Anbernic Revo K101 Plus returns for online sale, console impressions

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It's been a couple years since we at GBAtemp took a look at the Revo K101 Plus handheld console, a GameBoy Advance clone device that offers the ability to play official cartridges, as well as ROM backups and emulate a variety of other retro systems. At the time of publishing for my colleague Scarlet's official review of the device last February, many were quick to point out that despite the manufacturer having sent us a unit to review, the K101 Plus had been out of production for quite some time, and could no longer be purchased new. Thankfully, however, that's no longer the case. Handheld emulator manufacturer Anbernic has recently began offering the Revo K101 Plus for sale once again on their online store, bringing this high quality GBA clone back to consumers.

As part of the resurgence of the device, I was lucky enough to receive one of the new models to test out for myself. Having previously read the existing K101 Plus review, I had a general idea of what to expect, but once I had the device in hand I found it hard to disappoint. The package still came with everything included previously; the K101 Plus itself, Revo's K-Card (essentially an Everdrive like device that works exclusively on the K101 Plus) for accessing device settings and playing ROM backups, a small screwdriver to access the battery slot, a screen protector, a mini USB charger, and an AV cable for connecting it to a television set. From a design standpoint, I absolutely love the GameBoy Micro inspired Famicom Gold color scheme, and found that it fit perfectly in my slightly oversized hands with minimal issues as far as comfort goes. All of the buttons on the device itself, while not being a perfect 1-to-1 match as far as a traditional GBA experience goes, still worked flawlessly with no problems accepting inputs or being "sticky." The LCD screen is also a high point here, offering a crisp image and eight levels of backlight that can be changed right on the console and blowing the visibility of a standard GBA screen out of the water. I will admit that at first, it sorta felt strange to be using a clone device to play, but the more time I spent with it, the quicker that feeling dissipated.

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Playing official cartridges was as simple as plugging them in and starting them up like a traditional GameBoy Advance, and I found that it performed just as well as any GBA I've ever owned, with no weird glitches or issues from playing on unofficial hardware. The settings for things like screen size, display language, and others are all still locked to the K-Card and can't be changed when official cartridges are plugged in, so even if you buy this without the intention of playing with ROMs, it's still something worth keeping around. Speaking of the K-Card, getting backup ROMs uploaded was a breeze, and accessing them through the card's menu was an incredibly user friendly task. In seconds I was playing my GBA backups, which were functionally identical to my experience on the official cartridges, performing equally as wonderfully. Even more demanding titles like Wario Land 4, Super Monkey Ball Jr., and Crazy Taxi: Catch a Ride played as perfectly, a testament to the power behind the clone. For fans of Gen 3 Pokêmon, the K-Card also includes an option to enable a real-time clock, allowing berry growth and Umbreon/Espeon evolution without issue. Cheats can also be enabled from a menu that can be quickly accessed via one of the many hotkey combinations that the K-Card has to offer.

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Outside of GBA backups, I also spent a brief time testing the emulation NES games and a few ROM hacks on the device; a few Pokémon ROM hacks such as Rocket Edition and UltraViolet ran flawlessly, and the device was even able to handle running the GBA port of OpenLara... it's not perfect, mind you, but it runs fine enough. NES emulation was another story though, with games like Castlevania, Gradius, and the ROM hack Castlevania II: Simon's Quest Redacted all running technically, but with plenty of graphics stuttering, stiff controls, and less-than quality sound. It's neat that the emulation option is here, but it's still just more of a gimmick than something that would make the K101 an all-around portable retro emulator. The true strengths are firmly in its capacity as a GBA clone, and in that area it excels.

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In short, I find myself wildly impressed with the K101 Plus as a GBA clone device. It helped to scratch a "GBA on official hardware" itch that I've had for quite some time since regrettably selling off my console as a teen. With official GameBoy Advance consoles still seeing some pretty high prices to get your hands on, I can easily recommend picking a K101 Plus up to anyone looking to get some GBA gaming in while saving a bit of cash.

