Why the Miyoo Mini is the best starter retro console

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Written By Paulo Papa

Father, nerd, writer.

The Miyoo Mini is arguably the most popular retro handheld that came out in the last year or so. Thanks to its reasonable price tag, smooth emulation capabilities, and good build quality, the small Game Boy-inspired console has won the hearts of many — including me. 

Today, we’re going to take a look at why the Miyoo Mini is the best console for those beginning their retro emulation journey. So without further ado, let’s begin. 

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best beginner retro console

1. Price – Oh so sweet…

One of the first things you would want to consider when investing in a retro console is the price. You wouldn’t want to put a lot of money into something you’re not sure would work for you, so, you would naturally turn to something that won’t break the bank — just in case. 

Oh and yes — the Mini also features in our list of the best retro consoles under $100.

Miyoo Mini is the best starter retro console!
Photo from Miyoo

The Miyoo Mini originally came with a sticker price of around $63.99 to $79.99. It’s actually one of our top picks for the best retro consoles under $100. However, news has spread that the Mini will soon be discontinued and will be replaced by a somewhat different, yet upgraded version

As with the law of supply and demand, the news of the impending product discontinuation significantly affected the pricing of the Miyoo Mini on the market. Several members of Miyoo communities on the web report that the price of a brand new unit has now more than doubled. 

In the Philippines, the price has gone from the P2,000-P3,000 mark to about P6,000 (~$107). Another member, who we guess is based in the UK, has seen one posted for about £204. Ridiculous!

2. Size and Portability – Who said larger is better?

Another advantage — especially for beginners — in using the Miyoo Mini is the size. The device literally lives up to its moniker and offers those getting into retro emulation a console that’s flexible and portable. 

Miyoo Mini with dimensions

The Miyoo Mini measures 9.33cm x 6.5cm x 1.8cm, the same size as a deck of playing cards, and weighs approximately 110 grams. You can find more info, including dimensions, on the Miyoo Mini specifications page.

On that note, you can easily take it with you for some decent gaming on the go. It fits in most pockets and weighs just enough to not drag you down. With that, you can kill time immersing yourself in role-playing games like Pokémon or classic JRPGs like Final Fantasy VII and Suikoden II.

We wouldn’t recommend using it using for games that require the constant use of the shoulder buttons though as its size can make reaching for and pressing the L1, L2, R1, and R2 buttons quite the challenge. 

You can whip out the Miyoo Mini while waiting in a long line, taking a break at the office, or simply on your ride home. 

3. Community – Hand in hand!

Alright. We said that Miyoo might be serious about pulling the plug with the Mini. But that doesn’t mean that the device is dead. In fact, it’s far from over!

The Miyoo Mini has a thriving community where members are more than willing to welcome those who share the same passion for retro gaming and love for Miyoo’s small and capable handheld. 

In addition, people in the community are always willing to help others by answering questions and providing their opinions on how one can get the best experience in using the Miyoo Mini. That said, you’re sure to quickly get familiar with how the device works. 

Groups for owners can be found all over the internet from Reddit to Facebook. There are also tons of Miyoo Mini reviews and Miyoo Mini tutorials on YouTube. Speaking of which, do check out our YouTube channel, where we upload relevant videos on everything related retro gaming. 

4. Aftermarket Firmware – For the tinkerers!

As we’ve briefly covered above, the Miyoo Mini gets tons of support from the community, especially in the areas of aftermarket firmware. 

The device comes out of the box with its stock operating system (OS), based on Linux. It’s simple and easy to understand which makes the Miyoo Mini a product you can immediately have fun with, the moment you get it in the mail.

However, as you become more acquainted with the device, you will start to look for more from it. It’s good to note that the Miyoo Mini is more than happy to cater to these needs. 

Intermediate users looking for a better experience can upgrade to the MiniUI, a custom launcher for the Miyoo Mini. Advanced gamers, on the other hand, can download the Onion OS, a more technical firmware for the Miyoo Mini. In case you already have one, or have one in the mail, here’s it: Miyoo Mini OnionOS/MiniUI guide. Bookmark this!

It’s also fairly straightforward if you wish you change the boot screen on your Miyoo Mini.

5. Accessories and Mods – Make it your own!

The Miyoo Mini, despite allegedly being moved out of production, continues to get overwhelming support from dedicated communities. From developers to modders, everyone is chipping in their much-appreciated contribution to making the Miyoo Mini a retro handheld worth getting. 

Remember the shoulder buttons we’ve just mentioned earlier? Yeah, fans have found a way around it. Reddit user and r/MiyooMini member u/Snoo74895 designed these sick shoulder buttons that “are much easier to press than the stock buttons” and can easily be pressed “ without changing finger posture.”

Miyoo Mini - the best beginners console
Photo from Reddit user u/Snoo74895

Not happy with how your face buttons look like? Sakura Retro Modding, whose stunning Instagram page you can check here, makes custom buttons and decals so you can mod your Miyoo Mini, exactly the way you want to. 

Miyoo Mini - Best beginner console?
Photo from Sakura Retro Modding’s Instagram

Members of the community also made various accessories for the Miyoo Mini which include standing charging docks, handle grips, and carrying cases. And oh! Here’s mine. I love that it matches my leather EDC (everyday carry).

Miyoo Mini - Best beginner console?
From Paulo Papa

For custom themes, Miyoo Mini’s thriving community has tons of these in store for would-be owners. From Neon Genesis Evangelion and Metal Gear Solid-inspired themes to customized ones, the choices are endless. 

We even wrote an article about how you can get custom boot screens. Be sure to check out “Miyoo Mini: How to add custom boot screen & logo.

6. Emulation Support – It’s an all you can eat buffet

For its size, the Miyoo Mini offers surprisingly good emulation support. The fresh operating system immediately gives you emulation for arcade games, SNES, Famicom, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, SEGA, and PlayStation. 

Performance on older systems is smooth like butter. It has also run all the PS games I’ve thrown at it. Like mentioned earlier, the community is at it and the device just keeps getting better!

Is Miyoo Mini the best beginner retro console?

The Miyoo Mini

To state the obvious — yes.

The device keeps getting better. As long as it’s under the $75 mark, we feel it’s quite a deal.

It seems like some retailers are starting to get the device back in stock; if you’re looking to pick one up, we’d recommend waiting a bit more to let the prices settle down a bit.

There are competitors catching up; Anbernic have a clone in the works. The RG280V is already neck and neck with the Miyoo Mini. Heck, we’ve even put together a list of all of the best Miyoo Mini alternatives. What’s your pick?

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