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FunKey S is a tiny Linux-powered retro-gaming handheld

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Do you love retro gaming? How about pocket sized devices, powered by Linux that you can take anywhere? The FunKey S looks like a really sweet bit of kit. Small enough to keep with your keys, powerful enough to play tons of retro games.

Funded on Kickstarter back in July 2020 which we completely missed, the FunKey team managed to raise €165,760 and they've been taking pre-orders that have proven to be popular so it went out of stock. Powered by Linux and open source, the FunKey S doesn't use a traditional Linux distribution but instead they built it themselves with Buildroot.

They're continuing to expand the selection of systems it supports currently mentioning 10 including: Playstation 1, GameGear, NES, SuperNES, Gameboy (classic, Color and Advance), Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Atari, Neo Geo Pocket, Wonderswan.

Small but looks like it's designed quite well:

  • Large directional arrows and buttons A|B|X|Y|START
  • Generous L1/R1 back shoulder buttons
  • Additional buttons for ergonomic: POWER|Fn
  • 1.54" 240x240 IPS LCD color screen for high contrasts and viewing angle, 50Hz refresh rate
  • Built-in 0.5W speaker for heady retro-sounds
  • Single Micro USB connector for Power + Data Drag & Drop as a standard USB memory stick
  • Low battery / charge indicator
  • Strong metallic strap attachment needle

It includes a number of useful enhancements too, considering it's designed for a little gaming on the go. It wakes when it opens to be ready for you, it will automatically save when you close it up before turning off and it can resume when you open it back up. They're claiming around 5 seconds to boot and be ready to game too.

Since it's open source everything about it sounds easy too. Upgrades are dragging and dropping files while hooked up over USB, developers can add whatever they like to it since it's all open.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 42.5 x 44.5 x 13.8 mm
  • Processor: ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.2 GHz
  • RAM: 64 MB DDR2
  • Storage: SD card up to 128GB
  • Display: LCD IPS screen, 1.52”, 240x240 px
  • Audio: ∅10 mm mono speaker, 500 mW
  • Battery: 410 mAh Li-ion battery
  • LED charging indicator
  • Micro USB Port: charge battery, load games

See more on the FunKey website where it will be available from €65. You can find hardware details on Hackaday, plus all the code is up on GitHub.

I must admit I'm tempted by this, what a lovely little device.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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18 comments
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Ehvis 16 Mar
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Wait, no funky puns in this article? You seriously need some time off Liam!
ageres 16 Mar
240x240 50Hz screen, seriously? Not even 320x240?
fractal 16 Mar
Seems like a decent Gameboy emulator, but even in the promotional video you can see that the PS1 emulation is stretched vertically, as dropping it to native aspect ratio would make the fast racing game meant to be played on a 26"+ TV smaller than a matchbox. I'd rather pay more to have a bit wider screen to accommodate at least 4:3 with a decent screen size (and just add black bars on the sides when emulating anything in near 1:1 aspect ratio). The screen is about the same size as the ones in early 2000s cellphones and these never got the reputation of being comfortable gaming machines.

Another problem is the size of the whole thing. I understand that's the point, but it's just too tiny for me. Using it on the go implies things like commuting, but I can see myself struggling with these tiny buttons and a single road bump making me lose focus on the screen as it's so tiny. Then there's no audio jack, so the whole bus can enjoy PLINK PLINK WAHOO with me.


Last edited by fractal on 16 March 2021 at 3:15 pm UTC
gabber 16 Mar
1.54" ? looks like you need toothpicks to use those buttons!
kokoko3k 16 Mar
There are tons of them, but wait...
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001171420896.html
Notice the "Brand" Label on the back.
Eh?

-edit-
Right now the one to buy seems to be the RG351M (?)


Last edited by kokoko3k on 16 March 2021 at 3:59 pm UTC
Ehvis 16 Mar
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Quoting: kokoko3kThere are tons of them, but wait...
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001171420896.html
Notice the "Brand" Label on the back.
Eh?

-edit-
Right now the one to buy seems to be the RG351M (?)

None of them are that small though. Not a bad thing for me personally, but this one was meant to be key chain sized.
ageres 16 Mar
Quoting: EhvisNone of them are that small though.
At least they have L2/R2 buttons.
kokoko3k 16 Mar
Quoting: Ehvis
Quoting: kokoko3kThere are tons of them, but wait...
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001171420896.html
Notice the "Brand" Label on the back.
Eh?

-edit-
Right now the one to buy seems to be the RG351M (?)

None of them are that small though. Not a bad thing for me personally, but this one was meant to be key chain sized.
Yes, it seems china makers used their projects to make a bigger one!
Zaiyurhf 16 Mar
Interesting concept for emulating handheld and old-school consoles. On a keychain-size device !

Sadly, needing to press Fn+L1/R1 in stead of L2/R2 is kind of a let down and will probably make some (most ?) PSX games unplayable...
whizse 16 Mar
  • Supporter
I would love to see Liam review one of these - *hint, hint FunKey guys*!
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