GP2x Handheld Emulation system First time use and Review


Mondeo Man
Jan 23, 2008
Got a bit of a surprise when I was browsing in Cash Generators yesterday. Sat amongst all the Nintendo Ds' and PSPs was a GP2x.
I knew that these things have a bit of a reputation, but as I quite like collecting handheld gaming machines, I thought I'd pick it up anyway as it was quite competitively priced.


Getting it home and doing the obligatory research shows that I can reasonably expect to emulate MAME and most 8 and 16 bit systems without too much difficulty. It is a GP2X-F200 with Firmware 4.0 and is actually in pretty good condition physically. No sign of wear or tear, cracks, splits or discolouration. It's a touchscreen system, and came with it's own extendable metal stylus.
I formatted a 1Gb SD card with FAT32 and bunged GMenu2x on there which allows me to simply install and manage any games, files and emulators. It can be skinned with all sorts of themes including Amiga, Atari and AROS icons if that takes your fancy.
First impressions are that this feels like a cross between a fat DS and a PSP. The button positions are comfortable, the screen is a nice size and clarity and the speakers are pretty loud. It feels like you could play this without difficulty, but after a while you may start to feel some slight discomfort from the raised buttons. I also think it may have benefited from an analog stick for control, as the left hand controls don't feel too comfortable particularly if you enjoy schmups, as I do.

The first thing I did was install a port of Quake. I have had a lot of experience running Quake on various systems, particularly pimped up Amiga's and to my surprise it runs very smoothly and with a nice clear picture. Not bad. The only thing I noticed was that the sound was fantastically loud, so much so that it was annoying everyone in the house. The only way to adjust the volume was to exit the game and set the master volume in the settings. The Volume buttons don't appear to work in some games, but do so in others, which is very odd. I usually hate playing FPS with a controller, preferring mouse and keyboard controls, but this actually works well. The buttons are intuitively placed and easy to quickly navigate and remember, so I was able to play and enjoy the game much as I usually do on other systems. Plus point there straight away.

Next thing was to chuck some emulators on here. The first one I chose was HU6280, a PC Engine emulator. That was pretty straightforward, simply creating a folder for it on the SD card and unpacking the zip. It ran all my ROMs properly, albeit with what I suspect is only one of the stereo speakers working. I noticed some of the speech was missing from some games which usually gets piped in on the right hand speaker. There are another couple of emulators to try, one of which includes save states, so I'll give that a go later instead, and see if we get full stereo. That said, the picture is great and I was able to play all my usual favourites. I did notice an unusual flickering in Air Zonk, and the background scrolling was broken and patchy. If that's no better in another emulator, I may have to investigate if there's a way to improve performance in the settings to address that glitch. None of the other scrolling games, whether vertical or horizontal, seemed to be affected in this way. I suspect it's because Air Zonk scrolled multiple layers in the background, and maybe the others I have played don't as far as I am aware. We'll see.

Next up was one on my favourites, PicoDrive, the MegaDrive emulator. This runs perfectly on my PSP so I wasn't expecting any real problems. Unfortunately there appears to be a glitch, where the menu screens scroll uncontrollably at all levels. I have encountered this sort of thing before, and it is usually caused by a malfunctioning, or incorrectly configured input mechanism. After an evening of fruitlessly searching for an answer, modifying the config and ini files to disable possible problems I have had no luck. I did manage to get a game running though, and TBH it was as I expected with a nice clear, sharp picture and sound quality. If only I could have controlled any of the characters. I did try out another MegaDrive Emulator, puportedly the best on the system, DrMDx, but encountered the same issue, which is annoying. That absorbed most of my time last night so I didn't get to try any other emulators for other systems, but I will do and post on here what I have found.

I suspect that I may have to update the firmware to address some of the issues that I have found, particularly the sound and control issues, but time will tell. So far, it's been a mixed experience. From what I can see the presentation looks promising, the graphics and sound are generally very good, and properly setup I think it will be a cracking system. It just seems to be throwing out a lot of curve balls and glitches at the moment.
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Retired Slacker
Aug 19, 2009
(Unless I sold it) I think I have a GP2x somewhere. I bought mine after having a GP32 for many years. I still have my GP32, that was the first ever emulation handheld I bought and I have really fond memories, there was such a great scene and lots of development for homebrew and emulators.

Sadly there are so many of these devices now that they just don't develop the same sort of scene.

It's definitely a learning curve issue, the emulators you mention should run just fine so I'm sure you'll crack that with a firmware upgrade.

This is a great site with excellent forums:

Good luck & thanks for the mini review :)

edit: yep, sold mine lol
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