This $80 Games Console Looks Like a Switch, But Runs Ubuntu

Dig the look of the Nintendo Switch but prefer gaming on Linux? If so, you’re gonna love the ODroid Go Super.

It’s a 5-inch handheld PC built by Korean hardware company Hardkernel. They have previous form in the area of low-cost Linux portables.

Their newly-unveiled ODroid Go Super runs Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and the EmulationStation frontend (meaning, yes: it supports a wide range of classic gaming content from the likes of Nintendo, Sony, and Atari).

Hardkernel pitch the Super as an ideal “developers’ gaming gadget for 2021”. The thing is small, performant, and (awesomely) rather cheap too. I’d certainly have one on my desk to entertain me during lengthy distro upgrades and those days where… I just …can’t… write… anything.

ODroid Go Super: A Linux Gaming Device

ODroid Go Super is a larger, more powerful version of the ODroid Go Advance, a 3.5-inch handheld created by ODroid in 2019 — and the new model is clearly better in several ways.

It has a larger 5-inch LCD screen running at 854×480 pixels (alas not 4:3 as retro gaming aficionados tend to prefer), a large 4000 mAh battery (more gaming time), and two analog joysticks versus the Advance‘s mere one.

Those differences aside the Super is built around the same 1.3 GHz Rockchip RK3326 quad-core ARM Cortex-A35 chip with ARM Mali-G31 MP2 graphics as the Advance. It’s also paired with a “modest” (some may say meagre) 1GB of DDR3L memory, and a negligible amount of internal storage to house the boot loader and OS.

The device will be available in two colour schemes

So no: this is far from being the most powerful Linux device you can carry in your pocket. But remember: this thing is designed for playing old-era console games, not crunching through your code compiling workflow. It has enough power for the task at hand.

As well as boasting 2 analog joysticks the Odroid Go Super also gamepad staples like a directional “d-pad”, 4 action buttons, and left and right shoulder buttons.

A (spring-loaded) microSD card slot acts as the primary storage. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack, built-in mono speaker, volume rocker, USB 2.0 port, and a DC barrel jack for power.

It’s not clear if the Super will come with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth or whether those capabilities will be offered through a small USB dongle shipped with the device. Either way, upstream code commits suggest there will be option of connectivity capabilities.

Interested? You can buy the ODROID-Go Super from late January 2021 for a reasonable $80 minus shipping. Unlike the Advance the Super comes preassembled.

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