PowKiddy Q20 Mini Review


It took about 3 weeks to receive the PowKiddy Q20 Mini from the official PowKiddy store but now have had a lot of extensive hands on time with it. I opted for the Orange model which I think looks a little better. 




Overall 6.5/10

"BELOW Average"

If you are looking for something very casual this might be an "ok" option but you'd better off buying something like the PowKiddy V90 or waiting for this one to drop a little in price. This handheld is not ergonomic at all for extended gaming sessions but not bad in short bursts. It's a decent option for 8-bit and 16-bit gaming. Out of the box I'd certainly recommend it for NeoGeo/Arcade gaming (horizontal games), SEGA Genesis, SMS, and PC Engine emulation. Anything else requires Custom Firmware (CFW) for a decent experience. 

The Good 

👍The same CFW options that work with the V90/Q90/PocketGo works with this one. 

👍The screen is bright with good color saturation. Laminated Glass is a nice touch for a cheap handheld. 

👍The d-pad is pretty decent and responsive. Face Buttons are "ok". 

The Bad 

👎Screen tearing and latency/frame drops is an issue with some games and it doesn't go away quite as well with CFW as the V90 does. 

👎The color balance is too warm. It looks great in the dark but suffers in brighter light. 

👎All-around build quality and button quality is below average. 

👎Speaker quality and placement is not very good. 

👎Slightly overpriced in this oversaturated market. 

👎Looks and feels cheap. Not ergonomic at all. 

In The End

In the end this is basically something old in a different package and simply doesn't make much sense to buy at this point. PowKiddy advertises PS1 (PSX) level emulation but it's not very good even with custom workarounds. This system is an "ok" option given the price for 8-bit and 16-bit era gaming. Bad ergonomics, screen issues that are worse than the V90 using identical firmwares and design flaws drag this one down to a slightly below average $ for $ buy for the price. 



Build Quality 

While the Q20 Mini is put together fairly well by PK standards but it's still fairly low quality. It has the signature "PowKiddy rattle" when you shake it and hear the slightly loose buttons shake but it's not nearly as bad as some previous PowKiddy handhelds and is actually pretty close to being "ok". The plastic housing is very light and cheap feeling.  The d-pad is pretty decent and the face buttons are responsive and feel ok but the plastic is poor quality. For the most part, the buttons are actually very responsive, face buttons might be a bit on the shallow movement side and the face buttons and shoulders are on the "clicky" side of things and somewhat stiff. For the price it's hard to complain a ton though. 

If this becomes your only handheld and is used like a workhorse I'd be surprised if it holds up longterm with the build quality. If it's just an addition to the collection used occasionally it will probably be fine. 

Emulation Performance w/ Semi-Arbitrary Grades

*$ for $ value heavily weighted in my grading. 

-NeoGeo/Final Burn Alpha/CPS/Arcade (Stock B+/ CFW B+)
I really like the NeoGeo/FBA/CPS/Arcade performance on this handheld. It's good even with Stock Firmware. There are some occasional hiccups but for the most part it's a smooth experience. 

-MAME (Didn't Test) ?

-PC Engine/TG16 (Stock A-/ CFW A-)
PC Engine looks, plays and sounds great on this handheld even with Stock Firmware. 

-Wonderswan (Stock D- / Custom FW C-)
Wonderswan looks a bit blurry at anything above 1X which is way too small on an already small screen. CFW is required for a decent experience and even with custom options, the screen never looks great consistently. 

-NeoGeo Pocket Color (Stock D/ Custom FW C-)
NGPC emulation is "ok" running stock with some games but screen tearing, massive Latency issues and framerate issues are unbearably bad. CFW cleans this this up a bit though. Something like Sonic Pocket Adventure is unplayable using stock firmware. 

-SEGA Genesis/Megadrive (Stock A/ CFW A)
Genesis/MD performance is good. Most games look, play and sound good/great with minimal issues even with Stock Firmware. 

