Retroid Pocket 2+ vs. Retroid Pocket 3: Siblings at War!

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Written By Paulo Papa

Father, nerd, writer.

With similar specifications and only a small price difference, there's not much separating Pocket 2+ and the Pocket 3. Let's look at which one is the right retro handheld console for you!

Just recently, GoRetroid announced the arrival of the company’s latest entry to the mid-spec horizontal retro handheld segment — the Retroid Pocket 3.

And while it comes as the third (and supposedly, better) instalment to the Retroid Pocket family, a lot of emulation fans are actually interested to find out how well it stacks up against the much-loved Retroid Pocket 2+. 

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In this article, we’re going to pit together Retroid’s two flagship devices. Read until the end to find out which of these two retro handhelds would best suit your budget and your gaming needs. 

And oh, we also compared the Retroid Pocket 2+ with another horizontally-oriented device, the Anbernic RG351. You can check our Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+ comparison to see how that went.

Retroid Pocket 2+ vs. Retroid Pocket 3

Retroid Pocket 2+ vs Pocket 3
Picture  Model Amazon AliExpress GoRetroid
Retoid Pocket 2+ Retroid Pocket 2+ Check Price Check Price Check Price
Retroid Pocket 3 Retroid Pocket 3 Check Price Check Price Check Price

Specifications

First up, is the Retroid Pocket 2+. This device has won the hearts of many, thanks to its affordable price tag and comprehensive suite of features. 

Retroid Pocket 2+
Retroid Pocket 2+

At the heart of the Retroid Pocket 2+ is a Unisoc Quad-core Tiger T310 CPU paired with a combination of an A75, A55, and a PowerVR GE8300  GPU. This setup, alongside 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM allows the Retroid Pocket 2+ to run on an Android 9 operating system (OS). 

That said, the Retroid Pocket 2+ is a pretty powerful device considering its price. It can run games up to PlayStation 1 with ease. 

It also comes with a 4,000mAh battery pack that promises four to five hours of use on a single charge. That’s pretty decent given that it would fairly be difficult for one to game for more than five hours straight on a handheld. 

Other notable features include a 3.5-inch touchscreen display (with a 4:3 aspect ratio), an integrated rumble motor for a better gaming experience, a conductive rubber design for D-pad and face buttons, a built-in official game launcher and frontend, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth support, as well as built-in official OTA support for incremental upgrading. 

For those looking to game on a bigger screen, the Retroid Pocket 2+ does come with TV-out functionality. This can be activated by plugging an HDMI cable into the dedicated port on the device. 

Retroid Pocket 2+
OSAndroid 9
CPUUnisoc Quad-core Tiger T310
GPU1 x A75 + 3 x A55 + PowerVR GE8300 
RAMLPDDR4 2GB 
Battery4,000mAh
WiFi SupportYes, built-in 
TouchscreenYes
Display Size3.5-inch 
More info here: Full Retroid Pocket 2+ specifications

Up next, is the new Retroid Pocket 3.

Despite being the supposed successor of the Retroid Pocket 2+, the Retroid Pocket 3 still sports a similar chipset to the Retroid Pocket 2+.

Under the hood is a Unisoc Quad-core Tiger T310 that is mated to an 800-megahertz PowerVR GE8300 GPU. This setup is supported by either a 2GB LPDDR4 or a 3GB LPDDR4 RAM. 

Retroid Pocket 3 - White
Retroid Pocket 3

It runs on Android 11, which according to the company offers a 20-30% percent performance gain from the Retroid Pocket 2+’s Android 9 OS. 

The Retroid Pocket 3 also sports a similar battery pack as the Retroid Pocket 2+. It features a 4,000mAh unit which, granted the more powerful OS, we reckon would last about three to four hours. Still pretty okay. 

It does pack a larger screen though, measuring 4.7 inches. It still has touchscreen capabilities which is always a plus.

Other notable exterior appointments include improved controls (with clickable analog sticks for L3 and R3), a built-in (latest) official game launcher and emulator frontend, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth support, and built-in official OTA support for incremental upgrading. 

Like its predecessor, the Retroid Pocket 3 also offers TV-out functionality via a dedicated HDMI port. 

Meanwhile, those who will predominantly be using the handheld for on-the-go gaming will be happy to know that the Retroid Pocket 3 has an overall better build quality and better heat dissipation.

According to Retroid, the Retroid Pocket 3 has a metal frame inside and an aluminum heat sink that effectively improves passive cooling. It also has an alternative dome switch or conductive rubber for D-pad and face button.

Retroid Pocket 3
OSAndroid 11
CPUUnisoc Quad-core Tiger T310
GPU1 x A75 + 3 x A55 + PowerVR GE8300 
RAMLPDDR4 2GB/LPDDR4 3GB
Battery4,000mAh
WiFi SupportYes, built-in 
TouchscreenYes
Display Size4.7-inch 
More info here: Full Retroid Pocket 3 specifications

Emulation support

Now out of the box, both the Retroid Pocket 2+ and the Retroid Pocket 3 offer similar emulation support ranging from arcade and Famicom games to PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable (PSP) titles.

