First of all, I’d like to say that I blame Ban for what you’re about to read. If it weren’t for him, I would’ve never tried to be amongst the first to get the Game Console R40S, and you’ll quickly understand why.

It wasn’t until after I had already bought the R40S that I heard the horror stories. The stories of those who tried to order a BOYHOM or Game Console handheld as soon as it landed on AliExpress. I was fully expecting to get a box of peanuts if anything at all showed up in my mailbox.

The R40S Arrives! Just Not the Right One!

R40S First Impressions

Something’s not right here.

Lo-and-behold, the R40S surprisingly arrived today, and it’s really real! I mean, I can (kinda) use it! However, it took less than 1 minute to realize the error of my ways and that I should’ve never listened to Ban.

Unless a device or accessory comes from a company that I know, I usually just stick to plain Jane colors. But, I really liked the way the Super Famicom R40S looked, and I hadn’t been burned yet, so that’s what I went with. Despite the box showing me the right color, that’s not what I actually ended up with. Instead, it was like someone forgot to switch the color out of the 3D printer and just said “screw it.”

Out of the Box

R40S First Impressions

Everything included with the R40S.

It’s too late now as this is what I’m stuck with. So after laughing and sending off a picture in the RH Discord, I proceeded to try and turn it on. Only to be met with a black screen and nothing from the LED light to the right of the screen.

Oh well, assuming the battery was just dead, I plugged it in and waited for about 30 minutes. I know that’s not enough time to get a full charge, but one might think it would be enough to at least turn it on. Nope.

So I plugged the cable back in and saw the LED turn on again. This time, I just left the cable plugged in and voila! It managed to turn on! “Awesome!,” he said to himself, “now I can unplug it and see what this thing’s all about!”

R40S First Impressions

Wrong again.

Despite the R40S showing that it has 100% battery, I unplugged the cable and POOF! The screen turned off. I’ve tried different cables and different chargers, and nothing seems to work. The only thing I haven’t done is try to use a different CFW yet.

Speaking of which, I was surprised to see the R40S is running ArkOS out of the box. It’s only one version behind the most recent release of ArkOS, which is impressive.

Time to Regret Everything

R40S First Impressions

A trio of square-screened retro handhelds.

On paper, the Game Console R40S is just another clone, this time one of the ultra-popular RGB30. According to the box, the R40S sports the following specs:

  • Screen: 4-inch IPS OCA, fully fitted high-definition MPIP screen, 720*720pixel
  • CPU: RK3566, 1.8GHz
  • GPU: Mali-G52, supports OpenGL ES 3.2
  • TF Card: 16G-256G
  • Built-in WiFi 2.4+ Bluetooth
  • Horn (yes, the box says horn): Built-in 2*8w cavity speaker
  • Battery: 4000mAh played continuously for 8 hours
  • Type-C charging, Type-C-OTG, 3.5mm audio

I’ll provide a proper comparison shortly. In the meantime, I need to talk about actually playing games. One could turn a blind eye to the wrong colors, and one could resort to checking the battery connection themselves. What I can’t ignore is just how bad the controls on the R40S are.

I mean, they’re so bad that if it weren’t for wanting to write about it, I’d be trying to pawn it off on Stubbs or Zu or something.

Push down on the X or A buttons, and the other one moves. The same goes for the Y and B buttons. The joysticks barely stick out beyond the craters they sit within. L1 and R1 are fine, mainly because of where they are on the top. But, try and press on the “front” of L2 or R2.

R40S First Impressions

You can’t unless you reposition your fingers to be closer to the center of the curve. Instead, you’re better off trying to adjust your grip so that you can actually press the middle of these buttons.

As for the D-Pad, it’s an absolute abomination. If it weren’t for the left joystick, games would practically be unplayable. Apparently this should’ve been called the Game Console FD for “false diagonals.” Or “**** Disgusting”. When playing Link to the Past, Link would keep running to the right, even though I was trying to go up.

With the RGB30, if I push down on the center of the D-Pad, I can feel the bump for the pivot point. With the R40S, the whole D-Pad just gets pushed down until my finger is flush with the shell. It’s just so bad, and I’m not even one that cares all that much when it comes to the “great D-Pad debate.”

Can Anything Save the R40S?

R40S First Impressions

To answer that question, I don’t know. With the R40S that I purchased, the only redeeming qualities are the screen and the curves on the left and right sides. But one of those is automatically canceled out because I can’t play any games or do anything unless the R40S is plugged in.

I’m going to see if I can fix the battery problem myself after conferring with various RH Council members. But, this might actually be the first time that I’ve been duped by a clone in the world of retro handhelds.

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