-SEGA Master System (Stock B/ CFW B)
SMS emulation looks and plays  great on this screen even using stock firmware. My only complaint in the stock setup is how loud it is. Even putting the sound wheel to the lowest possible point of hearing its very loud. If you plan to stick with Stock firmware, only the EPX/Scale 2X setting looks great. 

-SEGA GameGear (Stock C/ CFW C+)
Game Gear emulation looks, sounds and plays pretty good even using stock firmware but screen tearing is a problem with certain games. If GG is important to you, CFW is a must. 

-SNES (Stock D+ / Custom FW C-)
SNES is a real mixed performance  bag on this handheld but it's not bad. Certain games struggle with stock firmware so if SNES is a big deal for you, CFW is necessary. Running CFW isn't perfect but it's not bad. 

-NES/FC (Stock D /CFW B-)
NES is also a mixed bag. CFW is necessary for this. There's a lot of weird Latency issues, screen tearing and audio issues running stock with a lot of games. CFW cleans it up to a passable level. 

-Game Boy Advance (Stock C/ CFW C+)
GBA looks and plays pretty decent on this handheld. My biggest complaint would be minor audio issues. 

-Game Boy Color (Stock C-/ CFW B-)

GBC is a mixed bag as well. Not quite as bad with the screen tearing as GB buy its not great v

-Game Boy (Stock D- / Custom FW C-)

Game Boy emulation struggles quite a bit on this handheld due to the screen tearing that's more noticeable on GB games than anything else. With CFW most games are at a passable level though. 

-Ports (Didn't Test) ?


Included microSD/Firmware Options

When it comes to microSD cards being included with these systems, I highly suggest just tossing them to the side and flashing your own card. The cards with the cheaper systems are prone to failure and the ROMs are often of questionable quality not to mention there's a grey area legality to cards "loaded" with games. More companies should do like the GameForce handheld and ship with no card making it 100% Legal with no questions. 

The CFW option I went with was Miyoo Custom Firmware which overall improves performance and reduces problems but doesn't totally eliminate screen issues. 

Price & Comparable Options

It's hard to complain about something that cost $39.99 but there are some better options out there. In the under $40 range looking at highly pocketable micro handhelds, I'd take a PowKiddy V90 ($25-$35) over this any day simply because I think the V90 has less screen issues, is cheaper and more ergonomic. 

If you need something pocketable and small, I'd also highly suggest considering just shelling out a few more bucks and just jumping up to the Anbernic RG280M which has been selling recently between $55.99 and $81.99 or the 280V.  

Screen 

The screen on this device is very bright and has impressive color saturation for the price. I'd even say it looks better than the screens on more expensive options. My main complaints are that the color balance is too far to the warm side. This works good in dark environments but looks pretty bad in bright light. 

There are issues with screen tearing and that doesn't go away with CFW although using the Miyoo CFW it's at an acceptable level. There may be a problem with the actual screen or screen drivers causing the screen tearing. It doesn't seem to be a software issue because the problems are less noticeable on the V90 running identical software. All in all for $40 and under this screen is worth it though. OCA Laminated Glass on top was a nice touch for such a cheap handheld too. 

Buttons 

All in all the buttons are ok. They are pretty responsive but also very cheap feeling at the same time. Only time will tell but I'd be surprised if it holds together under heavy longterm abuse. 

Specs From Manufacturer (I didn't take this one apart so haven't verified it all)

Display: 2.4-inch IPS full viewing angle OCA glue fully bonded

Game: Compatible with PS/CPS/NEOGEO/GBA/NES/SFC/MD/ and other emulators

System: Open source LINUX

CPU: ARM9

Sound: Built-in speaker (1W)

TF card memory: 16GB/64GB (Optional)

Input power: 5V/1A

Maximum power consumption: 1W/H

Battery life: 4 hours

Charging time: 2.5 hours

Charging interface: TYPE-C

Headphone: 3.5mm interface

Product weight: 80g

Weight: 120g

Product size: 11.8*5.5*1.5cm

Size: 13.5*9*2.5cm

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