Powkiddy A13


b_o_b

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Seems like a very decent retro-gaming device (up to PS1) that is pretty cheap. I like the form factor with joystick/buttons, but I don't like the red plastic toyish look. For that price you can't complain though and all reviews I've seen are very positive. No community around this product as far as I can tell but there is alternative firmware.

Any thoughts?

 

FBnil

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It looks nice and powerful. I like the red look. It feels different from the black/gray/white we have lately. But I got accustomed to handhelds: Sit on the toilet, on the couch, in the train. And this is a put-it-on-a-flat-surface device. It's still cool to have a mini arcade machine, but you lose portability (I don't think I can play in bed, for example)

whoa that heavy Dutch-English accent.
 

b_o_b

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They could have picked a better brand name. This is what Powkiddy evokes in my mind.

Hmm.. okay.. I did say any thoughts :)

It looks nice and powerful. I like the red look. It feels different from the black/gray/white we have lately. But I got accustomed to handhelds: Sit on the toilet, on the couch, in the train. And this is a put-it-on-a-flat-surface device. It's still cool to have a mini arcade machine, but you lose portability (I don't think I can play in bed, for example)

whoa that heavy Dutch-English accent.

Yeah, you can clearly spot his Dutch accent.

I only play games on my Pandora and personally don't need another device. This is indeed a lot less portable than something like a Pandora but still interesting from a pure gaming perspective.
Playing with a joystick and a 10" screen will certainly provide a better experience for a lot of games. Will not buy one for myself but want to give it away as a present. Will then play with it for a while before giving it. Might install the custom firmware as well depending on how well the original firmware performs (a limited version of retroarch)
 

levi

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Any thoughts?

Is the headphone out stereo, or only mono like the internal speaker? I guess that's mostly irrelevant since early arcade games and the GBA were mono devices as well, as were systems that output on TVs back then (technically NICAM was being broadcast on many TV stations by the late 80s, but most of us back then had sets with only a mono speaker on them, so that was largely irrelevant to us). But it might be nice if you used the unit for audio or movie playback. Out of interest, what codecs and what file wrappers does it support for video playback?
 

b_o_b

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Is the headphone out stereo, or only mono like the internal speaker? I guess that's mostly irrelevant since early arcade games and the GBA were mono devices as well, as were systems that output on TVs back then (technically NICAM was being broadcast on many TV stations by the late 80s, but most of us back then had sets with only a mono speaker on them, so that was largely irrelevant to us). But it might be nice if you used the unit for audio or movie playback. Out of interest, what codecs and what file wrappers does it support for video playback?

Specs for this device are not shared in detail (not even on the powkiddy site). So headphone out specs are not shared. Wasn't able to find a user manual that could have helped.

Music Format: WAV, MP3
Video Format: MP4
External Speaker: Support

Not very extensive codec support out of the box (or not all formats are listed). Seen a review from someone complaining that one of his video files played choppy so I wouldn't count on anything. I bought it yesterday so I can let you know more when I receive it :)
Your best bet is probably the alternative firmware - then you can install the latest stable RetroArch 1.9.0 and should have ffmpeg embedded.

The person I am going to give it to is far from tech savy so I am not sure I will install full RetroArch. Retroarch can be quite confusing and you can mess up things. If it was for myself I would certainly install that version and tinker the hell out of it.
 

FBnil

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It's weird though. I started off with a ZX Spectrum and hated the o,p,a,z keys to move (no, I did not have a joystick) then to the C64 and I loved the joystick (right-hand), But years later I bough a soundcard with a gravis gamepad pro, with included pole, but which also functioned as a keypad; but the thing was lefthanded... and I was not so good at lefthand movement. Because by then I was used to the PC cursor keys, with the right. And then later games came out that used wasd with the mouse.... again movement with the left hand. It's all pretty confusing.
 

b_o_b

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It's weird though. I started off with a ZX Spectrum and hated the o,p,a,z keys to move (no, I did not have a joystick) then to the C64 and I loved the joystick (right-hand), But years later I bough a soundcard with a gravis gamepad pro, with included pole, but which also functioned as a keypad; but the thing was lefthanded... and I was not so good at lefthand movement. Because by then I was used to the PC cursor keys, with the right. And then later games came out that used wasd with the mouse.... again movement with the left hand. It's all pretty confusing.

Indeed, great observation!

Arcade machines were as far as I know always left hand directional but playing with a joystick on home computers (I loved the arcade joystick from Suzo) I always steered with my right hand like you described. Same applies to PC gaming with keyboard always used the right hand for directions with the cursor keys. Devices with a gamepad (e.g. Pandora) you have to do the directions with your left hand. So nowadays I use the left for moving.
I wasn't even aware of the difference between the devices.. apparently I've adjusted without noticing or just forgot.
 

levi

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I used to know someone that was so right handed that they played with a SNES pad upside down and stopping using the shoulder buttons. Myself I grew up with a BBC micro which mostly used Z and X with two of the vertically stacked puctuation characters off right for up and down. which also gave to enter with the right hand for fire or jump, space bar with either for secondary and shift for tertiary fire. When I first encountered WASD I thought, how dumb is it to try to do all that with one hand?
 

