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About the product
- Multiple System Compatibility: The RetroN 5 allows you to play your favorite NES, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Famicom, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and GBA cartridges on one system. You can also play Master System games with the use of the Power Base Converter.*
- HD Output: The HD output will upconvert the signal to your HDTV with a maximum output resolution of 720p.
- Save/Load States: Save or load your games at any point during gameplay, with 10 save slots for each game.
- Bluetooth Wireless Controller: Utilizing Bluetooth technology, this controller has a range of up to 30 feet and features a microswitch directional pad, two programmable macro buttons, and a Home button for quick-in game access to features.
- Original Controller Ports: 2 original controller ports (6 total) for each platform
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The ultimate HD remake: Hyperkin presents the RetroN 5, a revolutionary new way to experience classic games in high definition; the first of its kind with an all-digital HD output. The RetroN 5 plays Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Famicom, Super Famicom, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, and Mega Drive cartridges with enhanced resolution, improved interpolated sound, screenshot capture, and the ability to have on the fly save states. The RetroN 5 is the retro gaming console that brings you back to a world where recharging health is cheating, you can have as many guns as you want, and achievements aren't just some numbers on a screen.
Top customer reviews
It took about 30 minutes to update the console and get it in working order. Not only does the instruction booklet leave out the crucial factoid that the power button must be held for 10 seconds for the console to turn on, but at the time of release, the only place to download the most current firmware was from a link on Hyperkin's facebook page--this info wasn't noted on the Retron 5 website, nor Hyperkin's website at all.
I started working my way through some of my favorite NES games to test the system out, lo and behold, the claims were true! The games I grew up playing as a kid suddenly looked sharp and vivid! Wizards and Warriors, Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, T&C Surf Designs, Rad Racer, Rygar and Mega Man were amongst the 15 or so games I tested on the NES, along with Donkey Kong Country and U.N. Squadron on the SNES. The more I played with the system, the more I fell in love with it... well, actually, I wasn't in love with the cartridge slots. Before receiving the system, I had watched countless Youtube videos of reviewers with the system, and nearly all of them mentioned how unnecessarily tight the cartridge slots can be. I tried my best to deal with the issue, as my Retron 5 was no different--the slots had a vigorous grip. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait to show the sytem off during the next gaming/movie night with my buddies.
The next day, June 9th, after a long work day, I plopped down on the couch and got ready to see how far I could make it through Karnov on the NES. Instead of plowing through Level 1, I was greeted with "No Cart Inserted". I took the cartridge out and reinserted it, same result. Figuring it was dirty, I cleaned it with the ol' cotton swab/70% rubbing alcohol method. While I let it dry, I decided to play Mega Man instead, had no trouble with it the day before. Suddenly it wasn't working either. I took the cartridge out and looked inside the system's slot, and to my horror, I saw the pin connectors inside the system had not only been bent and misshapen beyond repair, but two of the pins themselves had been pulled out. The NES slot was kaput.
I called Hyperkin and had the system RMA'd. I am now on my second unit after they concluded my console was faulty. I have had it for 2 weeks now (today is the 27th of June, 2014), and have only had time to play through one SNES game to completion (Illusion of Gaia), and test out a handful of NES/Genesis games to make sure this unit works fine--surprise surprise, the NES slot is starting to show signs of pin connector wear AGAIN. I have made sure to take every precaution recommended by fellow Retron 5 owners when it comes to removing cartridges (lift from one corner & remove), and I've gotten to the point of checking the NES slot each time I remove a game to make sure it's okay. As it stands, two pins are ever-so-slightly starting to become bent. It's been two weeks since I originally have had the problem, and other owners are chiming in with the same damaged pin connector problem in the NES slot. If this second unit becomes worn out just like the first unit I had, I'm not RMAing it back to Hyperkin--it's going to Amazon for a full refund.
UPDATE (7/7/2014): It's back in Amazon's hands now. I was getting tired of using my Retron 5 in paranoia, checking the NES slot after each cartridge removal. I called Hyperkin, wanting to speak with Tech Support. First time I tried, they were out to lunch. Second time I tried, which was 3 hours later, they had left for the day. Instead, I was put in touch with the lead product developer himself, Chris Gallizzi.
