Retroid Pocket 3 (2GB) First Impressions

Retroid Pocket 3 First Impressions: One Week In...

Due to the number of people reporting QA Issues (despite seemingly less than the majority), I don't plan to post a full in-depth definitive review of the device anytime soon if at all.  It appears that Taki Udon was correct when predicting known defective units would be sold and shipped out. The device I received was fine but too much of a dice roll right now to fully recommend. We still don't have a full gage of how many people were effected by defective units. At this stage in this messy launch, my opinions are too mixed to have a definitive view of the device.  Below are my early impressions and findings:

Notes/Disclosure On The Device I'm Using

  • Model(s) Reveived: RP3 Orange 2GB
  • Official Launch: August 20, 2022
  • Price Paid: $144.67 (2GB Orange) on Moorechip's AliExpress Store Including Shipping/Taxes. I canceled my early White 3GB order after it didn't ship. The 2GB Orange arrived 12 days after ordering.
  • I have no business ties with Moorechip.

Overall 🤷‍♂️ -Can't Recommend For Now

So far, I like the Retroid Pocket 3 but it is highly flawed. What you are paying for if upgrading from the RP2+ is a much better screen (if you get a good unit), slightly better performance and dual thumb-sticks with R3/L3 instead of that obnoxious slider. The device is a step backwards in other ways it seems. One area that makes this device less of a $ for $ deal than the RP2+ was at launch is that shipping costs have gone up. An RP3 that doesn't have issues is still a better buy today than a RP2+ in ways...

If I were to post a full review,  I don't think I'd give this device a glowing score but it is a good or above average purchase for the price if you don't mind some of the negatives. The device is good enough to likely make it into my regular rotation despite the flaws. Due to QA concerns,  I'm not recommending the device but I do think some people will enjoy it. I highly suggest looking up as much info on this one before making a decision. I'm only a week in on this device,  so there's a lot of time to go as far as testing everything out. 

It might not be a bad idea to wait and see what the Anbernic RG505 ends up being like (Likely a bit more expensive) before making a firm decision on the RP3. I'd suggest getting an AYN Odin or Odin Lite at a higher price over the RP3 but AYN is very slow to fulfill orders...

Face Buttons (Dome Switch) 🤷‍♂️ 

The face Buttons (stock dome switch style) on my unit have too much play in them. They are slightly wobbly with some travel in all directions. They are on the "clicky" side but that's not a problem. They have hardly any resistance while pressing down on them. This isn't quite to the degree of being a deal breaker but it's less than optimal and a step backwards from the out of the box RP2+ face buttons.  I haven't swapped in the DIY conductive rubber face buttons yet but plan to do so soon. Dome switch face buttons aren't necessarily a bad thing but they can be bad when not done well.  I did notice some very slight input lag (latency) with the buttons on certain games as well. Not enough to be a game breaker but it's there. 

D-Pad (Dome Switch) 🤷‍♂️

The d-pad is "all right" in most scenarios. It's also a little "clicky" and doesn't have as much resistance as a good d-pad should but it doesn't have as much play in it like the face Buttons. I generally don't care about the difference between dome switches and conductive rubber on devices but I'm tempted to switch in conductive rubber for the d-pad as well just to see. The disappointment for me when it comes to the d-pad and face buttons is that this is technically the 4th device in the Retroid line and they still haven't perfected either. Maybe the 5th time if the RP3+ comes out will be the charm. Both the d-pad and face buttons seem like a step backwards from the RP2+. The d-pad is also not quite a deal breaker but it's less than ideal. 

Thumb-sticks 👍

The thumb-sticks are on the small side and Vita grips do fit on them. It was a great move by Moorechip to get rid of the right slider and go with dual thumb-sticks with R3/L3 functionality.  There are people who have successfully installed Switch thumb-sticks and that's something I'm seriously thinking about doing in the future. 

