Miyoo Mini Plus Evaluate—A Greater Display Is not Higher

Final 12 months’s Miyoo Mini retro gaming handheld was a shock hit with one deadly flaw: the corporate couldn’t maintain them in inventory for greater than a few minutes. The console would promote out virtually instantly and was practically unattainable to purchase in case you didn’t spend all day monitoring inventory. The Miyoo Mini Plus is the corporate’s answer to that downside, however an expanded design has launched one other deadly flaw: a much bigger display screen.

There have been two issues that made the unique Miyoo Mini so onerous to seek out. At the beginning, it was a unbelievable informal gaming gadget that packed the entire appeal of the unique Sport Boy right into a a lot smaller handheld that was capable of emulate traditional video games, together with titles from the unique PlayStation, for round $60. However the Miyoo Mini’s 2.8-inch, 640 x 480 display screen was extremely onerous for the corporate to reliably supply. So that you’ve received a superb handheld that everybody desires to get their arms on, and an organization struggling to truly construct them. It was a recipe for disappointment, which left many avid gamers pissed off.

The Miyoo Mini Plus is much less of an replace to the unique Miyoo Mini, and extra like a second swing at bat for the corporate. It does reach some ways—you possibly can actually find it in stock at many retailers—however arriving over a 12 months after the unique has given opponents time to introduce equally spec’d retro gaming handhelds, and as a lot as I cherished the unique Miyoo Mini, the Plus will not be the retro handheld I like to recommend, mainly due to the standard of the display screen.

Be aware: A pattern of the Miyoo Mini Plus was offered to Gizmodo by on-line retailer KeepRetro.

Acquainted {Hardware} With Some Welcome Enhancements

The Miyoo Mini Plus’ bump from a 2.8-inch to a 3.5-inch LCD display screen leads to a barely bigger handheld that I really discover much more comfy to carry and play than the unique.

The Miyoo Mini Plus (left) encompasses a bigger 3.5-inch LCD display screen than the unique Miyoo Mini (proper) whose 2.8-inch LCD made the hand-held troublesome to fabricate.
Picture: Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo

I admittedly have bigger arms than most, and whereas I’ve spent loads of time gaming on the unique Miyoo Mini over the previous 12 months, after about half an hour of taking part in on the gadget, my arms nonetheless begin to really feel cramped. The dimensions of the Miyoo Mini Plus’ D-pad and motion buttons are not any completely different than the unique, however they’re spaced out a bit of extra, which fits a good distance towards making the hand-held extra comfy to carry for longer gaming periods.

The Miyoo Mini stacked atop the Miyoo Mini Plus on a wooden table.

The Miyoo Mini Plus (backside) is barely thicker than the Miyoo Mini (high) however it really makes the bigger handheld simpler to carry.
Picture: Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo

The Miyoo Mini Plus can also be a bit thicker than the unique, making it barely much less pocketable, however the elevated thickness is a welcome tradeoff, as I additionally discovered the added bulk made it simpler for my arms to know. Like final 12 months’s mannequin, on the underside of the Miyoo Mini Plus you’ll discover a headphone jack, a USB-C charging port, and a microSD slot, which holds video games and the gadget’s OS.

The Miyoo Mini Plus and the Miyoo Mini sitting face down on a wooden table.

The shoulder buttons on the again of the Miyoo Mini Plus (left) have a extra pronounced J-shape design and are a lot simpler to press than the shoulder buttons on the Miyoo Mini (proper).
Picture: Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo

Other than being barely bigger, the recipe didn’t actually change all that a lot between the unique Miyoo Mini and the brand new Plus model, however there are a few different small enhancements I’ve come to understand. On the again you’ll nonetheless discover two units of shoulder buttons, however on the Miyoo Mini Plus they’ve a extra pronounced J-shape design that I discover simpler to seize with the guidelines of my fingers.

