In my review of the PocketGo the main drawback with the device was linked to a problem which should have been spotted during R&D. The firmware was only capable of driving the LCD at 30hz, meaning that many games suffered from a distracting amount of screen tearing. Whilst it wasn’t obvious in all games, it was enough to be annoying and for me usually meant I’d reach for a different handheld instead, usually the RG-300 or RS-97.
Thankfully, the talented and dedicated community devs have mostly overcome these issues – and now the PocketGo is a much better machine than it was at launch.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a screen tearing fix might require some soldering or another hardware mod, but have no fear, all it takes is for you to flash the latest firmware.
The latest firmware drives the LCD at 50hz (I believe) instead of 30hz – this is good enough to almost eliminate the screen tearing. I say almost because some people claim they can still see it a little. Doing a before and after comparison of something like Splatterhouse on the PC Engine, Sonic 3 on the MegaDrive or Mario Kart on the GBA is night and day. I did try to capture the differences on camera, but it’s incredibly difficult to do so. As far as I’m concerned the tearing is gone, and if it’s still there I would never have noticed it.
As far as the speaker hiss goes – it is definitely still there but I do believe that it’s quieter than it was. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest now – but maybe I’m just used to it.
The v1.3 CFW comes with the Fontigrid skin by default, a colourful, eye catching and easy to navigate UI.
There are a slew of other skins pre-loaded too, including the highly acclaimed comic book skin.
It’s worth noting that there are some problems with gpSP on this firmware meaning that some games quit out before loading. You can replace gpSP with the version from v1.2 if the game you want to play is broken – otherwise just wait it out and I’m positive it’ll be fixed in v1.4. For what it’s worth, all of the games I tested worked just fine.
The latest firmware for the PocketGo and for most of the other recent Chinese machines can be found on this FTP site.
If you’re after a PocketGo, you can pick one up from any of the vendors below. The unit is well stocked everywhere currently so you shouldn’t be waiting long.