Hit That Perfect BittBoy – Review

Remember Bronski Beat’s “Hit that perfect Beat”? You know the one, “I’ve got that feeling, That perfect feeling, That perfect feeling all over me. Beat boy, Beat boy, Hit that perfect beat boy, Beat boy, Beat boy” – yeah, it’s a great 80s electropop tune.

We have no idea why we started this review with Bronski Beat, perhaps it’s due to the name of the new little portable games player, BittBoy! We can’t seem to get the bloody tune out of our head now! Let’s cut this diversion and get back on track! The New BittBoy – is a little Game Boy lookalike that allows you to play your legally owned NES/Famicom, GB and GBC roms from your own microSD card via its built-in NES/Famicom, GB and GBC emulators. That’s it in a nutshell.

Cool specs and features right on the box!

Before we go into how it plays, let us tell you how it looks and feels. The cuteness of this little player is striking and familiar. It’s familiar in the sense that if you ever held a Game Boy (or its many variants, like the Game Boy Pocket), then you’ll feel at home holding the new BittBoy, albeit at a shrunken level. Since it is small (and cute), if you have large-ish hands, then you may experience some cramping. If however your hands aren’t the size of a lion’s paw, you’ll find that BittBoy’s D-pad and buttons feel almost as good as Nintendo’s Game Boy, which is a good thing. The layout of the buttons borrow heavily from the SNES pad, which is a great blueprint to assimilate. The click of the buttons feel good, but they aren’t exactly Nintendo quality, but still good enough as we expected them to feel cheap. Oddly, the black fire buttons feel the best to press for us. So far so good! Oh yeah, don’t be fooled by the screen either, the 2.4″ IPS screen is vivid, bright, and displays games in either LCD (16:9) or CRT (4:3) format, without any stretching or distortion in either of these aspect ratios.

Looks and feels good

We now know that it looks good and feels ok, but how does it work and play? With its built-in emulators, all you need to do is ensure the BittBoy is fully charged and then insert your microSD loaded with your legally owned NES/Fami, GB and/or GBC roms and you are good to play.

Once you turn on the BittBoy, you are greeted by one of the three built-in emulators. Selecting the emulators is as easy as flicking the D-pad to the right (and left). The next step is to select a game by using the D-pad by going up and down the list and pressing the select button to load the game. Exiting back to the emulator menu is an easy one button press on the round R (reset) button. Since there are no separate volume and brightness buttons or dials, BittBoy has cleverly interfaced these controls by using specific button pressing sequences – a very clever design. Another neat feature is the save and load, so you can save your progress and then load it back to kick off where you left off. If you don’t want to bother peeps next to you on the bus, then the 3.5mm headphone jack is there for you to immerse yourself with some 8-bit ditties.

Let’s play – NES/Fami, GB and GBC games!

Playing our handful of NES games we found that the emulation was accurate without any noticeable lag. We thought that the small form factor would hamper gameplay, but to our surprise, we were running Mario from left to right, jumping on blocks, collecting mushrooms and stomping on Goombas with gleeful ease. The GB games were just as good (Tetris is still a killerapp!), however, the emulation couldn’t display that distinct ‘green hue’ from the original Game Boy – a minor gripe really.

Playing some sweet (NES) Super Mario Bros!

The new BittBoy provides around 3 hrs of gaming via its 700 mAh lithium battery before it needs recharging using its packed-in USB cable. Charge time is fairly quick, so you will be back gaming in no time. The package also includes an AV/composite cable to connect the BittBoy player to your TV (via the 3.5mm headphone jack). This is quite novel and a great feature, however we loved using the BittBoy as a portable game player.

There are plenty of handheld systems that can play your old video games, however these usually require some level of hacking and tweaking to make them work. The new BittBoy fills this void by offering folks a pocket-friendly handheld system straight out of the box that can emulate the NES/Famicom, Game Boy and Game Boy Color. If you want a player to emulate other systems, then the BittBoy is not for you, but on the other hand if you are in need of a reasonably priced portable emulator that looks great, feels good and doesn’t pretend to be more than just a NES/Famicom/GB/GBC player, then the New BittBoy is for you.

Product: New BittBoy
Price: US$39.99 / AU$59.99
Available: Now via RetroMini

  • BittBoy handheld system
  • USB charging cable
  • AV cable

LCD vs CRT – it’s your choice!

Before we play some Tetris, it’s Super Mario Land time!

Super Mario Land in LCD (16:9) aspect ratio

Super Mario Land in CRT (4:3) aspect ratio

The New BittBoy has some beautiful lines

The top of the unit has the microSD slot and ON/OFF switch

The bottom of the BittBoy reveals the 3.5mm jack (headphones + AV/TV out) and USB-C connector for charging

Oo’er, this is one gorgeous little handheld

Disclosure: The New BittBoy system was kindly provided by BittBoy for this review.