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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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.
You can buy the version with a dock and hook it up to your TV and play with a proper controller
 

AshuraZro

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You can buy the version with a dock and hook it up to your TV and play with a proper controller
You can and that's not nothing but with handheld being the core focus, it just would have been nice to see an analog stick added onto the unit similar to the Pi Boy DMG. That alone would open up Dreamcast for example.
 
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MajorFalcon71

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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
I Would imagine that would work best while it is docked
 

Bobsy

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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.
This is more the kind of toy that you enjoy putting together. That is half the fun of it.
With the cpm4 it should start up faster than with the pi zero.
 

cashboxz01

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This is more the kind of toy that you enjoy putting together. That is half the fun of it.
With the cpm4 it should start up faster than with the pi zero.
It's a nonsense argument to say that this is for the people who like to put things together.

The cost of this with a wifi-enabled CM4 would put this around $200.

$200 is an awful lot of money for just wanting to screw in a Pi board, and "assemble" the shell, just to get the feeling that you "put it together". You can usually find a v1 switch for around that amount if you look around enough, and then install CFW on it and setup retroarch on it if you really want to learn how to do something.

Usually shills use the argument of "DIY project" on forums and reddit to legitimize the product...however this is a totally useless product for most people and especially DIYers. It will never boot as quickly as an emulation handheld, as that's just now what raspberry pi is designed for. It will ultimately cause frustration, if anything. If you really really want to put something like this together, buy a cheap sub-$60 handheld, tell a friend to take it apart, and then put it together. You'll get the same feeling lol.
 

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Naturally I’m tempted by this, being an obsessive, tech-addicted weirdo. But, my personal experience of the L + R triggers on the original is that they suck, badly. I gave up on it and just use my RG351V instead for the Gameboy style form factor. Not that I use that all that much either to be fair, just can’t stop buying gubbins :D

Maybe it’s my pit-shovel hands, perhaps those who aren’t a gargantuan will be fine, but it’s the one thing that’ll probably stop me from buying this model, unfortunately.

Yes, I could buy it with a dock and use it on an external display, but why would I do that over a normal RPi 4? I just wouldn’t.
 
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lordelan

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I have a friend that has the first generation and was impressed by it. Then I bought one myself to give it to a girlfriend of mine that used to play Gameboy back then and she was very happy with it. Thus I'm pretty familiar with the first GPI Case and can confirm it looks and feels fantastic, although coldbooting takes too much time imho.
I remember there were addons to put a rasp 3 or 4 in it instead of the zero.
Now this is what I was hoping for for the second generation, that it natively supports the rasp 4.
I still wonder where I will play my retro collection on in the future.
  • Steam Deck with RetroArch (most likely atm)
  • Nintendo Switch with RetroArch
  • Analogue Pocket with a CFW to enable booting roms from SD
    or
  • This thing here
As much as I appreciate the GPI Case familiy, I'm pretty sure boot times are still horrible compared to the Analogue Pocket, since the Raspberry Pi still has to boot a whole Linux distribution. Guess I have to watch a few more videos on that on YouTube. I still somehow love the Gameboy form factor that's living on in the GPI Case and the Analogue Pocket. It just feels right to play games on there. However, I doubt the GPI Case can compete with the display quality of the Analogue Pocket here. What do you guys think?
 

Lv44ES_Burner

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I really love the concept of the GPi Case, and this is an excellent way to use the Pi4CM. My only gripe is a lack of L2/R2 triggers, but I could get used to using it docked for PSOne gaming. I would definitely like to see more Retroflag cases that support the CM going forward, especially that beautiful PiStation case.
 
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TheSpearGuy

can probably play it on Switch
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I still wonder where I will play my retro collection on in the future.
  • Steam Deck with RetroArch (most likely atm)
  • Nintendo Switch with RetroArch
  • Analogue Pocket with a CFW to enable booting roms from SD
    or
  • This thing here

You could set up RetroArch on Steam (Deck) and never worry about losing your roms or saves thanks to the cloud backup
Then use the GPI Case for Steam Link ;)
 

tfocosta

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Nice case, I want it but I can't find raspberry Pi 4 CM in Canada, someone have a link for the 8gb one ?
nowhere to be found in europe too

After doing some research, I believe the 8GB version has been sold out on most of the places we all know.

I ended up ordering mine few weeks ago from The Pi Hut website (UK). I'm not currently living there, so it may take a while to reach my current location, but as far as I can tell it's on its way. :D

I've been checking on DHL website on a daily basis and it's stuck in Germany for a while now. It's been like this for the past 5 days, but it seems to be the normal procedure when stuff comes from the UK to the rest of the Europe (because Brexit, you know). :rofl:
 

milkyTommy

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After doing some research, I believe the 8GB version has been sold out on most of the places we all know.

I ended up ordering mine few weeks ago from The Pi Hut website (UK). I'm not currently living there, so it may take a while to reach my current location, but as far as I can tell it's on its way. :D

I've been checking on DHL website on a daily basis and it's stuck in Germany for a while now. It's been like this for the past 5 days, but it seems to be the normal procedure when stuff comes from the UK to the rest of the Europe (because Brexit, you know). :rofl:
i just watched of the pi hut website and all version are sold out :/
 
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