I picked up one of those chinese portable gaming/video/music/camera handhelds super cheap at Swedish eBay, just out of curiosity. These units come under a variety of name such as “X6” etc and can be bought on Amazon, Wish, Ali Express etc. They are a slightly more advanced variant than the small “Gameboys” bundled with a number of NES games. In this post I will write about what the unit can do and not do, as well as some tips and tricks I learnt on the way. It should be noted that I am not quite sure of the age of my unit, although it resembles the one I’ve seen reviewed on Youtube etc. Hence, newer versions might support additional features.
As for specifications, I am not sure what CPU architecture this device is built on. The information on the box is rather sparse, other than stating that the unit has 8 gb of storage space and a 480×272 QVGA TFT color screen. I will look into this later, and update the post.
The first thing I noticed that it was not entirely intiutive how to turn the device on: it seemed like the power button only worked when the charger was connected. However, turning the unit on is a two-step process: first, flip the side-switch to “on”, and then hold the “start” button.
The device has a good “feel” to it, and the buttons are responsive. The screen is clear and bright. The device is rather lightweight, and has a nice design stolen from the Playstation Portable 🙂 I have seen some concerns in prior reviews that the d-pad is not responsive in 8 directions, so it might not be suitable for fighting games.
If we start with some basic functions before we go into gaming / emulation, we can conclude that this is not a device that will satisfy your need for taking pictures or playing high definition video. Below is a sample of how the camera (under)performs outside in good lightning. The camera should also be able to serve as a PC camera, however I do not think it would be useful for a Skype business meeting in 2019 🙂
As for video playback, I tried some different video formats such as MP4 and AVI but without success. The only thing I got working was a 480×270 WMV clip. The “MP5” in the name of some of these units does not refer to any known format. On the enclosed CD is some sort of MP4 encoder, which supposedly converts video files to a suitable format for this device. Audio playback of MP3’s works as intended. The FM radio did not find any channels during the auto search. I did not try the AV out function since I see very little point in connecting a low-end handheld unit to my TV.
The device includes basic tools such as calendar, calculator, stopwatch, a voice recorder and a “library”, which I suppose read text files / e-books of some sort.
Let us get on to the gaming section. The device comes with a number of included games in different versions. I think they are mainly gba games. A number of NES games can also be found on the enclosed CD.
As per emulation, I have tried a number of roms from different systems on the device, and these are my experiences so far:
NES: Many games play really smooth with minimal lag during side scrolling. If I would use this unit for one thing only, it would be NES emulation. Super Mario Bros 1,2,3 all run fine, with the occassional glitch. Make sure to use US/NTSC version of roms, EU/PAL roms run to fast.
Super NES: There seems to be some problem with the emulator making all roms, both PAL and US / JAP run to fast. You notice this problem immediatelly in the title screen, when the music is playing way to fast. Sadly, this makes the games unplayable.
Gameboy: Interestingly, the side scrolling in, for example, Super Mario Land 1 and 2, is a bit jerky. It is playable, but a bit annoying. Non-fast scrolling games are fine though.
Gameboy advance: Suprisingly, GBA games often run smoother than the original GB games. Many titles run very good. So, after NES emulation, I would say this is another good use for this device!
Master System / Game Gear: I did not get any of these roms to run.
Mega Drive / Genesis: Games run ok, but as with the Gameboy, fast scrolling games are a bit jerky. Sadly, this includes the Sonic the Hedgehog series, which is a big reason why we want to emulate SEGA’s 16-bit machine.
These are the machines I’ve tried so far. I’ve seen people playing PSX games in a rather slow manner on certain units, but I have not tried this so far. Will give it a shot another day.
How to transfer games to the MP5?
To transfer games to your device, you simply connect it to your computer through the USB-cable, create some folders (see picture below), and drag your roms there. Then, go into Game Centre on you device, and choose Games on Demand. There, you will find your transferred roms. The device allows for saving and loading state which is a really nice feature.
To summarize this post, the chinese MP5 PSP clone works best as a NES / GBA emulator. Non-fast moving games for Mega Drive / Genesis / Gameboy also works good. However, SNES emulation on this particular device is way to buggy. The device may also be ok to use as an MP3-player. However, it is unlikely that you will find it useful for taking photos or playing videos.
See also: Chinese GBA 369-in-1 multicart: what to expect.