I told him of my experience with the console & wanted to know if there was a set-in-stone recommended way to remove NES cartridges. He said the way he takes them out was the same method I'd been using--lift from one corner and remove. He wrote down a bunch of feedback from me and relayed some curious info. Evidently, MANY people are reporting the pin connector issue. Hyperkin made the connectors tight enough to ensure the best connection possible, but on hindsight, Chris admitted they made them TOO tight. They're only seeing the misshapen/popped pin issue with the mass produced consoles, NOT the beta units. They are looking into a possible hardware revision with a looser grip for all slots & stronger pins. With that, I thanked him for his help, and settled on holding onto the system for a bit longer.
Knowing that I was removing the NES cartridges the correct way from the product developer himself, I set my worries aside and had fun with it. First game of choice from my arsenal was Wrecking Crew. Inserting it felt a bit snug to me, but it played fine. After 30 min., I took the cart out, which was still a hassle. Checking the pins again, I noticed now there were two more pins popping up. I put in Dr. Mario, Othello, and Mega Man, all of them played fine with no pin trouble. Tried Wrecking Crew again, and after removal, another pin popped up. For whatever reason, my copy of Wrecking Crew was pulling the pins out. A fellow Retron 5 owner with my exact problem had theorized a week earlier on the Hyperkin Facebook page that the various sizes and thickness of NES cart PCBs could be a factor to why the Retron 5's NES slot pins were getting destroyed. Coupled with the unnecessary tightness, it seemed to be exactly right, in my case. I packed it up & returned it to Amazon for a complete refund.
Hyperkin is aware that it exists as a problem among mass-produced units. They haven't said anything publicly, and seem to be dealing with it on a case-by-case basis. With the product developer telling me they are possibly looking at a hardware revision with a looser grip & better pins, I cannot recommend the Retron 5 as it stands right now. I docked it a star after discovering the pins were still very much faulty on my "tested" refurb unit, leaving this as a one-star product in my eyes.
My experience was that most popular games worked - bar a select few that never work even when I tried different cartridges from different production batches. I sent out multiple emails, but never received a reply. The NES slot can be janky and very tight fitting - which would end up damaging either your NES cart or your pins in the console itself - both of which are a common occurrence. If your pins break off or the cart is damaged, the company is not responsible and you are SOL.
The interface itself is pretty straight-forward. Using the built in menu you are able to take screenshots, make save states, apply patches (for different languages or romhacks) and much more. There is an option to update your firmware via SD, but in my own experience it rarely works. If you're unlucky and got a console that was produced earlier in the Retron 5's lifetime then odds are your board is a 1.0 and the 1.2 updates will simply not work on your console therefore rendering any and all updates in the future null.
All things aside - MOST of the console's features work as intended, although some may damage your games. If you're hurting for cash and space on your entertainment center or shelves, Retron 5 is definitely the purchase for you. However if you have a little more cash I highly suggest looking into better alternatives such as the RetroFreak or even a Raspberry Pi.
Unfortunately, I only have Gameboy Advance (GBA) games to run on the console, but I plan to add more to my starting retro game library!
First of, the main menu UI is not as intuitive as one would hope. It makes awkward sounds each interaction, but it can easily be turned off in the system settings. Settings themselves are quite in an abundance, allowing for cheat applications (downloadable from the hyperkin website), official and unofficial patches, backing up of saves, and filters as the most notable features. All functions work as intended, but remember to have a regular (not micro or mini) SD Card to be able to use these functions with. An adapter for other SD Cards will work fine.
The GBA games I was able to put in all worked flawlessly. The games have never sounded, looked, or maybe even played better from the cartridge! I never encountered any emulation bugs that could deter the experience in any form, a common occurrence for GBA emulator online. Filters enhance the experience further, taking pixelization to a new art form, turning Super Mario World into a cartoon heaven! Although, not all games look great t\with the filters, which can easily be turned off with the Home Button on the controller.
But what about the controller. I regret to inform that the controller is not the best ever made, but certainly not the worst i've ever used. It fits in my hands comfortably, and all the buttons work fine (even if they are obtrusively clicky). The major flaw is it's 8-way directional pad. It's the least habitual part of the system! Since the d-pad is not included with the controller, I suggest to buyers in the investment of a NES30 Pro controller from 8-Bitdo, which is entirely compatible with the system's bluetooth, among other controllers of a similar nature.
Overall, most of the problems other people accuse the retron of having, such as the console not starting up, or the console not reading games, appear to have been addressed. If you still feel unsafe about the purchase, the deal that sealed me was the fact that Hyperkin includes access to an extended warranty in the box. All you have to do is register on the website. I've heard great things about their customer service, so I feel no fear on the reputability of their company.