And since both run on Android, they can well run a variety of Android games.

What systems can the Retroid Pocket 3 and Pocket 2+ emulate?

Retroid Pocket 2+Retroid Pocket 3
NESYesYes
Super NESYesYes
Game BoyYesYes
Game Boy AdvanceYesYes
Neo GeoYesYes
Neo Geo Pocket ColorYesYes
Sega GenesisYesYes
Sega SaturnYesYes
Sega DreamcastYesYes
Nintendo 64YesYes
Nintendo DSYesYes
Nintendo GameCubeYesYes
TurboGrafix-16YesYes
PlayStationYesYes
PlayStation PortableYesYes
PlayStation 2YesYes
PC, PS4, PS5, XboxYes

However, the Retroid Pocket 3 is advertised to have game streaming and cloud gaming capabilities — something that the Retroid Pocket 2+ lacks.

Per Retroid, the Retroid Pocket 3 can be used with video streaming software like Moonlight and SteamLink for running Windows games, Xbox games, and PS games. 

Retroid Pocket 3
The Retroid Pocket 3

ETA Prime, even showed in his YouTube video, how the Retroid Pocket 3 can be used with apps like GeForce Now and PS Remote Play. Here, he demonstrates the Retroid Pocket 3’s capability to run games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Spider Man: Miles Morales

Hardware & Design

Retoid Pocket 2+
The Retroid Pocket 2+

Both the Retroid Pocket 2+ and the Retroid Pocket 3 are built with a horizontal orientation making them better handheld systems to play with, in terms of ergonomics, compared to vertically-oriented systems — like the Miyoo Mini and the PowKiddy RGB20S.

When it comes to dimensions and size, the Retroid Pocket 2+ measures 5.9 x 3.1 x 0.98 inches and weighs about 194 grams. This makes the Retroid Pocket 2+ a more portable option compared to the larger Retroid Pocket 3.

The latter measures 7.3 x 3.2 x 1 inches and weighs 36g heavier than the former at 230g. The closest we can compare the Retroid Pocket 3’s size to, is the Nintendo Switch Lite. 

This difference in size has an effect on the majority of the hardware found in both the Retroid Pocket 2+ and the Retroid Pocket 3. As we’ve briefly covered above, the Retroid Pocket 2+ comes with a smaller 3.5-inch screen while the Retroid Pocket 3 boasts a larger 4.7-inch display. And while it won’t matter for some, others consider screen size an important factor. 

In addition, the button layouts on the Retroid Pocket 2+ and the Retroid Pocket 3 are different.

The Pocket 2+ has an analog joystick placed at the top of the D-pad and an analog slider at the bottom of the face buttons. The Pocket 3, on the other hand, uses two analog joysticks placed below the D-pad and the A-B-X-Y buttons. 

Honestly, we’re happy to see that GoRetroid now used two analog sticks for the Retroid Pocket 3 instead of the analog stick and analog slider they used for the Retroid Pocket 2+. The newer analog controls simply feel better and also provide gamers with additional L3 and R3 functionality. 

Speaking of controls, both the Retroid Pocket 2+ and the Retroid Pocket 3 were built to accommodate a third-party external controller and connect to an external monitor, all thanks to its HDMI TV-out functionality and built-in Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. 

The big one: Pricing & Where to Buy

You can get both the Retroid Pocket 2+ and the Retroid Pocket 3 at the company’s website. Here, they also sell accessories you can use for both Retroid products such as carrying cases and tempered glass protectors making your overall shopping experience convenient since all products will come from one shop. 

Alternatively, you can get the Retroid Pocket 2+ and the Retroid Pocket 3 from other trusted resellers. 

Picture  Model Amazon AliExpress GoRetroid
Retoid Pocket 2+ Retroid Pocket 2+ Check Price Check Price Check Price
Retroid Pocket 3 Retroid Pocket 3 Check Price Check Price Check Price

As for the price, the Retroid Pocket 2+ is currently at $99 while the Retroid Pocket 3 is at $119. Considering shipping costs, you’re looking to pay around $150 for the Retroid Pocket 2+ and about $170 for the Pocket 3. 

That’s not too bad of a deal considering other retro handhelds in the segment that offer fewer features cost as much, if not higher, than these Retroid devices. That, if you’re not looking for the best retro consoles under $100.

Retroid Pocket 2+ vs. Retroid Pocket 3: Summary

Retroid has been one of the most notable retro handheld brands in the industry and their products, like the Retroid Pocket 2+ and the Retroid Pocket 3 are simply some of the best retro consoles on the market. 

Retroid Pocket 3 - all colors
Photo from GoRetroid

In our opinion, both devices are neck and neck in many aspects. For those who will mainly be emulating retro games, the Retroid Pocket 2+ will be more than capable to handle such tasks.

However, if you are into video game streaming and cloud gaming, the Retroid Pocket 3 is clearly the better option. 

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