:arrow: Anbernic Official Store
:arrow: AliExpress Listing
:arrow: Revo K101 Plus Official GBAtemp Review
 

Veho

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It's not terrible, if you want a Gameboy Micro for your GBA carts but can't get your hands on an original.


Y'know, I do kinda find it interesting just how frequently Anbernic chooses GBAtemp to receive free product for review. Seems like we've had a lot of these articles lately.
Anbernic sends their stuff to all prominent gaming hubs, and we're one of the prominenter :P
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but if it did work w/ a GC then wouldn't it need a GameBoy Player?
I am talking about linking a gba with gamecube. Usually used as a controller or unlock features in games.

Anyway read original review and it us not supported. Oh well bought a suped up og gba instead.
 
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Yet another non-new product slipped into a different new case to fool a new generation of suckers. Sigh. I bought the original Revo K101+ around 2013 and the battery life was terrible. Much worse than just using a gameboy. Is there any improvement? It looks like the screen is more or less the same: you either have black bars at the top and bottom if you want original aspect ratio or play a strechy fullscreen mode.

As for NES emulation, it was complete rubbish because the K-card is using an old version of an emulator ported from something unfinished from the Easy Flash IV. From what is described in the review, I'll bet the Ambernic sheisters didn't change a thing. And GB(C) was also emulation in the form of Goomba. It's better than the NES, but far from perfect. The bottom line seems to be that GBA is too wimpy to emulate much of anything very well. Cloning this ancient hardware is really not worth it now that there are loads of cheap PocketGo/PowKiddy/Retrogame comsoles to choose from; K101+ was a curio in 2013, now it is irrelevant.

Import/Export of save files from the K card, both emulated games and native GBA, requires a painful command-line conversion utility because K-card saves are not the same format as used in EZ-Flash and popular GBA emulators like mgba, vba.
 
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Yet another non-new product slipped into a different new case to fool a new generation of suckers. Sigh. I bought the original Revo K101+ around 2013 and the battery life was terrible. Much worse than just using a gameboy. Is there any improvement? It looks like the screen is more or less the same: you either have black bars at the top and bottom if you want original aspect ratio or play a strechy fullscreen mode.

As for NES emulation, it was complete rubbish because the K-card is using an old version of an emulator ported from something unfinished from the Easy Flash IV. From what is described in the review, I'll bet the Ambernic sheisters didn't change a thing. And GB(C) was also emulation in the form of Goomba. It's better than the NES, but far from perfect. The bottom line seems to be that GBA is too wimpy to emulate much of anything very well. Cloning this ancient hardware is really not worth now that there are loads of cheap PocketGo/PowKiddy/Retrogame comsoles to choose from; K101+ was a curio in 2013, now it is irrelevant.

Import/Export of save files from the K card, both emulated games and native GBA require a painful command-line utility because K-card saves are not the same format as used in EZ-Flash and popular GBA emulators like mgba, vba.
Yeah, it's a heap of trash all around. Just get a GBA SP and a low-tier Everdrive, it'll still be better than this
 

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It's good but the aspect ratio is weird for GBA games. If you want pixel perfection just stick to the smallest-black border screen config.
 

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Even that I'm kinda an anbernic fanboy, given how cheap and easy to find the OG GBA is, and how easy to shell swap and screen mod it is, I see no reason to get this product.



I am talking about linking a gba with gamecube. Usually used as a controller or unlock features in games.

Anyway read original review and it us not supported. Oh well bought a suped up og gba instead.

that was a really relevant question, glad you found the answer, because I was curious about that too. Anyway, for that use scenario, a beaten up GBA will do the job, and as I said, it will be cheap to buy.

As for the cable, if you already don't have it, there are good and dirty cheap bootlegs ones this days on Mao's land websites.
 

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Really wish they make a new version of this by now. Anbernic already made the RG351P which people recommend specifically for GBA emulation due to the screen matching the GBA aspect ratio. All Anbernic need to do is combine the K101 GBA abilities and the RG351P general emulation and quality of life improvements. I'm sure a device like that will give Analogue a run for their money.
 

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