What do you get when you make a handheld with magnetic controllers, an Android OS, and gear it toward the AR gaming crowd? Well, you get some people saying “Too modern for me!” or even “We hate magnets! How do they work?!” So, if you happen to be the company that produced that handheld, where do you turn? If you’re Pimax, you release a “retro” version of the device, of course! Get rid of those pesky magnets and do away with the AR angle, and while doing so lower the overall price, and us folks in the retro handheld community tend to be a bit more intrigued. Enter: the Pimax Portal Retro.
So for those of you not familiar with the original Portal, it features a 4K QLED or LCD screen, supports VR headsets, houses 5 rear facing cameras, sports a Qualcomm XR2 SoC and the controllers are removable and magnetic. Can you guess which one of those things is the only one to remain true with the Portal Retro? I see you’ve been paying attention! It is indeed the SoC. The Retro will run on the same chipset, and have the same RAM (8gb) and internal storage (128gb) as the base model Portal. The nearly 5.5” screen will only be available as an LCD and will be 2K rather than the full 4K, but will have a 120Hz refresh rate for all you high refresh rate fans. The color options will be slim – as slim as possible, really – as only white will be available. One upside is that after the removal of the magnets and the cameras, the Retro will actually be a few grams lighter than the others in the Portal line. Besides these varying features, the rest of the device will be virtually identical to its predecessor, right down to the questionable d-pad.
Price and Availability
Where does that leave the Retro in terms of pricing? It looks to be about $70 dollars – $69 technically (nice) – cheaper than the base model Portal, coming in at $299. When you couple that will a stellar screen, analog triggers, a decent chip, and a solid Android build, it may be a pretty admirable contender in the retro handheld space.
As of now the Pimax Portal Retro is available to order on their site and looks to be shipping within a week or so. If you feel the need to do some Android gaming with a built in controller, or are looking for something to fill a niche in your retro handheld collection, maybe this one is for you. Those of you that pick one up, might pick one up, or just want to talk shop about various handhelds, feel free to join us in our Discord or hop onto YouTube to catch us discussing way too many devices with way too much gusto. ‘Til next time, pals.