The Raspberry Pi4 was released back in June 2019, but it hasn’t yet found its way in to any mass produced handhelds. There are two main reasons for this. The lack of a more compact Compute Module variant of the RPi4 means that any handheld would have to accommodate the comparatively bulky full sized board. Secondly, there is no official build of RetroPie for the Raspberry Pi4 yet. That hasn’t stopped these guys though, and the PiBoy DMG may be the first RPi4 handheld to be mass produced.
A company named ExperimentalPi have been posting regular updates on the progress they’re making on their own RPi4 powered handheld. The PiBoy DMG has been designed to closely resemble that of an original Game Boy DMG. It’s aesthetically similar in some aspects to RetroFlag’s GPi Case released last year for the Pi Zero.
Unlike the GPi Case though, the PiBoy DMG has been configured with 6 face buttons and an analog stick. It also contains a larger 3.5″ screen with a higher resolution 640×480 panel. On the back of the unit are two shoulder buttons, and there are various I/O around the shell. The addition of a hardware brightness control is a very nice touch too. The PiBoy DMG is built to accomodate your choice of Pi Zero, RPi3B+ or RPi4.
Availability and price
Although the base kit is currently available, this is only suitable for a Pi Zero or Pi3B+, unless you’re willing to do some tinkering. Update: since making this post, they have changed all kits to pre-order for July delivery.
The $90 base kit lacks a fan (required for RPi4), a Li-Po and a charger. A $120 full kit will be available in the near future, and contains everything required to get started. You’ll just need to supply your own RPi4. And finally they will also offer a fully assembled unit with RPi4 included for $180. All you’d need to supply are ROMs.
Personally I think this handheld looks decent. My preference is for landscape oriented machines, but until a CM4 is released then the chunky Game Boy style shell suits the full sized RPi4 board nicely. For most people the $120 full kit will be probably be suitable. With the addition of a 4GB RPi4 this makes a well priced handheld considering what the board is capable of. With better performance for systems such as N64, Dreamcast and PSP the RPi4 is a pretty compelling option in handheld format. I look forward to getting my hands on one of these things!