Retroid Pocket 2+/3/3+/Flip Starter Guide

Last updated: 07MAY2023 (see Changelog for details)

The Retroid Pocket handhelds are seemingly simple devices to set up — they run on Android, so how hard could it be? Well it turns out there are some orientation quirks in getting these handhelds up and running, and so this guide is meant to take you from the very beginning of your journey with the device and take you to the point of being a superstar.

This guide will work for the Retroid Pocket 2+, Retroid Pocket 3, Retroid Pocket 3+, and Retroid Pocket Flip devices.

Table of Contents

Where to buy
Recommended accessories
Prepare your ROM library
Initial setup and orientation
Retro Handhelds community compatibility spreadsheet
Increase screen saturation
Customize the RP3/RP3+ Home button
Setting up RetroArch
Consider the Daijisho frontend
Per-system recommendations
Creating RetroArch playlists
Retroid Pocket 2+ PCB upgrade guide

Changelog

Where to buy

All models are sold directly via Retroid’s website. I would expect at least two weeks from the time of purchase to delivery, but that fulfillment may be delayed due to high demand. You can check their delivery dashboard to get a sense of what they are currently shipping, but bear in mind that this dashboard is not always up to date.

The Retroid Pocket 3+ and Retroid Pocket Flip are the most recent releases, and provide a significant performance improvement over previous models.

The Retroid Pocket 3 is available in two versions: 2GB or 3GB of RAM. The price difference is $10 and well worth it for the 50% increase in RAM. This will make the Android interface feel snappier and will also help with running Android games. The 2GB model is currently being sold on AliExpress as well. Between the RP2+ and the RP3, I would recommend the RP3 as it is an improvement over the previous model in just about every way. However, I would say if you prefer 4:3 aspect ratio screens or want the absolute cheapest model available, then the RP2+ might still be worth considering for you.

Currently the Retroid Pocket 2+ and Retroid Pocket 3 are also available via Amazon, but the price will be quite a bit higher depending on where you live. However, the Amazon listing is available for Prime shipping and you can also get easy returns in case something goes wrong. Overall, it might be worth the peace of mind to have fast shipping and an easy return process.

Recommended accessories

Sandisk (left) and Samsung (right) microSD cards

I recommend using a card from reputable brands like SanDisk or Samsung to use in your device.

In general, I recommend the cards listed below, in order or preference. The prices fluctuate all the time, so keep an eye out for deals. In general, I would expect to pay $20 for a 128GB card, $30 for a 256GB card, and $60 for a 512GB. A 128GB card will allow you to load EVERY 8-bit and 16-bit game out there, just all of the arcade games that work, and quite a few PS1, Dreamcast, PSP, GameCube, PS2, and Sega CD games (those systems have the largest file sizes). A 256GB or 512GB card will allow you to store even more of those larger games. You can use a larger card than these but then you’ll have a card that costs more than the device itself, and are you really going to play more than 512GB of games at once?

128GB cards:
SanDisk Extreme
Samsung EVO Select
SanDisk Ultra

256GB cards:
Samsung EVO Select
SanDisk Ultra

512GB cards:
Samsung Evo Select
SanDisk Ultra

Another accessory to consider: if you don’t have a nice microSD to USB adapter, you might want to think about getting one. A nice adapter like this one from Anker will give you the fastest transfer speeds possible, and won’t cause any corruption issues with your card.

Additionally, the Retroid Pocket devices double as a pseudo home console, thanks to its HDMI output function as well as the ability to connect to controllers via bluetooth or USB. The HDMI adapter is smaller than the standard size, so you will either want to grab a micro HDMI cable like this one from Amazon Basics, or a micro HDMI adapter to use with an existing cable.

Speaking of controllers, there are plenty of options out there, but I prefer to use something that’s somewhat retro-friendly. You could use a bluetooth controller like the 8BitDo SN30 Pro, or a wired controller like the Betop BD2E. Note that in order to use a USB controller, you will also need an OTG adapter to plug the controller into the device’s USB-C port. You could also use a USB hub to plug in multiple controllers at once, but note that if the controller requires USB power you will likely need to get a powered USB hub like this one.

Prepare your ROM library

Since the Retroid Pocket devices take a while to ship, I would recommend that you build your ROM library now, if you haven’t already. When actually playing games, we’re going to use a combination of RetroArch (for lower-end systems) and standalone emulators.

Here is a general list of systems that can be played on the Retroid Pocket devices. Those noted with an asterix cannot play every game at full speed, and so performance may vary. For PS2 and GameCube, I recommend getting PAL region ROMs, because they cap out at 50Hz which will give you better performance than struggling to reach the standard 60Hz found in NTSC region ROMs. ROM file sources will not be shared on this website.

Home Consoles:

Panasonic 3DO
Atari 2600
Atari 5200 (and 800)
Atari 7800
Atari Jaguar
Colecovision
PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16)
PC Engine CD (TurboGrafx-CD)
Nintendo Entertainment System
Famicom Disk System
Super Nintendo
Nintendo 64
Nintendo GameCube *
Sega SG-1000
Sega Master System
Sega Genesis
Sega CD
Sega 32X
Sega Saturn
Sega Dreamcast
Neo-Geo / CD
NEC PC-FX
Sony PlayStation
Sony PlayStation 2 *
Vectrex

Handheld Consoles:

Atari Lynx
Game and Watch
Nintendo Game Boy
Nintendo Game Boy Color
Nintendo Game Boy Advance
Nintendo DS
Nintendo 3DS *
Nintendo Virtual Boy
Sega Game Gear
Neo-Geo Pocket / Color
Sony Playstation Portable
Wonderswan / Color

Home Computers:

Amiga
Amstrad CPC
Atari ST
Commodore 64 (and C16/Plus4, C128)
Intellivision
MSX
PC (DOSBOX)
ScummVM
ZX Spectrum

Arcade Systems:

MAME
Final Burn Neo
Neo-Geo / CD
Atomiswave
Naomi

* = do not expect full performance from these systems.

