My First Impressions with the Analogue Pocket! Gameboy, GBA, the Dock, Everdrives and More

hey everybody it’s lon seidman i just got in my analog pocket the other day and i’m very eager to rip this box open and see what it’s all about if you’re not familiar with the pocket it is a device that simulates the functions of a game boy advance and a game boy color and it does that simulation through the use of an fpga chip this is a topic we’ve covered a lot here on the channel especially with the mr project which does a very similar thing but this is a nicely designed piece of hardware that allows you to take the fpga experience with you on the road in the palm of your hand if you will and i don’t think the story of this product is fully baked just yet so this is going to be an experience video where we’re going to unbox it and just see what it’s like and then i think a little bit later as more development happens around this platform we’re going to come back to it and see if it reaches the full potential that i hope it can reach because right now it’s really just running game boy stuff and it’s going to take a while i think for all these other consoles to get functional on this device and what i’m not sure about yet is how analog plans to handle those other consoles so for example we know that they’ll be releasing cartridge adapters for the game gear the neo geo pocket the atari lynx and the turbo graphics 16 but what we’ve seen with other analog consoles in the past is that they often have a jailbreak firmware just magically appear on the internet that allows you to load

games off of an sd card for example and with some systems they actually added additional cores so those systems could run other old retro game consoles so for example the nt mini here which is their nes console that you would plug into a tv it could run the nes through the jailbreak but also game boy color and sega genesis and game gear and the atari 2600 it really turned into a really extensive retro gaming system and it remains to be seen whether or not we’re going to see one of those jailbreaks here now analog has announced a developer program for the pocket this is not something they have on their other consoles and developers that they allow into the project will have access to the cyclone 5 fpga on the pocket just note though that the pocket has fewer logic elements or versus the de10 nano on the mr project so mister is getting close to playstation and sega saturn cores you probably don’t have enough logic elements built into this one to achieve that but the sega genesis and the super nintendo all should be fairly manageable on the fpga that’s built into this little handheld so we’ll have to see if the additional cores come through this developer program or through a jailbreak if there is a jailbreak i will update this video and let you know about that also to note here though is that in the developer program it does not appear as though they’re going to allow game roms to play from the sd card slot they’re saying that it has to be done through the cartridge slot so we’ll have to see exactly what all of this means and again if there is a jailbreak i will let you know about that now we’re going to get the unboxing going right now i’m going to be recording the unboxing as i’m doing a live stream so if you saw this live stream of an hour or so in length you can

watch this video for a much more condensed version and i do want to let you know as always in the interest of full disclosure that i paid for the pocket and the accessory items here with my own funds all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what’s inside the box alright so let’s unbox everything now what i got here is the console itself i also got their dock which we’ll test out in this video and we got the protective hard case i do have some traveling coming up so i think i will be using that hard case as i travel and we’re going to do the console first of course and then we will do the accessory items and then we’ll boot it up and see how it performs so we’ll get the cellophane off of here and i’ll give you my first impression experiences and i have to say one thing for analog is that they have done a tremendous job with their industrial design over the years and their hardware um overall and here we go oh very pretty it’s got a nice feel you know what’s funny the screen actually feels larger to me in person than i expected which is not a criticism it’s actually a nice thing that i thought it was going to be a little smaller which is good that it’s larger all right so let’s see if i can turn it on here real quick i don’t know if mine came charged or not yeah there it goes it’s booting up right now and the feel is nice it’s got a nice heavy feel to it um the buttons and d-pad feel really nice now you’ve got a concave and you have a concave button here and a non-concave

button on the other side of it here so it’s got a good tactile feel you know what you’re pushing it is plastic but it does it feels like a 220 dollar handheld which is what this is and i’m going to uh let’s go through the tutorial real quick and see okay so press analog for the menu press this for start this for select and the volume is right here on the side and press together for mute hold analog and volume for brightness left and right will change display modes during gameplay and this is the quick power button for sleep and wake hold for two seconds for on off and of course we have the eula this is not a touch screen either by the way because it is a game boy after all and i’ll agree to that and then i need to update the analog os so we’re going to do that before we get going with the games but we will come back to that in a minute once we get the rest of it unboxed here so it looks nice doesn’t it and looks like i got to hold it down for a bit longer okay and on the bottom here they actually have a link cable so i think this is what you dock with the docking station but it also will allow you to connect this to another pocket for those game boy link games and also to an actual game boy if you wanted to link up because this is a hardware replication of the original game boy including its serial cable there usb c port is right here there’s a headphone jack right here the power button is there along with the volume rocker your cartridge slot is in the back now this will natively support game boy and game boy advanced games and the game boy color games but the other games that you might want to play on this like the game gear will need an adapter and those adapters right now are sold out through 2023.

