Today we have our first look at the latest in a long line of Chinese handheld emulation devices - the Miyoo Mini. Powered by an ARM Cortex-A7 dual-core 1.2G and 128MB RAM; the Mini touts being capable of emulating systems up to and including the original PlayStation.
The Miyoo Mini sports a 2.8 inch screen at 640x480 that manages to squeeze in 286 pixels per inch. It's an IPS panel with rich and vibrant colours and the minimal bezels definitely help accentuate it. The screen appears to be coated in glass but in our initial testing we can’t tell if this is actually glass or just a high quality plastic. The screen is definitely the highlight of this unit - response times seem good and ghosting is very minimal.
In fact, compared to previous consoles of this kind (Bittboy, Anbernic etc.); build quality as a whole is a huge step up. The plastic casing feels high quality and sturdy and the face buttons are well moulded. The d-pad in particular is surprisingly decent and finds that good balance between a clicky and a mushy response when pressed. The four face buttons also feel good but have a bit too much resistance for my liking but this may improve with use. The remaining buttons (L1, L2, R1, R2), start, select and the menu button are all simple microswitch buttons.
There is also a vibration motor inside the unit for compatible PS1 games though in our limited first time testing we didn’t get to test this so keep an eye out for our full GBAtemp review of the Miyoo Mini.
For audio, a single mono speaker is placed under the action buttons and this is where the Mini doesn’t fare quite as well. While volume control is very granular thanks to the volume wheel on the left hand side of the unit and it gets very loud; audio quality is quite bad with frequent popping and crackling. The placement of the speaker means your thumb also regularly rests on the speaker grill, muffling the audio. Thankfully there is a headphone jack on the bottom of the unit, so whether the poor sound quality is the fault of the built-in emulators or the hardware itself will be covered in our upcoming full review.
The Miyoo Mini sizes up at just 65x94mm (2.5x3.7 inches) and weighs in at just 108 grams - making it by far one of the most compact devices of its type. For a console that can sit in the palm of your hand, you would be forgiven for thinking such a small device would be cramp inducing but with my average sized hands I actually found it fairly comfortable for short gaming sessions. The placement of the buttons and weight distribution are well done and the line-grooved grip on the back along with the angled rear buttons make the Miyoo Mini surprisingly playable.
The Miyoo Mini includes a 1900mAh rechargeable battery and is supplied with a USB-A to USB-C cable in the box for charging. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to support USB-C power delivery so it will only slow charge over a standard USB-A connection which is somewhat disappointing.
The Miyoo Mini boots up in just 9-10 seconds and is powered by some form of minimal Linux distribution. The interface is surprisingly straightforward and user friendly. With options for recent games, game library, Retroarch and other apps and the device settings where screen brightness etc can be tweaked.
We’ve spent several hours with the Miyoo Mini at the time of this review and have tested several platforms from NES to PS1 using the default built-in emulators. Initial impressions of the performance are mixed, with the console beginning to struggle with the later generation Super Nintendo games such as Yoshi’s Island which begins to exhibit minor stuttering and audio issues.
Fortunately the Miyoo Mini also runs Retroarch alongside its default emulators so performance may improve with some minor tweaks to the Retroarch settings and core options. Stay tuned to our full review for further impressions.
There is also the potential for custom firmware which many other devices of this kind have received. In fact, the popular Triforce CFW already lists Miyoo Mini on the compatible list, though this is coming "soon".
Our initial impressions of the Miyoo Mini are somewhat positive. It's a huge step up in quality in many areas for these cheap handheld emulation devices. The 2.8” IPS display is definitely the stand out feature and the compact size is more practical than I expected. With a decent feel in the hands thanks to decent button placements and a high build quality the Miyoo Mini delivers an experience that pushes past its relatively low asking price of $60-$70. Unfortunately it's not perfect so look out for our full review which should arrive next month.
Do you have any questions about the Miyoo Mini? Let us know below and we will do our best to answer.
Thank you to the folks at KeepRetro who sent us a review unit to test out. You can find the Miyoo Mini at their store via the link below:
KeepRetro Miyoo Mini (pre-order)