Retroflag GPi Case 2 first look

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Hot on the heels of the recently announced PiStation Raspberry Pi 4 case, the Retroflag team are back yet again and thanks to their continued support of GBAtemp we have the exclusive first hands-on with their new GPi Case 2 - the team’s second take on a Game Boy form factor device.

Unlike the original GPi case that was powered by the Raspberry Pi Zero, the new GPi Case 2 supports the Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module - a stripped down version of the existing Raspberry Pi 4 that sacrifices the original Pi 4 ports and connectors for more compact, embedded applications yet features the exact same processing power.

Because this device is powered by the Raspberry Pi 4 (CM) it now has the potential to emulate game systems up to and including the Dreamcast at a reasonable speed. We will take a look at performance and it’s true potential in our upcoming review, so stay tuned for that.

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The GPi Case 2 features a 3 inch 640x480 resolution LCD - double that of the original, which is bright and vibrant with decent contrast. Brightness can be controlled by a small dial on the side of the unit.

In terms of design, the GPi case is not a grand departure from the original and retains the same look and feel of the original Game Boy hardware it is inspired by. We have the usual d-pad, ABXY face buttons, Start and Select and L+R triggers on the back, however we do have a few new buttons including a Turbo button for rapid button press configuration on the fly as well as a dedicated Hotkey button which will make navigating emulator menus within games easier. We also have a sleep button on the top of the unit which will put the GPi Case 2 into a lower power suspend mode for up to 20 minutes allowing for quick resume while saving battery power without having to shut down the whole system.

Talking of battery life, the GPi Case 2 now features a built in rechargeable 4000mAh lithium-ion battery that is a big improvement over the AA’s found in the original. The battery is charged via a USB-C connection found on the bottom of the device.

Getting started with the GPi Case 2 is much easier than the original and a screwdriver isn’t even needed to get up and running - the Pi 4 CM simply snaps into place underneath the faux cartridge slot which is where the micro SD card is located. The GPi Case 2 is also specially tuned for emulation packages such as Retropie and Recalbox and features safe-shutdown scripts as well as other tweaks designed to make installation a breeze. Full instructions and details of which are included in the package.

Dock (Included in the GPi Case 2 Deluxe package)



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Included in the Deluxe package is a USB-C charging dock that allows you to connect the GPi Case 2 to an external display via a full size HDMI out port. There are also 2x USB 2.0 ports for connecting external controllers and the dock is powered by USB-C.

The GPi Case 2 simply drops into the dock and when turned on or restarted will automatically detect the dock and switch display mode to 720p with stereo audio allowing you to play your games on a big screen not unlike a regular Retropie setup, all while charging the internal battery.

The GPi Case 2 seems to be a big improvement over the original released last year, the move to the Raspberry Pi 4 CM alone is already a major upgrade that should boost performance in just about every way, but the Retroflag team have also listened to feedback and have addressed most of the shortfalls of the original while also adding some extra features such as the dock and power-save mode.


The Retroflag GPi Case 2 releases December 20th and will be available on Amazon.com in two SKUs.

The first SKU contains the GPi Case 2 itself and goes on sale for $79.99 USD.
The second deluxe bundle includes the GPi Case 2 and Dock and will sell for $89.99 USD.

We will have the full GBAtemp Review of the GPi Case 2 up soon so please keep your eyes peeled for that.

:arrow: GPi Case 2 (Amazon link - may not be LIVE yet)
:arrow: GPi Case 2 Deluxe package (Amazon link - may not be LIVE yet)
 

x65943

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Really cool to have such a robust emulation machine in that form factor. The ability to connect to TV is icing on top

As far as compatibility it's nice you can play Dreamcast games but the buttons don't seem very conducive to that :P, hard to imagine playing much past the 16 but era in portable with that button set up
 
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Scarlet

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Thanks for clearing that up... those things look uncomfortable. Too bad they're not like the analog pocket's triggers. :\
I have the unit now since I'll be doing the full review, and honestly they aren't that bad. The drawback of them being flush with the case is that you need to press on the front a bit to get the press in, but they line up well enough that your hands are pretty much resting on them anyway. They're roughly in line with where the X button is on the front.
 

cugel

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Really cool to have such a robust emulation machine in that form factor. The ability to connect to TV is icing on top

As far as compatibility it's nice you can play Dreamcast games but the buttons don't seem very conducive to that :P, hard to imagine playing much past the 16 but era in portable with that button set up

Yeah it's cool that it can do Dreamcast and it's a more elegant design without the stick, but it feels like there's going to be a lot of games past the 16 bit era you're going to have to avoid.
 

cashboxz01

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Had the first gen GPi case. Ended up selling it.

Cool concept, however If long boot times kill your gaming vibe, this isn’t the handheld for you. I can’t justify spending that much money on a handheld and then wait 1-4 min every time for it to boot when I have 15 minutes to spare and want to continue playing a game.

Other Chinese handhelds have a built in SoC, and run optimized opendingux which boots in less than 2 sec and can old retroarch as well as standalone emulators. I personally prefer my RG280M which cost $65 with prime shipping, is far better in terms of build quality, and everything worked out of the box, despite having some minor flaws.
 
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AshuraZro

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Retroflag makes some nice stuff. I admittedly impulse ordered it but cancelled because, well ultimately I shouldn’t drop money on this right now, but also I’d be looking at close to $200 all in for something that is only a SNES control scheme. Nice for what it is of course but the CM4 is capable of more that you may not fully enjoy due to the limited inputs.
 

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