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Video: Hyperkin RetroN 5 Review - King Of The Clone Consoles?

Posted by Damien McFerran

Tom and Damien put the wonder machine through its paces

The Hyperkin RetroN 5 has been with us for a while now, and we've had ample time to really get to know the system inside out. With that in mind, we present to you a video review of this talented piece of tech, which is capable of running games from a wide range of retro platforms, including the SNES, Genesis / Mega Drive and Game Boy Advance. As a bonus, the machine accepts original pads, outputs in 720p HD and showcases plenty of image filters and other neat tricks.

Don't forget to check out our software compatibility test video, which we ran a while back. Is this a system you're looking to pick up yourself? Let us know by posting a comment below.

Thanks to Hyperkin for supplying the unit used in this review. The RetroN 5 is available for pre-order in the UK from Funstock.co.uk.

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User Comments (71)

Kolma

#1

Kolma said:

I just want to note that I have a Retron 5.
And you can use ANY CONTROLLER to navigate the menus.

dinosauryoshi

#2

dinosauryoshi said:

I like the look of this. The HD output is great and when I finally get round to playing some old classics I'll likely get this to do it on.

Luigifan141

#3

Luigifan141 said:

I have a RetroN 5, too! It's great and I use it a lot, but I'm still not sure if it was worth the 9 month long pre-order or not.

DamoAdmin

#4

Damo said:

@Kolma How do you access the home menu without using the wireless pad? You HAVE to have the wireless pad to hand in order to open it.

Kolma

#6

Kolma said:

@Damo Try pressing down and start on any controller that isn't the retron 5 controller. This combo can be changed in the menus as well

vitalemrecords

#7

vitalemrecords said:

Am I the only one that hates when it gets called a "Snes" like it is a four letter word? We always called it the S N E S - "Es En E Es" - I know its faster to say "snes" but damn it sounds lame.

Kolma

#10

Kolma said:

@Damo I've been able to do it since I bought it before i did any fw updates.
It appears on the home screen that you get the option to disable and never have it pop up again.
That said, my controller doesn't even want to ever sync to my console. I've used it like twice with success. every other time it just blinks and does nothing or causes my Retron 5 to crash... ( I should really contact Hyperkin one day)

antonvaltaz

#13

antonvaltaz said:

Think it must be a British thing. Growing up everyone called it a Snes (as a word) or occasionally a Super Nintendo.

DamoAdmin

#15

Damo said:

@Kolma My system is a pre-launch review unit, so I may have older firmware. I really should upgrade it.

DamoAdmin

#19

Damo said:

@Kolma Yeah, all that SD card swapping is pretty convoluted, sure they could have made it easier!

ricklongo

#20

ricklongo said:

@vitalemrecords @Damo Funny, as a non-native English speaker, everybody I ever knew always called it the Snes, as a word rather than an acronym. When I started watching videos on American websites such as IGN, it always annoyed me to no end that people pronounced each letter separately. It just seemed so counter-intuitive! So thanks, Nintendo Life, for restoring my faith in the English language by pronouncing it the right way. :P

Rensch

#22

Rensch said:

This looks amazing. One thing worth mentioning is that you can also play SEGA Master System with a special adapter. Kind of a bummer it doesn't play that standard but still worth remembering to get more out of it. I'd really like to get one of these.

IxnayontheCK

#23

IxnayontheCK said:

Any lag with the controller when using an HDTV like on some other consoles like this? Thanks.

Nintenjoe64

#24

Nintenjoe64 said:

@Damo the real question is do you still have the chance to blow in the cartridges or is that a thing of the past?

super nez and snez were the preferred terminology in South London

stephenmunn

#27

stephenmunn said:

@IxnayontheCK The system and its documentation both advise you to set your TV to "game mode" to reduce any possible input lag. The lag is your TV's doing, not the console's. I play with wired controllers (usually SNES pads) and haven't noticed any lag with that and my TV in game mode.

stephenmunn

#28

stephenmunn said:

@Nintenjoe64 Assuming that's not a joke:

Blowing in cartridges never actually helped, it was the removing and reinserting that sometimes resolved bad connections on the NES because of the springy contacts. Contact cleaner or glass cleaner on a cotton swab is the way to clean carts without introducing saliva, which can eventually corrode the contacts.

That said, some of the cart slots on this are very very snug, so they seem more reliable than the NES. I've had to pull and reinsert a couple of carts but the system software tells you to do this before you even boot the game. So, not too bad so far.

Nintenjoe64

#29

Nintenjoe64 said:

@stephenmunn I was joking. I know blowing was never actually meant to help but it always seemed to, even when tested in slightly controlled conditions such as trying a temperamental game up to five times without blowing and it didn't work til I blew in the slot. Even the within the last month, I got my SNES out, Top Gear didn't work so I blew into it and it worked after.

unrandomsam

#30

unrandomsam said:

The question is does it pass the tests that are used to test the accuracy of bsnes or not. (Like e.g That shadow that only bsnes gets right).

