Analogue Pocket review — The definitive Game Boy experience

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With Analog Pocket, gaming fans have a new way to experience old handheld games. The experience of using the Pocket is so good that it feels crisp and new to many games that are a quarter-century old (or older). Thanks to the solid construction of this pocket, responsive inputs and glossy display. Put it as simply as possible: If you have a significant Game Boy or Game Boy color cartridge collection, you need this device.

Analog Pocket is now available for (200. You can get it for another $ 100 with a dock to connect to the television. Like everything on earth, however, enthusiastic consumers are facing delays as supply struggles to meet demand.

I will not go into every feature of Pocket in this review. You can see the system in action with most of its features in the video at the top of the page. Instead, let’s talk about what I like, what I don’t like, and why.

The star of this show is that screen. Analog brilliantly decided to implement a 3.5-inch 1600-by-1440 panel. While the analog seems to be overkilling, it works here because it has exactly the same 10-fold resolution as the original Game Boy and Game Boy color. This means that the analog can be integer-scaled to the original games to fit perfectly on this screen. Perhaps more importantly, the resolution is so high that you can interpolate almost any other classic system without losing the original pixel art proportions.

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In addition to sharpness, the panel uses a variable refresh rate. This ensures that recession and stuttering seem more unified and natural. The pocket also has ultra-vibrant brightness and extreme viewing angle. It is a performance without any real flaws.

Above: Zoom into its Game Boy Color LCD mode on the analog pocket screen.

Analog Pocket: Clever and easy to use

Outside of the screen, I like almost everything else about the pocket. Its 4,300 mAh battery lasts a really long time and you can recharge it relatively quickly. Analog includes loud and clear stereo speakers. And the D-pads and buttons are all solid and feel responsive. I especially like the shoulder buttons, which look like L + R inputs on GBA SP.

Analog also ensures that you can make quick adjustments to get the most out of your pocket. You can press and hold a few buttons to increase the brightness or to swap between classic display modes. While Pocket enhances older games beautifully, you can switch to a mode that mimics the look of the original Game Boy or Japanese-only Game Boy Pocket Lite. The same shortcut option also enables you to save and load your state.

Menus are also easy to navigate while also giving you powerful options to control specific features for games from different systems.

If you get an alternative dock, the system quickly becomes the best way to play any of your handheld classics on TV. You can connect a wireless controller using Bluetooth or use a wide variety of wired controllers.

Lastly, I appreciate the device’s very simple sleep mode, which makes it easy to quickly pick up a game whenever you have a minute or two.

Analog Pocket: Not perfect

The first handheld of the analog comes short in a few areas. For one, while it supports EverDrive (which enables you to place hundreds of games on a single cartridge), you can’t put the system into sleep mode when using that cart.

And while the Pocket screen is the ideal size and resolution for Game Boy, GBA games play in the letterbox format. However, that’s just a small complaint because those games still seem unreliable.

It’s hard to distinguish the volume button from the power button when you’re playing in the dark.

Excellence with ability

Analog pockets are now great as a way to play certain classics. I like what he does to make those games feel fresh. And I will buy this device for those known and proven capabilities.

That said, Analog is opening up its FPGA system to developers who want to create new cores for Pocket. This, presumably, could bring support for all types of classic consoles. But we’ll have to wait and see what the base for the pocket looks like.

Of course, if you are someone who wants to make, Pocket has covered you in multiple ways. You can try creating new FPGA cores, or you can use the included Nanoloop music-creation tools. Pocket also enables you to boot games created with the latest GB Studio development tools.

Considering all that, the pocket is exactly what I was hoping for. Now it’s time to find out if that’s all there is to it.

Analog Pocket is now available for $ 200. Analog provides a sample unit for the purpose of this review.

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