Oh Wow 1 Handheld Is a Linux Device From a US Company

Here comes a new vertical.

While consoles like the Miyoo Mini V2, AYN Loki, and Anbernic’s Win600 are currently stealing the spotlight, there’s a newcomer to the handheld emulation scene in the form of the US-based Oh Wow console.

In a reveal over at RetroDodo, the site notes the Oh Wow 1 handheld is being created by a small team of enthusiasts with the hopes of designing a killer handheld with an affordable price tag. Sounds good, right?

“The Oh Wow 1 is something everyone wished they had when they were younger,” says an Oh Wow representative.

“We’re also creating a device that pretty much anyone would be able to afford & love. Our device will start around $149.95 which is amazing. The Oh Wow 1 also allows you to play more [than] AB & D-PAD games. With the analog sticks it opens a new world to retro gaming.”

The analogue sticks are, of course, a substantial design decision as it denotes which games will and won’t be playable. We tested out the RetroMini recently and trying to play games that need more than four buttons was an absolute nightmare. We don’t even want to think about how Dreamcast would work without sticks.

Oh Wow 1 Specifications

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This is where things get nice and interesting. From a purely hypothetical power point of view, the Oh Wow 1 handheld should offer up a solid amount of power. On a scale of RG351 to Steam Deck, these specs place the Oh Wow 1 somewhere in the middle.

In fact, as it’s housing the RK3399 chipset, that places it in a similar ballpark to the Anbernic RG552, with the Oh Wow 1 Pro actually pipping it thanks to the upgraded RAM.

What does all this mean in terms of what it could run? As always, that depends on the software. It’s a Linux device, which normally proves more unruly when compared to the Android equivalent. The team is aiming to use Batocera as the front end, though, and judging from our own usage, Batocera is a mostly user-friendly operating system to work with. There’s hope, in other words.

Let’s get back to ballparks. If everything works as it should, then in theory we’re looking at up to Dreamcast and select GameCube titles. Anything above that and the console will most likely melt.

Oh Wow 1

  • Screen: 3.5-inch IPS
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Chipset: RK3399
  • Storage: 16GB

Oh Wow 1 Pro

  • Screen: 3.5-inch OLED
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Chipset: RK3399
  • Storage: 32GB + 64GB microSD card

Oh Wow Handheld Price

As noted, there are two versions of the Oh Wow handheld coming. The base version of the console is aiming to retail for $149.99, while the Pro is gearing up for a $199.99 price tag.

It’s important to note, this is a tech startup company that wants to make an affordable handheld. Whether Oh Wow will be able to source all the components and still come in at under $200 per unit remains to be seen.

It’s possible. Very possible. But it’s a big ask. Especially as prices everywhere are skyrocketing.

The thing is, there’s absolutely a market for affordable, powerful handhelds. As the industry continues to use the RK3326 chipset for everything (something we’ve written about lots before), we need a new company to come in and show everyone that emulating above PS1 is possible without breaking the bank.

Oh Wow 1 Handheld Design

Image showing other vertical handhelds .

The console is reminiscent of the Game Boy. Amazing, right? We’re delivering the hard-hitting facts here.

Want more? Okay. This type of handheld is currently really popular. So much so, there are already several handhelds in the form of the RG351V, Powkiddy RGB20s, and the Miyoo Mini that sport a similar vertical design. The main difference between those and the Oh Wow 1, however, is all down to power.

As for what’s where, on the face of the console you’ll find A, B, X, and Y buttons on the right; power, start, and menu along the lower half; a d-pad; and the two analogue sticks.

The analogue sticks mimic the Xbox 360 era of placement – with one parallel to the left of the face buttons, and the other parallel below them.

Flip this thing over and on the back you’ll find the L1, L2, and R1, and R2 shoulder buttons. Along the right side is where you’ll find the microSD slot.

As far as layout goes, the renders nail it. It’s going to be a smaller device so button placement will be paramount. As it stands, it looks like it could feasibly be comfortable to play on.

What Happens Next

Oh Wow has both a Discord and Twitter account set up, so if you’re looking to stay in the loop for when the forthcoming Kickstarter launches, it’s worth dropping them a follow.

How much the Kickstarter is looking to make isn’t yet known. That said, we’ll be following along and will update the article with more information as we learn it.

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Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming and tech journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.