Disclaimer!! Nothing has hit the market in the way of a clone system that is able to replace the original hardware of a gaming system. Approaching a system like the Retrogen you must understand things from that perspective. Accept the fact that nothing to date can replace the Nomad, even with what flaws it has when put up against modern portables.
I picked this up cheap not paying the full price. Shipping, handing, and system price came to $20.00.
My first impression as I took the system from the box was a sign of relief. The directional button was not like the picture on the box. Instead of a disc shaped monstrosity which was a sacrilege. I got a directional button that is somewhat similar to the Sega Genny pad. Thank You Innex! The system feels like any other China made system that I am familiar with, thin plastic cheapness, but it does have a feel that seems solid. Hard to describe. It is a bit chunky, but what do you expect when you have something that takes the original home console carts?
The Fire, or action, buttons are at an awkward angle. Maybe it is because I am use to the Nomad? It took me a little getting used to. The direction button, although it seems like a normal directional button, it does not pivot! Like it sits on top of a spring enabling you to push it down. But the controls here are like first time impressions and shock. Maybe traumatized is a better word. I was able to adjust to my new handheld.
The sound is hard to get used to because the emulation is just not right. If you cherish the Genny music in the games, this will be a killer for you. Some of the sound channels are not right and it is as if the speaker can not handle it. Headphones help only a little by taking out the distortion. :'(
The screen looks sweet, nice rich, sharp colors. The parallax scrolling looks awesome. Bright backlit 2.8 inch screen with no blurring or ghosting, that I have seen yet. Wish it had some kind of brightness and contrast control.
Every game that I have thrown at it has had no problem playing except Phantasy Star IV, the saved game screen was jumbled. And Super Street Fighter 2 gave me a red screen.
Games that gave me no problem,
Buster Hidden Treasure
Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition
Bio Hazard Battle
Lightening Force: Quest for Darkstar
Chuck Rock 2
Space Harrier II
I got this out of my mailbox today, so I've only had a few hours. I have only tried a small sample of my games. Compatibility seems good. I will have to dig them all out this weekend and give this thing a good spin. So far I have enjoyed the Retrogen, except for my weeping during some of the games because of the audio problem. This thing has got only a few things going for it, nice screen, portability (until you consider cart size), and the rechargeable battery that gives you 4 to 6 hours of play time. It does have around 10 built in games that are not worth the effort of mentioning. I purchased this for the Genny games and not for something like they loaded the system with. They are that bad.
This portable is not for the squeamish, diehard, perfectionest Sega junkies. A casual gamer that loves retro and collectors of oddball portables will be the only ones that will enjoy this system. A nice effort, close, but no cigar. I'll keep my Nomad, but I will take this out and play around with it occasionally.
edit: I failed to mention that it has a switch to enable PAL or NTSC compatibility. SO it can play Mega Drive or Sega Genesis carts.