The Miyoo Mini Plus’ shoulder buttons are a lot bigger, too, with the interior pair sitting noticeably greater than the outer pair, making them simpler to differentiate by contact alone. It’s a small design refinement, however it goes a good distance towards making video games from the 16-bit period—when gamepads and controllers gained shoulder buttons—a lot simpler to play

The Miyoo Mini stacked atop the Miyoo Mini Plus.

The Miyoo Mini’s (high) analogue quantity wheel has been changed with a rocker-style button on the Miyoo Mini Plus (backside) permitting it for use for different capabilities, like adjusting the display screen brightness.
Picture: Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo

The least important replace, however one which I additionally welcome, was a change from an analog wheel for quantity management to a rocker button. Though it’s a lot simpler to rapidly flip the quantity up or down utilizing a thumbwheel, the quantity buttons on the facet of the Miyoo Mini Plus can be utilized for different capabilities, together with as a shortcut for adjusting the brightness of the display screen.

No Efficiency Positive factors, However You’ll Wish to Ditch That Inventory OS As Quick As You Can

The Miyoo Mini Plus’ barely bigger battery that doesn’t present any achieve for the period of time you possibly can play because of the bigger display screen. The internals of the hand-held are precisely the identical as the unique, with a 1.2GHz processor and 128MB of RAM. So performance-wise, the Miyoo Mini Plus can deal with retro video games courting again to the earliest Atari fashions, and proper on as much as the unique PlayStation. You might need some success with less-demanding video games from later consoles, such because the Sega Dreamcast, however given the Miyoo Mini Plus lacks any analog controls, the PS1 might be a protected cutoff in the case of what video games you select to emulate.

A Be aware on Emulation: In contrast to the consoles from Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft, which run software program from cartridges, discs, or by downloading it from official on-line recreation shops, many third occasion retro handhelds like this depend on ROM recordsdata performed via software program emulation. A sure stage of technical competency is required to get ROM recordsdata onto a retro handheld, and to configure the emulators for optimum gameplay efficiency. Utilizing ROM recordsdata to play video games as a substitute of their authentic distribution media can also be a authorized grey space. Though emulation software program and frontends reminiscent of RetroArch haven’t confronted any main authorized challenges to their growth, firms like Nintendo have used authorized means to shut down websites offering ROM recordsdata for obtain.

A close-up of the Miyoo Mini Plus' screen upgraded with the OnionOS operating system.

OnionOS isn’t formally accessible for the Miyoo Mini Plus but, however you possibly can set up a beta model of the OS to tremendously enhance the hand-held’s UI expertise.
Picture: Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo

Like the unique Miyoo Mini, the Plus ships with a Linux-based working system that gives a extra streamlined frontend for the RetroArch software program that handles the entire recreation emulation. It’s not fairly, and, fortunately, you don’t have to make use of it. One other factor that made the Miyoo Mini such a preferred gaming gadget was the group behind it who really created a custom operating system for it called OnionOS.

Along with being a welcome facelift with swappable themes, OnionOS optimized RetroArch for the Miyoo Mini’s {hardware}, and made the hand-held really feel as polished as a tool from a giant firm like Nintendo. It’s additionally fully free, and whereas on the time of writing you’ll have to make use of a Beta launch in order to install OnionOS on the Miyoo Mini Plus (the Plus isn’t formally supported by launch variations of OnionOS simply but), it’s been rock stable for me to this point.

Ought to You Select the Authentic Miyoo Mini or the New Miyoo Mini Plus?

This query is a little bit of a moot level, given the unique Miyoo Mini is not in manufacturing. The corporate merely gave up attempting to supply the hand-held’s 2.8-inch display screen and has gone all in on the Miyoo Mini Plus. However since scalpers had a area day with the unique, you possibly can nonetheless discover the smaller Miyoo Mini on websites like eBay, in case you’re prepared to pay a premium. However do you have to?