sd card slot here on the right hand side at the moment this is only for loading firmware and storing save games i do have a sd card that we will be using to update its firmware in a minute and that is pretty much the hardware again really nice feeling device it’s very close in size to the original game boy but it feels modern and comfortable so i am very pleased with the hardware design there’s also two shoulder buttons here next to the cartridge slot so there you go and then there is your usb type-c cable for charging and just like all the other major consumer electronics products out there there is no charger in the box so that is the console component let’s see what else i got and i also found there was a little cheat sheet here for getting started with the console along with a qr code for the support page and then you’ve got some stickers that you can put maybe on your car or your laptop to let everyone know that you’re in the fpga club good stuff all right so now we need to go to the dock that we’re going to be playing with a little bit later in the video and the dock will allow you to use your device with a television so you can take your game boy games and put them on the big screen when you dock it very similar to the nintendo switch and part of me feels like the pocket here is going to become kind of their primary product that will work doc or dr handheld for playing a lot of these retro

game consoles and this does come unlike the unit itself it does come with a usb type c power adapter it looks like this one is 12 volts one and a half amps max and we’ve got the dock here it’s got a nice not so grippy rubber foot on the bottom but it’s a little bit of a different different texture so it won’t scratch anything it’s got a nice metal component here and actually i thought this was going to connect with that serial adapter here at the bottom but it doesn’t it connects with the usb type-c port so it actually docks with the usb port so i was mistaken on that earlier and then we’ve got some other cables in here and we’ll look and see how it docks up with it in a second so this is a usb c to usb c cable for the power adapter presumably and then we have an hdmi cable so it’s good to see that in the box and let’s take a look and see how this connects to the dock so it just kind of goes in like so and you’ve got yourself a docked pocket so i guess it’s no longer a pocket but maybe it’s pants now when it’s docked and we’ll test this out with my monitor in a little bit i think it does 1080p output perhaps so it just again docks in like so and it pops out there i heard a little rattle though when i pulled it out it might just be the buttons rattling when i did that and the last thing that i got here is the hard case for travel and this is a clear case and this will allow you to throw it in a bag right because you don’t want to scratch up your beautiful pocket so let’s see what this looks like and this is exactly as you would picture it i think it’s just a plastic case but it feels pretty well put together i’m not sure how prone it will be to getting cracked but better the case get cracked than your pocket itself and let me see how this thing opens here if i could figure it out quickly i always hate doing this stuff live because i show how inept i am at figuring out how things are supposed to come together i’m guessing you push this in here or

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maybe it doesn’t seem to snap out there otherwise it goes there we go so it goes in like so and you place your pocket inside and then you seal it back up here so it uh i think it’ll provide a good amount of protection it’s got a nice hard plastic shell there so that will be how i will transport my pocket once i figure out how to put it back together here you can see what it kind of looks like there so good stuff and it actually protects the buttons too so you’re not putting pressure on the buttons or the screen so that is how it will transport all right next step i’m going to do a firmware update and then we will see how it plays all right so we got the firmware updated on this a very easy process you just put that sd card in and you’re good to go now this will not play games from the sd card we have to use cartridges and a little later in the video we’re going to try my two flash cartridges the everdrive gb for game boy games and the gba for game boy advance games but behind me as set pieces i have some game boy games from my youth so i’m going to pull down all of these and without breaking my entire set here and we’re going to try out a few of these things i’ve got more hidden throughout the house but in my collection here and some of these are my wife’s too but i have solar striker which is definitely a game that i bought back in the day i’ve got paper boy i still remember the day i bought this at the mall that i went to uh this is kicks which my father got for me on a layover he had in tokyo back in 1990 or so this is my wife’s game bust-a-move millennium if these are worth anything let me know revenge of the gator another one from my wife’s collection and ballistic which is one of my wife’s games but i think i want to play a little solar striker this is a shoot em

up from nintendo and what i’m gonna do here is blow it out because that’s what you do with nintendo games right and we’re just gonna stick it in the cartridge slot here and see what happens now it doesn’t seem to snap in it just kind of slides in but it’s in and what i’m going to do now is tell the pocket here to play the cartridge and let’s see what happens error okay well that’s not good let’s see if we can figure out why there’s an error all right so it looks like my cartridges were dirty so i think this is a good tip to have your cartridges thoroughly cleaned before you put them in i probably haven’t booted this game up on a game boy in at least a decade so that was probably what was driving it so i’m gonna put the game in here and we’re going to go to play cartridge and it appears to detect the system automatically a couple of things that i’m noticing right out of the gate is how loud it is um you have two speakers stereo speakers on the left and right hand side and they are super loud you get really good stereo separation remember on the original game boy it had a mono speaker so to get stereo you had to plug in the included earbuds with it here you get the sound right out of the gate now by default uh this is running the original gameboy games in a mode video mode that reminds me a lot of my old

