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