When Ploylab asked me if I would be interested in reviewing a miniature retro television that had games built-in, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised with what I received. As you can see, for anyone into retro gaming, they will understand the nostalgia with this design.
It has a high-definition display that is 3 inches is size. Don’t get too blown away by the ‘high-definition’ though, this is an LCD display, and whilst it looks okay for the style and types of games you will be playing, you are not going to be blown away by stunning visuals.
The GV300 Bookshelf Retro TV is more of a novelty product, in my opinion, rather than a full-blown gaming handheld, such as the RG351M/V, which I recently reviewed. That said, with 108 games included (no option to add any further games), it will allow you to pass your spare time for short spurts. But I think most retro enthusiasts will stick it on a shelf next to their other handhelds as more of a talking point.
The GV300 is rechargeable and is also able to accept standard AA batteries. I’m not sure why you would want to use standard batteries instead of the rechargeable ones though, but that option is available. The two controllers that come with it are also rechargeable and allow two players to enjoy the retro fun together, and apparently, a full charge will give you between 6-12 months’ play before needing to be charged again. Three minutes of charge will allow you to use them all day, which is crazy.
The controllers are both made of plastic and quite light; they aren’t the best controllers I have used but certainly not the worst either. Buttons and D-pads are all responsive, as well as the two shoulder buttons. Just don’t expect anything like a modern gaming pad, these have that retro feel to them in every way.
On the sides you have the micro USB charging port, an AV out port to connect it to a TV, headphone jack and a reset button. The reset button you may end up having to use often though as I found that the screen would sometimes go blank (white), at which point I had to either reset it or, as it states in the instructions, switch it off and charge for three to four minutes. I found it easier to just reset it, but bear this in mind as whilst it does not seem to be a fault, as such (the instructions state this may occur), it did happen a few too many times for my liking.
The naming of the games is very strange, and some just don’t make sense…just because it may say Mario, don’t expect to get a fully-fledged Mario game, rather a clone of Mario.
Don’t let this put you off though as I did find some classic games, and the majority of the games I tried worked well and were fun to play. Just take this gaming device for what it is and you wont be disappointed. One game I found interesting was a Street Fighter game, which was obviously for the NES on this thing, and I didn’t realise they had included it. It’s little things like this that will pull you into wanting to see what is next in the gaming lineup.
A lot of the games will be very familiar to many of you, whilst some may not, but it is fun to see what is next, and before you know it, an hour has passed (in between the white screen).
One thing I must point out is that the sound quality on this machine is not fantastic. Turn it too high, and you will get a lot of distortion, but keep it low to medium, and it sounds okay. I also had an issue with interference noise a few times, but then it disappeared.
Overall, this is by no means a perfect gaming handheld, and to be fair, that sort of adds to its quirkiness. It’s a fun product to have and use, and it looks great just sat there as a centerpiece on your shelf. Just don’t expect too much from it, that’s all.