TrimUI Model S (PowKiddy A66) — Updated Review & Guide

Last updated: 11JUL2021

The tiny TrimUI Model S (now rebranded as the PowKiddy A66) has received a lot of excellent development over the past few months, so it’s time for me to revisit my initial review. And while I initially recommended avoiding this device, these new updates have changed my mind — this is now a device worth considering. Let’s check it out.

Buy one here (PowKiddy A66)
Buy the old TrimUI Model S

Updating the firmware

To flash the latest firmware, head over to the TrimUI website and grab the latest factory recovery version (v0.105 as of making the video above). Remove the SD card from the device, you won’t need it in the device to flash the new firmware. Extract the contents of the zip file, then extract the PhoenixSuit.zip file as well.

While powered off, plug the device into your PC via USB cable, then hold down L + R and flip the device switch on (this will boot it into recovery mode). Your PC will likely not recognize the device, so go into your Windows Start Menu and type in “Device Manager”, and open that app. Locate the “unknown device” in the USB listing, right-click on it, and select “Update Drivers”. Navigate to where the Phoenix Suit > Driver folder is, then select Next, and it will install the new drivers.

Shut off your device, then open up the PhoenixSuit.exe file. Navigate to the Firmware tab and then point it to the trimui_model_s_dark_V0.105_en.img file that was part of the firmware package. Hold down L + R on your device again, then flip the power on. The Phoenix Suit app will detect your device, and confirm the firmware update and it will flash the new firmware.

Note that if you are using v0.104 firmware on the device (which ships with many later models of the TrimUI), you don’t need to do the factory recovery process. Instead, follow the firmware upgrade instructions on the TrimUI website, which are much simpler – you just need to drag a .zip file onto the microSD card and then run the file from the TrimUI file browser.

Install MinUI

MinUI is one of two custom launchers for the TrimUI Model S (or PowKiddy A66). To install, head over to this GitHub page and download the lasted release from the Releases page. The zip file will contain a readme file with installation instructions, but the process is ultra simple: format a new microSD card to FAT32 using guiformat, then drag the “Roms” folder and .zip file from the MinUI release and put them on your new card. Turn the device on, then go to the Files section and find the .zip file and install it.

You can drag and drop your ROMs directly into the SD card (“Roms” folder) and you’ll be ready to go. For more detailed information, check out the readme file in the release file.

Note that due to the limited number of systems this device can play, I’ve found that a 16GB microSD card is the perfect size for my gaming needs.

Install GMenuNX or other add-ons

In addition to MinUI, there is a second custom frontend, called GMenuNX, and it is modeled after many well-known GMenu interfaces. For installation instructions (and how to add other MinUI add-on packs), check out tiduscrying’s excellent TrimUI wiki page.

Additional add-on emulators for MinUI highlighted in the wiki page include SuperGrafx, Sega CD, Sega 32X, Atari 2600, Neo Geo, and more.

PlayStation 1 compatibility matrix

Discord user Dampersand has made a handy Google Sheets page that shows expected performance for a good chunk of PlayStation games running on MinUI emulators. So before you load up your card with PS1 titles, I recommend checking this resource to see if it’s worth it.

Original review

If you’d like to see my initial review of this device, here you go. While my opinions on this device have improved, this video is still relevant thanks to the time I spend reviewing the buttons and hardware.

3 thoughts on “TrimUI Model S (PowKiddy A66) — Updated Review & Guide

    1. nothing really “runs” on macOS, it’s all on the unit itself, so yes. i just got my TrimUI Model S, updated it from 0.104 to 0.105, installed MinUI, some additional emulators and a bunch of ROMs all from my Macbook Air M1. so yes you can use a Mac with these devices.

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