Retroid Pocket 2 Review – Good After Some Effort

The Retroid Pocket 2 is another solid competitor in the retro console market under the $100 price range. It is an Android-powered handheld that became official in September 2020 for a very reasonable $84.99.

Some of its biggest selling points include an excellent build, responsive controls, and the ability to emulate a variety of console generations. It can even run Dreamcast, PS1, and PSP games reliably with consistent FPS. However, in order to unlock its full potential, you will have to put in a few hours of work, unlike Anbernic’s RG series of Linux-based handhelds.

Here are the specifications.

Product Specs:Details:
CPU1.5GHz quad-core CPU and an ARM Mali 450 GPU
Storage64-256 GB
Ports1 HDMI, 2 USB-A
Price$50-$80 depending on the storage


  • Powerful Dreamcast emulation
  • Solid build quality
  • Bright and colorful screen with crisp resolution


  • Needs hours of setting up
  • Unimpressive battery life for a 4,000 mAh cell
  • UI tends to lag often


Retroid Pocket 2

The Retroid Pocket 2 greets you with a 3.5-inch IPS LCD with a 640 by 480 screen resolution. This resolution is higher than some other rival handhelds, which means that the gameplay looks more crisp and detailed. This is only complimented by the bright and colorful screen coupled with some very solid viewing angles. It is also protected by glass so you don’t need to worry about durability.

The surrounding bezels are smaller than the competition, but it would have been much better without any bezels at all. 

Since it is an Android-based UI, an interface that was primarily made for touch screen devices, some Android functions are awkward to use without a touch screen. But this is only a minor inconvenience as the D-Pad snaps to different icons fairly well.

Design and Build Quality

Retroid Pocket 2

The Retroid’s build quality is one of the best in class among Chinese retro consoles. It looks better than most Chinese handhelds and feels very rock-solid in the hands, much like Nintendo’s high-end consoles. The chassis is solid, the buttons are not wobbly, and the sticks are not loose at all. The buttons are springy and well-balanced and the console simply feels good to hold.

However, some people do not like the diagonal stick placement as they prefer symmetrical controls instead. This is not a deal-breaker by any means and only a minor complaint. Further, the right stick sits inside its shell while the left one sticks out. This makes the Retroid Pocket 2 not very pocketable at all. However, this does let you reach the XYAB buttons easily without nudging the stick. There are no complaints about the sticks’ functionality either as they are both very smooth and responsive.

Other than that, the design is quite unique and well-rounded. The L and R shoulder buttons are very comfortable to use. The R1 and L1 are slightly thinner than the R2 and L2, so they never get mixed up.


Retroid Pocket 2 colors

The console draws its power from a quad-core, 1.5GHz Cortex A7 CPU, an ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU, and 1GB worth of LPDDR3 RAM. This is not flagship-level hardware by any means, but it gets the job done very easily.

It can run 8-bit and 16-bit system games very well including NES, Game Boy, and Super NES. It also handles Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1, and Game Boy Advance games without any issues and consistent FPS.

The Retroid Pocket 2 starts to struggle when it comes to PSP and Sega Dreamcast games. Games with complex 3D graphics tend to stutter and lag more. Crazy Taxi runs quite smoothly, but playing through Sonic Adventure is not the best experience. As for PSP games, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles runs seamlessly, but God of War: Chains of Olympus shows terrible FPS and flickers all the time.

The battery life is not bad, but it’s not impressive either. It falls short for a 4,000 mAh cell and only lasts about 4-5 hours on a single charge, which is just average. 

Software and UI

Retroid Pocket 2 options

The handheld boots Android 6 out of the box and is updatable to Android 8.2. It will not get the latest Android updates as it is only a retro gaming handheld and not your average Android phone.

As mentioned earlier, some Android functions are a bit awkward since it is an OS made for touchscreen devices, but this is not a major issue whatsoever.

The OS comes pre-installed with several emulators that can run games from a range of console generations. The pre-installed Android shell lets you emulate games easily, but this is not the best UI for the handheld. It tends to be clunky and awkward and often starts to lag in some menus.

Fortunately, it is easy enough to install a different front end for the device, but it can take hours to set up as it is a tedious process. This is one of the major criticisms of the Retroid Pocket 2.

However, once you have a more user-friendly front end installed, it is mostly a fun experience to browse and play all your games without getting lost in the software.


The Retroid Pocket 2 is fun to play with if you’re willing to put in the work. You will have to sit through hours of research and tinkering with the settings before you can get a user-friendly interface and all your games working.

That being said, the console is not ideal for people who are new to retro consoles or don’t know a thing or two about tech. In that case, you are better of getting an Anbernic Retro Game console.

However, the impressive build, screen quality, and powerful emulation definitely make up for the clunky software. The Retroid Pocket 2 is definitely the right choice for you if you’re already into the retro handheld scene.


Where can I get the Retroid Pocket 2?

The Retroid Pocket 2 is available at Retroid’s own website and major retailers including Amazon, Aliexpress, etc.

How do I change the front end?

You can either install Pegasus or Dig, both of which are reliable front ends that bring all your games together in easy to browse menus. You can find guides on how to install them online.

Is Retroid Pocket 2 better than Anbernic RG351P?

If you prefer an easy to pick up and play console, then the RG351P is the way to go. But the Retroid Pocket 2 wins in emulation and build quality.

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