I would be more interested in an FPGA based one.

dustin_g

#31

dustin_g said:

The reason that blowing helps is that the moisture from your breath helps the conductivity of the cartridge to the pins, like after a rainstorm and you metal detect you will find more things than in dry conditions.

sdelfin

#32

sdelfin said:

As an American, I always heard it referred to as S-N-E-S. It was a bit odd hearing it called "Snez" at first, but I got used to it quickly and find myself using it now.

Jazzer94

#33

Jazzer94 said:

Has anyone from the UK imported a US model, thinking about doing that as it is far cheaper then buying from Funstock.

MeloMan

#34

MeloMan said:

Journey to Silius?! Kudos guys, I found that randomly one day when looking for old NES games. Nice little unknown gem from Sunsoft :)

Spartacus3765

#35

Spartacus3765 said:

Where's the best place to buy this thing? On Amazon, it's listed for $275 USD - which is a bit too much for my liking.

Prime

#36

Prime said:

Looks like a Wii clone if you ask me, I still prefer the Virtual Console and the Retro Duo.

stephenmunn

#38

stephenmunn said:

@Spartacus3765 High demand and short supply has made for some ridiculous reseller behavior. I got mine at an FYE for regular retail ($140US) and it was the only unit they had.

unrandomsam

#39

unrandomsam said:

No sources surprise surprise (Just the same legally as including a stack of roms preloaded on it).

hydeks

#40

hydeks said:

I've heard too many complaints from other reviewers on the Retron 5, I'll pass and continue playing the games on the original consoles.

Jellyscare

#43

Jellyscare said:

These men both have luscious hair. When will we see a "Hair of Nintendo Life" article?

Zodiak13

#45

Zodiak13 said:

Just cause you all seem to care so much, I have always called it the Super N E S. It matters so much.

retro_player_22

#46

retro_player_22 said:

@vitalemrecords Some people just don't like to deal with syllables when saying SNES that's all. I myself called it the Super NES but my friends called it the Snes, they too don't like syllables especially when it's a freaking long name.

mozie

#47

mozie said:

I use an ouya for this very purpose, works with basially any bluetooth controller, greater versitility......far better and saves me mucking about with cartridges.

AshFoxX

#50

AshFoxX said:

I'm holding off from a retro clone console until they have a NES/SNES/N64/GENS+MD console. GB/C and GBA are nice but they belong on a handheld retro clone. Maybe one that plays GB/C/GBA/GG/LYNX.

A console that covers Atari 2600-Jag or even a clone that emulates all of the original Odyssey or Vectrex games would see a nice spot in my collection.

edhe

#53

edhe said:

I'd been waiting for the Retron to release in Europe for ages. It still isn't here yet.

I ended up getting a SNES (then modding it), because to be fair, Hyperkin have been terrible with this whole affair.

I'd always been interested in getting something that would take up less space than multiple consoles (and be easier to connect up to my TV), but was worried about the quality of emulation when compared to the original hardware. The review seemed to skip over a lot of these issues - surely the emulation isn't perfect. Specifically, I've been hearing that emulated games of this nature (even those on the WiiU VC) have trouble reproducing the sound and music to the quality of the original hardware.

Anyway, if Hyperkin had released this console earlier this year as scheduled (in the U.K, of course - it's probably going to be gold dust here when it releases in "september"), and had I not spent cash on a SNES (plus more to get someone to apply a modification to it), and a Megadrive, I would still probably have considered this.

But I've made my choice. No ragrets.

Findonovan95

#54

Findonovan95 said:

As an American I only ever heard it pronounced "Snez". Then I moved to Northern Ireland and guess what...everyone calls it a "snez" here too.

I honestly don't understand how it could be considered easier or better to say something with four syllables over something with one, lol

SteveW

#56

SteveW said:

Is it really okay to remove and insert cartridges while the system is on?

Hordak

#57

Hordak said:

@vitalemrecords I always called it the Super Nintendo so no one could ever wonder what the heck I was talking about. If I said S-N-E-S or "snes" I would, more times than not, get a look of confusion or a question from somebody which would then need explaining and take longer than just calling it by the real name. In the 80's, everyone knew the NES as the Nintendo. There was no need to call it the Nintendo Entertainment System. When the SNES came out, it still only needed to be called the Super Nintendo. I must also point out that I never once heard anyone ever call it the "snes" or "snez" for the same reason I never heard the U.S.S.R. referred to as "ussr" or the U.S.A. refered to as "usa."

