What’s the Hyperkin SmartBoy?

It started life as an April Idiot’s joke, however the Hyperkin SmartBoy could be very actual. It’s a bolt-on module that successfully transforms your Samsung Galaxy S8 into a totally useful Nintendo Sport Boy, full with assist for unique Sport Boy and Sport Boy Shade cartridges and a set of authentic-feeling button inputs.

The unit connects to the telephone’s USB Kind-C connector and comes with a devoted utility that ‘dumps’ the sport information from the cartridge, so it may be learn by your emulator of selection. The SmartBoy doesn’t require any batteries, and whereas it might doubtlessly assist any Android telephone with USB Kind-C, it’s a part of the accepted Samsung accent programme and has been designed with the Korean firm’s telephones in thoughts.

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Hyperkin SmartBoy – Design

The SmartBoy is a useless ringer for the Sport Boy that began all of it: 1989’s DMC-01 – or “The Brick” because it’s affectionately recognized. It’s original from the identical gray plastic and the 2 face buttons are the same color to these on the unique console. The eight-way digital pad can also be an in depth match of the unique, providing the identical really feel and responsiveness, whereas the L and R shoulder buttons are a brand new addition. The unit was initially speculated to ship with assist for Sport Boy Advance video games, however this seems to have been eliminated.

The perimeters of the unit spring outwards when a button is pushed on the rear panel, permitting you to slip in your smartphone earlier than clamping the perimeters shut once more; delicate materials on the within holds the handset tightly in place and prevents any marks or scratches.

The extremely engineered design implies that the SmartBoy appears somewhat odd from sure angles, and it’s fairly cumbersome – in reality, it’s even thicker than the unique console, which was hardly essentially the most pocket-friendly handheld in the marketplace. On the rear there’s the all-important cartridge slot, which accepts Sport Boy and Sport Boy Shade cartridges.

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Hyperkin SmartBoy – Efficiency

The SmartBoy works along with a devoted app, which needs to be downloaded from the Google Play Retailer as a way to make the gadget work. With this app put in, inserting a sport cartridge triggers the dumping course of, with the sport information being saved quickly in a particular folder within the telephone’s inside reminiscence.

As soon as that is full, the app will launch the Sport Boy emulator of your selecting (it defaults to the free model of the slightly glorious My OldBoy), supplying you with the possibility to find the sport information and boot it. Upon eradicating the cartridge, the sport information is deleted.

It’s potential to make use of ROMs that you just’ve sourced from elsewhere, too – all it’s essential to do is place them within the SmartBoy folder and cargo them as a substitute of loading the dumped sport information from the cartridge.

Whereas it might sound a bit odd that Hyperkin hasn’t created its personal emulator to be used with the SmartBoy, this strategy means you might have the liberty to choose one your self from the numerous at the moment accessible on Android. It additionally implies that the gadget is, to a sure diploma, future-proof. As higher emulators seem, the SmartBoy can benefit from them, whereas if Hyperkin was solely chargeable for the software program, there’s a hazard it could possibly be forgotten if the corporate decides to shift focus elsewhere or take away assist.

Because the SmartBoy makes use of current emulators, it’s onerous to charge its efficiency, however just about any Sport Boy emulator goes to run precisely on a telephone as highly effective because the Galaxy S8. Many emulators include extra options similar to save states, graphical filters and rather more in addition to, leading to an expertise that’s arguably far superior to taking part in on unique . It additionally goes with out saying that the display on the Samsung Galaxy S8 is 1,000,000 instances higher than the blurry, pea-soup LCD panel of the unique Sport Boy.

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When it was initially pitched, Hyperkin promised that the SmartBoy would come with assist for a variety of telephones, together with the iPhone. Nevertheless, because the product has developed over time, this formidable goal has been shelved, and the shift to USB Kind-C means the gadget will solely work with newer Android gadgets.

Because the SmartBoy is a part of the Samsung Cell Accent Partnership Program, this could guarantee it capabilities completely with future Samsung telephones from the Galaxy S8 onwards. Nevertheless, after I examined it with a few different USB Kind-C Android telephones, it refused to work. Time will inform if assist is rolled out to a wider choice of handsets by way of some type of firmware or app replace, however when you don’t have a Samsung gadget then you definately’ll virtually actually need to strive before you purchase.

Ought to I purchase the Hyperkin SmartBoy?

When you think about that your common Sport Boy doesn’t precisely value rather a lot, you might argue that the SmartBoy is slightly pointless. Should you’re going for authenticity, then certainly the true deal is the best choice?

That’s true to a sure extent, however there are some distinct benefits to Hyperkin’s gadget – the obvious of which is the truth that you don’t must put up with the shortcomings of decades-old LCD panel expertise. The Galaxy S8’s attractive Tremendous AMOLED display is superior in each potential method.

Second, you additionally profit from emulator-specific options similar to save states and the power to fast-forward gameplay. Lastly, the truth that you’re ready to make use of unique cartridges will please the purists amongst you, whereas the superb bodily controls supply as shut an expertise to the true factor as is feasible on a smartphone.

Solely the cumbersome nature of the unit and the slightly convoluted method through which video games are loaded forestall us from recommending this much more extremely.


Should you’re a fan of retro gaming then the SmartBoy is a should – particularly now that fashionable display expertise makes the entire expertise so a lot better.

Due to Funstock for supplying the Hyperkin SmartBoy and MobileFun.co.uk for supplying the Galaxy S8 used on this evaluation.