When getting ROM files, I recommend using the “No-Intro” naming convention, which is the standard naming used for ROM sets within RetroArch and other emulation communities. By using no-intro naming, you will be more likely to get box art automatically added when you load up your games in the Retroid Launcher or other similar frontends. If you have a question as to how a game should be named, I recommend checking out the Libretro thumbnails directory, which is what many emulators pull from for their media files. If your game name matches the thumbnail name found in this directory, chances are that it will properly download the media for it.

Additionally, an important component of a ROM library is maintaining BIOS files. BIOS files are system files necessary for some emulators (GBA, Sega CD, or PS1/PS2), and are helpful in improving accuracy with other systems. These files are copyrighted so you are on your own to find them, but a quick search for a RetroArch bios pack should get you on your way. Note that PS2 BIOS files can be easily dumped from your PS2, or you will need to find them elsewhere. Here is more information about BIOS files.

Here is a list of recommended BIOS files for maximum gaming fun:

SEGA CD:
bios_CD_E.bin
bios_CD_J.bin
bios_CD_U.bin

FAMICOM DISK SYSTEM:
disksys.rom

GAME BOY (for boot logo):
gb_bios.bin

GAME BOY COLOR (for boot logo):
gbc_bios.bin

GAME BOY ADVANCE:
gba_bios.bin

NEO GEO:
neogeo.zip

PLAYSTATION:
scph1001.bin

PLAYSTATION 2:
SCPH-90001_BIOS_V18_USA_230.DIFF
SCPH-90001_BIOS_V18_USA_230.INF
SCPH-90001_BIOS_V18_USA_230.MEC
SCPH-90001_BIOS_V18_USA_230.NVM
SCPH-90001_BIOS_V18_USA_230.ROM0 (most important one)
SCPH-90001_BIOS_V18_USA_230.ROM1

TURBOGRAFX-CD:
syscard1.pce
syscard2.pce
syscard3.pce

SEGA SATURN
saturn_bios.bin

SEGA DREAMCAST
dc_boot.bin (renamed to boot.bin)

Initial setup and orientation

When it comes to initial setup, I recommend watching the videos above. The RP3 video is the most recent, and applies to both devices.

Some initial recommendations: Go into Android settings > Display > Advanced > Screen timeout and change it to 30 minutes so that the screen won’t turn itself off when idle for 1 minute. I also go into Android Settings > Security > Screen lock and set it to “none” so that way I don’t have to swipe to unlock the screen every time I wake it from sleep.

After it’s set up, you can jump into the Google Play Store app and start downloading emulators and games. Here are some recommended apps that I think are worth grabbing from the Play Store to get you started. Note that those highlighted in light blue boxes are already pre-installable on the RP2+. The apps in orange can be found in the Play Store, and some may cost money. Note that the apps list below is not comprehensive!

Recommended emulators:

Play Store:
Duckstation -- PSX
Mupen64Plus FZ (Pro) -- N64
Yaba Sanshiro 2 (Pro) -- Saturn
Redream or Flycast -- Dreamcast
DraStic -- Nintendo DS
PPSSPP (Gold) -- PSP
AetherSX2 -- PS2

Not on Play Store:
RetroArch (latest Aarch64 nightly build)
Dolphin -- GameCube/Wii (see links in GameCube section below)
Citra MMJ -- Nintendo 3DS
Skyline -- Switch (RP3+ and Flip only)
Recommended streaming apps:
NVIDIA GeForce Now (PC & cloud streaming)
Moonlight (PC streaming)
AMD Link (PC streaming)
Steam Link (PC streaming)
Parsec (PC streaming)
Google Stadia (cloud gaming)
PSPlay or Chiaki (PS4 & PS5 remote play)
Xbox (Xbox One/Series remote play)
Xbox Game Pass (Xbox/PC cloud streaming)

Additionally, note that I recommend trying out the “Dolphin for Handheld” emulator that can be pre-installed on your device during the initial setup. This app provides an excellent mix of accuracy and performance, and allows for easy adjustment of the resolution to below-native figures.

Portable versus Internal storage: When you plug in the SD card, you may get prompted to “set the SD card up”. It will ask you to choose between the default portable storage option, or using the card as internal storage. Portable storage means that you will be able to freely take the SD card out of the device and plug it into your PC, as demonstrated in the video above. If you set it to internal storage, you will then be able to install apps on the SD card to save space, but you won’t be able to plug the SD card into your PC — instead, you will have to plug the device into the PC and transfer files via USB instead. Internal storage is a good solution if you want to install a LOT of Android games onto your device, but in general I recommend portable storage for its flexibility.

One other note to make: plugging the SD card directly into your PC to transfer files will give you much greater transfer speeds, about 4x the speed of USB file transfers. So I recommend removing the SD card and plugging it into your computer whenever you have a large batch of files to transfer; USB transfer works fine in a pinch for smaller transfers.

