A New Portrait Handheld with Power! – PowKiddy A20 Review
. If you have been following the handheld scene for a while, you know that portrait style handheld releases are very rare, especially when they include decent processors.. The PowKiddy A20 started as a clone of the Retroid Pocket 1 with an underwhelming processor.. During the two years that it was stuck in development hell, the device was upgraded to a better processor which, incidentally, made it more powerful than the device it clones.. In this video we are going to cover all that you need to know about the latest and most powerful portrait handheld that you can actually receive the PowKiddy A20.. The A20 comes with an Amlogic S905D3 CPU, with 4 Cortex A55 cores clocked at 1.9GHz and a Mali G31 MP2 GPU.. We have 2GB of LDDR4 RAM 8GB of internal storage, a 3000 mAh battery and a 3.5 inch IPS display with a resolution of 640×480. For connectivity. We have Wi Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0.. The entire A20 runs on Android 9., Even though the A20 can be considered a clone of the Retroid Pocket 1. It does have some improvements and unique elements.. In this section we are going to cover the build quality of the A20. Quick overview of the front.. We have an arcade layout with an analog stick above the DPAD six face buttons labeled as XAB and YCD and home select and start on the bottom.. The analog stick is well known, with the only downside being that it does not have L3 functionality.
. I want to focus on these buttons right here.. These are using dome switches, which means that you will hear a clicking sound when you press down on them.. To give you an idea of the travel length on these buttons heres a profile shot of the DPAD., Its subtle, but it works well.. The same can be said about the six main input buttons to the right.. That is going to be the biggest difference. When you compare the A20 to something like the 351V, which uses conductive rubber buttons. On the left side, you will find volume up volume down and a power button with an LED indicator. Light.. This light changes color when the charging cable is plugged in depending on whether or not you are at a full charge. On the right side. You can see that the A20 is split into two sections., The main section houses, the controls and battery, while the top half is reserved for the screen.. This is similar to the layout of the 351V, albeit with a bit less elegance, since this is just a standard. Black shell. That black shell can be a bit of a fingerprint magnet, which is why it would have been nice to see a few other color variations for this device.. A major selling point of this device over the RP1 is the fact that it comes with proper, L1 and R1 buttons on a small shelf.. My only criticism about these buttons and this shelf is that I wish they were a bit wider.
So more of my finger could fit on the button when I hold this in my hand. Again, these are less elegant compared to the 351v, but still serviceable.. Interestingly, this shelf houses, our HDMI slot headphone jack and a reset button.. Unlike the 351v, the area above this shelf does not house the CPU, so you wont have to worry about the combined heat of the screen and processors on your index, fingers. More on that later.. On the bottom of the A20, you will find a TF card slot, the type c port and the mono speaker.. It is a shame that we keep having devices made with mono speakers that can emulate systems that support stereo sound, but that is a topic for another video.. Here is a reading of the speakers audio quality.. The last thing that I want to cover before talking about the software is the screen on the A20.. As you can see, this is not an OCA screen, but it does have some redeeming qualities.. For this section I have three vertical devices with 3.5 inch screens.. We have the Retroid Pocket 1 on the left, with an OCA IPS screen the A20, with an IPS screen and the RG351V with an OCA IPS screen.. I have all of these devices filmed at 100 brightness, so you can better judge differences in the maximum brightness values and the color temperatures of the screens.. The screen in the A20 is probably my favorite out of the bunch if we were to remove the OCA benefit in the Retroid Pocket 1 and the 351v.
. The lack of OCA is going to mean that you will be able to see the rather large gap between the front screen and the IPS under it.. It is also possible for dust to get inside this gap during use or from the factory, but the high brightness value and good color temperature help balance out these negatives.. That front screen is, unfortunately, not glass, but the retail version has a glass 2.5D screen protector applied to it.. I will also mention that this device supports sleep functionality with a single press of the power button, and you should have over 30 hours of standby time in this mode.. Now. It is finally time to talk about the software on the A20, and this is going to be a highlight for some people. Like the Retroid Pocket 1. The A20 comes with two different ways that you can use the device.. You can use their standard frontend with a bunch of games already installed or you can use standard Android applications.. The benefit here is how easy it is to switch between the two options. Lets start first by going over the Powkiddy Box, since that is the default option.. As you can see, we have a Pandoras Box style menu with a games list on the left side and video snaps on the right.. If you navigate to the second section on the top, you can easily switch between the different systems that are supported inside this launcher. ROM file.
