BittBoy Retro Video Game Handheld Console Review

Last Updated May 28, 2023 by . First Published in 2019.

911 words, estimated reading time 3 minutes.

BittBoy Retro Video Game Handheld Console Review

The BittBoy V3.5 is a handheld retro gaming emulation device that looks like Nintendo's classic GameBoy. Inside, however, it packs a lot more processing power and is able to play Gameboy, NES, Genesis, and even Playstation 1 and PC games.

First off, let me just say that I love the BittBoy handheld gaming console. Secondly, this is not a sponsored review. I bought this with my own money because I wanted a handheld gaming device. This is my honest review of the BittBoy retro video game handheld console.

BittBoy Retro Video Game Handheld Hardware

BittBoy 3.5 Retro Gaming Handheld Console
BittBoy 3.5 Retro Gaming Handheld Console

The BittBoy is Gameboy inspired handheld console from China, about 1/3 the size of the original Gameboy. Don't let the classic appearance fool you, inside it packs a lot more processing power and can play Gameboy, NES, Genesis, and even Playstation 1 and some older DOS/PC games. The smaller size means that it easily fits inside a pocket whilst on the move, something that the original Gameboy wasn't able to do comfortably.

On the top edge, you will find the SD card slot and power buttons whilst on the bottom edge the micro-SD charge port and headphone jack, which doubles as an A/V out as well.

The buttons are nice and crisp, although the controls can be a little cramped for those with large hands. For me, they are a little too close together, but comfy enough for several hours of gaming. The D-pad is nice and smooth and is full-size. The little R button usually brings up a menu which among other things lets you save the game state, exit the current game and adjust settings. The only downside is the lack of L and R triggers, which may make some Gameboy Advance, SNES and PS1 games unplayable, or at best a little tricky.

BittBoy 3.5 Retro Gaming Handheld Console
BittBoy 3.5 Retro Gaming Handheld Console

The screen is a 2.4-inch IPS type display which is nice and bright with vibrant colours and has a great viewing angle. In general, the display is nice and clear, although the small resolution means that some scaling is noticeable when it's not running the native resolution of 320x240 pixels. Generally, this isn't a problem unless there is lots of text on the screen, in which case it is pretty unreadable.

Inside the case is an ARM926EJ-S AllWinner F1C500S powered board which is rated for 300mhz and peaks at 700mhz.

BittBoy Battery Life

The battery is a 700mAh removable lithium battery straight from the Gameboy Advance. Despite the small capacity, it lasts surprisingly long. Charging is via a micro-USB port and lasts around 2-3 hours depending on the brightness of the screen and the emulator being run. Charging is via a micro-USB cable and it can be easily charged from a normal phone charger or power bank.

Games and Emulators

My BittBoy 3.5 came pre-installed with a few Linux ports of games and a bunch of emulators, but no ROMs. For those, you will need to download them yourselves and load them onto the SD card in the roms folder. The BittBoy comes with emulators for Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Colour, NES, SNES, MasterSystem, MegaDrive, Atari 2600, WonderSwan, NeoGeo, DOS and Mame.

The BittBoy comes with Linux ports of many popular games including Doom, Heretic, Hexen, Pang, Rise of the Triad, Quake and Quake 2.

All of these run perfectly smooth except Quake 2, which I found was suffering a little bit with the framerate. It's still playable but I find it lacks the benefit of mouse control for aiming.

The emulators also generally run pretty well. The PlayStation suffers the most, I think it's probably a little outside the capability of the device, but most games I tried are playable.

My main reason for buying the BittBoy was to play my old Gameboy games on a backlit screen since my Gameboy (right) does not have any lighting, so playing in the dark was impossible.

My Original Gameboy running Zelda
My Original Gameboy running Zelda

Downloading ROMs is illegal, and it's questionably legal if you own the original game cartridges. I've only downloaded and been able to play about 8 of my favourite games for the Gameboy as these are the ones I still have the cartridges for. I'm loving the chance to play Zelda Links Awakening and Mystic Quest again!

Save games on the BittBoy is a bit hit-and-miss on the emulators, generally, they fail to load or don't even show up when you restart the game. To get around this you can use the "save state" function on the R menu.

Room for Improvement

In general, this is a very well-rounded device and a lot of fun to play with. There are only a few minor changes which I would like to see in the next version.

  1. The power slider is a bit soft/loose/prone to turning on/off inside pockets. A firmer slider would be better.
  2. Soft power-off. The power slider kills the power instantly, a soft shutdown option would prevent damage to the SD card files.
  3. Battery life indicator, or better low battery monitor. The only battery meter is on the main menu, which isn't accessible whilst playing a game. The LED turns from green to red, but it's not easy to see when in daylight or engrossed in your game.

Overall this is a great way to consume retro games and relive my childhood gaming experiences. All in all, I think for the price and nostalgia you get from this, it is well worth the £38 asking price.

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  1. ST

    On Wednesday 18th of September 2019, Stephen said

    First off I gotta say The Butt Boy is very cool video game handheld that has does video games in emulation very good only two things that I really have problems with?Is it you notice the plastic that is created almost by Chinese to rip off Steve Jobs as that his Steve Jobs very first computer if you really a truly ripped off being taken by Cuba from his idea as the McIntosh computer image?This what Chinese are doing by stealing Steve Jobs idea placing it in plastic on printed image again Chinese do great marketing value by doing what a person named Steve How did for Macintosh computer yes they copying a image recreating it dog gone shame considering why it so close familiar to what Steve Jobs did already create again this why so many ppl are buying these The Bitt Biys?Secondly if the firmware is created and done rightwing is not rest of all of games that are supposedly put on micro card and built into system why didn't they in China before creating these cool handhelds did it kinda before then a Nintendo why is it they in China and etc?The Butt Boy didn't put ever y game into micro card that awesome second one and all of games are done installed but only half of them if in The Bitt Boy?But were done on other new one regarding fans out with?Well these are two pet peeves but I can on my it still besides these two things a great handheld that only because chip and running perfect along emulation and screen as tempted glass would be almost $200.00 in USA I so glad that at least China due something that at least was,programmes to run like it should be in video games and too bad our USA does not let this company well them here as it totally great for on my two things only image not more games installed that were or should of been all of them other then two problems I say for under $29.99 now instead going to pay for $220.00 for Nintendo Switch I rather have this be glad I not paying high price for great cool handheld being ripped off lastly by a Nintendo as hey this best thing get better gaming player download your own games not paying over $20.00 to company lastly that only care about your money how he as,video gaming society need have hey prices come down until Nintendo like Sony PlayStation bring your guys prices down sorry but who can afford it rght?I am stuck in with Handheld after all I rather but he playing a,$29.99 then over $220.00 price tag gaming system this what all of us want until prices come down I will continue stick to this cool Awesome handheld again just my option thanks for reading it too I just wished The Pocket Go?Was,all of games,installed on The Bitt Boy then I wouldn't have prob!am besides the image that beskdes,China's excellent strategy on their very own marketing to subliminal tool is all as,again what Steve Jobs did China doing to do as,marketing system to cool us and omg it totally works!Again looks by way closely resemb!ex Steve Jobs Mcitish and I give a China qoodoos!on had me cool but not for this The Bitt Boy looking like gambit sounds funny again Chinese due great marketing tech The Bitt Boy but made into Ganeboy but then changing name around well again just something too think about well thanks reading this