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The 6 Best Powkiddy Handhelds for Retro Gaming in 2023

Retro gaming has seen a major resurgence in recent years. With new video games selling for $60-70 each, gamers are flocking to classic consoles where they can play thousands of games they remember from childhood for just the cost of the hardware. This demand has led to a flood of retro gaming handhelds from manufacturers in China. One of the most prominent companies in this market is Powkiddy.

Powkiddy makes a range of handheld devices aimed at playing old school video games. They offer different sizes, specs, prices and game libraries so you can find the right fit for your retro gaming needs. In this guide, we’ll highlight 6 of the best Powkiddy handhelds available in 2023 and what sets them apart.

Why Powkiddy Handhelds Are Popular

There are a few key reasons Powkiddy devices have become go-to choices for retro gamers:

Pre-Installed Games: Many Powkiddy models come pre-loaded with thousands of classic game ROMs. Of course downloading ROMs raises legal concerns but with such a huge built-in library, you may never need to add more games.

Portability: These handhelds are designed explicitly for gaming on the go. With compact sizes and long battery life, you can play Genesis or SNES games anywhere without being tethered to a wall outlet.

Affordability: Prices for Powkiddy consoles range from around $50-170. Considering you’re getting an all-in-one retro gaming machine, this represents tremendous value compared to tracking down old systems and game cartridges.

Customization: Powkiddy devices run open source firmware allowing retro gaming enthusiasts to customize settings, overclock chips for better performance, and load additional emulators.

Now let’s jump into the best Powkiddy models for playing classics from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras all the way up through PS1.

1. Best Overall: Powkiddy X55

The Powkiddy X55 is widely considered one of the most powerful retro handhelds under $200. It strikes an ideal balance of performance, features, build quality, and price.

Powkiddy X55

Powkiddy X55 Key Features:

  • 5.5” IPS screen with rich colors
  • Powerful RK3566 processor
  • Up to 6 hours battery life
  • Supports PS1, N64, Dreamcast plus older systems
  • 32GB storage + micro SD card slot
  • HDMI video output
  • 30+ built-in emulators and 30,000+ games

For just $169, you’d be hard-pressed finding a handheld with better bang for buck. The X55 can smoothly handle PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 titles which cheaper devices struggle with. Connect to your TV via HDMI to transform it into a versatile retro gaming console.

If there’s one knock, the shoulder buttons feel quite clicky/noisy when pressed but it’s a minor gripe. For a feature-packed all rounder, the X55 leads the Powkiddy lineup.

Buy the Powkiddy X55 on Amazon

2. Best Value: Powkiddy RK2023

The budget-friendly Powkiddy RK2023 offers exceptional value at under $150. It plays all the expected retro systems smoothly, has one of the more comfortable form factors, and even works great for PSP emulation where the X55 can struggle at times.


Powkiddy RK2023 Key Features:

  • Ergonomic design with quality feel
  • RK3566 processor
  • 3.5” 640×480 display
  • Support for 20+ emulators including NES, SNES, Genesis, PS1
  • 16GB internal storage + 128GB MicroSD card included
  • Up to 6 hour battery
  • Full stereo speakers

Considering everything the RK2023 offers for under $150, it provides tremendous bang for your buck. The comfortable curved shape fits nicely in hands during extended gaming sessions too. If you don’t need the larger screen or HDMI out of the X55, the RK2023 gets you 95% of that experience for $20+ less.

Buy the Powkiddy RK2023 on Amazon

3. Most Portable: Powkiddy V90

If you want a retro gaming handheld that easily fits into a pocket, look no further than the Powkiddy V90. Inspired by the clamshell design of classic Game Boy Advance SP and DS devices, the entire V90 folds down into a petite 3 inch package.


Powkiddy V90 Key Features:

  • Flips open and closed like a DS
  • 3” 320×240 folding screen
  • 16GB storage + MicroSD slot
  • 10+ built-in emulators for retro systems
  • Up to 4 hours per charge
  • Comes with protective case

Weighing barely 100g, you’ll have no problem carrying the V90 anywhere for quick retro gaming sessions. The small screen and controls work surprisingly well for 8 and 16-bit games. Battery life is somewhat limited compared to other Powkiddy devices but the V90 charges over USB-C.

For $50, it makes an awesome pocket-sized companion for retro gaming on the go. The nostalgic, compact clamshell design with a fresh OS and support for wireless controllers gives off major Game Boy Advance vibes.

Buy the Powkiddy V90 on Amazon

4. Best Budget: Powkiddy RGB10 Max 2

If you’re seeking an affordable entry point into Powkiddy handhelds with nicer build quality than ultra-cheap options, check out the RGB10 Max 2. It delivers good performance, battery life, and nice 5” screen at just over $100.

