Hyperkin is back with the Supaboy S!
As can be seen in my Retron 5 review, I am quite the fan of Hyperkin products. For this reason the Supaboy has been on my radar, but rumors of an updated model kept me from taking the plunge. That model has been out for a little while now allowing me to finally catch a deal. This means it is finally time for my Hyperkin Supaboy S review!
What is the Hyperkin Supaboy S?
It all started with the original Supaboy. I remember being back in the 90’s and wishing I could take my Super Nintendo games with me on the go. Good news! That is exactly what the Supaboy and in turn the Supaboy S were designed to do. Imagine the Supaboy S as a giant Gameboy that allows you to play your original Super Nintendo and Super Famicom Cartridges.
So basically we are talking about a portable Super Nintendo, and a really good one at that.
The Supaboy S seems to be modeled after the original Super Nintendo Controller and fits in my hands quite well even though it is a tad large. It needs to be large however as it does have a pretty big screen at 4.3″. That is around the size of an average smartphone screen.
The screen looks pretty good too. There are 4 brightness modes (including off) and I personally prefer the full brightness. Only problem I do see is there is a little bit of a washed out or fuzzy feeling but still looks great.
The ability of being able to turn the screen off is excellent also, being as the Hyperkin Supaboy S can be hooked up to your television (via an included composite video cable) to function as a television console. There are two snes controller ports on the front that allow standard Snes controllers to be plugged in for this function. I haven’t tested this too much however since there is not much of a need as I own both the Retron 5 and a Super Nintendo.
Battery life is decent but not amazing. Playtime is advertised at around 10 hours, but my experience has tended to hover around 3. That is still quite acceptable, especially since the console can be played while charging, and expect to have a full charge in around 4 hours via a micro usb cable (also included). What is not good however is the lack of some sort of low battery indicator. I may have missed it somewhere but if not then that is really an oversight by Hyperkin. I could only imagine grinding for an hour or so in something like Final Fantasy 3 and having the console just cut off.
They Hyperkin Supaboy S is region free.
As you can see, there is no problem running games of any region on the Supaboy S. It runs my Japan import games excellent (does not support translation patches unfortunately like the Retron 5) which is great news since many expensive Snes games are cheaper from Japan.
There is also a switch on top that will let you select PAL or NTSC. This means games like Terranigma and Tales of Phantasia that received European releases are English playable! I am not sure if that is supported in tv mode however due to the difference in refresh rates, as I have no games to test this.
There are some flaws however…
First is the fuzzy screen I mentioned earlier. This may just be a personal thing, but you can see it being a little washed out in my photo of Super Ghouls and Ghosts on the left. Again very playable.
The second and much bigger issue however is the “shake” issue. What I mean here is if you bump or jar the Supaboy too hard the cartridge will move and sometimes freeze the game. This may not seem like a big issue but remember this is a portable console. What are the odds someone can bump into you on the subway or bus? What about when you die on that same level in Donkey Kong Country for the 5th time and lose your patience? I know that is when it became an issue for me.
So should you buy one???
That’s what I feel many of you are wondering at this point. “Is the Hyperkin Supaboy S for me?”
It all depends what you look for in a console. Some people prefer portables to television consoles. Some people may have to travel more than others whether it be by plane, car, train, etc. For those people I would say definitely. If you want to play your Snes cartridges on the go then the Supaboy S really is a great way of doing so. Especially if you happen to own an Everdrive.
What if you aren’t a big handheld gamer? If you are planning on using the Supaboy as a tv console only then I would probably pass. Between the original Super Nintendo and various Retron units there are other more suited and cost effective ways for tv gaming. Especially since the Supaboy S is in the neighborhood of $100. Ive seen Retron 3 units for less than that and you can also play Nes along with Sega Genesis games.