game boy it looks better than the original does but what’s cool as i’ve been playing around with this off camera a few minutes ago is that this mode retains a little bit of motion blur but not as bad as it was originally but you do get that feel and you can’t see this on camera right now but you also get a dot pattern that looks identical i mean this is like a legit version of the old game boy it just looks like how you remembered it and i think if you were to pick up an actual gameboy you would see just how bad that screen was and how perfect at least right now this one looks now i’m going to pause the game here real quick because if i hold down the analog button here and move to the left and right i can change the video mode so for example this is the analog gameboy mode which is a very sharp image and black and white and this has no motion blur but it looks more modern but i’ll be honest with you i kind of like let me go back to the other mode i really like the original mode here because this is how i remembered this game playing and a little bit of motion blur is actually working out pretty decently here um there’s some other modes here this is the original game boy pocket because remember that one had a different screen and so you had a different color pattern this has a little bit of that blur and it looks more like the game boy pocket i did own one of those back in 97 or something and then let’s see there’s also the original game boy pocket light which had those indiglo screens of the late 90s and then this one is the pinball neon

matrix and i’m guessing they’ll probably be some other options too now if i hit the analog button here i can i can fine-tune this and some of the other reviewers have done a really good job of giving you a better sense as to what you can do on the video size you have different color palettes you can apply you can turn that blur on and off you can adjust the sharpness but for me honestly i think what they have curated here for the look of the original game boy is spot on it looks spectacular this is really cool all right so i’m going to try now a another game this one is going to be a game boy color game now what you can do here is just quit the game and you don’t have to turn it off to switch the game out so now that we’re out of the game i can pull this one out and i haven’t cleaned this cartridge yet so i might have to pause and clean it but let’s put in the game boy color cartridge now and see what happens when we attach that one and here you go so now we’ve got bus to move and you can see it put the screen into a different mode because this is how the game boy color typically looked and this is my wife’s uh one of my wife’s games this looks super sharp this screen looks beautiful i have to say let me start the game here and what we’ll do is i’ll pause it and then we’ll see what color modes are kind of built into this one

and i’m one of these people that likes to go with the default because i often think that the developers of the hardware put in some time to try to tweak things to a good spot and i’m often like i’m not an expert on color adjustments and everything so i like to go with uh what the developers intended here so let’s take a look here so this okay so this is the default is analog gbc which is sharper so it’s kind of like the equivalent of that black and white analog mode we saw on the original game boy and if i hit the button here this is the gbc lcd hard to see on my camera but this will put a dot pattern up and it looks like let me move the thing around here you get a little bit more of a motion blur on that and let’s see so it looks like it’s just those two modes you can switch between but i think like the other one i can jump into the gbc here and more fine-tune the color or the sharpness at least and i can desaturate the screen a little bit so i can even turn it black and white if i wanted to and there’s a size adjustment there too pretty cool so there you go so that’s the game boy color good stuff so now let’s move on to everdrive cartridges these are flash cartridges from the ukraine and these are really kind of indispensable when you have original hardware but they also work on the pocket and right now at the time of recording this video there’s no jailbreak so if you want to run roms off of an sd card you need an everdrive to do it and i’m curious as to how this everdrive will behave in this device so let’s go ahead here and put the everdrive in and play a cartridge and as you’ll see here the screen is lighting up like it is a game boy color and that’s because this cartridge is designed to work on

