The Powkiddy RK2023 has been a surprise and totally unexpected release. This is always a cause for concern as you wonder why it’s been kept quiet prior to release.
Whilst it isn’t a total disappointment, the RK2023 isn’t the prettiest looking device on the market. The internal specs, including the RK3566 chipset, is around a year out of date, which is a shame, although it can still play platforms comfortably up to PS1 and some PSP games too.
The Powkiddy RK2023 is a horizontal handheld, with a 3.5” 3:4 ratio screen. It’s completely made of plastic, and whilst light, it doesn’t feel too cheap when holding it.
As already mentioned, it has the RK3566 chipset, which featured in many handhelds during 2022, and in particular the Anbernic RG353M, which was one of my favourite handhelds of 2022. Having tested quite a few different handhelds last year, I know the RK3566 can perform quite well, just don’t expect God of War to play flawlessly.
The RK2023 uses a Linux OS, with Jelos and ArkOS operating systems, which whilst basic in design, get the job done, making the handheld ideal for pick-up and play sessions. The one I received from Gogamegeek came with a 128GB SD card with thousands of games pre-loaded.
One thing I did notice was the lack of built-in Wi-Fi, which whilst no deal-breaker, I do like to make sure that I am kept up to date with OTA updates, but unfortunately, not this time.
When it comes to holding the RK2023, I found it to be very comfortable and ideal for extended play sessions. The ergonomics of it are great, and with it being quite light to hold, I never became fatigued or experienced any sort of cramping in my fingers or hands mainly due to the curved sides.
Design-wise, you are not going to get something that will blow you away. I disliked the graphic on the screen bezel showing the RK2023, and it just looks a little bland. But this is a budget handheld and isn’t trying to be something it’s not.
The ABXY action buttons are a little larger than I have seen on other handhelds, which again, sort of helps with the ergonomics of the handheld, I really liked them. Both the action buttons and D-pad use a rubber membrane, which I always like the feel of when playing a gaming handheld, and it also makes them less ‘clicky’.
The D-pad doesn’t look great, and you’d expect that it might slice your fingers up with those sharp edges. But it’s totally fine once you’re actually playing games. The RK2023 also has dual analogue joysticks and four shoulder buttons that work well with the likes of N64, PSP and PS1.
The 3.5” laminated display is very good for such a low budget handheld, featuring crisp and very bright images. This makes it ideal for playing outside. I’d love to see other companies use this type of display on cheaper handhelds as it really does make a difference to your gaming.
As I mentioned earlier, the RK3566 chipset is starting to look a little long in the tooth now, and that is probably the only letdown with this handheld. That isn’t to say it can’t play games well; when it comes to 8-64 bit gaming platforms, this is a perfect device.
The Powkiddy RK2023 can comfortably play Game Boy Advance, Game Boy, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Dreamcast, PlayStation 1, Nintendo 64, and PSP games. The RK3566 struggles with anything higher, but considering the budget price, it’s still a decent handheld.
With a 3500mAH battery, you will get around 5-6 hours of gaming, which is fairly respectable and ideal for those long, boring journeys that you might be taking.
This handheld is ideal for first timers in the retro gaming world and who just want to pick up and play without messing around with the settings. I’d be hard struck to not recommend the Powkiddy RK2023, as long as you accept it for it is.
For $98.99 at the moment on Gogamegeek’s website, this has to be a must buy for anyone not wanting to spend a large sum of money but still want to play something decent.