Names are really bad for the default apps, since they are translated from Chinese instead of the other way around. But you should be able to determine what the real game is in most cases. By pressing the home button. We can get into the system settings menu. Here you can change Wi, Fi, Bluetooth, brightness and volume settings. Inside the game settings menu. You can edit your ROM lists and add new games to the system., Just like the Retroid Pocket 1. There is also a shady game market where you can download ROMs from the internet to this launcher.. You can download from a list of games, but the issue of ROM names also plays a part here.. Unfortunately, the system shows you games that you already have installed, so that is another annoyance.. I tested this with a few games and I was able to download them, but the system does not do a good job of giving you a clear understanding of your current progress and how long it will take to complete. Ill. Also point out that the system has two themes that you can switch between. When you find a game that you want to play, launching it is easy.. The issue here is that all games will stretch to 43 or 169 over HDMI without any option to maintain the original aspect. Ratio.. Most importantly, the PowKiddy Box supports save states. Depending on the game that you are playing. The fast forward feature can also be useful.
. The PowKiddy Box does have a search feature which works well, depending on how badly the ROM name was translated.. One thing that I want to stress with this system is that it comes with a bunch of fake games. Beyond consuming a bunch of your storage space. These are typically also Chinese ROMs that wont be very useful to users outside of China.. One big positive for this closed system is that the button mappings are reasonable. Given the controller layout. PowKiddys developer did a decent job of improving the control mappings. Before the release of this product – and this is a huge improvement over what they were several months ago., Thankfully, the provider also made a way to use stock Android. Simply go into the menu of the PowKiddy Box, and you will be able to exit out of the Frontend to a standard Android launcher., I was sent a device with user debug firmware, which means I have root access over ADB, but I do not know if that is normal.. As you can see, Google Play Store, doesnt work on this build, so you need to install apps with ADB or by putting apps on your SD card and using the file browser to install them.. I would advise you to replace this launcher with another one, because it is very limiting and does not update with new apps until you do a full reboot.. I went ahead and replaced the stock launcher with the ATV launcher and it works well.
. Now we can verify that the screen is 60hz and check the instruction set.. This S905D3 firmware is running in 32 bit mode, so you will not be able to use 64bit apps. For Geekbench 5. We have a single core score of 144 and a multi core score of 483.. Both of these are a big improvement over the RK3326. For Vulkan. We have a score of 334.. Now that I have everything configured lets. Take a look at gaming performance on this chip.. First up Sega Genesis. Moving on over to SNES. Now lets check the performance of N64 using Mupen FZ. Coming from RK3326. This is going to be the first system where you can see the added CPU power going to work. Up next. We have PlayStation 1.. This screen aspect ratio isnt ideal for it, but the A20 can also play GBA games., Because we are running on Android. We can make full use of the Drastic emulator for Nintendo DS. Like N64. Psp is another system where you can see the performance improvements over RK3326 handhelds. Lets finish things off with Dreamcast.. As you can see, the performance on this little guy is not that bad. Lets do a teardown to see what it looks like inside.. The device that I have here is an engineering board, so it has some ugly elements that should not exist on the retail version.. For reference, this is a picture of the retail boards which lack the fly wires that I have.
Lets start by removing the ribbon cable for the LCD. So we can get a better look at the passive cooling situation on this board.. This is where our processor is, and they put this tiny heat spreader with an adhesive strip on one side over the top of the S905D3 and the RAM chips. With this chip. There are a few things to be aware: of. First, the power consumption of the A20 is around 600mA on idle, with the brightness set to 100.. Without running anything, you are looking at 5 hours of battery life. While running games. It is not uncommon for the consumption to go north of 900mA, which will bring your real battery life down to a little over 3 hours.. Just like the RK3326, the S905D3 can generate some decent heat that you should be able to feel in your hands while gaming, depending on the system that you are emulating. More than anything else. The concern here is the proximity of the battery to the heat source.. That brings us to the price., The A20 retails for just over 100, which is cheaper than some 3326 based devices that this competes against.. I personally would have priced this a bit lower, given the current competition in the 100 price range.. It has more power than the Retroid Pocket 1 and the RG351V, yet with controls that are not as good as the 351v and Android software. That is not as good or easy to use as the RP1.
. If you like portrait style handhelds, the A20 is the most powerful device you can buy. That will actually ship to you currently. Looking forward. I hope we can get some custom firmware on this device, since the S905D3 has potential.. If you have any questions about the A20, leave them down below and Ill do my best to get back to you.. Consider showing your support for my work by subscribing to the channel or dropping a like on this video. Ill catch you here next time with another review.