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the color or on the original game boy and because it is a color cartridge essentially the pocket is detecting it like that and what i was curious about was whether or not an older game boy game will automatically switch into the original game boy mode so let me pull up super mario land here oops i hit the wrong button again i keep doing this i always hit the wrong button because i’m still used to my other game boy we’ll go over to super mario land here and load it up and as you can see here we are still in game boy color mode even though we’ve got an older game boy game now the way around this is to go into your settings and go into systems and on the hardware menu for game boy i can force the game boy mode so now what will happen is the next time i boot this up is that it will boot the cartridge on the original game boy core and not the game boy color core so let’s do that and you’ll see now it is going to be green just how i like it and i can go in now and play this cartridge like it was installed on an original game boy it’s actually running a little slower in the menu because the game boy color had a faster processor so it’s legit and we’ll go ahead here load the game and get that original experience oh yeah this is what i wanted and this is a game when i played it on the original gameboy that was just full of that that screen blur and here because we have it in that original game boy mode that they’ve programmed into it you get a little bit of that so it looks authentic but it’s not as distracting to the gameplay experience as it was on the original so this is so so cool and again what’s funny is that this is how you remember the game looking but it really didn’t look this good back in the day so but this is really i think so close to how i think our memories will fondly remember some of these original game boy games that i was playing back in 1989 when this first came out now a lot of you may be curious about what it feels like to play a game on this i have to say it feels nice i like the

controls they’re very firm but responsive i’m not detecting any lag or anything it feels inauthentic so it just feels like a really good experience and especially with this these original game boy games in particular because this is the format of the original game boy and its size in my hand feels very similar to that so this is a real winner across the board and it looks like my everdrive here works pretty nicely alright so now we’re going to move on to the game boy advance compatibility and i’ve got my everdrive for the gba plugged in it booted up just fine and we’re going to be playing a little bit of metroid zero mission here and this looks spectacular as expected everything is nice and sharp on the screen now by default it puts it into analogs sharp mode here but you have some additional display options so let me hit the analog button here and shift through them this one is called original gba lcd and this will add a dot pattern that will remind you of the original gba except the fact that of course this is backlit and you can look at it from any angle in any light it actually looks really good like this to be honest this one might be the mode i play it in because that’s what i remember it actually looks better than my ips display that i put into the other hardware and then if i switch over here they have the sp 101 which was the back lit gba sp that came out late in the life cycle this one actually looks a little better i might actually use this mode instead or of course you can switch back to that analog mode and get the super sharp graphics here none of these seem to have any impact on input latency so it’s feeling pretty pretty solid here now here’s the one gripe that i have run into with this the shoulder buttons are super high on this compared to how i remembered my game boy so on here it’s very easy to hold down a button and still have your fingers just feeling comfortable due to the height of where these buttons are located it’s it’s you have to kind of change your hand position to hold down that button like i’m doing here so that’s my only gripe and the gba sp had a similar design but i think its buttons were lower so you are shifting your hand a little bit now they do have a setting which i

enabled to move that button to these two so you can actually set it so left and right mapped to these two buttons here and they also have a super gb mode that will reverse the button order also from what i gather so it’ll um i think mirror the super nintendo super game boy layout but uh yeah it feels pretty good minus the shoulder buttons here but i think you can kind of retrain yourself to map the shoulder buttons to these two now another thing that i noticed with this which you’re probably seeing also is that you do get some letterboxing here because the game boy advance had a wider aspect ratio so the bezels obviously are very noticeable on this device to begin with but now you gain additional bezels on the top and bottom so that the display can fit but i think the image size here is actually the same exact size image as the original gba screen was so you’re not really losing anything it’s just it just looks a little smaller because the game boy games are actually enlarged because of this larger screen versus the original game boy but all together here it looks like gba is running just as nicely on this as the original game boy and game boy color games were running so now i want to plug the dock in and see how the dock works so let’s get my equipment rearranged and we’ll see what happens when we dock it all right before we plug everything into the monitor i wanted to show you what’s on the back of the dock because i didn’t cover this when i unboxed it you have two usb ports here on the left and right hand side you can plug controllers in

directly or you can connect them over bluetooth and if you’ve got one of those 8bitdo 2.4 controllers the receiver can go into one of the usb ports it’ll take four controllers total which gives me some indication that we’ll see some regular consoles kind of make their way to this platform your power goes in here and then your hdmi is outputted there at the time i’m shooting this the 8bitdo pro 2 controller which is what i have here and in full disclosure 8bitdo sent this to the channel free of charge a little while back this is compatible the m30 is compatible the arcade stick from 8bitdo is compatible the playstation 4 controller and the switch pro controller are the ones that they currently list as being compatible with the dock so just be aware of that now what i wanted to try here and spoiler alert it sort of works is basically taking the device here and plugging it in let me jump back out here plugging it in like i would the switch so right now i’ve got castlevania aria of sorrow here playing which looks great on this display oh my goodness and what i’m going to do now is dock it and see if it just tosses it over so let’s plug it in and it docks to that usbc port and so now the display has gone dark and look at this it is up and running on our display here uh you do have to turn your 8bitdo controller back on if you are connecting over bluetooth and once you are connected here it hopefully will find it and get reconnected what i found last there it goes so now we are back and connected it gave me an indicator on screen here of that right now you cannot change the screen options so this look that you see right here it fills up the screen pretty nicely on gba but this is this is what you get so you can’t adjust how this looks just yet on the dock but i would imagine at some point they’ll probably improve that the audio sounds pretty great on it have a listen [Music] so good stuff right a little lag hit there i think it might be my equipment though so yeah i’m digging it and again it kind of works like the

