The K101 Revo (or Revo K101) is the second product from Maxzhou88 to incorporate the K-Team's GBA software-on-a-chip (Soc) solution. The first product, a GBA SP "clone", was the 1st true hardware-based GBA solution ever released. As such it had a lot to live up to and ended up falling a little short of a perfect score. The K101 Revo aims to address the immediate hardware concerns of the K1 GBA SP, most importantly, the d-pad and button sensitivity issues.
In an age when so many systems are incredibly easy to hack, and developers have taken notice by coding and porting a vast array of emulation, what is the appeal of a device like the K101 Revo? The Revo is a hardware-based solution that does not rely on any emulation tricks or hacks to get the job done. It incorporates a SoC that mimics the functionality of the GBA allowing for the potential of a near perfect experience. ROMs and Homebrew are accessed via a microSD interface card, known as the K-Card. The K-card's microSD card slot is spring loaded and front facing, making it extremely easy to hot swap files quickly.
While not all features have yet been implemented, such as the use of special hardware cartridges, one major feature has been carefully incorporated into the new design. Based on the complaints received after the release of the K1 GBA SP, a fully functional RTC has been added into the K101 Revo. A feature which, after limited testing, seems to function correctly but suffers from basic software issues. I have only found the time to test Rockman EXE 4.5 Real Operation, and discovered that while the time remains correct, the date resets back to the year 2009. To fix this issue, the RTC settings must be accessed from the in-game menu, regardless of the fact that the option was turned "on" before loading the ROM. After navigating to the settings, changing nothing, and then exiting back into the game, the correct date will appear within the game. So clearly, this feature works but will require a firmware update to fine tune its assumed behavior.
The largest complaints of the K1 GBA SP were the d-pad and button sensitivity issues. Button issues were so severe that I was forced to push the "B" button on the review unit to the point that it could not be pushed any further, causing extreme discomfort while gaming. The d-pad suffered from similar issues which required different amounts of force on each of its 4 points of input. It would appear that the developer paid attention to these complaints as these issues have been fully addressed. In fact, I am happy to report that the K101 Revo, in regards to these issues, is far superior to the original design.
Other updates to the K101 Revo include a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 2.5mm AV-Out jack, and a micro-USB charging solution. While the system comes complete with a wall charger adapter, it can also charge while plugged into a powered USB port or hub. The form factor is now a wide-style design encompassed in a modified Gemei Tech A330 shell. The shell measures approximately 5 and 1/2 inches wide, 2 and 1/4 inches tall, and 1/2 inch thick. This design is incredibly light weight and extremely comfortable to game with.
Functionality wise, the K101 Revo has not received any updates. The system continues to suffer from the same compatibility complaints made during the K1 GBA SP review. It is completely understandable why few software changes have been made, considering that a single developer is behind this product, and now that it is released I hope to see a barrage of updates, fixes, and adjustments! Everything else has been so carefully updated, it is time the SoC firmware received the same treatment.
A full GBAtemp review is in the works, which I hope to have published well before the coming holidays. As the system is basically a redesign of the original, I would advise potential customers to read the K1 GBA SP review for more information. What that system does, this one will also do, including the extras mentioned in this brief hands-on impressions post.
I would like to give a special thanks to Revo K101 for providing the review sample. For more information and to place an order, click on the links below.
K101 Revo Homepage
K101 Revo Official Retailer Site