Dingoo A320 Portable Emulator – Unboxing and Hands-on Product Review

By on March 4, 2010

Howdy, DasCitizens!?  So, we know some of you out there are totally head over heels about Retro Gaming!  Don’t get me wrong, I am too, that’s why I’m bringing you a nice little review of this little bad boy: the Dingoo A320 – Portable Emulator / Multimedia Handheld system.  All you ROM collectors out there, this system is exactly what you’re looking for.

The Dingoo A320 contains built-in emulators for NES, SNES, Genesis/MegaDrive, CPS1, CPS2, and NeoGeo. Not only that, but it plays music and video!  It comes with 4GB of built-in memory, which is expandable via use of a MiniSD card.  The system has stereo external speakers, as well as headphone jack and, get this, a TV out.  Yup!  A TV-out jack.  That means you can play all your favorite games on a TV, using the Dingoo as a gamepad.

More Specs:
CPU – Ingenic JZ4732 running @ 336MHz
RAM – 32MB @ 133MHz
I/O – USB 2.0
Display – 2.8″ LCD @ 320×240 resolution
Dimensions – 125mm x 55.5mm x 14mm (4.92in x 2.17in x 0.59in)

I’d say that quite a lot of power and features packed into something that’s barely bigger than a cell phone.  But, does it blend? -er, does it work?

I got a chance to sit down with said Dingoo A320 for a few days.  I can tell you that it’s definitely worth the price tag.

Why?  Well, check out the Unboxing and Hands-on video, first!

Now, the game ran NES, SNES, Genesis, and CPS ROMS with absolutely no problem.  There is a bit of upscaling for the older titles, even on the Dingoo’s 2.8″ screen.  The colors are nice and vibrant, even when displayed on a larger monitor via the AV out.  There is some frame dropping, however, with some of the emulators.  This is most notable when playing CPS ROMs on the unit.  There are options with the emulator menu that allow the user to turn off automatic frame skipping and even set the frame skip manually.  This does cause certain games to slow down quite a bit if you try to run the game at full framerate.  I was able, though to find a happy median between framerate and slowdown.

The unit itself is fairly well put together.  It feels solid and has a good amount of weight to it.  The face buttons have a nice durable feel and are pretty responsive.  Although they have a nice click to them, the shoulder buttons are a little too small to feel comfortable during long gaming sessions.  I did, however, have a bit of trouble with the d-pad now and then.  There was a tendency for the d-dpad to sometimes sense a press in the “UP” direction while I was pressing left or right.  It, however, wasn’t pervasive.  I only noticed it a handful of times in over 10 hours of game and music play.

The sound chip on the unit is decent, even when listened to through a pair of headphones.  In game sound effects come out nice and clear.  MP3 playback can be a little tinny.  The surprising part about the Dingoo’s sound capabilities: The built-in radio tuner actually works pretty well!  You can save presets, so if you really can’t miss your morning NPR and take mass transit to work, this thing is great.

In terms of battery life, the Dingoo clocked in pretty close to its touted 7-hours of use.  I was about to make it through a weekend’s worth of listening to music and gaming without a 2nd charge.

What really kicks ass about the Dingoo A320, though, is the online community.  It’s fairly large and pretty active.  Doing a quick Google search for “Dingoo A320″ will bring up lots of homebrew sites and support forums that make using (and modding your Dingoo) a snap.  There’s evena Linux distribution for the Dingoo, called Dingux.  According to the forums, that’s when the Dingoo A320 really shines.  2 words: MAME ROMs.

So, I’d say do yourself a favor and pick one of these up!  The A320 is available in  Black Dingoo and family favorite the White Dingoo (for you Apple fanboys). My old school gaming needs have never felt more fulfilled.

About David Scarpitta

I am a critical guy, and love to review and give my professional opinion on just about anything. Though have a love for tech/gaming and music alongside the cinema. You can catch me consulting and developing the net any day of the week.