Remove the white bar: when playing games, you will see a faint white bar on the right side of the screen. This is a menu bar that you can swipe from the right to access things like the Key Mapper tool or adjust the screen brightness on the fly. If you would like to disable this, swipe down from the top of the screen and turn OFF the “Floating Icon” option. Note that this will disable the right menu bar (and those handy functions) as well.

Controller style: By default, the Retroid Pocket devices use Nintendo-style controls for its buttons (where the A/confirm button is on the right, and the B/cancel button on the bottom). As such, most apps will invert the controls and you will need to go into the settings and remap the controls. A good example is Dead Cells, which I reconfigure in my Retroid Pocket 2+ Starter Guide Part 2 video. All of the settings tweaks done in my first two videos are done under the assumption that you are leaving those controls as standard. If you want, you can actually change your controller style in the settings so that they mirror Xbox-style controls (where the confirm button in the bottom button, and the cancel button is on the right). To do so, go into Settings > Handheld Settings > Input > Controller Style and set it to Xbox instead of Retro. This means you likely won’t have to make any other options or remapping tweaks in your apps.

Sleep mode: The Retroid Pocket devices can enter sleep mode by tapping the POWER button, much like a tablet or phone. And like with a tablet or phone, you could simply leave this device in sleep mode when not using it, and it will slowly discharge over the period of a week or two. However, if you are playing the device frequently (like every day or a few times a week), I recommend just keeping it in sleep mode and charging it as needed, like you would a phone. Powering on the device takes quite a bit of time (about 40 seconds), which can add up if you play the device often. When not using the device for an extended period of time, be sure to fully power it down (and recharge the battery every few months).

Retro Handhelds community compatibility spreadsheet

One of the greatest resources of the Retroid Pocket devices is the fact that it is a popular handheld device with a large community surrounding it. This gives you the ability to leverage the talent and time of other community members to find the best tweaks and settings for each of your games. A great example is the Retro Handhelds community RP2+ compatibility spreadsheet, which is also relevant for the RP3. This spreadsheet will show different tabs for the most popular systems, and will include a list of games that have been tested and recommended tweaks.

There is also a separate Retroid Pocket 3+ community spreadsheet for that device and its chipset, since it is more capable than the RP3 and RP2+.

Increase screen saturation

The RP3/RP3+ screens are already nice and saturated, but if you’d like to boost them more to have something closer to an OLED experience, it’s pretty easy to do (and totally reversible). This trick will also work on the Retroid Pocket 2+.

To start, download this zip file package (right-click and select “Save As…”) which contains a series of shell script (.sh) files. Unzip the package and then add the files to your device by transferring them via SD card, or by plugging the device into your computer using a USB cable. Alternatively, you can visit this page on your device and download the zip file package directly onto the handheld.

To run the script, go to the Settings of your device, then Handheld Settings > Advanced > Run Script as Root. Navigate to your .sh files and run one of them. I recommend the 1.6 file for the RP3 and RP3+, and the 1.7 file for the RP2+. Reset the device and you should now have a more saturated screen! To reset the saturation back to the baseline, run the script again but using the 1.0 file.

If you’d like to use a value other than 1.0, 1.6, 1.7, or 2.0, simply make a copy of one of the .sh files and open it with a text editor like NotePad. Adjust the value to whatever you’d like (e.g. 1.8 or 1.3), and then rename the file so that it says 1.8 so you know which one it is. Add it to your device and you can then run that script. Here is an example of the script:

setprop persist.sys.sf.color_saturation 1.6 <-- change this to whatever you'd like

Customize the RP3/RP3+ Home button

By default the Home button (the one on the right side of the device) is somewhat limited. To start, you have to press it twice for it to work; this function is built-in so that you don’t accidentally press it while playing games. I have personally not had this issue, and so I have disabled this double-click requirement. To do so, go to Settings > Handheld Settings > Input > “Prevent press the Home button accidentally” > OFF. Now a single press of this button will function as the Home button.

However, more often than not, it’s not the “Home” button function that is the most helpful when accessing emulation menus, but the “Back” button, which the RP3/RP3+ models lack. Instead, you can use this Button Mapper app to customize the Home button function. Within this app, go into the Home Button section, and turn ON the “Customize” option. Then for “Single Tap”, set it to Action > Back, and for “Long Press”, set it to Action > Home. Now, when you tap the button once it will function as a Back key, and when you hold onto it for a few moments, it will function as a Home button.

Note that this app may conflict with some emulators, so you may have to re-map your controls after enabling it. You may also have to disable it to get proper controls with certain streaming apps. So not a perfect solution, but still handy!

Setting up RetroArch

Be sure to check out the starter guide video above for tips on how to get RetroArch up and running, and to integrate it into your Retroid Launcher. You will also need to map your keys initially by going into the Settings > Input > Port 1 Controls so that all the buttons are working correctly. Additionally, the table above will show you my recommended hotkeys for the easiest gameplay experience when using RetroArch-based emulation like for classic systems (Game Boy through Super Nintendo).

Note that there is currently a bug in the Android version of RetroArch where if you map the “Pause Game” hotkey it will result in the button not being recognized by the app anymore. So in the diagram above, skip the “Pause Game” hotkey. If you do happen to assign the button, then go back into the Hotkeys menu and press the “X” button while hovering over the “Pause Game” hotkey to unmap that button (I’ve been told that sometimes you may need to use a different button, like START, to unmap it.

For more specific RetroArch settings, I recommend using my RetroArch Starter Guide as a reference. This will explain the basics of the app and how to properly configure settings.

