Today, we’re diving into the highly anticipated Retroid Pocket 4 Pro, a handheld device that’s been generating a buzz in the gaming community.
One of the standout features of the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro is the adoption of a cutting-edge CPU, and it’s this component that has been the source of my anticipation. Having experienced the device first hand, I can confidently say that the performance is truly outstanding. Whether you’re diving into classic titles or exploring the expansive world of emulation, the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro lives up to the excitement it has generated.
Aesthetics play a crucial role in the gaming experience, and Retroid hasn’t been disappointed in this department. The device comes in a variety of color variants, and I personally opted for the watermelon version. This choice, reminiscent of the beloved Pocket Flip, has quickly become my favorite. The design not only pays homage to the retro era but also introduces a fresh and vibrant look that suits the modern gamer’s taste.
Now, let’s talk about the different options available for the Retroid Pocket 4. Retroid has provided gamers with a choice between the regular Pocket 4, equipped with the Dominity 900 CPU, and the focus of our discussion, the Pocket 4 Pro, featuring the more powerful Dominity 1100. This strategic move allows users to select a model that aligns with their performance preferences, ensuring a tailored gaming experience.
Retroid Pocket 4 Pro: Video Review
|Retroid Pocket 4 Pro
|4.7-inch IPS touch screen, 750 x 1334 pixels, 16:9 Aspect Ratio
|Mediatek Dimension 1100, 4xA78 @ 2.6Ghz 4xA78 @ 2.6Ghz
|Mali G77 MC9@836MHz
|8GB LPDDR4x UFS 3.1
|128GB UFS 3.1 + TF Card Slot
|Play Station 1, Play Station 2, PSP, Game Cube N64, NeoGeo, MAME, Sega Genesis, SNES...
|Micro HDMI video output, 3.5mm headphone port, USB Type-C (data and charging)
|7.2 x 3.1 x 0.9 inches (184.8 x 82.6 x 15.8 mm)
Retroid Pocket 4 Pro: Design
The Retroid Pocket 4 Pro has maintained the excellent form factor of its predecessors, specifically the Retroid Pocket 3 and 3 Plus, making it a highly portable gaming system. One of the standout features contributing to its success is the incorporation of analog triggers at the back, providing a linear press that proves especially effective in racing games. This addition enhances the overall gaming experience, allowing for precise and responsive control during intense gameplay.
A notable improvement lies in the front-facing Hall-based analog sticks. The use of Hall-based technology alleviates concerns related to stick drift, offering users accurate and reliable control. While some enthusiasts may have reservations about the D-pad employing Dome switches instead of a conductive pad, the initial worries dissipate as the roll feels smooth and responsive, providing a comfortable gaming experience.
Moving on to the audio features, the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro boasts dual stereo speakers at the bottom. These speakers are capable of producing impressive volume levels, but advise keeping the volume around 80% to avoid any tinny distortion, especially noticeable at full volume. For those who prefer a more immersive audio experience, the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack allows users to connect headphones. Additionally, practical features such as a micro SD card slot and USB Type-C for charging further enhance the device’s convenience.
Examining the top of the handheld reveals essential controls, including the power button, volume rocker, and a micro HDMI output. The latter enables users to connect the device to a larger display, offering a full-screen experience due to the 16:9 aspect ratio. Despite the absence of a desktop mode for an optimized external display experience, the 1080p output ensures a visually pleasing and immersive gaming session.
The Retroid Pocket 4 Pro has made a bold statement in the handheld gaming world, with its standout feature being the powerhouse CPU it employs – the MediaTek Dimensity 1100. This octa-core processor boasts 4 A78 cores running at 2.6 GHz and 4 A55 cores at 2 GHz, delivering robust performance for a smooth gaming experience. While the Dimensity 1100 is not a new chip, it has been challenging to find in other handhelds, making the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro a noteworthy contender.
The pricing strategy for the Pro model is transparent, offering a competitive $199, while the standard Retroid Pocket 4 with the Dimensity 900 comes in at $149. With the higher-end CPU, the Pro variant also boasts a more powerful GPU – the Mali G77 MC9, running at 836 MHz. The device packs 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM, 128 GB of UFS 3.1 storage (expandable with a Micro SD card), and a 4.7-inch 16:9 display with a 60 Hz refresh rate, providing a clear and vibrant visual experience. Other notable features include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, micro HDMI output, USB Type-C, a substantial 5,000 mAh battery, and it runs on Android 13 with over-the-air updates directly from Retroid.
To assess the device’s performance, benchmark tests were conducted, comparing it to the Retroid Pocket 3 Plus, which utilized the Unisoc T618 CPU. The results were nothing short of impressive. In Geekbench 5, the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro outperformed its predecessor with a single-core score of 829 and a multi-core score of 3142, compared to the Pocket 3 Plus’s 383 and 1442, respectively. The 3D Mark Slingshot test on the older CPU scored 2,247, while the Dimensity 1100 in the Pocket 4 Pro maxed out the benchmark. Wildlife Extreme Benchmark, which couldn’t run on the Unisoc T618, showcased a score of 1,263 on the Pocket 4 Pro. Lastly, in the N22 Benchmark, the Pro model scored a whopping 72.738, leaving the Pocket 3 Plus’s 23.6181 in the dust.
These benchmarks vividly illustrate that the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro is not just a minor upgrade but a significantly more powerful handheld gaming device. The Dimensity 1100 ensures a smooth and responsive gaming experience, making the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro a compelling choice for retro gaming enthusiasts looking for top-notch performance in a portable package.
Retroid Pocket 4 Pro: Features
Let’s dive into the intricacies of the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro’s operating system. Running on Android 13, the device offers a smooth and responsive user experience, complemented by the power of its robust chipset. As we explore the various features, it becomes evident that Retroid has tailored the operating system to cater specifically to the unique characteristics of this handheld gaming device.
