Odroid has recently announced a new portable console, the ODROID-Go Ultra (aka OGU), Linux-based, to hit the market later this year (early october 2022). It’s similar in size to the Odroid-Go Super, but the internals have been massively upgraded so that you can expect to play a lot more demanding games (emulation is the main point here). it’s based on one of the their most powerful boards, the Odroid-N2+.
Let’s compare it with the specs of the Odroid Go Super. The Odroid Go Super was about just as powerful as the smaller Odroid-Go Advance, so it’s as good a benchmark as any. For reference, as per our reviews of the Odroid Go Advance, you can expect to run pretty much everything up until the PS1 and some Dreamcast games on the Odroid Go Advance. PSP was kind of average for most games in my experience, but it apparently depends also on the distro you installed.
What could have been better?
While the internals are impressive, specs-wise, there’s two main problems:
- No wireless by default (need a USB dongle): they are repurposing existing hardware so it’s not too surprising but still somewhat disappointing for a handheld device.
- The weird USB charging cable, making it less practical to carry (one more cable to bring…)
Have things changed with the Steam Deck?
The Steam Deck has kind of changed the environment, by providing a very powerful device that can be used for gaming anytime, anywhere, including emulation. Almost everything in cheaper ARM handhelds is going to be worse: worse specs leading to poorer performance, worse controls, worse software integration, and lack of official support over time. The Steam Deck is also a “swiss army knife” of a handheld, which can run x86 games on top of everything else, which is where the largest active market is.
The only advantage of an ARM handheld is price. At 110~ USD it’s very difficult to beat, and it makes it enter almost into a “disposable” category.
Let’s however not forget that not everyone around the world is able to get their hands on a Steam Deck yet, and Box86 is a thing and may be able to run more and more x86 games even on ARM hardware, so the usability of such hardware is going to go up over time.