Nintendo hasn't included a functional Game Boy Advance slot on the company's hardware line in quite some time, which is frustrating to those of us still hanging onto our physical copies of Astro Boy: Omega Factor. The Revo K101 is marketed as a solution to this problem: The hardware is a third-party Game Boy Advance clone packed into a surprisingly capable package, based on the unit they sent us to try for ourselves.
The system features an open face design and feels relatively solid in your hand. You'll notice a few concessions to price and quality however, as the shoulder buttons are a bit squishy and the speaker gets tinny very quickly as you increase the volume. You can avoid this issue by sticking with headphones, however, and you can even use the included A/V cables to output the image to a TV.
The screen is clear and bright, with a button on the top of the system allowing you to cycle through brightness options. Testing got me over four hours of playtime with a single charge, and the battery is a Nokia BL-5B unit, which means it's easy to find and install a replacement if you need to.
Testing this function is a bit of a dicey proposition
The larger screen, functional scaling and TV-out capabilities are all great touches, and help to lift the system above the readily available supply of used GBA systems out there. Another draw is the fact the K101 comes with a cart that accepts a micro-USB card, on which you can load ROMS for the NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games. Using this feature is as easy as dumping ROMS onto the stick and booting up the system and navigating the system's file structure to load the particular ROM you'd like to play.
Testing this function is a bit of a dicey proposition, but I wanted to see it in action so I loaded a ROM of Blades of Steel, a game whose cartridge I already own in my collection. The game worked well, at times, although I did see some odd issues with the AI from time to time. Using a hardware clone that supports emulation out of the box is always going to be a bit of a risk, and I'm not exactly interested in downloading a bunch of ROMs and testing them due to the legally questionable nature of the activity, so caveat emptor.
Overall, it's been great to get my existing GBA collection out of mothballs, and for $69.99 this is a fun purchase for someone who wants to dive back into legacy games without resorting to used hardware.