It’ll be fun I swear

By Joe

Good Tidings, Sir or Madame

What’s going on fellow Smash Bros players? I too just took my semimonthly shower and fell into a bit of a pondering about retro handhelds from China. Without drying my hair I put on my thinking fedora and stepped out of the shower into my backyard in 30° weather and had only one thing on my mind. Bideo Bames.

I had a longing, a urning, and dare I say a lust for something new and exciting to lay my grubby palms on and play the opening hour of Earthbound. Again. I will finish it I swear. Little did I know that my purchase wouldn’t leave me with something new and exciting, But actually something kind of old and pretty boring (Me without the internet).


I hopped on Twitter to steal some publicity posts for the Retro Handhelds Facebook when I came across the devil himself, Russ of Retro Game Corps advertising a device in a bundle that was $20 off and he linked his review. I was stunned, in awe, and determined. And like a classic case of brainwashing propaganda, I fell for it and risked my marriage with another unsolicited video game device purchase.

Okay look you read the title, It’s the RGB30. This sucker was Prime shipped with a case, a bad screen protector, and a 128GB SD card full of smut. I got the blue one because Amazon said it’ll be there the next day and…well it came the next day. Ok, I’m cutting the long intro paragraph here.

We All Loooove PowKiddy

PowKiddy devices are garbage. And I don’t mean this hypothetically. I mean that whenever I see another AI-designed homunculus of plastic and silicon get released by them; I mourn the Earth being bled its resources so that another RK RGB30 Pro Max3 gets released along with another one coming in a month. They often yoink software from the community and sell it back to you; their SD cards, crammed with misnamed Roms, fail more often than marriages in the Maldives. Which is apparently more than double per capita of any other country in the world. They probably also have the highest concentration of retro handheld purchases without the spouse’s consent.

When it comes to PowKiddy, they are by far the smartest and most profitable of any of these companies. All by having what seems to be one 56-year-old underpaid and overworked recently divorced Moldavian business intern who was trained on a typewriter and doesn’t play video games handle all their customer service, PR, quality assurance, returns, and ad campaigns.

If you ever feel like PowKiddy isn’t making money, check the second-hand market. People flocked to it, drawn by a tempting price tag and a bizarre device that looks suspiciously like AI’s handiwork, unleashing capitalism on AliExpress. I was one of those people. Once. Because that is all it took to turn me off of this company. Until Russ happened.

This thing keeps me up at night.

The RGB30 is all of these things. But it’s just the right combination of unoriginal and boring ideas that is actually a very easy and safe device to comfortably use. It’s the equivalent of a toaster being thrown down the stairs and landing on its feet. A toaster that was picked up and used to toast bread to a degree that is just right; so that you’re too distracted by the delicious crunch to hear it begging you to be put out of its misery. I think that’s a Black Mirror episode.

Everything Is Just Fine

Anyways, what you have is a device that has a rubber membrane button and a D-Pad set that is fine but also super quiet to use and actuate. A set of soft clicky shoulder buttons with a curve that feels fine on your fingers. There’s no grip, there’s kind of a smeckle of texture in the palm but it’s more of a subtle tickle than a grip. But the bricky yet curved ergonomics make for a comfortable hold that’s extraordinarily unremarkable. However, still pleasant due to the console being as tall as it is and more forgiving on my B I G M E A T Y C L A W S.

The analog sticks are just Switch sticks, again. Which is fine because… and you might like hearing this… Bbut I don’t really give a hoot and holler about hal sticks in these kinds of devices nor give much stake into their importance. They’re already pretty cheap and you probably aren’t going to get enough use out of them to even experience drift anyways. So why bother with the extra cost for them?

That being said, the new hal sticks on devices like the RP4 and the Odin 2 are top-tier in terms of feel. But I highly doubt that the one intern employed by PowKiddy will endure the R&D it takes to get those in the next console. Cheap handhelds that are simple but have high utility have a warm space in my tummy. Given how much can be packed in these devices like a clown car of coked-up crying clowns and clucking cuccos carrying carrots. Minus the bells and whistles of a newer, shinier, FOMO-inducing one like…the RP4? The build quality of the device is fine and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

Well, Except for the Screen I Guess

Little can be said about the screen that hasn’t been beaten to death in previous reviews. It’s bright, big, crispy, and colorful. Like me at the beach. Unlike me at the beach, it’s an absolute joy to look at. The screen MAKES the handheld in this case. And, it makes all the cheap PowKiddy components look marginally better as a whole. It’s 4” diagonally with a 3.5” diagonal for 4:3 content and 3.1” for 2:3 content, making for an arguably comfortable sizing for most retro content on a pocketable device. And if the size doesn’t do it for you (growwwl), let the high-resolution screen win you over.

Yes, you can do bilinear filtering and a normal 2X filter in RetroArch on a 480p device to get something that fools your eyes into thinking this content is displayed at 480p…. But you’ll notice the difference in crispness instantly just by displaying games on the screen. Save the extra processing power and let it out raw and unfiltered. The screen-to-button ratio is also almost 50/50 here.


Me and Android are two old flames that walked side by side for years now, with a love whose faith conquered every other portable OS. But with the relative power efficiency of the Steam Deck and the slender unbloated nature of JELOS, as WELL as the near 0 baked-in input lag, that flame burns ever dim and I think it’s time to issue Android a notice of GTFO. For real though, I love Android. It’s power efficient, easier to manipulate, more familiar for… Android users,  tweakable, and makes my ass twitch every time a new device comes out.

Yes, my download of JELOS has been tweaked since that default audio lag is unbearable (to me) and those default filters can go bye-bye. After about 5 minutes of tweaking, I was ready to sit down and try it out and I fell asleep. Unrelated. My only real quirk with this software is how shotty sleep mode and charging can be since it can apparently…. Just not sometimes? Is this a rock chip thing? Is it stupid? Do I need to call my lawyer?


RGB30. Is it anything special? No. Is it original? No. Is it just a smushed-down RGB10 Max 3? Absolutely. Is it boring? Hell yes. And that’s a good thing because, at the end of the day, the real star of the show is the games. All this device does is provide an unproblematic, inoffensive, and pleasant way of playing them. It doesn’t pretend to be the next best thing and would totally accept a date to The Cheesecake Factory.

The key to every successful marriage is to not take your partner for granted, but it’s also not to make them feel TOO special so they think they can do better than you. The ideal marriage is to wake up in the morning, turn to them, and go “Good morning, I find you fairly attractive to my tastes and find you to be adequate to my needs. Thank you for your service” and then shake their hand and make them toast or something as a gesture of goodwill. Yeah, that’s the RGB30.


Purchase the RGB30 from Amazon or Aliexpress, or directly sold by Powkiddy on their website.

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