Fix microstutters: When playing platformers like Super Mario World using RetroArch, you may notice some microstuttering during gameplay with the RP2+ and RP3. To help combat this, try these settings:

Settings > Video > Synchronization > VSync Swap Interval: Auto
Settings > Video > Synchronization > Hard GPU Sync > ON
Settings > Video > Synchronization > Hard GPU Sync Frames > 2

Once you have the settings you prefer, you can go into Quick Menu > Overrides and either save this as a per-game override, or a core override so that all SNES games will use this synchronization.

Consider the Daijisho frontend

The Retroid Pocket frontend is pretty good, once of the best built-in launchers available on retro handheld devices. However, I have found that it is limited (for example, systems like Amiga aren’t available), and can’t run a quickly as some frontends, like Daijisho.

Daijisho is easily the best Android frontend available today. Check out the video above for more details, but in a nutshell, it’s 100% free and does a great job of simplifying the setup process. It also has handy tools like widgets to personalize your experience. This one can also act as your default home app, which means that after you have it set up, you will never have to see the Android interface again. It will consolize your device’s navigation experience. Note that for best results, you should set up your emulators first before adding them via this frontend. Also be sure to use “No Intro” romsets to ensure your media is properly scraped.

If you are going to use Daijisho as your default frontend, make sure you go into Android settings > Apps > Default apps > Home app and set it to Daijisho. I also recommend you go into Settings > Navigation and set up your “Tabs” and “Switching” hotkeys, I set up my Tabs hotkey as the trigger buttons and the Switching hotkeys as the shoulder buttons. Also in the Navigation settings I recommend setting the “Home page” to “Platforms”. Once you have it set up the way you want, go into the same Navigation settings and turn on Kiosk mode, that will make the interface look a lot cleaner (but will prevent you from making further changes until you toggle Kiosk mode off again).

Per-system recommendations

Some pre-system configurations are shown in the RP2+ Starter Guide #2 video above, but for the best settings, I would refer to my Android Emulation Starter Guide, which was made after the video above. You can reference it here:

For RetroArch-based emulators (32-bit and below systems), use the recommendations from the RetroArch Starter Guide. There are some specific configurations for the Retroid devices detailed below.

Notes: The Retroid Launcher frontend currently does not have Amiga or other systems listed as a possible option. If you want to use the Retroid Launcher as your primary launcher but still want to play those games, I recommend setting up RetroArch playlists.

Below are more specific options for certain systems. Additionally, I would recommend consulting the community compatibility guides for your device to see if there are any game-specific tweaks that are recommended:

Retroid Pocket 2+/3 community sheet
Retroid Pocket 3+ community sheet (also compatible with the Retriod Pocket Flip)

Nintendo 64
Emulator: Mupen64Plus-FZ (or Pro version to remove ads)

The developer of Mupen64Plus-FZ recommends creating this default emulation profile specific to the Retroid Pocket 2+/3.

  • In the left menu bar, select Profiles > Emulation
  • Select the GlideN64-Very-Accurate profile and then Copy. Give it a unique name, like “Chicken”.
  • Make the following changes in the profile:
    • Use Faster Shaders > ON
    • Use Native Resolution Factor > 1x
  • Next, in the left menu bar, select Profiles > Select Profiles > Emulation profile > Chicken. This will make your new profile the default emulation profile.
  • Finally, in the left menu bar, select Settings > Shaders and make the following changes
    • Shader scale factor > 1x
    • Shader Passes > Pass 1 > FXAA

To improve the navigation experience, go into Settings > Input > Show in-game menu > When slide gesture is used. Now, you can swipe from the left side of the screen to bring up the Mupen64 side panel when in a game, to easily save your game, exit, etc.

By default the N64 A and B buttons will be mapped to the A and X buttons. If you want to adjust your mappings, you will need to copy the Android Gamepad controller profile and make your own mapping (much like how we just set up the emulation profile above). One handy trick is to map the Z button to multiple buttons on your console, to make things easier for some games (like Cruis’n USA which by default requires you to press the Left Trigger for gas, which can be awkward).

When using a frontend launcher like Daijisho or the Retroid Launcher, autosave and autoload will not work properly. Instead, you can either launch games directly from the standalone emulator, or use the Save/Load State functions within the emulator quick menu to manually save and load states. In-game saves still work fine either way.

For the Retroid Pocket 3+ and Flip, you can use the default emulation profile and go into Settings > Display and increase the rendered resolution to 960 x 720. Nearly every game will play easily at this resolution, so it is a good standard default.

Mupen64 FZ also allows for per-game configuration. For example, if a certain game is presenting graphical issues with the default emulation profile (like with Mario Tennis) you can tap on it once in the main menu, then select Settings > Emulation Profile and experiment with other options (I use GlideN64-Medium for Mario Tennis). You can also use this method to adjust other options per game, like rendering resolution or controller profiles.

Additionally, I would recommend consulting the community compatibility guides for your device to see if there are any game-specific tweaks that are recommended:

Retroid Pocket 2+/3 community sheet
Retroid Pocket 3+ community sheet

Sega Saturn
Emulator: Yabasanshiro 2 (or Pro version to remove ads)
Frameskip: ON (default)
Rendering Resolution: Original (1x) for RP2+/3, or up to 2x for RP3+/Flip
Sound Engine: Legacy (toggle with Modern as needed to improve performance)
Sound Time Synchronization Mode: Real Time

Notes: You will need to remap your controls. I recommend using YBA for ABC, and L1, X, R1 for XYZ buttons.

