For the past two years, the hardware designers at Analogue have been working on the Analogue Pocket, a handheld console that’s making a big splash in the retro gaming scene. Using absolutely no emulation, the Analogue Pocket supports over 2,700 games from the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance libraries. With a stunning display that effortlessly recreates the original look of these nostalgic titles, this high-tech homage to the history of handheld gaming is on everyone’s watch-list. After many months of waiting, we’ve finally got our hands on the console and can’t wait to share our thoughts. Now that it has arrived, let’s take a look at the Analogue Pocket and see if it lives up to the hype.
How the Analogue Pocket is Changing Handheld Gaming
The Analogue Pocket is the first console from Analogue, setting the tone for their line of retro gaming products moving forward. This is the time when Analogue needs to impress, and by most metrics, they’ve accomplished their goal. Out of the box, the Analogue Pocket supports thousands of official Game Boy games, so all you need is your old collection and you’re ready to go.
While there are plenty of emulation solutions and hardware alternatives for playing your Game Boy library, there’s no understating just how well the Analogue Pocket works. With a battery life of 6 – 10 hours and a beautiful 3.5-inch screen with 615 pixels per inch, you can simply pop in your favorite game and get in some quality gaming time. There’s no hassle-filled installation or confusing alterations needed. It just works like a charm. In a world where not everyone has the time or skill to pull off impressive hardware mods, it’s a big advantage to have a simple solution that doesn’t skimp on quality.
"However, we have had a handful of issues with the console dock, including not supporting some of our favorite wireless controllers, having a rough docking/undocking process, and emitting an odd static discharge sound while undocking. For these reasons, we suggest holding off on grabbing the dock until they work out any potential hardware malfunctions."
Our Thoughts on the Analogue Pocket and Accessories
When we secured our pre-order for the Analogue Pocket back in 2019, we went all-out, picking up a bunch of accessories and add-ons. In addition to the obvious defensive gear like screen protectors and a hard display case, we also picked up the Game Gear cartridge adapter and the console dock. The Game Gear adapter is a solid pick for anyone who wants to expand the Pocket’s library, offering excellent extra support for only $30. However, we have had a handful of issues with the console dock, including not supporting some of our favorite wireless controllers, having a rough docking/undocking process, and emitting an odd static discharge sound while undocking. For these reasons, we suggest holding off on grabbing the dock until they work out any potential hardware malfunctions. You can see the malfunction in action in our Analogue Pocket impressions video, where we cover our thoughts on both the Analogue Pocket and its accessories.
As for the system, the Analogue Pocket backs up its $220 asking price with a sleek design and excellent feel. While the left and right triggers are a bit small for our liking, the buttons are tactile and responsive, not feeling too squishy or snappy either. We’ve already stated how beautiful the screen is, but it bears repeating, as it’s simply crystal clear and provides vivid colors. The inclusion of a sleep function and save-states makes hopping into your favorite game that much easier, but we ran into a few issues when using save-states with a flash cart. Unfortunately, the Analogue Pocket also lacks internal Bluetooth, so you won’t be able to hook up any wireless headphones to the device. Pros and cons taken into consideration, we believe that the Analogue Pocket is one of the best ways to experience your Game Boy collection as it was meant to be played.
That said, you might have trouble finding one, as the Analogue Pocket is in high demand. However, with further updates planned and more accessories on the way, we’re sure that the stock will be replenished and the systems will become more readily available. Analogue has planned to release extra cartridge adapters to expand support for Neo Geo Pocket, Atari Lynx, and TurboGrafx-16 games, all of which should arrive sometime this year. Remember, this is just the start of Analogue’s run of retro gaming products, and if successful, they could significantly change the community moving forward. For now, we’re more than pleased with our Analogue Pocket and can’t wait to see what’s next for this stunning handheld.