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The Quest for the Perfect PICO-8 handheld

Ever since PICO-8 was created people have longed for a physical form of what is still a fantasy console.

On my long quest for the perfect PICO-8 handheld I've owned no less than six handhelds (plus experiments with iPhones and DIY Pi Zero solutions). Until I finally reached the handheld endgame with the Waveshare GPM280. Here's my take on all of them:

Name Pros Cons
PocketChip Officially supported by Zep Terrible keyboard, unplayable game controls
" Screen is pixel-perfect (with a bit of border) Really bulky
" Hacker vibes Unfinished look
" No sound
" Not enough perf for demanding carts
Clockwork Pi Good performance Bulky
" Good controls Low rez plastic screen that scratches easily
" Nice OS Need to assemble
" Video driver issues
GPi Case Great build quality Pi 0 doesn't have enough perf even for 30 fps carts
" Good looks Slow boot times
" Screen has great colors Low resolution, soft picture
" Bulky
RG280V Tiny form factor a good fit for PICO-8 No Wi-Fi
" Great build quality Uneven scaling
" Great controls PICO-8 emulator not 100 % compatible
" Screen has great colors Progress on emulator stalled
" Sound issues
ZPG Pro (OGA Clone) Great performance No Wi-Fi
" Runs real PICO-8 OS is lacking
" Great screen Screen has big borders if you want pixel-perfect
" Good build quality Can't use alternative OS without patching
GPM280 Best screen yet for PICO-8, 286 dpi 2 hour battery life
" Great looks and tiny form factor More expensive than RG280V
" Runs real PICO-8
" Wi-Fi access to splore
" Great performance
" Polished OS
P#88091 2021-02-24 09:03 ( Edited 2021-02-24 11:26)

Have you looked at ODROID-GO Advance?


I have PICO-8 running on it and it works really well.

P#93282 2021-06-10 01:53

I'd also like to mention the Anbernic RG351-Series (RG351P, RG351M, RG351V), these have an ARM-CPU, means they can run PICO8-Games natively (using the Raspberry Pi-Version).

P#93284 2021-06-10 02:39

@captadhoc I tested the ZPG Pro which has the same chip and screen resolution as the Odroid Go Advance.

P#93288 2021-06-10 06:10
:: dw817

There is a handheld console called an RG-350, @pixelpunker. There is also a donation-supported emulator called Tac-08 that runs Pico-8 games and programs in it with a few exceptions. Some of the more advanced commands are not recognized like CSTORE() and FLIP() is not recognized at all.

But most of the games for Pico-8 written with the standard _Draw() and _Update() will run flawlessly in it. I know this because I have the RG-350 and I have Tac-08 installed on it.

This is certainly worth checking out as the price for the RG-350 is now less than $85 and by default comes fully assembled and ready to go.

P#93329 2021-06-11 00:51 ( Edited 2021-06-11 01:11)

I have a gpdwin2. even setting it to run at 50% cpu power when unplugged, giving the machine about 8-9 hours battery use, Pico8 runs perfect.

recommended....and the newer pico8 builds allow the switch from mouse to joystick switch to work everytime it switches over. If you have the cash, recommended...you get the full keyboard and mouse controls where needed and is great on battery if you edit windows use of battery/processor and you also get a full controller. And also, you get all the other windows stuff like steam games and can set them to run specifically at their apex of battery/performance rates.

P#93693 2021-06-18 08:47 ( Edited 2021-06-18 08:53)

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