If you want the original Saturn boot video sequence, you must place the BIOS file (saturn_bios.bin) in the yabause/bios folder on your internal storage (this folder will only appear once you have opened the app at least one time).

Additionally, I would recommend consulting the community compatibility guides for your device to see if there are any game-specific tweaks that are recommended:

Retroid Pocket 2+/3 community sheet
Retroid Pocket 3+ community sheet

Sega Dreamcast
Emulator: Redream
Frameskip: ON (default)
Resolution: 480p (can bump up for some games) for RP2+/RP3, 960p resolution for RP3+/Flip

Notes: You will need to remap your controls. Upgrading the pro version won’t do much on the RP2+/RP3 other than remove the prompt to upgrade to pro when you start up the emulator. However, it will be associated with your Google Play Store profile and can be used on other devices (like the RP3+/Flip or your phone) to get upgraded rendering resolution.

If you want the original Dreamcast boot video sequence, you must rename the dc_boot.bin BIOS file to boot.bin and place it in the Android/data/io.recompiled.redream/files/ folder on your SD card (this folder will only appear once you have opened the app at least one time).

On the RP2+/3, some games run better with the Flycast emulator than they do with ReDream. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a good example. Additionally, I would recommend consulting the community compatibility guides for your device to see if there are any game-specific tweaks that are recommended:

Retroid Pocket 2+/3 community sheet
Retroid Pocket 3+ community sheet

PlayStation Portable
Emulator: PPSSPP (or PPSSPP Gold to support the dev)
Resolution: 1x (can bump up for some games) for RP2+/RP3, 3x resolution for RP3+/Flip

For PlayStation Portable emulation on the RP3 and RP2+, check out this handy guide from EmuChicken over at Team Pandory. For the Retroid Pocket 3+ and Flip, you can set most games to a 3x resolution, and reduce it to 2x resolution for some games as needed. PPSSPP allows for pre-game configuration profiles so that you can set the desired resolution per game.

Additionally, I would recommend consulting the community compatibility guides for your device to see if there are any game-specific tweaks that are recommended:

Retroid Pocket 2+/3 community sheet
Retroid Pocket 3+ community sheet

Nintendo GameCube
Emulator: Dolphin for Handheld (pre-installed)
Internal resolution: .5x for RP3 and RP2+, 1x for RP3+/Flip

Notes: Use PAL ROMs as available.

The latest development builds of the official Dolphin app now supports VBI Skip, which can be found under Graphics Settings > Hacks > VBI Skip. Turning this on can significantly improve the gaming experience on lower-end devices like the Retroid Pocket 3+. Note that some games (like Twilight Princess and Wind Waker) will not work properly with this setting turned on, so you may need to experiment.

Within the Dolphin settings, I would recommend making these changes:

  • Config > Interface > Use Panic Handlers > OFF
  • Config > General > Enable Savestates > ON
  • Config > General > Fallback Region > PAL
  • Graphics Settings > Shader Compilation Mode > Hybrid Ubershaders
  • Graphics Settings > Compile Shaders Before Starting > ON

For the best results, you will want to swap between Graphics Settings > Video Backend > OpenGL and Vulkan. Generally, Vulkan will provide better performance but won’t work with many games.

For the Retroid Pocket 2+ and 3, I recommend using the “Dolphin for Handheld” emulator that can be pre-installed on your device during the initial setup. This app provides an excellent mix of accuracy and performance, and allows for easy adjustment of the resolution to below-native figures. If you do not have access to this app, you can try some of the Dolphin forks available in this archive.

Additionally, I would recommend consulting the community compatibility guides for your device to see if there are any game-specific tweaks that are recommended:

Retroid Pocket 2+/3 community sheet
Retroid Pocket 3+ community sheet

Sony PlayStation 2
Emulator: AetherSX2 (pre-installed)
Internal Resolution: .5x for RP3 and RP2+, 1x for RP3+
Preset: Fast/Unstable
Enable Frame Limit: toggle OFF as needed to improve performance
EE Cycle Rate: 60% (adjust to 50% as needed) (for RP3 and RP2+)
EE Cycle Skip: Maximum Underclocking (3) (for RP3 and RP2+)

Notes: Use PAL ROMs as available. You will need to remap the buttons, and follow the instructions in the Part 2 video to toggle touchscreen controls.

If using the Retroid Pocket 3+/Flip, then I recommend setting it to the “Fast Preset” when first setting up the device, but use a 100% EE Cycle Rate and no underclocking under EE Cycle Skip, and adjust them as needed for each game.

Additionally, I would recommend consulting the community compatibility guides for your device to see if there are any game-specific tweaks that are recommended:

Retroid Pocket 2+/3 community sheet
Retroid Pocket 3+ community sheet

Creating RetroArch playlists

In addition to using a frontend launcher (like the default Retroid Launcher), you can also set up playlists within RetroArch to browse and launch your games. This will be helpful in certain cases, like playing systems that aren’t listed in the Retroid Launcher (such as Amiga). There are two methods for creating playlists in RetroArch:

  1. Scan Directory. This is the most straightforward way to make playlists, and is best for systems with unzipped ROMs that have distinct file types (like .nes games). With this option, you will navigate to the folder that contains your ROM files, then select “Scan this Directory”. RetroArch will then recognize and scan the directory for games, and assign the console and assets to that system. You should then see it in your playlist. When you have a more common file type for your games (like .bin files for Genesis games, it’s better to do a Manual Scan).
  2. Manual Scan. This is the preferred way to scan your directories because it gives you more control. Here is the breakdown:

