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Hardware Miyoo A30 Review

A Game Boy Micro-Like Device With Some Rough Edges.
 
 

General Information

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While it hasn't been quite as prolific as its rival Anbernic when it comes to releasing new emulation handhelds, Miyoo has nonetheless become one of the more popular companies working in this space, largely down to the Miyoo Mini and Miyoo Mini Plus – two devices which found a lot of favour with retro gaming fans.

While those products tried to emulate the Game Boy form factor, the new Miyoo A30 takes aim at the Game Boy Micro, offering a pocket-friendly design which packs in a surprising range of control options.

However, it's launching at roughly the same time as the Anbernic RG28XX, a very similar device in terms of size, cost and power – so is it really worth a look, especially if you already own another Miyoo handheld? We're about to find out.

Miyoo A30 Review - Design & Display

Review: Miyoo A30 6
While comparisons with the Game Boy Micro are obvious, given the landscape form factor of the Miyoo A30, it's actually slightly larger than Nintendo's device. This isn't a bad thing, as it means it's more comfortable to use, has a bigger screen and offers more input options.

You've got a NES-style D-pad, Switch-style analogue stick and four face buttons, as well as four shoulder buttons on the top edge. Also on the top you'll find the USB-C port, volume rocker and 'Home' button (used to drop back to the main menu during gameplay), while the bottom edge only has the MicroSD card slot. The power button is located on the right-hand edge, and you have to hold it for quite a few seconds before the device boots up.

You'll note that there's no 3.5mm headphone jack; instead, the Miyoo A30 comes with a USB-C audio adapter which allows you to plug in your headphones. This means that you can't charge the device and listen via headphones at the same time, and it also means you've got an additional cable to keep track of. Thankfully, the A30 comes in a neat little carry pouch as standard, so keeping everything in the right place is fairly easy.

Review: Miyoo A30 6
Review: Miyoo A30 6
The Miyoo A30 sports an all-plastic design with a metal front plate, a design which is clearly referencing Nintendo's Famicom controllers. It feels solid enough and doesn't make any unpleasant crunching noises when gripped tightly, but still manages to somehow come across as a little cheap-feeling.

The analogue stick is a welcome addition and comes in useful when playing Dreamcast and N64 titles, but it's located a little too far down the face of the unit to be comfortable for prolonged use (and games for those platforms aren't always the A30's strong suit, which we'll come to shortly).

On the upside to this, Miyoo has sensibly placed the D-pad (the input you're almost certain to be using the most) in the perfect spot; it's just a shame that it feels a little mushier than the one seen on the Miyoo Mini Plus.

Review: Miyoo A30 6Review: Miyoo A30 6
Review: Miyoo A30 6
Just to be clear here, this isn't a bad D-pad as such, but it is prone to accidental vertical inputs. There's an upshot to that – it's great for fighting games where rolling movements are required – but there were a few moments during precision platformers where rogue inputs caused us issues. Your personal experience may vary from ours.

The 2.8-inch, 640x480 IPS display is also slightly disappointing. While it's the ideal size for pretty much all of the games you'll be playing, the peak brightness is quite poor; even when set to maximum brightness, it looks rather dull.

Miyoo A30 Review - Performance

Review: Miyoo A30 6
With the AllWinner A33 chipset running the show, the Miyoo A30 isn't exactly a portable powerhouse. This particular chipset has been doing the rounds for some time now, and while it's capable of running Dreamcast, PSP, PS1 and N64 games, you rarely get a full-speed experience.

The A33's focus should be on older systems, such as the NES, Mega Drive, Neo Geo and SNES – and handhelds like the Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. It handles all of these perfectly well, and the form factor is ideal for 8 and 16-bit gaming.

Even then, though, there are odd little quirks that make the experience more frustrating than it should be. For example, to get full speed in some emulators, you actually need to overclock the device – although it turns out the issue is not related to performance (the A33 is more than capable of running these games) but to the fact that the incorrect screen filter settings that have been applied by default.

This is obviously something that will no doubt get resolved in future firmware updates, but it all adds up to a device which feels half-finished or incomplete.

Miyoo A30 Review - Specs

Review: Miyoo A30 6
ColourRed & Gold / Black & White / Black / Black & Grey
MaterialABS + Electronic Components
OSLinux
WIFI2.4g
Display2.8-inch IPS, 640x480 pixels
CPUAllwinner A33
RAM512MB
Battery2600mAH, charging 5V/1.5A
Weight186g
Dimensions12.7 x 5.8 x 1.5cm
AccessoriesStorage Bag / USB-C cable, USB-C 3.5 adapter

Miyoo A30 Review - Conclusion

Review: Miyoo A30 6
The world of retro emulation handhelds certainly isn't short of options, and we've reached the point now where devices need to offer something new or different to truly stand out from the crowd (hence the sudden appearance of clamshell consoles, like the Miyoo Mini Flip and Anbernic RG35XXSP).

Sadly, the Miyoo A30 doesn't do enough to distinguish itself from many superior options; in fact, there's arguably little reason to upgrade from the old Miyoo Mini for this device—unless you massively prefer the landscape form factor.

For around $50, it's hardly going to break the bank, but that price point has become ever more crowded with viable options, so unless you're totally sold on the way the A30 looks, we'd advise you look elsewhere.

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