There have been several attempts to create Android-based game consoles, but they weren’t really planned. The Oyafor example, was a hit on Kickstarter and a disastrous commercial. flop. Focused on streaming from Nvidia shieldIn the meantime, it has evolved into a great streaming box but hasn’t done much to make Android a better gaming platform. It turns out that Google’s operating system is not a panacea for building your ecosystem.
Recently, though, the open nature of Android and access to manufacturing have allowed countless smaller Chinese companies to produce their own idea. You don’t have to have sweeping ambitions to build a platform ecosystem if all you want to do is sell to a small group of vintage game fans. Companies like Retroid and Anbernic produce cheap, low-power Android mobile devices in a variety of shapes and sizes, usually with emulation in mind.
$200 – $300 (depending on configuration) Eye of Odin It is a new Android mobile device based on this approach. It was made by a small company in Shenzhen with no aspirations to create an entirely new gaming platform, and instead entrusts you with running any game you want on the device from scratch. But it is powerful enough to play more types of games than any of its Android competitors, while its design and control layout give it more flexibility.
Odin’s design inspiration is very clear: it’s basically a file Nintendo Switch Lite It runs on Android. As someone who’s used the Switch Lite for a few years, I actually think the Ayn hardware is better. The 5.98-inch 1080p LCD screen is larger and sharper. The handles are more comfortable and have handy customizable back buttons. The D-pad appears to be identical to the PlayStation Vita, which is a very good thing. Sticks are less prominent than keys, but are comfortable and easy to use.
In general, the build quality is great for this type of device. The unit I was testing in Super Nintendo style comes in gray and purple, which is a nice look. There is a blue LED light on the sides of the device and below the analog sticks, which I don’t mind but I’m glad I can turn it off. At the top, there’s a flap similar to the one that hides Switch game cards, except that it covers the microSD card slot and Micro HDMI port. The only real complaint I have about this device is the goofy Odin logo under the D-pad.
There are a few different versions of Odin. I tested the $287 Odin Pro, which has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. The $239 Odin Non-Pro has the same Snapdragon 845 but half the RAM and storage. The $198 Odin Lite also has 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM but it replaces the Snapdragon with the latest MediaTek Dimensity D900. All models are available to order through Indiegogo, although Lite has just started shipping to backers.
The Snapdragon 845 is what Android flagships used in 2018, so you’re getting raw performance out of a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or Google Pixel 3. The difference is that Odin has active cooling, so it’s able to run the processor at its highest speed for longer periods of time, though Unlike thin smartphones, which don’t have fans and need to throttle their performance to stay cool. The Odin fan is almost inaudible in normal, very quiet in performance mode, and on par with the Nintendo Switch at its loudest in high performance mode. It is much less clear than laptops like steam surface and the Aya New Next.
The chip that’s been in Android phones from three or four years ago may not look impressive, but it’s much more powerful than what you get with most other Android mobile devices, which often use low-power MediaTek or Rockchip SoCs. These devices are intended to play games from 2D consoles or, to a large extent, early 3D systems such as the original PlayStation and Nintendo 64. However, Odin is capable of emulating more advanced consoles such as the Dreamcast, PSP, and GameCube. Between its larger 16:9 screen and onboard controls, it’s a more convenient and console-like experience than using a newer Android phone with an external controller, even if you sacrifice a little performance.
Emulations are hit and miss in nature, and your results will vary depending on how you tweak the settings and emulators you choose. Overall, though, I’ve found that Odin does a great job with the three systems mentioned above. In general, you can at least expect GameCube games to run at the original resolution and frame rate, sometimes with occasional hiccups. Not everything worked – I couldn’t get the GameCube version of NBA Street V3.0 To load a post-intro sequence, for example, though V2 (Which is better anyway) Works fine. On the other hand, PSP games were a discovery, most of them can be played in much higher resolution and with better performance than the original hardware.
Even on more powerful PCs, PS2 emulation is more complex due to Sony’s own “Emotion Engine” CPU with its own dedicated set of instructions. Odin can play some PS2 games, but I wouldn’t buy it expecting a smooth and bug-free experience with the majority of the system library. GameCube versions of games, wherever they are found, will almost always be a better option if you’re looking to play something from this console generation.
