Even though the GKD looks small in the pictures, it’s actually similar in size to the RGV280V and actually fits really nicely in your hands, although that may not be the same for those with big hands as it may cause some cramping over prolonged play sessions.
So, looking at the specs of the GKD Mini, it’s not going to be able to compete against other handhelds I have previously reviewed. But to be fair, does it really have to?
- 3.5” IPS Display (320 x 240) with tempered glass
- 1.5GHz MIPS32 CPU
- 128MB RAM
- 2500MAH Batter (4 – 5 Hours)
- Can Use Up To 512GB SD Cards
Compared to the likes of the RG351P and similar handhelds, the specs are lower in terms of raw power, meaning the GKD Mini will play almost everything fairly well, except PSP, Dreamcast, Saturn and N64 games. But in my time with the GKD, it did play everything else I threw at it, including PS1 games.
The GKD Mini is designed to be a portable and pocket-friendly handheld with a very nice rounded aesthetic to it, which never felt out of place when I slipped it into my pocket after 20 minutes of play time. Due to its screen size, you can play in 4:3 aspect, which was great and nice to see.
I received the metal edition from Ploylab, and I have to say, very nice it is too. The feel of it is actually quite premium compared to plastic handhelds. The screen takes up over half the handheld’s surface and has rounded edges to the glass, very reminiscent of the iPhone’s rounded edges, which I really like. On the top of the screen, you have a logo, and on the right you have four LED dots to indicate how much battery is left.
Towards the bottom of the screen, you will find your buttons, including the D-pad, ABXY buttons, Start & Select, as well as a brightness button and a menu button.
I found the buttons to have a nice bounce to them and nice feedback, and they sit high enough out of the shell. I rarely felt the actual metal surface of the GKD Mini when pressing the buttons.
On the edges of the GKD Mini, you will find the USB-C port, headphone jack, volume buttons and two further buttons allowing you to play some games horizontally. There are also two SD card slots, one for firmware and one for ROMs, as well as two speaker outlets, which actually sound fairly decent.
On the back you have four shoulder buttons, which I found to be responsive and easy to reach. However, due to the size of the GKD Mini and the positioning of those four buttons, if you have large hands, you may struggle to find a comfortable playing position.
I really like how the GKD Mini looks, it certainly makes you notice how cute it looks and how well it feels in the hand. Just remember this may be different if you do have big hands though. But I absolutely loved it.
So, when it comes to how the GKD Mini performs, as I said earlier, don’t expect it to play the likes of PSP games, etc. The 1.5Ghz CPU combined with the 128GB RAM will allow you to play most retro consoles up to PlayStation 1, but this is where it ends.
The games I did try worked fairly well, with only a few of the PS1 games actually having problems with frame rate and glitches, which considering the specs of this handheld, I was actually pleasantly surprised.
The GKD Mini’s screen may not be as good as some other handhelds, but I did find it adequate. It isn’t as high res and at times will show some pixellation, and it isn’t as crisp as I would like. But I found the colours to pop from the screen, and at no time during my many hours of playing games did I ever get sick of the screen.
One thing I didn’t like was the very ugly OS. It reminded me of cheaper handhelds from some years ago, and there really isn’t a place for that type of OS in 2021. I also struggled at first, as when I initially received it from Ploylab, everything was in Chinese, and I could not understand any of the options.
I eventually changed this after using Google translate, but even then there is still quite a bit of Chinese text, which is unreadable. I did manage to get used to where the exit game option would be within the menu, but it shouldn’t really be this way straight out of the box.
Before anyone complains, I will mention that there is a new OS for the GKD Mini, which does change and help with the menus and text. But as I always mention in my articles, I always review what you and I, the consumer, will receive straight out of the box. Many people may not have the knowledge or time to mess around updating and changing to custom firmware.
The GKD Mini is a great looking handheld. It looks good in the hand and has some decent buttons and impressive sound. The aesthetics are great, and I like the metal build and the rounded edges on the screen. It’s great for quick pick-up and play sessions, and then you can slip it into your pocket when you are finished.
Its a shame it doesn’t have that extra grunt when it comes to the internals. Unfortunately, it’s been left standing compared to other manufacturers such as Powkiddy and Anbernic. But as it stands, if you want to play everything up to PS1 and are not that bothered about playing any games above that, I would recommend the GKD Mini.
Once again, thank you to Ploylab for sending me the GKD Mini for the purposes of this review. if you would like to purchase the GKD Mini, please follow the link below and help support my YouTube channel and website.