Pj1

#58

Pj1 said:

I bought a retro duo, I got it imported from the U.S & had to pay import tax! (it was annoying) I had bought Super Mario RPG & it ran well, Super Mario Kart looked like it had glitches! Super Mario All Stars wouldn't run because of the lock out chip, (Thanks Nintendo) I think SMAS runs on the Retron 5 a particular site that it is being sold on shows a U.S version inserted. Going back to the Retro Duo I felt it was a bit over priced and it didn't run NES games even though the promoters (or makers) said it did. I don't quite understand the Retron 5 it can handle system updates? but doesn't connect to the internet? is that right? I also think I don't have enough retro games to play on this machine but I like the fact that it is all in one, there's a part of me that wishes that people at Nintendo and Sega look at the sales figures for clone devices that plays their old games, what I mean is they should maybe consider building their own retro consoles. Imagine Nintendo or Sega doing this? they could even license out a chip set so that emulating these consoles become easier? then selling the units at a fair price, I know we have V.C services and that keeps retro gaming alive in some way. What happens in the future when our retro consoles no longer work? we will be buying more of these clone consoles. Overall I am impressed with the Reton5 but I think an asking price of £70.00- £90.00 would make it a steal of a price, if it didn't effect quality of the machines or reliability issues with the games. I also think preserving retro games and systems should be the way forward, if it wasn’t for these we wouldn’t be playing Wii-U or PS4. Games and systems that I consider retro younger audiences do not really understand this and the necessary need to play these games (the Game Boy video springs to mind) all though in the next 20 years that generation will consider their PS3’s Wii’s as retro consoles like we do now and previous generation will be again viewed differently. Going back, to Reton5 I applaud the system and the makers of it too, I think it has been mentioned in retro gaming magazine and site too. So the support and the need of this machine is needed, I also really love the Nintendo Life office or as my wife said someone’s spare room full of all that great Nintendo stuff. I’d go one better if money wasn’t an issue I’d copy the Super Mario lighting on the ceiling (like what Jonathan Ross has/had) :-)

FullbringIchigo

#59

FullbringIchigo said:

@vitalemrecords here in england it's mostly known as the snes or Super Nintendo we didn't call it S N E S same as we call the Nintendo Entertainment System a nes or simply Nintendo not a N E S

different places different pronounciations

Tasuki

#60

Tasuki said:

Great review guys. I was skeptical about it before this but now its definitely going on my gaming wish list. Just one question any word on a price range for this?

ECMIM

#61

ECMIM said:

@vitalemrecords when it was new, we all called it S-N-E-S, at least in the northeastern USA, but I haven't heard anyone refer to it as anything other than "sness" in a decade or more.

Chaos_Eevee

#64

Chaos_Eevee said:

Ugh another video only thing? Nintendolife usually screws up videos, ethier with incorrect audio or just bad actor placement. (Why show gameplay footage if a dude's head is in the way?)

NImH

#65

NImH said:

Looks awesome @Damo! Overall, it seems like you're satisfied, eh?
For a while now, I've been wanting a Supaboy. Anybody tried one of those?

Mike4352

#66

Mike4352 said:

@Damo In order to bring up the Retron5 menu from a SNES or NES or Genesis controller, hold the start button and hit down on the D-Pad.

tanookisuit

#68

tanookisuit said:

I've had one of them since the beginning of June so I've been through all the growing pains, uniquely it has been fun as I got to know their tech through facebook and have tried out the various test builds before they go public to try stuff out since I have a few hundred carts for various systems with different chips inside along with some other carts too (homebrew, etc.) It has been a fun ride and anyone who started out on anything older than 1.41 firmware probably has valid reasons to hate the thing, but with 1.6 out there since yesterday and even more in the pipe to come it has been a fantastic turn around and development. I have had my complaints and most of the valid compatibility issues people raised addressed. Firmware 2.0 isn't too far off and with that those long load times on the carts will be put to bed. Some will argue it lags, it doesn't, it's the issue of old games not designed for modern TVs and having one with a cruddy internal processor making the lag as mine I researched first and works awesome. The various audio filters are great, the visual depends on tastes (I leave it stock, or stock stretched) as I'm not into them, and the quick save out of menu to the ability to take saves back to the legit game off the system elsewhere(needed for GBA) is cool too. Anything the included pad can do can be done using a normal controller as I typically use the snes ascii pad. I setup using a combo of select + dpad direction for fast forward, save/load state, and pop up the menu to it. To have all my games work on my new tv so well and so sharp is so worth the price to me, and even how it handles the portable stuff so well is excellent too and a far nicer option than the GB Player+gamecube.

vitalemrecords

#70

vitalemrecords said:

@Cliffeh If you watched more YouTube videos about retro games, you would understand my plight - after posting this comment I have been informed that the "Snes" word is popular in Europe - so that explains why we never heard of it before

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