Steam Deck is an obvious comparison, and while I don’t have one on hand to test side by side, it’s clear that it will perform much better in emulation than Odin. here is a video He explains that you can even get good results with PS3 deck games, which can be very challenging. On the other hand, Steam Deck is much larger and more expensive than Odin (not to mention difficult to buy), so it might be an oversimulation if you’re mostly interested in older games.
Odin is a really great device for streaming games, as long as you are within Wi-Fi range. It has all the controls you need, and its large 16:9 screen is the perfect size and sharpness. I’ve played a lot of Xbox Game Pass titles and found Odin to be a much better experience than any phone, even if it had a controller attached. Game streaming isn’t for everyone yet, but if it works with your connection and gameplay style, this is a good way to expand the capabilities of Odin. (One unfortunate note: While the Sony PS4 and PS5 Remote Play app works fine on Odin if I pair a DualShock or DualSense controller, I wasn’t able to get it to work with the included controls.)
Native Android games also work well, and you can download anything from the built-in Google Play Store. The Snapdragon 845 may not be the latest chip, but there aren’t many Android games that can’t get decent performance on it. Jinshin effect It’s the usual stress test, and I got 30fps at default settings. Controller-enabled games automatically treat Odin as if you had a pad connected via Bluetooth, and the Ayn software layer also allows you to easily assign touchscreen commands to physical Odin controls in games such as Jinshin And Call of Duty Mobile.
The only major game I couldn’t play was It is an electronic game, which initially displayed an error message telling me to disable developer mode that I didn’t turn on, then kicked me out of any match I tried to get into due to “internet delay, IP or device, VPN use, cheating, or on an untrusted platform”. Needless to say, none of these issues should have been applied, except apparently for the last.
Odin is basically stock Android 10 – the Lite model has Android 11 – with Google services built in, plus an optional launcher. I found this launcher useful for system-wide features like adjusting fan speed and LED lights, but it requires you to manually add all your games to play it, which I didn’t find worth the effort of using it only on normal Android for basic operations. Google’s operating system isn’t perfectly optimized for 6-inch displays, but at least it’s familiar and works the way you’d expect.
While Netflix doesn’t appear on the Play Store, other streaming apps like Prime Video do, although you may have to flip Odin on its side to use the phone-style user interface before your video starts playing. If you are really adventurous, you can install the Arm-based version of Windows on Odin through an open source project specifically for the Snapdragon 845; I haven’t tried this and don’t think it would be a good idea for most people, but hey, the option is there.
As with any handheld gaming device, battery life depends on what you do with it, but I found Odin to be very good overall. The Pro version has a 6000mAh battery, which is bigger than any phone that doesn’t make the giant battery its main selling point, while the regular Odin and Odin Lite are still a very big 5000mAh. I didn’t do custom spot tests, but I didn’t find myself needing to speed up the charger in the time I had with it – it’s not like Steam Deck, where you’re lucky to get a couple of hours of newer games. Qualcomm’s Odin and Odin Pro Quick Charge support up to 4.0+, while Ayn claims Lite has unspecified “fast charging”.
Another charging-related feature that I wasn’t able to test is the “Super Dock” in Odin, which is a charging stand with a large number of ports. There are four USB-A 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, USB-C, Ethernet, two Nintendo 64 controllers and two more for GameCube consoles. I can’t speak to how well the dock works, but it will definitely be a unique way to play Super Smash Bros.
It’s hard to blame Ayn Odin for what she does. Android may not be the ideal platform for off-the-shelf games, but Ayn is allowed to build great hardware, step back, and give the user the responsibility to know what to play on it. For a certain type of person, this will make them very happy.
Streaming, traditional Android gaming, and emulation are all relatively suitable use cases, of course, when compared to something like the Nintendo Switch Lite. It’s a $199 machine designed just for playing Nintendo Switch games, and if that’s what you’re after, it obviously does a much better job. Odin will not be for everyone.
But there’s something to be said for putting Android’s flexibility into a well-made, capable portable console and letting you do whatever you want with it. While Ayn doesn’t have its own game store to rely on, the appeal of Odin is that it does with Android what Steam Deck does for PC games – it brings the platform to a proper form factor and says “Hey, go see what that thing is.” He can do it.”
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