Discord during the Summer of 23, I grabbed a Transparent Purple model that came with the PSX buttons pre-installed. Which kind of sucked because PlayStation and PSP were not systems I was playing a lot on this. It was my first “really fiddle with this one” device. Because I wanted to make sure I was getting as much GameCube out of this system as I possibly could. Which mostly came down to me struggling my way through Sonic Heroes. Again. 

The other big thing that got me was using the RP3+ for Android gaming. Something I never tried much of on my older RP2+. Thanks to a great series of videos on Android Games from a certain Tech Dad, I found myself transitioning the RP3+ from an emulation handheld to an Android Gaming handheld. Something I’d try again and again on a number of devices, but never seemed to stick with.

Do I still recommend the RP3+? If you can handle its’ relatively poor ergonomics, and lackluster sticks. Yeah, I’d say grab it for a good price. The T618 is still a solid performer in 2024 and if you can get it for like $100 you’ve got something even better than Retroid’s own RP2S. 

Pimax Portal

Pain on the Pimax Portal


So far it’s been a bit of a mixed bag. DS Lite? GOOD! V90? MEDIOCRE! RP3+? GOOD! So that really leaves me with the Pimax Portal. A severely mixed bag of a handheld on its own. To me at least.

I rarely pick this one up, but when I do it’s to struggle my way through Shadow the Hedgehog on GameCube. Mostly because I hate myself, but also partially because I don’t want to play games that need the D-Pad on this thing. The buttons are shallow and clicky, the D-Pad is four separate buttons, and because they wanted to use this for a VR headset, the controllers have way to many buttons compared to what’s needed.

Portal Detached

Continuing the mixed bag-edness. The XR2 in this thing performs really well. It’s essentially a beefy Snapdragon 865. However, the battery is just not good. The magnets on the controller are incredible and I love them. Honestly, the most I use the portal for is just pulling off the magnets and putting the controllers back onto the body. This is an expensive fidget toy to me.

Do I recommend it? No, not really. It’s a mixed bag of a dead product from a company that couldn’t fulfill its promises for it. There’s an effort to root the device to make it more open than what Pimax offered, but considering the relatively high pricing on this thing I’d rather tell you to grab an RG556, an Ayaneo Pocket Air, or save your money for an Odin 2. Sad to end on a low note, but it’s kind of a sad product. 

Final Thoughts and Opinions

From the Abyss

From the Abyss

That concludes my first “from the abyss” collection of handhelds. As a struggling shopper with now 60+ handhelds, I can assure you there will be more of these to come. Whether I’ll continue to like or hate the devices will be up for debate. Maybe I’ll just be incredibly neutral about all of them going forward. 

And finally as just a little “Here’s those opinions Ban’s wrong about” I’m gonna just start a mini-tier list of my handhelds at the bottom of the article. So Enjoy!

  • S Tier –
  • A Tier – Nintendo DS Lite, Retroid Pocket 3+
  • B Tier – Powkiddy V90
  • C Tier – 
  • D Tier – Pimax Portal
  • F Tier –

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