Video Game Consoles

Review of the Evercade EXP: An Approachable Handheld For Aspiring Retro Collectors

If the Evercade EXP succeeds on just one thing, it’s in filling a fascinating – yet still glaring – niche in the handheld console industry. Evercade EXP review: an affordable handheld for aspiring retro collectors The EXP keeps the majority of its retro-focused library on physical cartridges that are sold separately from the portable, similar to other Evercade devices.

But despite what its gimmick might imply, the Evercade EXP is much more than that. Certainly, its library and target market are small, but the technology is so remarkable that it must be included in the discussion of the top handheld consoles available right now.

Just out of the box, the first experience provides an excellent introduction to the EXP. The console comes with 18 Capcom games pre-installed, and a cartridge with six additional Irem titles is also included. It means you start out with 24 mostly outstanding titles. And even if there are a few glaring omissions I’d like to see fixed in further updates, the Evercade EXP offers a lot of value even before you’ve invested in any more cartridges.

Design EXP: Evercade

The Evercade EXP creates a terrific first impression even before you turn it on. When the charmingly retro packaging is opened, the EXP portable, a complimentary cartridge, and a lovely full-color handbook describing the 18 pre-installed Capcom titles are all within. A USB-C cable is also included for charging.

The manual, which includes move lists for each character in Street Fighter 2: Hyper Fighting and attention-grabbing full-page images, absorbed me to the point where I almost forgot to finish unpacking the system. This is the most fun I’ve had opening gaming hardware in a long time.

The EXP’s quality is immediately apparent. Your hands will fit comfortably around the handheld and your fingertips will rest freely on the superbly tactile triggers thanks to the console’s durability and light weight. The d-pad uses a circular design that rocks well under your thumb and is of the same high caliber. For the games you’ll play on the EXP, it’s a wonderful d-pad.
A click quality would be more pleasing than the less spectacular face buttons, which feel mushy when pressed in. That applies to both the two additional buttons for usage with the EXP’s “TATE” mode and the four face buttons as well (more on that later). Yet, they perform the job and are in no way of low quality. The only buttons you need to extend your thumb to reach are the volume buttons, which is my sole complaint about button placement. I think the power button should have been a tiny bit closer to the right shoulder button, but that’s a minor quibble.

The Evercade cartridges have a straightforward, common design. These resemble Game Boy or Neo Geo Pocket Color-style objects, albeit with a sloped top that fits the curves on the portable. I’ll admit that changing the bulky physical cartridges brings me a sense of youthful excitement. Cartridges slip into and out of place with ease. It gave me a nostalgic childhood feeling, which is always pleasant.

EXP for Evercade: features

The 800 x 480 IPS screen on the Evercade EXP is very magnificent. And yes, on paper, that doesn’t seem as amazing as the 720p LCD on the Nintendo Switch. The 480p screen on the EXP is actually sufficient to render the types of games the handheld plays properly and accurately. The Evercade EXP has a stunningly sharp screen that makes many of its supported games look better than ever, so don’t be fooled by the sub-HD pixel count.

On the Evercade EXP, you’ll play a lot of arcade games, many of them are vertical shooters. The big screen of the EXP might not seem to be a suitable fit for that.

Thank goodness Evercade foresaw this need and added a button for a toggleable “TATE” option. This is a fantastic upgrade that turns the on-screen display by 90 degrees to better accommodate the vertical shooters’ small resolution.

Given that you are holding the EXP in portrait mode, it might be a touch top-heavy and definitely less comfortable to hold this way than it is vertically. The trade-off is that games like 1943 by Capcom that were created with a vertical resolution in mind look much better as a result.

A variety of display choices on the EXP allow you to customize the visual presets. You can select between the original, pixel-perfect, and fullscreen resolutions. If you’d like, you can even add a scanline filter. As I found scanlines to be more of an invasive overlay than a convincing effect, I’d advise turning them off.

Performance and battery life of the Evercade EXP

On the Evercade EXP, emulation is exceptionally reliable across the board. I never once encountered any visual issues while testing the games. The game play was equally responsive. And the EXP still handled older games accurately; in fact, I’d say the sharp IPS screen gives them a whole new breath on life.

However I have a few minor complaints about the performance. The EXP’s built-in speakers are relatively tiny, which causes audio to occasionally sound muddy and flat. If you’re playing for longer sessions, I recommend plugging in a pair of headphones via the 3.5mm socket on the bottom of the handheld.

Strangely long boot times are also present. , and On average, it takes between five and ten seconds to load a game, which isn’t as horrible but still noticeable.


At relatively affordable costs, Evercade’s consoles provide hundreds of titles that are fully licensed. For aspiring retro and arcade collectors, the EXP is a terrific place to start.

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