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switch so i can just pull it out of the dock and go back to handheld which is awesome you can pull up the here i’ll kill the audio here for a second you can pull up the menu here by hitting the heart button and then you can go in and make some changes to things again though if i go into systems and select gba as you can see i can’t change the display mode because i’m docked so i can adjust the sharpness here but that is pretty much it at the moment but i’m guessing that there are firmware updates that can be had here to improve the situation so really neat kind of performs like a switch let’s take a look now though and see how the game boy games look on this all right let’s try a game boy game now i’m going to try to just pop the game in like it’s a regular console and see what happens so we’ll put solar striker back in and i’ll go ahead here and play the cartridge and there we go popped right up and it looks like this is running in that other mode where it isn’t giving us that green look um but we can go ahead here and play the game a little bit maybe i’ll turn the volume down that will work this way and yeah it’s it’s fine and it’s always kind of weird to play game boy games on a large screen kind of you know like a regular console because it just isn’t how my muscle memory was designed to work with these games but seems to look fine again we don’t get that really cool original game boy green here though but it does look nice and sharp now this does have a couple of things that i can adjust while docked and again i think this is going to change over time but if i hit my button here to pull up the settings and i jump into systems and game boy i can change the color palettes here now

that i’m docked so i could change it to green but it’s going to follow that game boy color scheme that it does with black and white games so it’s kind of limiting right now as to how you can make the screen look i think mister is going to give you a better docked experience with game boy games right now but it’s kind of neat that you can do this because what i can do let me see if this is going to work when we cycle our little spaceship here i’m just going to pause the game real quick and what i’m going to do now is pull it out of the dock and see if i can just pick up where i left off so let’s pull it out and we’ll go my overhead view look at that i’ve got my my green goodness here and the game just picks up where it left off so that’s neat let me pause it and let’s dock it again and see if it will reproject onto the screen here and it looks like it’s going to do so my yep there it is so i can just wait for my controller i got to turn my controller back on again but once it comes back up i can unpause the game and pick up where i left off so to some degree you know this this is giving you that switch experience in that you can you know pretty seamlessly here hot swap it from handheld mode to tv mode and the only thing lacking right now is the other cores i want my 16-bit games on this thing i want to be able to play the genesis like this because i’ve got a lot of games that i would love to catch up on uh using this uh this thing here but this is a good stuff i think a good start so the bottom line on the pocket here is that it exceeds my expectations i was expecting a good game boy experience but i didn’t expect it to be this good especially with the original video mode here that it defaults to for those original game boy games the screen looks authentic and modern at the same time it’s just great i mean this is how these game boy games should be played the other game boy modes are fine as well but my fondest memories are of the original game boy and this kind of brings me back to

that place in a way that no other emulator or any other kind of device for that matter has done since the original and in many ways it exceeds the original i was hoping by now that there would be a jailbreak and additional cores because i think the one thing that a lot of people want out of a system like this is compatibility with more than just the game boy and the game gear so my hope is that we’ll see that at some point in the very near future i think that will add substantial value to this platform because it could be your universal go-to for retro gaming on the go so let’s hope it gets there at the moment that’s not here just yet so if you missed the original pre-order and are waiting into early next year at this moment you’re not missing much if the game boy isn’t enough for you and i think to hold you over you can buy one of these inexpensive no cut mods for the original game boy advance and get a really good experience to hold you over i think if we do get into that zone where we’ve got a lot more cores available and ability to boot things off of an sd card this is going to be a real killer device the build quality on it is spectacular everything you’re hearing about this is true and i’ve got one of the regular shipping ones so if you buy one of these things this is what you’re going to end up with so all in a real winner and i’m hoping for more so we’ll have to keep an eye on developments related to the pocket and we’ll be definitely doing more content on this as things get updated let me know what you thought down in the comments below i was not intending to do a full review just yet there’s some great reviews out there from metal jesus and my life and gaming and all your other favorite uh retro channels so definitely check all of those out and we’ll be back with updates on this as conditions warrant that’ll do it for now until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters hot sauce and video games brian parker chris allegretta tom albrecht thomas anfang jim tannis and handheld obsession if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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