Content Directory: navigate to your ROM folder and select “Scan this Directory”

System Name: select the system name you want to associate with your playlist

Custom System Name: use this if you want to use a special name for this playlist. Note that you will also need to set your “System Name” to “Custom” for this to work

Default Core: select the core you want to associate with this play list. Afterwards you can assign a different core to specific games by selecting the game and choose “Set Core Association”

File Extensions: add in all of the file extensions you want to scan for your console. You can leave this blank if they are all the same (e.g. zip files for arcade games), but for the most part it’s helpful to add these in, especially if you are using several file types. Separate each file extension with a space (no comma), like this for Dremcast: cdi, gdi, chd

Scan Recursively: turn this on if you want to scan subfolders too

Scan Inside Archives: this will scan the files within the zip file, whether you want this on will depend on the system you are scanning. You will want this off if scanning arcade games

Arcade DAT File: this is important if you are scanning arcade games, because it will associate your zip file (“simps2pj”) with a full file name (The Simpsons). To set this up, head to this page and download the latest FBNeo dat file (it works for MAME also). Then save this file somewhere that you can access on your RP2+, and choose it when at this part of the menu

Arcade DAT Filter: with this selected, only arcade games that appear in the DAT file will show up in your playlist. Generally you want this setting OFF

Overwrite Existing Playlist: this will overwrite anything already in the playlist. You generally want this OFF if you are just adding new games to your playlist

If you want thumbnails to appear next to your games in a RetroArch playlist, you need two things: 1) the files must be named according to the “No Intro” standard (e.g. “Super Mario Bros. 3 (USA)”) and 2) go into Online Updater > On-Demand Thumbnail Downloads > ON so that they will download when you browse through your playlist. Alternatively, you can manually scan each playlist for thumbnails in the Online Updater section instead.

Retroid Pocket 2+ PCB upgrade guide

If you bought an RP2+ PCB upgrade kit, here is a video on how to swap out your PCB for the new one:


Changelog

07MAY2023
– added display setting recommendations
– added wording re: Retroid Pocket Flip

30APR2023
– removed other Dolphin MMJR links

11APR2023
– added updated tips for Dolphin/GameCube emulation

05APR2023
– updated Dolphin section link to fork archive and official app

22MAR2023
– added sleep mode trick section

20MAR2023
– added link to powered USB hub in accessories section for maximum controller compatibility

28JAN2023
– removed links to “Dolphin for Handheld” apk at the request of the Dolphin team

31DEC2022
– added screen saturation instructions

06DEC2022
– updated links to community compatibility sheets

24NOV2022
– added Retroid Pocket 3+ as a supported device
– added the Dolphin for Handheld emulators
– added information about remapping the Home button
– added Daijisho information

14SEP2022
– added notes about bug related to RA not recognizing the A Button after mapping it as a hotkey

11SEP2022
– added Team Pandory PPSSPP guide
– added link to AliExpress store
– added section about fixing microstutters (in RetroArch section)

08SEP2022
– added RP3 starter guide
– added Where to buy section
– streamlined guide to reflect new launcher and updates

23JAN2022
– added detailed N64 configuration instructions
– added note about 32-bit PSX emulation core

22JAN2022
– added new systems
– added Starter Guide #2 video

20JAN2022
– added RetroArch playlists section
– added system art and additional recommended systems (like Sega Genesis)

17JAN2022
– added retroarch.cfg file and instructions (removed)

16JAN2022
– published guide
– added portable vs internal storage note

54 thoughts on “Retroid Pocket 2+/3/3+/Flip Starter Guide

  1. Great to see a guide like this. I ended up cancelling my preorder of the device, but I still think it looks really cool.

    I have a question, though. Why do you recommend .iso files for PS2 and Gamecube? For PS2, .chd files and .gz compression don’t affect gameplay but shrink the file size (though for .gz, the emulator has to unpack the game the first time you play it, which means like a 20-30 second black screen on first boot up). For Gamecube, .rvz does the same thing. You can use chdman for chd files, pigz for gz, and you can compress files into .rvz using Dolphin.

    Like

    1. Hi, it’s not about what will work with the emulators, but what file types the Retroid launcher recognizes. I agree that .chd and .gz are the way to go in just about all other use cases!

      Like

  2. Great guide – thanks for the writeup!

    Is there a reason you recommend (CPU intensive) video filters over (GPU-powered) shaders? As long as you pick one or two-pass shaders, you should be able to get really nice results (including some niftier effects) without adding much CPU load. Just pick sane low-end-friendly 1 or 2-pass glsl shaders, not the crazy 5-pass CRT-with-bloom-type stuff, and you should get nice results with a lot of options to choose from.

    Like

    1. For sure, shaders can add a nice touch! But I haven’t found one that will give the same sharpness and pixel balance as the Normal2x filter — it basically normalizes the image but balances the pixel wobble at the same time. And thankfully the CPU can handle the filter for SNES and below, and so for that reason I think it’s a good fit for beginners who want nice scaling and an image that’s “true” to their expectations.

      Like

      1. I’d say the interpolation/sharp-bilinear-2x-prescale filter is very good, as is Quilez, if you’re looking for a “faithful big pixels” kind of look; I’m not sure I could pick out either from the Normal2x filter in an A/B test on a 640×480 screen at normal viewing distances. That said, if you’ve got the CPU to spare, do what looks best to you!