TrashyMG

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Indeed, great observation!

Arcade machines were as far as I know always left hand directional but playing with a joystick on home computers (I loved the arcade joystick from Suzo) I always steered with my right hand like you described. Same applies to PC gaming with keyboard always used the right hand for directions with the cursor keys. Devices with a gamepad (e.g. Pandora) you have to do the directions with your left hand. So nowadays I use the left for moving.
I wasn't even aware of the difference between the devices.. apparently I've adjusted without noticing or just forgot.
I had a custom Arcade controller done up in the early 2000s, I had the stick placed right of the buttons and love it... I need to modernize this, maybe throw a RPi 4 in it and make an LCD bezel or something.

Sorry only a picture of it when it was really dusty...
 

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b_o_b

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I had a custom Arcade controller done up in the early 2000s, I had the stick placed right of the buttons and love it... I need to modernize this, maybe throw a RPi 4 in it and make an LCD bezel or something.

Sorry only a picture of it when it was really dusty...

Very nice, especially the additional 4 pinball buttons (assuming the right side has 2 buttons as well) and the trackball.
 

b_o_b

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Ah, okay. Well, if you ever feel the need to add them I'd advice even more buttons. 3 on both sides and one on the front. 3 for side and front nudging, 2 for flippers and 2 for magna save or an additional set of flippers. Visual Pinball is fantastic for this kind of setup and provides a very realistic pinball experience.
 

b_o_b

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Received it yesterday and played with it a bit. Removed all games and only installed a small selection per system. Firmware is a dumbed-down version of retroarch. Not able to install new cores but it has enough systems for a ton of games.
Adding games is a bit of work (changing xml files) can be automated but I've done it manually. There is no mame core unfortunately, but the FBA/CPS/NeoGeo emulators can play many of the classics. Most games I installed worked perfect. Tried only two PS1 games and one of them didn't work (Command & Conquer).

Joystick and buttons are very responsive. Screen is not the best (especially viewing angle and colors) but for the price not too bad. Sound is decent and if needed pretty loud. Tried the movie option with some MP4's, play fine. Movie player is very limited though, not even possible to fast forward or skip to next file.
Via headphone the sound is great, no buzz or something like that (and in stereo).

Not going to install the custom firmware. That version lacks a battery indicator and might be a bit more confusing for the non-tech savy users (incl. kids) that I am giving it to. Overall a very nice device for the price (80 Euro in total) and recommended for anyone looking for a small cheap arcade machine with solid joystick/buttons.
 

levi

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Tried the movie option with some MP4's, play fine. Movie player is very limited though, not even possible to fast forward or skip to next file.
Via headphone the sound is great, no buzz or something like that (and in stereo).
Thanks for the review. I wonder if it plays h265 mp4s as well as older h264 mp4s. I also have a slightly dated TV these days which plays non-high h264 mp4's just fine, but turns its nose up at h264 (high), and I've not even thrown any h265 mp4s at it yet.
 

b_o_b

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Thanks for the review. I wonder if it plays h265 mp4s as well as older h264 mp4s. I also have a slightly dated TV these days which plays non-high h264 mp4's just fine, but turns its nose up at h264 (high), and I've not even thrown any h265 mp4s at it yet.

If you provide a file to test I can give it a try.
 

levi

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If you provide a file to test I can give it a try.

Here you go, the first minute of a video posted in the music thread cropped, and transcoded.

The original file is where I've cropped it and transcoded the audio to aac (lc) for compatibility (it was originally opus, which might be too new), and is called 3_1m_av1.mkv, because the original video codec used is av1.

Then I have various other transcodings from that point, converting the video into h264 (main), h264 (high) and h265.

I've had to rename all the files from *.mkv to *.txt to allow them to be uploaded here. You'll need to rename them back to make them playable, back to *.mkv.

Edit: I've replaced most of the mkv files with mp4 files, simply change the extension to mp4. The one I've not been able to change is the h265 one as apparently mp4's can't contain those, at least according to the behaviour of the transcoder I used which quietly spat out h254 (high) when transcoding a h265 mkv, so that one is unchanged and presented here for completeness.
 

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b_o_b

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I can try them out but please keep in mind that the only supported format mentioned by powkiddy is MP4 not MKV. I don' t have the device in my possession anymore, so will probably take a week to test.
 

b_o_b

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Would this work? Maybe try some of them on your TV and let me know which one starts to struggle.
 
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