It’s fight time as the Miyoo Mini takers on the Powkiddy v90 to decide which is the best pocket-sized retro console out there.
When setting up the Miyoo Mini vs Powkiddy v90, I decided to break it down into sections to compare and contrast the two. They are, after all, both very similar systems, so the only way to solve this once and for all is to get into the nitty-gritty. Get granular, then you can decide which is better. Let’s do it.
Build Quality and Layout
Powkiddy has made a name for itself by releasing low-cost products that do the job. The problem we see time and time again with Powkiddy is just how many corners the company is ready to cut. The low pricing always comes with a cost.
The Powkiddy v90 feels cheap. The plastic doesn’t have that premium sheen we find in products like the Aya Neo Air or the AYN Odin. There’s also the issue of edges not sitting perfectly flush. Buttons also tend to lack tactile feedback and the screen looks more sunken into the upper section of the clamshell.
All of this sounds pretty damning, but the truth of it is this is a super affordable device and the reason it’s affordable is because it’s been designed and built as cheaply as possible. The above issues are there, but they aren’t deal-breakers. You will notice them, but when you’re playing a game, chances are you’ll get used to them.
On a more positive note, the v90’s clamshell design, reminiscent of the Game Boy Advance Sp, is lovely. The loud click it makes when you open it is sure to cause anxiety, but in terms of nailing nostalgia, the Powkiddy v90 gets the aesthetic right.
When you’ve got the Miyoo Mini and Powkiddy v90 side by side, it’s easy to tell which looks the more premium product. The Miyoo Mini has that slick plastic sheen that helps to make a product feel more legit.
Despite being the smaller product with the smaller of the two screens, the extra bump in resolution is immediately clear. The Miyoo Mini offers up crisper pixels, and while it isn’t as bright as the Powkiddy v90, the overall screen quality is cleaner with more vivid colours.
The main issue with the Miyoo Mini is just how small it is. I know, I know, it has ‘mini’ in the name and I’m complaining about the size of it. Bear with me.
When pressing right on the d-pad and the furthest left face button, it’s easy to smash both thumbs together. And while the trigger placement is exactly how it should be given the size, they simply don’t sit naturally. Either you’ll end up hitting the trigger buttons by accident or you’re going to have to bend your fingers unnaturally to press them.
While the Powkiddy v90 feels more natural to hold, and the clamshell design is really lush, the low-quality parts let it down. Factor that with the Miyoo Mini’s clearer screen and on build quality alone the Miyoo Mini wins.
Winner: Miyoo Mini
First, let’s take a look at what each system is offering in terms of power, shall we?
- Screen Size: 2.8-inch IPS screen
- Resolution: 640×480
- Operating system: Linux
- CPU: ARM Cortex-A7 dual-core 1.2Ghz
- RAM: 128MB
- Size: 93.5mm by 65mm by 18mm
- Battery: 1900MAH (around three to four hours)
- Charging: USB-C
- Screen Size: 3.0 inch IPS LCD
- Resolution: 320×240
- Operating System: Linux
- CPU: ARM 9
- Size: 100mm by 100mm by 20mm
- Battery: BL-5C 1020mAh (around four hours)
- Charging: USB-C
In short, there isn’t much between the Miyoo Mini and the Powkiddy v90. Both feature very similar specs, so in principle, both should offer up similar speeds and visual quality. It is worth noting the Miyoo Mini is the more recent of the two devices, which means when it released, it did have the chance to see how the Powkiddy v90 rolled and fix any issues users found. Technically that’s the case, anyway.
In terms of how emulators run on each system, neither is perfect – what works on one doesn’t on the other and vice-versa – but both offer up enough compatibility to make it worthwhile.
Winner: Miyoo Mini
If you’ve held a Game Boy SP, chances you know what you’re getting with the Powkiddy v90. Sure, the v90 is smaller, but it’s the same principle.
The rounded corners help the console to avoid feeling like it’s digging into skin and it’s a hard console to damage, too. The clamshell design means scratching the top screen while it’s pocketed isn’t a concern.
The buttons could offer more feedback, but they get the job done. All in all, the Powkiddy v90 manages to be a comfortable device in spite of its low build quality.
I’m going to talk about its size again. I know. I’ll stop soon, promise. Size really is its biggest hurdle. The smaller something gets, the more compact it needs to be. This becomes an issue with button placement – you will smack your thumbs together, and holding it without accidentally smacking the triggers is near-impossible.
Overall, the Miyoo Mini isn’t massively uncomfortable to hold, you can absolutely play it and have a lot of fun while you are, but its size does throw up issues.
Of course, most people buying either machine aren’t going to buy something designed to be small and complain about its size. That’s what I’m for. They’re gimmick machines, and chances are won’t replace most people’s device of choice. Still, if we’re comparing the two, we need to discuss this stuff.
Due to its more compact size, the Miyoo Mini runs into more issues. It’s only fair, then, that the Powkiddy v90 wins this round.
Winner: Powkiddy v90
Powkiddy v90: $33.21/£28.11 (via AliExpress)
Miyoo Mini: $51.68/£42.09 (via AliExpress)
There isn’t much in the price, but it is worth remembering the above prices are from AliExpress, which is a wholesale website and ships the product directly from China. If you’re aiming for something more local, like Amazon, those prices are going to go up.
The Powkiddy v90 through Amazon comes in at
If you’re in the UK looking to cut out third-party sellers and gross inflation, Droix has the Miyoo Mini v2 for $80.16/£55.51.
In most cases, the Powkiddy v90 comes out cheaper. As I say, there isn’t much in it. If this were a choice between the RG280v and one of the two consoles, price would absolutely be a factor. But as the price difference isn’t astronomical, this isn’t exactly a landslide win for the v90.
Winner: Powkiddy v90
There isn’t really that much to consider in terms of valid alternatives. There is the Funkey S is you’re looking to go even smaller, and you’ve got the RG280v.
While the RG280v it’s a great console, it doesn’t fill the void either the Powkiddy v90 or Miyoo Mini does. It’s a nice machine, albeit a little old now, but if you’re after something micro and nostalgic you can throw in your pocket, the Powkiddy v90 and Miyoo Mini are the way to go.
Funnily enough, the main alternative to the Miyoo Mini is the Miyoo Mini v2.
What’s different between the two Miyoo devices? Not much. It’s a minor upgrade that’s worth it but hardly worth buying an entirely new machine if you already own the base Miyoo Mini.
According to our friends at RetroDodo, changes include the option of different transparent shells, an improved battery that claims to prolong playtime from three to four hours to five to six, a fully laminated OCA screen, and improvements to the operating system, and screen fuzziness has been fixed.
Miyoo Mini vs Powkiddy v90: Overall
This doesn’t need to be a difficult decision. All it comes down to is this: Do you want something like a pocket-sized Game Boy or a pocket-sized Game Boy SP?
Although there are differences, a lot of them are minimal, so the best way to decide really is which you prefer the look of.
I would argue the low-quality parts used by Powkiddy is worth contemplating. If you’re looking for a more premium feel, the Miyoo Mini feels stronger. Yes, the Miyoo Mini doesn’t have the Game Boy SP stylings, but it does offer a clearer picture, especially in the Miyoo Mini v2.
Whichever system you choose, you’ll come away happy. And if I’m being real, owning both is a worthwhile investment. But for the reasons listed above, there can only be one winner today.
Overall Winner: Miyoo Mini