The Miyoo Mini handheld next to the Miyoo Mini Plus on a wooden table with Yoshi's Island on screen.

The unique Miyoo Mini (left) didn’t have an awesome display screen, however it’s a lot better wanting than what’s included on the bigger Miyoo Mini Plus (proper).
Picture: Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo

As a lot as I choose the bigger dimension of the Miyoo Mini Plus and discover it extra comfy to carry and truly play video games on, I’m extremely dissatisfied with the standard of its 3.5-inch, 640 x 480 LCD display screen, and I’m seemingly not alone. Different customers have reported points with the show on varied boards, however my largest grievance is a straightforward one: it appears to be like terrible.

It does have barely higher viewing angles than the display screen on the unique Miyoo Mini, however I needed to make intensive changes within the OnionOS’ settings to get the colours to look extra correct, and even then, titles like Yoshi’s Island for the SNES nonetheless look muddy, undersaturated, and simply plain ugly. Video games look a lot better on the unique Miyoo Mini, and whereas the standard of the Miyoo Mini Plus’ display screen doesn’t have an effect on gameplay, it’s onerous to disregard. For me, it’s a dealbreaker, however I’m unsure paying $200 for an out-of-production Miyoo Mini is a greater different.

Ought to You Select the Miyoo Mini Plus or the Anbernic RG35XX?

As I discussed earlier, whereas the creators of the Miyoo Mini had been struggling to make sufficient Minis to satisfy demand, firms like Anbernic, who’ve been making superb, sub-$100 handheld emulators for just a few years now, took benefit of each the demand and the shortage of provide. The outcome was the oddly named Anbernic RG35XX launched earlier this 12 months. Once I reviewed it back in March, I used to be totally impressed with the standard of the {hardware} and its efficiency, given its $65 price ticket, however was hesitant to advocate it with the Miyoo Mini Plus nonetheless en route.

The Miyoo Mini Plus and the Anbernic RG35XX sitting face down on a wooden table.

The bigger J-shaped shoulder buttons on the Anbernic RG35XX (proper) really feel simpler to press together with your fingertips than these on the Miyoo Mini Plus (left).
Picture: Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo

Having examined each techniques for some time now, I believe the Anbernic RG35XX is unquestionably the higher selection. It provides the identical stage of efficiency because the Miyoo Mini Plus, emulating hundreds of retro video games proper on as much as the PS1 period, with bigger, extra comfy controls—together with beefy shoulder buttons on the again—twin microSD card slots for holding your recreation recordsdata and OS recordsdata separate, and even a Mini-HDMI port for taking part in video games on a bigger display screen.

Sadly, the wonderful OnionOS isn’t accessible for the Anbernic RG35XX, however you possibly can improve its inventory OS and front-end with a a lot better different referred to as GarlicOS, developed by Black-Seraph. It’s not fairly as strong as OnionOS, however it nonetheless provides loads of polish to the RG35XX, whereas additionally streamlining and optimizing RetroArch.

The Miyoo Mini Plus handheld next to the Anbernic RG35XX on a wooden table, with both featuring Yoshi's Island on screen.

Each characteristic a 3.5-inch LCD show, however the high quality, brightness, and colour saturation of the display screen on the Anbernic RG35XX (proper) far outshines the display screen on the Miyoo Mini Plus (left).
Picture: Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo

However what makes the Anbernic RG35XX, which is definitely a couple of bucks cheaper than the Miyoo Mini Plus, a greater purchase, is its vastly superior display screen. Aspect-by-side, the RG35XX’s show makes the Miyoo Mini Plus’ look completely horrible, virtually like I forgot to take away a tinted display screen protector after opening it. (There wasn’t one.) The RG35XX’s display screen isn’t the most effective show Anbernic has ever placed on certainly one of its gadgets, however it far outperforms that of the Miyoo Mini Plus, and for me, makes the choice between the 2 a straightforward one: go together with the Anbernic RG35XX.

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