        Like

      1. Thanks for the great setup tutorial, this has been extremely helpful!

        One issue I’m having is the hot keys aren’t working. Be set them up the way you describe but when I try them in-game they don’t seem to work. For example, I’ve tried to access the menu to adjust the GB color settings as you describe, but when I hold SELECT and the hit key mapped to menu nothing comes up. Any thoughts?

        Like

  3. Thank you very much for this guide that obviously fills a gap. I’ve been looking around for such structured and adviceful recap since I’ve received my RP2+ 10 days agos, and today I learn why my retroArcj experience has not been smoother until now 🙂 Let’s configure the thing nicely now 😉 THANX !

    Like

  4. Thanks a lot Russ for this guide. I ordered my unit over a month ago, I will be definitely using your guide to configure it.

    Like

  5. Russ,

    Is there anyway to map R3/L3. There apparantly was a tool to do it on old Retroid that mapped to volume buttons. But I have read that has been removed.

    Like

  6. Total novice here, but I’m confused with the mapping of the A/B X/Y buttons? It seems on the device the A/B buttons are already mapped properly? Not sure how to proceed with the buttons.

    Like

  7. Hi. An amazing resource. Thanks for putting this together.

    I’m just buying a microSD card now and I was wondering why you recommend the SanDisk Ultra or Extreme for the 128GB but just the Ultra for the 256GB and 512GB version?
    I want to buy one of the bigger sizes so is there a reason to go for the Ultra instead of the Extreme for the 256GB and 512GB?

    Thanks

    Like

  8. Thanks for the useful guide, Russ. One question, I connected a PS4 controller via Bluetooth, but no input is recognized, is there a setting I am missing? Thanks again.

    Like

  9. I’m using my RP2+ mostly to play N64, and I’m very confused by the way the game saves work. The guide says :

    “When using the Retroid Launcher, autosave and autoload will not work properly. Instead, you can either launch games directly from the standalone emulator, or use the Save/Load State functions within the emulator quick menu to manually save and load states. In-game saves still work fine either way. ”

    But in my experience, I’m using in-game saves and everything works fine as long as I don’t close Mupen64Plus-FZ, but whenever I initialy launch the game (either from the retroid launcher or from the app), it will look like I’ve lost all my progression. Luckily I have a save state that I can load and resume my game from but I’m only a “save state” instead of “load state” away from messing it up!

    Like

    1. Apparently this is known to happen with the specific game I’m playing (Donkey Kong 64). When using autosave/autoload or save states, the in-game save can become corrupted and once it is, there is no way around it. I guess I’ll just be extra careful when using save states and regularly export Mupen64Plus-FZ’s save data to external storage!

      Like

  10. Hi Ross,

    When you connect HDMI, it still display as 480p and it’s awful, do you know of a workaround? It doesn’t do widescreen or even higher resolution. PS4 controller doesn’t work, PS5 does however. Dead cells resolution gets all messed up when connected and can’t change any settings.

    Like

  11. Hello all! I have an unusual question I haven’t seen addressed anywhere else regarding the RP2+. Is it possible to remove system apps from the home screen? It’s not like I want to uninstall them or anything (which I don’t believe I can or even if that would wise do) but I haven’t found a way personally. The RP2+ is obviously quite different from an actual phone where this would be easy, does anyone here know of a way?

    Like

    1. I wanna +1 this all day long lol… As much as I want to be able to follow these guides, i swear it feels like it’s completely out of my wheelhouse (and I miss retro games like crazy)

      Like

  12. Amazing post!! thanks!!

    i have a problem, my RP2+ cant format sd (sandisk extreme)
    freeze on 20%.. exFat/Fat32/ntfs…

    any solution?
    thanks 🙂

    Like

  13. Hi Russ, I initially used a Sandisk 64gb extreme card to setup the RP2+, but soon it runs low on disk space due to the large PSP games, so I upgraded to a sandisk 256gn ultra card (up to 100mb/s) by copying all the content of the 64gb over to it, but i realised that in PPSSPP, half of the psp games couldnt load in the title list on PPSSPP, may I know how do I overcome this? Is it that the new 256gb is too slow so I should get a 266gb extreme instead?

    Like

  14. Hi there!

    Has anyone gotten a USB-C hub to work for multiple wired controllers? This guide contains a link to one, but I wanted to see if anyone has had any luck actually getting it to work on the RP2+. So far, the supposedly OTG hubs that I’ve tried don’t seem to register any devices on the RP2+

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. I have same experiemce. Wireles controller also doesnt work for me. The BT connection work but controller dont respond for anythink.

      Like

  15. Hi I followed your instructions on setting up new RP2+ but it seems all the gb, gba, gbc games suddenly have no sound. Appreciate it if you could advise me thanks!

    Like

  16. One thing I recommend is compressing PSP ISOs to CSO format. This will cause games to scale down to half their original sizes and as far as I’ve tested it doesn’t affect the emulation.

    Like

  17. hey! lovely review. Am new to the scene, my only question on the guide does the console change your settings per emulator for you, like after pre-setting them. or do you need o manually swap the settings each time. Thanks 🙂

    Like

  18. I was playing with it earlier and I got game boy set up and I went to set up game boy color and then all the sudden my button scheme changed and now my x and a buttons don’t work. I try to remap them on retroarch 64 but it doesn’t even register that I’m pushing the buttons

    Like

  19. hello, im new user, i m download and try FFIX psx , it 3 file, bin, pbp and key and im copy to folder game ps1, how to run pbp?
    it looks like encrypt. sorry if my english bad

    Like

  20. This is an awesome guide mate, thanks a bunch.

    Have you come across an issue where a Retro Achievement works for one game, but any other game doesn’t despite them being available?

