Guide: PowKiddy X18S Hardware Mods

Last updated: 24NOV2021

At $170, the PowKiddy X18S currently provides the best emulation performance you can find in a sub-$200 dedicated handheld right now. But as I demonstrated in my review video, its hardware leaves a lot to be desired. In this video we’re going to improve the gameplay experience by upgrading the d-pad, analog sticks, and face buttons to make this device a little bit more of a bargain. This is the first in a two-part video series; in the next X18S video I will upgrade the software experience with LineageOS.

PowKiddy X18S
My X18S review video

Tools and Materials:
Nintendo DS Lite d-pad
PS Vita 2000 analog sticks
RG350 rubber membranes
iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit

PS Vita analog stick caps – not recommended for this device, but they are mentioned in the video and work great on the PS Vita or ODROID Go Super (with PS Vita stick mod).

00:00 introduction
01:09 tools & hardware
01:50 disassembly
03:09 L2 trigger fix
04:38 more disassembly
06:25 analog stick replacement
08:04 d-pad and face buttons
10:29 reassembly
12:51 hardware & gameplay testing
15:33 summary & conclusion

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