PowKiddy RGB10 explodes in user’s hands

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Written By Yash Garg

Full time retro gaming enthusiast, part time cryptocurrency and growth professional!

While we've come to love the cheap emulation hardware that comes from China, there's something we probably start need to pay heed to — quality. Recently, a PowKiddy RGB10 retro console exploded in a user's hands.

Article updated 13th August to reflect PowKiddy’s response for the incident.

PowKiddy aren’t the most popular retro gaming hardware company around, but tend to launch a lot of models each year. One of the more popular PowKiddy consoles — the PowKiddy RGB10 — recently exploded in a user’s hands, and we’ve gotten pictures thanks to Reddit user u/larj_Brest.

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PICTURES: PowKiddy RGB10 Explosion

PowKiddy RGB10 explosion
Rear-end of the RGB10 with a burnt back. Picture courtesy u/larj_Brest
PowKiddy RGB10 explosion
The RGB10 burnt through the towel, according to the user. Picture courtesy u/larj_Brest

Here’s what the Reddit poster had to say about the incident:

I was 30 minutes into a session playing final fantasy iv advance when all of a sudden the console turned off and started swelling in my hands, getting really hot. I could hear the plastic straining and popping. Flames and smoke started pouring out of it. I got the fright of my life and dropped it between my couch squabs by accident. I grabbed a tea towel that was nearby and used it to grab the console to take it outside, it burned through the tea towel, and burned the sides of my couch squabs. It absolutely filled my lounge with smelly white smoke.

– Reddit user larj_Brest

PowKiddy did not respond to my query. Instead, they responded in a Facebook group dedicated to retro handhelds. Their response:

The explosion of the powkiddy battery is a conspiracy. The battery in the picture is intact, but the casing is burned. If the polymer battery is caused by external force, it will smoke and catch fire, but the battery cannot be in good condition. The picture in that post is obviously fake. I haven’t been on the Internet for a long time, I feel incredible.

– PowKiddy in response

What version to believe? While PowKiddy have a point — the battery does not seem to have exploded — but there is clear damage to the device. The company is probably having to react to such an incident for the first time.

Time to ask for better quality standards?

Clearly seen in the picture are the remains of the damaged RGB10 console. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But that begs the question — should we start to hold manufacturers accountable for more than just emulation capabilities and price?

Now, the retro emulation industry is certainly a very small one. At least in comparison to other categories within consumer electronics, such as smartphones, wearables, or even tablets. However, that does not mean we should settle for lower quality standards.

I’ve seen the consumer electronics industry up close for many years, and am well aware of the quality standards followed there. While there are exceptions everywhere, the sample size in smartphone is WAY bigger.

PowKiddy probably made 50-100K of the RGB10, which is far lesser than even the smallest smartphone sub-category. Which makes one think — are they following the best quality standards?

We’re going to try and reach out to PowKiddy to get a response for this incident.

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