    For example I’m playing Golden Sun and the achievements are popping just fine. But when trying any other game such as Kirby Nightmare in Dreamland, I can unlock the achievements it has but they have no thumbnail and when trying to look at the achievements in RetroArch, it crashes. Bit of a weird one!

    Any insight would be great. Wonder if I might just need to reinstall RetroArch. This is on my 3GB Retroid Pocket 3.

    Like

  21. Hey, I was having some difficulty with the pause toggle button. it activates whether or not im using the enable hotkey button. Now that i have it set i dont have a way to just clear the command only to change it to something else. Any pointers?

    Like

  22. Hey Russ, thanks for your awesome write-ups, definitely helped me a lot with setting up my pocket 3. I have one issue to debug, retroid launcher crashes everytime I try to load a game no matter the system. I made sure to select the correct core or emulator and no dice. All games load using retroarch or standalone directly.

    Any thoughts? Thanks!

    Like

  23. I wonder what keyboard app you recommend, as the default Gboard that comes with the OS does not support controller input?

    Like

  24. Got my 3 after a long delay, but it has a very strong and lingering mold smell, even after airing out for a week or so. Found a couple more people on Reddit with a similar strong mold smell. Very odd. Going to open it here over the weekend.

    Like

  25. Mapped the buttons as advised in the guide (with L3+R3 to quit retroarch) however the RP3 home button still returns to the Retroid launcher without properly closing retroarch which can meddle with the autosave/autoload function or in the worst case fail to write the latest in-game save (if after returning to the launcher the battery runs out or the device is turned off for example).

    Is there a way to map the home button to quit retroarch properly or deactivate it entirely when in retroarch?

    Like

  26. When I formatted my SD card, and then chose Portable Disk on the retroid3, the disk is now read-only when I plug it back into my computer. It also didn’t create those BIOS & ROM folders as you show in the video

    Like

  27. Can any emulator be added to the Retroid Launcher? I added the Commodore 64 emulator core Vice into RetroArch64 but I don’t see an option for adding into the Retroid Launcher list.

    Like

  28. i have the rp3+ and i have some issue with the controller settings on ppsspo and duckstation.
    they both don’t allow the set the digital and analogic controller, the kind of pad is set on dualsense.
    how can i fix it? i even try to update both the stand alone emulator no result

    Like

  29. Hi Russ,
    I could not find “Settings > Handheld Settings” option during initial setup of RP3+.
    It appeared after I fulfilled my Google account.
    Hope it helps to newbies during initial setup 😉

    Like

  30. Thanks very much for your excellent guide!

    I have found that RetroArch doesn’t handle simultaneous button presses on my Retroid Pocket 3+ at all. Apparently, this is an Android specific issue. To fix this go to Settings > Latency > Input Block Timeout and set it to “4” ms.

    Very handy for games such as the original “Streets of Rage” for Mega Drive, which needs a attack+jump button combo to execute the backwards attack.

    Like

  31. There appears to be a bug when setting the Pause hotkey in RetroArch. Every time I set it, that button will try to pause before the hotkey button is pressed, which effectively renders the A button useless. I’ve tried to set it to other buttons with the same result. I have to clear that hotkey to regain use of it.

    The bug doesn’t always seem to appear right away, because I know I have set it and then went to play a game. However, after coming back to my device later, I’ll find that the button will no longer work.

    I actually uninstalled and reinstalled RetroArch a few different times until I figured out what was going on. I tried the two versions on the Play Store as well as downloading the nightly directly from the website. All three ended up with the same issue.

    It actually appears to be a known bug on the RetroArch GitHub: https://github.com/libretro/RetroArch/issues/9998

    Thankfully, I haven’t really needed to use that button and just leave it unset. No more bug.

    Like

  32. love your site currently playing on 2 + . turned on rp2 to check brfore giving away and all my games on retro side are gone how do i reinstall tia

    Like

  33. *Can’t wait*
    Found you on YouTube about a month ago and can’t stop watching. I have purchased the Retrioretroid pocket 3+ and currently waiting on it to arrive. This is the first time I have every attempted to download everything that is needed. Your walk through in very detailed and I hope to knock it out the park when it gets here. You make things look simple, thanks.

    Like

    1. Nope nope nope, way in over my head…… I’m sorry. I really did try. Holy cow I did now how overwhelmed I could be with this! Is there anyway I could buy a prepared sd card? I don’t know where to go from here now. Sorry.

      Like

      1. Hello All,
        I have become overwhelmed with this and am struck with anxiety when I read and start trying to start this process. Would anyone be able to get this to a “plug and play” for me. I really want to be able to share these games with my kids and also play some of the key games from my experience. Please let me know if anyone would like to chat or where I could go to get the help I am requesting.
        Thank you.

        Like

  34. Hey @Russ. Thought I should let you know as of april 28 2023, your archive links for dolphin_for_hanheld both rp2 and rp3 are not functional.

    Like

  35. Any plans to update this guide for the flip? I know it’s basically a 3+ with a different shell so changes should be minimal but I find the lack of a back button a bit disconcerting.

    Like

  36. The button mapper works, but makes it so my joysticks and d-pad no longer register in game. This is on a RP3+ I wasn’t sure what was causing it, but sure enough when I uninstall it, everything works as it should. Guess I have to find another way to get back button functionality.

    Like

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