Tech

Highscore: The ten best retro consoles



Despite gaming smartphones, 4K consoles and VR – sometimes it's just fun to play games from bygone times. We tested over a dozen retro consoles. These are the ten best.

Retro consoles in comparison

placement

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8th

9

10

product

SNES Mini Classic

Pandora's box

Sega Megadrive Mini

DIY console

Sony Playstation Classic

Neo Geo Mini

Atari Flashback

C64 mini

NES mini clone

Mobile retro console

Connection TV

HDMI

HDMI

HDMI

HDMI

HDMI

Mini HDMI

HDMI

HDMI

AV-Out

AV-Out

power supply

Micro USB

power adapter

Micro USB

Micro USB

Micro USB

USB-C

power adapter

Micro USB

Micro USB

Mini-USB, battery

Pre-installed games

21

100+

42

0

20

40

120

64

500

100+

Own games

✔ with a trick

Processing console

***

***

***

No value

***

**

**

**

**

*

Graphics and menu

***

***

***

***

**

**

***

***

**

**

Special feature console

Games of all consoles

Keys without function

Games of different consoles

Games of different consoles

Controller true to the original

No value

No value

Controller included

2

2

2

0

2

1

2

1

2

1

Special feature controller

Controller only 3 buttons

Bluetooth and USB controller

wireless, 2 variants included

Processing controller

***

***

***

No value

***

***

***

*

**

**

The top placement is due to Nintendo with the SNES Mini Classic (review). The console scores with a very good workmanship, a good game selection and sophisticated software. With this trick also run their own games on the device. Despite the success, Nintendo announced in late 2018, no longer produce more retro consoles. If you fancy a game of Mario, you should strike in time before the SNES Mini Classic is (again) sold out.



With the SNES Mini Classic, the complete package of hardware and software is just right.

The second place goes to a retro console for Arcarde Games. The Pandoras box (review) convinces with good workmanship, a huge collection of games and a successful software implementation. The clacking of the controller puts the user in bygone times. For example, to make sure that the games do not lose any of the challenge, it is possible to limit the number of available continues. Anyone who has put a lot of money into slot machines, will enjoy the Pandoras box.



Pandoras box is not cheap, but convinces with high quality and a huge game selection.

Place 3 secures the only in 2019 published retro console Megadrive Mini (review). Compared to the previously available Sega retro consoles, such as the Megadrive Flashback (test report), this actually comes from the manufacturer Sega. The previous models were only licensed products, which unfortunately also noted a loveless game implementation and moderate processing. The model Megadrive Mini convinces with its faithful design and a very good game selection. There are 42 titles to choose from. The only weak point of the retro console are the small controllers. Sega fans can exchange these at any time for other input devices in the original look.



The new Sega Megadrive Mini is significantly higher quality than the previous retro consoles in the Megadrive design.

Although the DIY of a retro console (manual) is self-initiative, the DIY console comes in third place. For one, the DIY is really very simple, on the other hand, no other console offers so many options. The Raspberry Pi in conjunction with appropriate software, such as Retropie, allows emulation of games of almost all known consoles. To create the most authentic gaming experience, all you need is matching game controllers. For a fancy optics provides in our test model, an old Playstation case. If you want, you can install the console just as well in the tabletop or in a Raspberry NES case.



We installed our Raspberry Pi in an old Playstation One case.

The much anticipated remake of the Playstation, the Sony Playstation Classic (review), makes it to number 5. Although we like the good workmanship and the true to original controller, the software disappoints us, however. Thus, neither the graphic processing succeeded, nor is the game selection everyone's thing. If it were at least possible to install their own games, it would have made the Playstation Classic in the top 3. A look at the Price history shows that the console is available for actions already from about 40 €.



In particular, the hardware convinces in the Playstation Classic.



1st place: SNES Mini Classic

1st place: SNES Mini Classic

Pandora's box

2nd place: Pandora's box

Sega Megadrive Flashback

3rd place: Sega Megadrive Mini

(No product image available)

3rd place: retropy bundle

Sony Playstation Classic

5th place: Sony Playstation Classic


The recently reviewed Neo Geo Mini (review) is a retro console in arcade machine design, including screen, joystick and buttons. If you want, you can also connect the small console to a large monitor. The Neo Geo Mini convinced with a successful design and a proper game selection (40 titles). Despite a slight toy-child flair, the small arcade machine is a funny idea and a real eye-catcher on the desk.



The Neo Geo Mini works on both the TV and the internal mini-display.

The Atari Flashback 8 Gold (test report) has been successful in terms of software technology. However, the feel and processing of the hardware did not convince in the test. In particular, the quality of the console housing acts loveless. After all, different controller types are included for every two players. If you are looking for the classics of his youth, make everything right with the Atari Flashback.



There are two different controller types included.

Despite high expectations, the remake of the C64 lands only on place 7. Although the C64 Mini (review) looks good, but can not hide the overall unloving implementation. For example, only a single controller is included – which is annoying because many of the installed titles are designed for two players. It is a pity that the integrated keyboard does not work. If you fancy the C64, you should get a USB keyboard and install the firmware update. Only then is it even possible to use other USB controllers or own software.



The keyboard is fake and has no function.

The 8th place goes to the NES mini-clone (test report) from China. This is neatly processed and works very well. Also the number of installed games and the price are convincing. The problem is that Nintendo content is used here without any license. Who gets involved in the brazen clone gets a pretty retro console for a budget price.



For the low price, the clone is amazingly well made.

On the penultimate place lands the mobile Noname console from China (test report). The handheld console is only moderately processed, for a few rounds of single-player gambling it is still suitable. The pre-installed games are a collection of different consoles. If you are looking for a cheap diversion for a long vacation, make sure everything is done right with the mobile retro console.



The hardware is extremely cheap, the gambling is still fun.



Neo Geo Mini

6th place: Neo Geo Mini

Atari Flashback 8 Gold

7th place: Atari Flashback 8 Gold

C64 mini

8th place: C64 Mini

(No product image available)

9th place: NES mini clone

Noname handheld console

# 10: Noname handheld console


The brazen China clone of the SNES Mini Classic did not make it to the standings (test report). The console looks very similar to the original Nintendo remake, is well made and works flawlessly in the test. Apart from the missing license of the product, we are particularly bothered by the fact that among the installed games not a single title comes from the SNES.

The success of retro consoles is justified. It's a lot of fun to dive into the time of the block graphics and play video game classics with old friends. Of the great sales figures of Nintendo most manufacturers of the retro consoles, however, should only dream. On the one hand, the meanwhile large selection has lost the USP, on the other hand, the customers want a mature and good product. Except for the Pandoras box, the Sega Megadrive Mini and the original SNES Mini Classic, this is not the case with any remake.

Either the hardware is defective or the software is not mature. Another point contributing to Nintendo's success is the news that surfaced shortly after the release of the SNES Mini Classic Hackwhich allows you to install your own games.

Who wants to use their own games, but is not a Nintendo fan, who should build his own console. Consoles based on the Raspberry Pi are easy to implement and inexpensive. Although the DIY version does the most work, it does allow all the classics to gamble – regardless of the console.

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