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Funkey S Handheld Review – Switcher.gg

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The Funkey S is a retro-inspired device that was released back in 2020 and has been some tiny-sized waves (pun intended) in the retro gaming community.

It’s a mini Gameboy Advance SP-styled foldable handheld console created by a talented yet passionate team that can emulate games up to the PS1. The system has a pretty simple-to-use UI, although some concerns have been raised about the handheld’s battery life.

Up until this point, the reviews on the little gadget have been overwhelmingly positive, but does this little device hold up to the hype or is it just a marketing gimmick? Let’s get into it!

Device Specs

The FunKey S is small enough to attach to your keychain
The FunKey S is small enough to attach to your keychain.

We already mentioned a bit about this device’s size, but it really is small! Its dimensions are 42.5mm x 44.5mm x 13.8 mm, making this mini handheld the ultimate pocket retro gaming device.

While it may not be the #1 best handheld emulator on the market, it’s powered by an ARM Cortex-A7 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz and comes stacked with 64 MB DDR2 RAM. The SD card slot can support up to 128GB of storage, more than enough for a solid library of retro titles.

There’s an LCD IPS screen that’s 1.52 inches with a resolution of 240×240 px. The speaker on the device is decent, but it’s not exactly anything to write home about. That’s to be expected for a device this size though. There’s also a handy LED charging light that makes it easy to know when the device has been fully charged.

What Games Can It Emulate?

The Funkey S can emulate and load games from a decent variety of different systems. It can handle playing video games from the PS1, GameGear, NES, SuperNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Atari, Neo Geo Pocket, and even the lesser-known Wonderswan.

While it can’t really handle any games past the PS1 era, for a device this tiny, it’s quite capable. For the amount of systems this can emulate, you’ll have a healthy backlog to play through on the go for a long time.

How Does It Feel?

The FunKey S fits in the palm of your hand
The FunKey S fits in the palm of your hand.

The attention to detail on this little handheld is pretty uncanny. While small, it doesn’t feel cheap. It has a sturdy protective shell that will withstand scuffing and being dropped from time to time. It even has that satisfying snap sound when you shut the device that you’ll get with the original GameBoy Advance SP and DSdue to its active spring powered hinge.

The clamshell design really is the perfect idea for a device like this. It’s remniscent to the GBA SP, but also the older clamshell mobile phones that used to be really popular. While the buttons are quite small, you’ll surprisingly find yourself not accidentally pressing buttons that often.

That being said, clearly, this device isn’t for everyone. It’s incredibly small and while it is very cool, it’s not exactly the kind of thing that you’d be using for everyday gaming sessions. It’s more of a novelty that’s accessible and can be brought nearly anywhere around due to its size.

Your hands are likely to get somewhat uncomfortable if playing on this for long periods of time. It’s more meant for random gaming sessions while out and about. You simply pull out your keyring, power this little guy on, and get down on some gaming while waiting in line for your coffee.

The D-pad and action buttons all work rather well and are easy to use. They have the same clicky feedback when pressed in as modern controllers. You’ll also find the necessary Start and Selection buttons along with a MENU button for quick access to the multiple settings menus. The shoulder buttons also feel good to the press, but keep in mind that there are only 2 total and some PS1 games might require a full 4.

On the side, you’ll find the indicator micro USB port for charging. The screen is rather high quality and isn’t dim and dull looking like some other cheap devices. It’s nice and bright and the colors look fantastic.

There’s also a lanyard attachment on the device that you can use to attach this little guy to your keychain for easier access.

How Does It Perform?

This little handheld can emulate a lot of different retro consoles and systems
This little handheld can emulate a lot of different retro consoles and systems.

The small 600MAH battery doesn’t last very long and you can expect to get about 2 hours of gameplay max depending on the brightness settings and games you play. It works best for scenarios where you’re waiting and want something to tinker with and play to pass the time.

As previously mentioned, this little device can emulate Sega Game Gear, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, and SNES games, and many more. Games from these devices will run well and you won’t notice any performance issues. For its size, it really is a powerful handheld console for playing retro games.

You might notice some slight issues when emulating PS1 games depending on which title you choose, however, it was surprising just how well this device was able to run most PS1 titles that were thrown its way.

Summary

The Funkey S may be small, but that’s the allure of this device. It’s meant to be for casual gaming sessions on the go and shouldn’t be the first handheld retro device you buy to play all of your games every day. You’ll likely want to pick up another one of the current gen retro consoles available like the Ayn Odin.

It’s more of a novelty device than your standard go-to handheld emulator, but that’s the most incredible aspect. It can handle emulating games up to the Playstation 1 gaming console, although its tiny 1.5″ screen isn’t the best size for long gaming sessions. If you’re looking for a tiny little device to attach to your keychain and have around when you need to kill some time playing all your favorite classics, it’s a great option to pick up.

It’s a great addition to any handheld gaming collection. It’s a great conversation starter and will impress most people you let try it out. For obvious reasons, this handheld garnered much unexpected and overwhelming attention for the company that designed it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the specifications of the FunKey S?

The FunKey S is a handheld gaming device that comes with a 1.54-inch IPS display that has a resolution of 240×240 pixels. It’s powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and internally has 1GB of RAM. It runs a custom install of Linux and supports emulation for many different retro gaming consoles.

How long does the battery last on the FunKey S?

The 700mAh battery on the FunKey S typically will last for around 2 hours max depending on the brightness of the screen and the games you’re emulating. The device can be charged with its micro-USB port.

How does the FunKey S compare to the RG Nano?

The FunKey S and the RG Nano are both handheld gaming devices that support retro gaming emulation, however, the FunKey S has a smaller screen size and is more compact than the Nano. The RG Nano also has a more powerful processor and more RAM, which may result in better performance for some games.

Is the FunKey S available in the USA?

Yes, the FunKey S is available for purchase in the USA

What is the size of the screen on the FunKey S?

The FunKey S has a 1.54-inch IPS display with a resolution of 240×240 pixels.

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