Starting with the quick actions accessible from the top menu, users have the standard options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, and alarm. However, the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro introduces a performance menu that includes standard and high-performance modes. In high-performance mode, the fan can be set to sport or smart, providing users with control over the cooling system. The device’s thermal performance is noteworthy, as high-performance mode, combined with the fan, prevents thermal throttling, ensuring consistent performance during extended gaming sessions.
A valuable addition is the ‘Force landscape mode’ option, enhancing compatibility with various applications on Android. Moving into the official Android settings, there’s a dedicated section known as handheld settings. Here, users can access features like power saving, RAM cleaning during standby, background process limit settings, and options to connect to a TV. The latter allows users to choose between mirror mode and disabling the handheld screen entirely when connected to a larger display. Notable settings include ‘No Auto sleep’ and ‘Force landscape,’ crucial when connected to an external screen.
The device offers granular control over input and controller styles, allowing users to customize the behavior of face buttons. The Retroid Pocket 4 Pro supports different controller styles, with options for Xbox-like or Switch-like configurations. Analog triggers are present, with settings for analog, digital, or a combination of both. This flexibility caters to various gaming preferences, particularly in racing games where precise control is essential.
Additional features like virtual mouse enable the use of an on-screen cursor with the built-in analog stick. The device also provides options for L2 and R2 modes, further enhancing the versatility of the analog triggers. Notably, Retroid has incorporated a dedicated ‘ADV Advance mode,’ offering advanced customization options for users who want to fine-tune their experience.
The Retroid Pocket 4 Pro not only excels in the realm of emulation but also proves to be a powerful contender for native Android gaming. In this overview, we’ll explore the extra settings and features that enhance the gaming experience on this handheld device.
Starting with gameplay footage of Minecraft, it’s evident that the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro handles Android games smoothly, thanks to its powerful MediaTek Dimensity 1100 CPU. The device introduces a key adapter accessible by swiping from the right-hand side, allowing users to customize on-screen controls for games that may not natively support controllers. This is especially beneficial for titles like Genshin Impact and others, where mapping controls enhances the overall gaming experience.
The key adapter provides flexibility in positioning buttons on the screen. Additionally, users can double-tap the right analog stick to access settings such as virtual joystick mode, directional skill mode, and adjust view mode, enabling precise customization for various games. A unique feature is the built-in screen recorder, supporting resolutions up to 1080p, and an HDMI output for easy connection to larger displays or capture devices.
A floating FPS monitor, real-time FPS counter, temperature, CPU usage, and memory information offer valuable insights into the device’s performance. The Retroid Pocket 4 Pro handles most Android games at 60fps, showing its capability to deliver a smooth gaming experience. The compact form factor adds to the appeal, making it a portable powerhouse for gaming on the go.
The device boasts both the stock Android UI and the Retroid Launcher, a customized interface designed for emulation. The Retroid Launcher simplifies the process of importing, categorizing, and downloading box art for games. Users can organize their game library efficiently, and the launcher allows for setting up emulator parameters per system.
Temperature and Autonomy
In the quest to understand the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro’s thermal performance, a dedicated test was conducted to put the device through its paces. Armed with a built-in cooling fan, the device offers a potential solution to keep temperatures in check during extended gaming sessions.
During the thermal performance test, the device was subject to high-stress conditions for approximately 11 minutes. All eight cores were pushed to their maximum, creating a scenario where the cooling system and thermal management were rigorously evaluated. The cooling fan, operating in smart mode under high performance, has proven effective in preventing significant thermal throttling.
While the fan emitted a sound slightly louder than expected, it wasn’t overpowering. Users can mitigate the fan noise by adjusting the in-game volume, creating a balanced gaming experience. The extreme stress test, with all eight cores running at 100%, demonstrated the device’s capability to handle intensive gaming sessions without compromising performance. The maximum CPU temperature reached during this stress test was a modest 62°C, well below the threshold for thermal throttling.
Considering the overall battery life, it’s worth noting that individual usage patterns will influence results. For instance, during a GBA emulation demo at 100% screen brightness, the device provided a respectable runtime of 5 hours and 54 minutes. However, a stress test pushing all cores to the maximum yielded a runtime of 2 hours and 9 minutes. In mixed-use scenarios, users can expect an average of around 4 hours, depending on the nature of their activities.
Retroid Pocket 4 Pro: Conclusion
Embarking on my initial journey with the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro, I find myself captivated by its form factor and the promise it holds for retro gaming enthusiasts. The device offers a delightful variety of color options, catering to individual preferences and ensuring a personalized touch to the gaming experience. While a conductive pad under the d-pad would have been a welcomed addition, the dome switches in place perform admirably, allowing for precise controls and an immersive gameplay experience.
The battery life on the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro has proven to be commendable, providing a reliable companion for extended gaming sessions. The device handles favorite platformers with ease, allowing for the execution of special moves and precise maneuvers without missing a beat. The thoughtful design and ergonomic layout contribute to an enjoyable gaming experience, bringing back the nostalgic charm of classic gaming consoles.
However, one aspect that could benefit from refinement is the fan profile. The inclusion of smart and sport modes provides flexibility, but even in smart mode, the fan can become a bit intrusive in terms of noise. Although this is mitigated by adjusting the volume during gameplay, a more nuanced control over the fan speed would be a welcome addition.
The Retroid Pocket 4 Pro, priced at $199, stands as a compelling option in the realm of Android-based handhelds. While there are more powerful alternatives like the Odin 2, which comes at a higher price point, the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro strikes a balance between performance and accessibility. It offers an enticing proposition for those seeking an immersive retro gaming experience without breaking the bank.