Last updated: 17APR2022 (see Changelog for details
I wasn’t expecting much from the PowKiddy V90, but I underestimated it. This little clamshell device was everything I was hoping for in a budget handheld. I’m comfortable saying that this is one of the best sub-$40 handheld devices you can buy, and it makes a great gift to friends and loved ones.
One of my favorite aspects of this device is the fact that it just uses a Nokia phone battery, and it’s easy to access and swap. If you’d like to buy a replacement (or upgraded) battery for the device, the ShenMZ or Taeozi models are recommended.
Table of Contents: Install custom firmware HYJiNX187's PCSX-ReARMed config library RetroArch Notes on Neo Geo BIOS Updated review and new black edition V90 Changelog
Install custom firmware
The custom firmware for this device makes a huge improvement to your experience. Install the MiyooCFW 1.3.3 firmware here. Once you have installed the new firmware, there are a few recommended tweaks to increase performance:
Update certain emulators:
- Download the latest version of snes9x4d (SNES) and place it in the emus/snes9x4d/ folder (replace the one that’s already there).
- There’s also a release of PocketSNES for this device which you can find here.
- Download the latest (“PocketGo”) version of Gambatte, (GB/GBC) and place it in the emus/gambatte folder. Make sure it is just named “GAMBATTE”, and replace the one that’s already there.
- Download the latest “improved” beta version of fceux (NES) and place it in the emus/fceux. Make sure it’s named just “fceux” and replace the one that’s already in there. Note that some have noticed slowdown with this emulator, so you may be better of sticking with the stock version of the app if you are experiencing poor performance.
- Download and unzip the latest version of pcsx (PS1) and place it in the emus/pcsx_rearmed/ folder (replace the one that’s already there).
Add BIOS files:
- If you want boot logos for Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance, add the bios files for each emulator. You’ll definitely want to do this for GBA anyway, since it will improve compatibility and performance. Once you have added these files, you will need to turn on the boot logo (“boot to bios”) option in the Gambatte and GPSP emulator settings.
- gb_bios.bin goes in the .gambatte/bios folder
- gbc_bios.bin goes in the .gambatte/bios folder
- gba_bios.bin goes in the emus/gpsp_rumble folder
- The PCSX ReARMed emulator also needs bios, which is the SCPH1001.BIN file by default. Place it in the emus/pcsx_rearmed/bios folder. For even better performance, check out the PCSX-ReARMed configuration library package below.
- The neogeo.zip bios must go in the ROMs folder for Neo Geo.
- Using custom firmware, tap the function button to place the device in suspend mode
- Using custom firmware, press R1 + START (or hold START for a few seconds) to bring up the safe shutdown menu
HYJiNX187’s PCSX-ReARMed config library
HYJiNX187 has created a handy configuration library package that will boot the top 100 PS1 games as defined by the GameFAQs community, plus another 25 that were requested by users. Installing this package will give you optimal performance for these 100 games, and it will be much improved over the stock (and default CFW) experience. In general, once properly loaded these games will perform much better than you would expect — the vast majority are both playable and enjoyable.
Note that there are some steps involved with setting this up, such as using PBP files and loading several BIOS files, but it’s relatively straightforward—just read the ReadMe file in the package itself.
In order for the configuration to work, you will need to make sure that the file names listed in emus/pcsx_rearmed/.pcsx/cfg match your file names (if you don’t see the .pcsx folder, make sure that hidden files are visible on your PC/Mac). If you are having issues finding the right PBP files to run, you can also run bin/cue files, just be sure to change the name of the .cue file (NOT the .bin file) to the same file name as the ones found in the emus/pcsx_rearmed/.pcsx/cfg folder.
Note: If your device freezes when launching a PS1 game, (it will display “Launching PS1” and get hung up), you can change the CPU clock speed of that emulator. Hover over the PCSX_REARMED section, press the SELECT button and choose “Edit PS1”. From there, set the CPU clock to 798 by pressing LEFT and RIGHT on the d-pad, then press the START button to save.
RetroArch is available for the V90 and other devices that use the same chipset (Q90, Q20 Mini, and so on). Check out this guide from TriForceX with installation and configuration suggestions.
Notes on Neo Geo BIOS
Discord user xs4all was kind enough to share these findings regarding the Neo Geo BIOS for this system:
GnGeo (Neo Geo Emulator):
BIOS For those that care or just curious, I managed to figure out the what files should be in the neogeo.zip file that GnGeo needs, keeping the zip file organized:
usa_2slt.bin <= USA Bios
vs-bios.rom <= Japan Bios
sp-s2.sp1 <= Europe Bios
By default GnGeo looks for the Europe Bios, if you want to change the Bios region in GnGeo, do the following:
Text edit the following file: SD CARD\ .gngeo\gngeorc
Depending what country you want to use, add one of the following lines and save:
No need for Europe as GnGeo uses Europe as default, for those who want to play NeoGeo games in Japanese, this is very handy.
Because of the limited ram for the BittBoy/PocketGo1 and other variant devices such as PlayGo, v90, etc., any roms that are greater than 40mb zipped will not work. Just sort your NeoGeo roms by size and delete any games greater than 40mb zipped, so pretty much “kof98.zip” is the largest rom size you can play on this device.
Updated review and new black edition V90
The V90 got a nice little facelift in early 2022 with the new black edition. All the features remain the same, other than the new color. Above you will find an updated video that showcases many of the elements of this guide, plus a few other new observations.
If you’re looking for the new theme I showed off in the video, you can find it here. Additionally, here is a quote from the theme developer on how to add box art to the navigation experience:
Make a folder on your microSD card of your box arts with the file name identical to the rom file names (mario 2.nes , mario 2.png), they can’t be bigger than 120 x 160pxls PNGs. Then on your device press select on the nes and press ‘edit nes’, fourth option from the bottom should be box art, navigate to the folder your box arts are in.alexrwatts
– added updated review and instructions on how to add box arts
– added TriForceX’s RetroArch guide
– added SirMuddyhood’s RetroArch tips
– added tip for device freezing at “Launching PS1”
– added wording about potential slowdown in fceux beta app
– added neogeo.zip BIOS file location info
– added Neo Geo BIOS notes from xs4all
– updated HYJiNX187’s PCSX-ReARMed config library to v1.1
– added HYJiNX187’s PCSX-ReARMed config library
– published guide
– added latest version of PS1 emulator