RGB10 Max 2

Powkiddy RGB10 Max 2 Key Features:

  • Sturdy construction and ergonomic shape
  • 5” 854×480 IPS Display
  • RK3326 1.5Ghz processor
  • 17,000+ pre-installed games
  • 128GB MicroSD storage
  • 8+ hour battery
  • Wireless controller support

While not overly powerful compared to pricier Powkiddy offerings, the RGB10 Max 2 handles 16-bit gaming well. Support for two wireless controllers makes it nice for multiplayer too. Build quality exceeds expectations for just over $100. If your retro gaming demands are lower or you’re shopping on a tight budget, it’s a great affordable Powkiddy handheld.

Buy the Powkiddy RGB10 Max 2 on Amazon

5. Best Large Screen: Powkiddy X18S

For gamers who prefer bigger displays closer to the size of switch/steam deck, check out the Powkiddy X18S. It packs an expansive 6.81 inch 1440×720 LCD into a slim yet grippy chassis. Expect vivid colors and enough processing muscle for smooth PS1 emulation.


Powkiddy X18S Key Features:

  • Large 6.81” LCD display
  • Octa-core processor
  • 16GB storage + 128GB MicroSD
  • 6000mAh battery
  • Multiple color options
  • Supports wireless controllers

The sheer size of the X18S screen combined with its sleek shape gives it almost tablet-like versatility. It handles up to PS1/N64 era games well. Battery can last over 8 hours. If you like bigger screens for retro gaming, the X18S delivers at a reasonable $170 price point.

One negative is L3/R3 buttons require reaching around back which isn’t ideal ergonomically. But the spacious display size makes up for it.

Buy the Powkiddy X18S on Amazon

6. Best Retro Form Factor: Powkiddy RGB20S

The Powkiddy RGB20S adopts a vertical style reminiscent of the original Game Boy and PlayStation Portable. Its nice 3.5” screen, 20,000+ pre-installed games, long-lasting battery, and sub $100 price tag make it a versatile pick for retro enthusiasts.


Powkiddy RGB20S Key Features:

  • Vertical style like OG Game Boy
  • 3.5” 640×480 IPS Display
  • 16GB + 128GB MicroSD storage
  • 8000mAh battery lasts 8+ hours
  • Supports PS1, N64, SNES plus older systems
  • Pocket-friendly size and weight

Don’t let the resemblance to 1989‘s DMG-01 Game Boy fool you – the RGB20S has guts! It handles PlayStation 1 emulation better than expected. Support for attaching wireless controllers also helps offset tiny buttons for certain games. Around 8 hours of battery life gives you plenty of on-the-go gaming too.

If you have fond memories of monochrome portable gaming, the Powkiddy RGB20S pushes the right nostalgic buttons on top of great performance.

Buy the Powkiddy RGB20S on Amazon

What To Consider When Buying a Powkiddy Handheld

With many Powkiddy options available in 2023, keep these key factors in mind while choosing a model:

  • Games/Consoles Supported: Consider what systems you most want to play – NES/SNES? PlayStation? Consulting spec sheets helps match power to your needs. Software like ArkOS can also boost system compatibility.

  • Display Size + Quality: Bigger screens around 5”-7” provide more immersive gaming but sacrifice portability. IPS displays offer richer colors and viewing angles than cheaper LCDs.

  • CPU Chipset + RAM: Powkiddy leverages chipsets like RK3326, RK3566 and octa-core processors for emulation grunt work. More RAM aids multitasking. Check if custom firmware exists to push performance further.

  • Storage: Many Powkiddys allow adding high capacity 400GB+ MicroSD cards for game ROMs. Some models even have 128GB+ already included.

  • Battery Life: Expect anywhere from 4 hours to 8+ hours from Lithium polymer batteries. Lower powered CPUs + bigger batteries = longer play sessions.

  • Ergonomics: Hand fit/button layout varies so check dimensions. Curved grips or detachable controllers can aid longer play sessions.

Considering the above will lead you to the right Powkiddy retro machine to fulfill your classic gaming needs!

The Bottom Line

Thanks to their combination of software compatibility, hardware capability and nostalgic appeal, Powkiddy devices have become a go-to for budget-friendly retro gaming. Their different models cater to all preferences.

For most gamers, the Powkiddy X55 represents the best middle ground with its crisp 5.5” display, long battery life, huge built-in game library, quality feel, HDMI out, and reasonable $169 sticker. But every Powkiddy handheld featured here excels in certain areas so review specs vs your must-have features.

Whichever model you choose, Powkiddy offers an affordable all-in-one solution to start enjoying thousands of classic 8, 16 and even 32-bit games from past eras. Just don’t forget your own game room snacks for the full retro experience!