Shoulders 👍

Shoulders are an improvement over the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus and are responsive. These are digital shoulders so they aren't optimal for all types of games but they are decent enough for the price. 

Other Buttons 👎

Start/Select were simply placed in a very bizarre position on the top of the device. Most buttons on the device feel cheap and clicky but work fine. 

Screen 👍

The screen is the highlight of the device. It's bright, sharp and has good color saturation. The only problem in this area is that some people are receiving devices where the screen is not that great. I believe Taki was right with the screen roulette issue.  I have no issues with the screen on the device I received. 

Sound 🤷‍♂️

Sound on the device is a mixed bag for me so far. The speakers sound great with native Android games and streaming. Sound is great using a Bluetooth connection. I tried the device out wirelessly with Galaxy buds and on a pair of Crusher Evo headphones. Both sounded great with no sound delay or issues.  Wired headphones, there was some problems with sound where it would still come out of the speakers and some other odd issues.  I'm not sure if that's an issue with the headphone jack or not. The positioning of the speakers on the bottom of the device are also less than ideal. The way I hold the RP3, I'm often covering up the speakers with my fingers. 

Rumble 🤷‍♂️

Rumble is Weaker and doesn't work as well as the Rumble on the RP2+. This must be another area Moorechip took shortcuts on to keep the price low. 

Battery 👍

Battery life on this device is excellent. It appears I get about 90-95% of the game time off one charge as I did with the RP2+. Unlike the RP2+, this battery supports fast charging which is a great upgrade. Standby time is excellent again as well. 

Build Quality & Design 👍

Build Quality & Design is good for the price. It's obviously not the best plastic quality but it's far from the worst. They did an excellent job making such a large handheld thin and ergonomic. Long play sessions are a lot more comfortable than they were on the RP2+.  Due to how thin the device is,  its still fairly pocketable. 

Emulation Experience 👍

I have a long way to go with checking out different platforms. So far I've checked out DS, PSP, PSX, Dreamcast, GBC, GBA, PS2 and Android games. So far, there is definitely a slight performance boost with all of the above compared to the RP2+.  Android is especially better due to the increased screen resolution and responsive touch screen. 

Streaming/Remote Play 👍

So far I have tested a little bit of Xbox Remote Play, Game Pass Streaming and Steam Link with the device and an impressed with the results. It's a massive improvement over streaming with the RP2+ mainly due to increased screen resolution. 

QA Concerns 👎

QA concerns which have in essence verified some of Taki's claims that they planned to sell and ship out devices from known bad lots.  The way I see it, it will be a good buy for "most" people but only time will tell if these QA issues are addressed. I have spoken with some longtime community members who received units with serious defects so there is a problem. 

How widespread the problem is or if it will continue is a guess at this point but there's enough people with issues for it to be concerning. Some people who received DOA units from the defective lots are being asked to pay for return shipping plus shipping on the replacement device which all of a sudden drastically increases the overall cost at no fault of their own. I don't think the consumer should be covering two extra rounds of shipping when the company knew about the defective devices (proven by Taki's video).  

The most common of the issues amongst bad units being reported is screen flickering (possibly part of the screen roulette issue),  parts soldered on backwards, cables not connected inside the device, brittle ribbons that break upon light touch indicating possible heat/moisture damage in storage, non responsive buttons and some DOA devices. 

Screen Flickering/Brightness Fix For Some Screens


In The End 

In the end, I do like the device I received but due to issues surrounding the RP3, I wouldn't feel comfortable putting my endorsement behind the device. Odds are, most people will like it but it's still a roll of the dice. The #1 thing that burns me with the RP3 is that it's a pretty good handheld but Taki was right and the company knew certain batches of RP3 were defective and they went ahead and sold them anyway. That just doesn't sit right with me. The odds of me posting a full review or endorsing the device in the future are pretty minimal but I plan to continue posting my findings. 

The device can be ordered from Moorechip at GoRetroid.com or on AliExpress. 

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