Okay, this took a few days… okay, make that weeks… longer than I would have liked, but finally, I can write this review. If you listen to our podcast “Loot Mechanics”, you’ll know what I’m talking about: Experimental Pi’s PiBoy DMG.
This device is both a case for the Raspberry Pi (Model 3b, 4, or even the Zero), as well as a functioning handheld gaming device. It runs either RetroPie or Lakka, and I have personally tested it, and been able to play game systems all the way up to the Sega Dreamcast.
This is an excellent retro-gaming emulation rig!
That all said, I do have a few suggestions for those interested in this device. First, unless you have experience with RPi kit projects, stick with buying the pre-built version of the PiBoy DMG. While it is possible for even a novice to build this kit and install all of the software and updates, you will have a better experience if you aren’t having to muck about with the innards.
For example, I purchased the Full DIY Kit, which is basically everything but the Raspberry Pi. I was able to put the kit together just fine, update the firmware, and install the custom image, with no problem… or so I thought. The device wouldn’t boot up. Changed to a different microSD card, still no dice. I eventually opened up the case again, and… found that the microSD card extender ribbon had come loose from the PCB. I was able to re-seat it just fine, closed everything back up, and it works like a charm!
The problem is, I’ve done this before, with a lot of similar kits. If you haven’t, just buy the pre-built version. Yes, you still have to deal with installing ROMs and whatnot, but that is a cakewalk, compared to actually building a kit like the PiBoy DMG. This isn’t the hardest such project I’ve ever done, by any means, but it isn’t for novices, either.
Okay, bottom line: Is the PiBoy worth the price? Yeah, I would say so. The screen is nice, it runs a rather impressive number of retro console emulators, and isn’t going to break the bank, doing it. There are also a very nice selection of different color cases available from Experimental Pi, which is nice.
Just know that if you do order a PiBoy DMG, you will have to be patient. They are quite backordered right now, and while the company has sped up their shipping process, it can still take quite some time to receive them. So keep that in mind, should you choose to buy one of these kits.