• Parents New Games Cool Toys Entertainment
  • Ava |
  • 28/08/2017.

The Hyperkin smartboy saga, some two years ago, the concept behind Hyperkin was listed as an April fool's joke. An unforeseen demand for the device shot up so high that Hyperkin was forced to plow resource and money into developing a functional device that uses its module to transform your smartphone into a Nintendo Gameboy. The smartboy uses the USB Type-C port of your phone to dump the game data onto your phone allowing you to run the software using any emulator of your choice. The hyperkin is currently officially supported on the Samsung galaxy S8 device and any other android device that had a USB Type-C port. Simply put, the Joke just got real.

Things we loved about the Hyperkin Smartboy

  • Excellent controls
  • Efficient performance
  • Physical keypads
  • USB Type-C support
  • Gameboy titles

Things we didn't like about the Hyperkin Smartboy

  • Bulky form
  • Limited support for devices (only perfect Galaxy S8 compatibility)

Hyperkin smartboy Design

The Hyperkin smartboy is a classic re-enactment of the 1st Nintendo Gameboy from 1989. The smartboy has the same gray colored plastic skin with 2 plastic buttons that the original featured. The digital pad is slightly superior to the 1989 version with its inclusion of the L and R shoulder buttons, but it still uses the same 8-way digital pad that offers an impressive responsiveness and feedback.

The Hyperkin smartboy has a button to the sides that springs out to allow you to slide your smartphone in, this can also be adjusted to accommodate bigger screened devices other than the official Samsung galaxy S8. On the inside there is some cozy rubberised material that allows your phone to sit in firmly without any scratches. Overall, the smartboy is bulky and thick, it wouldn't fit into a pocket the way the first Gameboy would, behind the console is a cartridge slot that accepts cartridges from both Gameboy and Gameboy Color. On the console itself, the direction pad is positioned to the left, the B and R buttons are to the right and the start and select controls lie in the center just below.


Total score


The Hyperkin Smartboy is unique in the sense that it allows die-hard Gameboy fans to enjoy their gaming experience on a smartphone. Not that this wasn't the case before it, but the presence of a physical control makes the gaming experience closer to the real thing. The L and R buttons also give users the Gameboy Advance feel and so far so good, the Hyperkin Smartboy is does an elegant job of availing gamers the thrill of the old Gameboy titles on new and ultra-modern hardware, CPU and Display. The game is powered off the smartphone and as a result does not burden users with the responsibility of buying batteries.If you are a fan of retro gaming and won't mind doing it with a modern apparatus, the Hyperkin Smartboy is your best go-to option.

Our Video Review on the The Hyperkin smartboy

Hyperkin smartboy Performance

The game is playable on Android smartphones with the use of an emulator downloadable from the Google Playstore. Once the app is installed on your device and the smartboy is connected, the dumping process begins allowing the game to be written to a dedicated folder on your phone temporarily. Once the game launches, you can select any Gameboy emulator to use, although the old boy emulator is the default selection.

Hyperkin smartboy GBC emulator

The GBC emulator was rather stressful to use as it required a manual key mapping. Configuring the device was further compounded by the inaccessibility of the Samsung S8's screen due to its insertion in the Hyperkin Smartboy. Once the emulator is sorted, locate the game folder and play. As soon as you take out the cartridge, the game is deleted. The Hyperkin smartboy also allows users to load external sourced ROMS; once you download an external ROM, simply proceed and put it the smartboy folder to enable the game load. The Hyperkin smartboy has a futuristic approach with its rather intelligent lack of an owned emulator. The game instead allows you to utilize any of the available emulators in the playstore to run the game, which means that as new emulators are released along the line, the smartboy will continue to play as long for as long as possible.

Hyperkin smartboy any Gameboy emulator

While one cannot exactly rate the performance of the Hyperkin Smartboy, the console works perfectly well with any Gameboy emulator that is running on a CPU that is half as powerful as the Galaxy S8's. The S8 screen is also a gazillion times better than the display of the Gameboy Pioneer of 1989. The device was initially promised for a wide range of phones, but the support shift to Type-C USB devices mean that older Android phones will most likely not get support for the device. There has also been no concrete word about the iPhone support also.

Hyperkin smartboy Samsung Galaxy S8's accessory

The device is listed as part of the Samsung Galaxy S8's accessory so it is expected this function will work wickedly well with the device. It however didn't work for some Android phones with Type-C ports. There's a possibility that this may be corrected in coming firmware updates though. If you do not have a Samsung galaxy S8 device, you'll be better off trying it with your device rather than buying it straight away. There are slightly challenges with accessibility of the smartphone itself and some functions when the game is running. For instance, the display is obscured when notifications drop in on the Android device and the device cannot be unlocked once inserted into the smartboy as the fingerprint scanner lies just behind the Gameboy cartridge compartment. The game also does not allow you to load saved games from phone to the cartridge and vice versa. What this means is if you happen to take out your cartridge and place it in an original Gameboy, you won't be able to continue at the stage and progress made on your smartphone phone, neither can you continue a saved game from your Gameboy on the Hyperkin Smartboy.

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