Hardware Review: Retro Duo Portable

Editor’s Note: If you would like to see more of these types of articles, make sure you tell us in the comments! We’d love to know what content to bring to you.

Recently, I decided to purchase a Retro-Bit’s RetroDuo Portable for the sheer fact of the idea of being able to play my Super Nintendo cartridges on the go, along with the original Nintendo. Hit the jump for the full review.

So what does the RetroDuo Portable come with? It comes with the system itself, two SuperRetro controllers, transparent stand, AC adapter, AV cable, RDP RetroPort adapter, duo controller port cable, and an instruction manual. Some of the things I’ve listed are the obvious things that would come with it, but a few things like the controller and the NES adapter is nice. The two controllers that come with it are pretty solid and comfortable to use, and the RDP’s RetroPort adapter is a nice addition for playing NES games, however it can’t be used on actual SNES hardware. Now they also have a standalone version of the RetroPort adapter along with a RetroGen adapter which plays on both the RetroDuo Portable and the original SNES.

While there are some really nice things about the RetroDuo Portable, there are some cons that I have to list because some of these things could be a deciding factor on whether this is a worthy purchase or not for some people. One of the biggest cons regarding the RetroDuo Portable is that some games it will randomly decide to go into some weird ass rapid-fire mode for no reason at all. Now granted, this only happens while using the face buttons on the RetroDuo Portable itself, and it doesn’t happen while using a seperate controller, or while using alternate speakers, headphones, or earbuds. I also noticed that you can fix the problem by turning the volume down to about 30-40% while not using alternate means of sound, which is extremely weird. Another problem sound wise, is that the built in speakers aren’t the best ones in the world and sometimes start getting staticy during some games. The screen quality on the RetroDuo Portable isn’t necessarily the best in the world either. It’s not horrible by any means, but I was expecting a nice LCD screen like with the DS or something like that, but it’s not a major problem.

Now a problem with the buttons on the system itself is that the ABXY buttons are extremely oddly spaced, which can make it a bit awkward while playing games like Mega Man X where you might need the ABY combination. The D-Pad is also problematic, in that you can push in the middle on the portable. This isn’t an issue with the controllers that come with it though, but if you do manage to push it in the middle it can cause some weird things to happen during gameplay.

Another issue that people will want to consider before purchasing the RetroDuo Portable is the compatibility of the games. As far as I can tell it works for almost all Super Nintendo games but it wouldn’t work with Kirby Super Star. A note to consider is that it doesn’t work with several PAL games. The RetroPort also doesn’t work with games that the original RetroDuo could play such as Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse and other problem games for NES clones, so it’s not too much of a disappointment there. The next issue is a small one, but still definitely one of note. There doesn’t seem to be any indicator that the battery is about to die, and I had mine die on me while playing Mega Man X2 suddenly. It was rather disappointing, to say the least.

The RetroDuo Portable is definitely nice to own if you can get past some of the problems with it, and it’s definitely cool to be able to take your Super Nintendo and Nintendo games on the go. Of course, there are some things wrong with it that could make people not want to purchase. I don’t regret purchasing it, but definitely take the pros and cons into consideration before purchasing it.


  • Portable SNES and NES. (Also can be a portable Genesis with the RetroGen Adapter)
  • Comes with it’s own RetroPort Adapter
  • Comes with two well built controllers.
  • AV out support that doubles it as a console, and without the need of an AC adapter
  • Works with almost all Super Nintendo games with a few exceptions


  • Issues with some games that trigger a rapid-fire thing, but can be fixed through several means.
  • Odd button layout and d-pad that goes in the middle
  • Won’t run Kirby Super Star
  • Built-in speakers aren’t the best around.
  • No indication that the battery is almost dead.


— Jake (Naldrag)

Be the first to comment

Leave a comment