So you‘ve heard about the Odin Lite – the newest handheld in a line of customizable Android gaming devices. How does it stack up to competitors like the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation Vita? As avid retro gamers ourselves, we were excited to get our hands on the Odin Lite and put it through its paces. In this comprehensive review, we‘ll give you all the details you need to decide if the Odin Lite should be your next mobile gaming rig!
A Quick History of Odin Handhelds
Before diving into the specifics of the Lite model, let‘s look at where this plucky handheld came from. The Odin line originated just a couple of years ago in 2020 from Anbernic, makers of retro gaming handhelds like the RG350.
They launched a successful Indiegogo campaign for the original Odin handheld. It shipped the following year to rave reviews from retro enthusiasts.
The Odin Base model with a Snapdragon 845 chip followed in 2021. It improved performance and tweaked the form factor.
Hot on its heels came the Odin Pro in 2022, Anbernic‘s most powerful Odin yet, with a Snapdragon 888 processor.
And that brings us to the Odin Lite in 2022, the newest budget-friendly iteration of this Android gaming line!
Now let‘s see how it compares to its predecessors.
Odin Lite Price and Release Date
The Odin Lite was announced in late 2021 as a more affordable addition to the Odin family. Pre-orders on Indiegogo and the AYN website started at $198.99.
Predictably, the first production run sold out rapidly. Since then, stocks have been intermittent, with most ordering through Indiegogo where the device now costs $227.
|Model||Original Price||Current Price|
Production and shipping issues have led to extensive delays however, with some backers waiting months post launch to receive their Lite. Patience is a virtue if you order direct!
Models – How Does the Lite Compare?
Let‘s see how the Odin Lite compares to the Base and Pro models in terms of size, weight, and other specs:
|Spec||Odin Lite||Odin Base||Odin Pro|
|Size||224 x 106 x 15mm||228 x 106 x 15mm||258 x 106 x 17mm|
|Screen||6" IPS 1080p||5.99" IPS 1080p||5.99" AMOLED 1080p|
|Processor||MediaTek Helio P60||Snapdragon 845||Snapdragon 888|
|Battery||6600 mAh||6200 mAh||6000 mAh|
As you can see, the Lite shaves some weight and size off of the Base and Pro models. But it falls behind in processing power, RAM, and storage.
The Lite‘s Helio P60 chip is no slouch, providing solid midrange Android performance. But the Base and Pro simply have more muscle for advanced emulation.
The Lite sits in the "Goldilocks zone" between size, power, and price. If those are your priorities, it hits a sweet spot!
Features – A Pint-Sized Powerhouse
Don‘t let the smaller size fool you – the Odin Lite still packs quite a punch! Here are some of its standout features:
Streaming capabilities – Like its siblings, the Lite lets you stream games over WiFi from a gaming PC or cloud service. This vastly expands your gameplay possibilities!
"Super Dock" TV output – The Lite supports video-out to a TV or monitor via its USB-C port and HDMI adapter. Dock it like a Switch for big-screen gaming!
4G LTE data – A unique trait of the Lite is its 4G LTE support through a physical SIM card slot. This lets you access game downloads and streaming on the go without WiFi!
MicroSD storage – Augment the 64GB internal storage with massive microSD cards up to 2TB. That‘s a ton of retro ROMs!
Android 11 OS – The Lite runs Android 11, giving you access to Google Play apps and services. Want to emulate and use social media or streaming? Done!
Ergonomic, portable design – At 224 x 106 x 15mm and 359 grams, the Lite is primed for gaming on the go. The handheld-style physical controls further optimize mobile play.
Now let‘s see how it handles in the real world!
Hands-On Review and Testing
We‘ve had our Odin Lite for 3 months now, putting it through extensive testing. Here are our impressions of the display, controls, performance, battery life, and other key factors:
The 6" 1080p IPS screen is bright and vibrant, if a bit small. The 599 ppi pixel density makes games look sharp. Viewing angles are also solid thanks to IPS technology.
We especially appreciated the color temperature adjustment for comfortable night viewing. And it handles 720p/1080p streaming without breaking a sweat.
The thumbsticks take some getting used to – they‘re on the small side. But they‘re very responsive, as are the D-pad and face buttons.
The shoulder triggers and bumpers provide a satisfying click, though they could be more ergonomic. Overall control response exceeds expectations for the price.
The MediaTek Helio P60 CPU, while not cutting-edge, delivers reliable midrange Android performance even for intensive tasks like Citra emulation. Here are some benchmarks:
- AnTuTu Benchmark: 130K+
- Geekbench: 350 single / 1300 multi
Some occasional frame drops in the most demanding games, but highly playable overall. The 4GB RAM is sufficient for Android 11 and most emulators.
With its zippy 6600 mAh battery, the Odin Lite lasted us an average of 5 hours during intense gaming sessions. Lighter use can stretch it to 6-8 hours of uptime.
Quick charging replenishes a dead battery in around 2 hours. For a handheld, this is great endurance. The battery also recharges while docked to a TV.
This is what you really want to know – how well does Odin Lite emulate classic game consoles? Quite capably, with some caveats.
- PS2 (AetherSX2): 50-60fps for many titles at 2x resolution. More demandiing games benefit from lower settings.
- GameCube/Wii (Dolphin): Full speed for many games at native res. Eternal Darkness dipped to 20-30fps.
- Dreamcast (ReDream): Flawless performance even at 4x resolution.
- PSP (PPSSPP): A few minor frame rate issues, otherwise solid at 3x resolution.
- N64 (Mupen64Plus): Struggled with intense titles like Conker and Rogue Squadron. Excellent on lighter games.
- SNES/Genesis/MAME: Pixel perfect full speed emulation.
So while not as powerful as the Snapdragon-based Odin models, the Lite hangs tough even with PS2 and Wii emulation. Tweaking settings nets smooth performance for most retro libraries.
Pros and Cons
- Great price at under $250
- Very portable form factor
- Good build quality and controls
- Officially sanctioned Android 11 OS
- Excellent battery life
- Capable midrange gaming performance
- Can stream and output to TV
- Mediocre baseline storage and RAM
- Light on advanced processing power
- Small touchscreen and controls
- Frustrating availability and shipping times
- Lacks premium Odin Pro screen and triggers
Should You Buy the Odin Lite?
So, is the Odin Lite a smart purchase for retro handheld gaming? Here is who we recommend this plucky portable for:
Casual/first-time emulator users – With easy Android 11 support and controls tailored for retro gaming, the Odin Lite is ideal for testing emulator waters for the first time. It can handle up to PS2/Wii nicely.
Streaming fans – Thanks to the LTE data support and streaming capable hardware, the Lite is built for cloud gaming on the go. Services like Xbox Cloud Gaming will shine on this handheld.
Portability-focused gamers – If you want a lightweight device that fits nicely in a jacket pocket for gaming on commutes, business trips, etc., the svelte Odin Lite is made for you.
Budget-focused shoppers – At under $250, the Odin Lite blows similarly priced Android handhelds out of the water for performance and features. You get a lot for your money.
For retro enthusiasts who don‘t mind tweaking settings for best performance and already own powerful gaming PCs/consoles, the Odin Lite hits a sweet spot.
It may not claim the crown for raw power, but this plucky portable punches above its weight – and price point! Let us know if you have any other questions about this Android handheld. Happy gaming!