Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ll have heard the issues that Soulja Boy has been causing by buying hardware and then selling it on his own website at a massive markup. The even bigger problem is that the emulation of the device out of the box is pretty poor.

However, it is possible to get around this by installing a custom firmware on the device. There are several available, including OpenDingux and Useless 97. The problem with this is that for both versions of the custom firmware, it involves having to download various pieces of software and then flashing the system image onto a microSD card.

There is one installed inside the system (which would require you to take off the back panel to use the new firmware), as well as there being the option to use an external microSD card- more on that later.

As you’d expect, the last thing that you want to do when you’ve just bought a game system is to remove the back case and start fiddling around with installing a new operating system.

 

To that end, FunnyPlaying.com has taken the stress out of the equation on this one. The site owners have already installed the OpenDingux operating system on the internal microSD card.

Therefore, you don’t need to worry about having to mess around with this.

What’s in the box?

When I received the RS97 from FunnyPlaying, I obviously received the console itself, along with a charging cable (no brick was included). In addition to this, a 3.5mm to AV composite cable was included. I hooked this up to my 32inch TV and it doesn’t look too bad at all, actually. Granted, it’s composite, but if you want a way to quickly play a few games on your TV, you could do a lot worse.

Also included is a mini screwdriver (which is handy if you want to remove the battery to install a new one) as well as 2 screen protectors and a really excellent carry case for it.

 

Build Quality

The case of the K101 Pro RS97 is actually the same as the K101 Plus which was actually a pretty great GBA clone system. It feels good in the hand, and as someone that’s got shovel hands, I didn’t at any point feel as though I was going to damage the system.

The screen is actually really bright, and it looks great. It’s not a full on IPS display, but the viewing angles on it are impressive. The face button and the D-pad feel great as well. The D-pad in particular is a lot better than the subpar one that Microsoft were using for years on the Xbox 360 controller. With regards to the shoulder buttons, these feel nice and clicky.

As mentioned above, there is also the option to use a microSD card with the system. This is by way of an adapter in the shape of GameBoy Advance cartridge. It’s important to point out though that this is not a GBA flashdrive, and therefore will not work in any GBA hardware.

Performance

The performance of the system is pretty impressive for such a small device. Technically the chip on the system isn’t the most powerful. However the Custom Firmware on the FunnyPlaying model has been written in such a way that (nearly) all of the games run flawlessly.

Notably, the Mega Drive (Genesis) games do run without a hitch. The ones that I did have some issues were included F-Zero on the SNES, as well as other games on the SNES that made heavy use of Mode 7. To be honest, that was expected anyway, it was a pretty full on way to get excellent graphics out of a somewhat powerful chip, so it’s no surprise it doesn’t run optimally. Likewise, the F-Zero games on the GBA had issues as well. One of my favourite games, Banjo Pilot runs exceptionally on both GBA emulators included. This is despite it being a graphically intensive game.

I actually think that it’s more to do with the SNES emulators involved. Having said that, you can slightly overclock the CPU for certain emulators, which I found did help with F-Zero.

It should be noted though that when it comes to playing games on these systems, you should only be loading up ROMs for backups of games that you own yourself. Interestingly, Sonic the Hedgehog works flawlessly both gameplay wise and also music wise. This is something that dedicated hardware from AT Games has issues with, so to see it work on here perfectly is pretty damn awesome.

Battery Life

As you would expect, from a system that is emulating full on console hardware, the batter life may take a bit of a knock. I’ve found that I’m getting 3.5 hours per charge and that’s with the screen brightness at 60%. This is pretty decent actually, and it doesn’t take long at all to charge up the battery. There’s a lot of them available online, so it shouldn’t be a problem having a couple in reserve for the future.

 

Future Updates

One of the great things about the K101 Pro RS97 is that there is a thriving community online for upgrading the firmware on it. The Dingooity message boards are full of helpful information and the community as a whole really do appear to be willing to help others. The link to the specific section for the RS97 hardware can be found here.

In terms of buying the K101 Pro, it is available at FunnyPlaying.com. After speaking to the site owner directly and asking various questions, he knows a lot about this system and was extremely friendly throughout. It only took 5 days for it to arrive which is bloody quick.

  • Ease of Use
  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
4.8

Summary

The K101 Pro from Funny Playing is an impressive little device that works far better than the stock version of the hardware. The fact that you don’t need to mess around with installing custom firmware out of the box is a huge bonus, and the list of emulators included run exceptionally well on the system.

If you’re interested in playing your old games on the go at a small price point, this is definitely way forward.