GameForce ACE Review

What is this?

Today we’re going to talk about the new GameForce Ace, and honestly, this is just a mess. I’m not reviewing this, there’s no review here, if you want a review, don’t buy it, it’s not ready, nowhere near ready. Instead, let’s talk about what this is and what’s wrong with it.

I’m sorry to the makers of this, but there’s no way this should have been released as it is.

For those that aren’t familiar with this handheld or company, they’re known for releasing the GameForce Chi, which was a pretty cute handheld, and it’s a small operation with only a few people from what I know – may even just be two people. For those familiar with the KTR1, this is a very similar thing here, in a lot more ways than one.

The biggest feature of this handheld was and is the Rockchip RK3588S processor, and that means that we will see Linux firmware at some point as this will be the most powerful Linux device you can buy, obviously ignoring the Steam Deck. Right now, it ships with Android 13 that’s just a buggy mess. 

Specs

Spec wise, this was actually packing quite a bit for the pre-order price point, which I paid $167 US for this. Now though, it’s currently at $229 US dollars, which is a big jump from the pre-order deal price that I got it at. There’s no way the current price makes sense for what you’re getting.

That RK3588 processor should play quite a bit of PS2, and GameCube. I would say Switch, but at least Android side, my Switch experience has been pretty bad. Honestly, so has my PS2 and GameCube though. I don’t know what to attribute to just shotty software and what to attribute to the processor. Just on the software note, there’s no Play Store currently on the device and you can’t sideload the play store either yet. Only the Aurora store. 

There’s 8GB of RAM, my model has 256GB of storage, 5.5” 1080p display, hall sticks, micro hdmi and my model also has a 7400 mah battery. One concern spec wise that I have is only WiFi 5 here, which might be a concern for any streaming and if I was doing a proper review of this, I would check this out. 

Let’s take a look at this handheld, and most will recognize it as a Switch Lite and yeah, it basically is. I don’t own a Switch Lite to do a comparison, but looking at the dimensions, they’re one in the same. 

Control Issues

Overall, I would be happy with the controls if they worked properly. The analog sticks are hall sticks, yet somehow I have drift or something drifting. Look at how awesome it is that Sly moves on his own, truly next level AI gaming.

But it’s even worse than that, look at the deadzones on the sticks here. It’s just astonishing how bad this is, there’s no consistency at all. 

The dpad is loose and comfy, it feels really good. Accuracy wise though, I wasn’t able to reliably do hadoukens, although my character didn’t move from the direction I was going in Pokemon either. So it’s somewhere inbetween.

Face button wise, they feel great. If you want very easy to push down buttons, lightly basically, then these are them. There’s no real resistance here, and they’re very light. 

But the buttons that completely shine are the others. These buttons here at the bottom all are raised significantly, which I absolutely love, I hate when these buttons are hard to press.

Trigger Issues

Then we get to the caveat, and it’s the L1/R1 and triggers. L1 and R1 are extremely loud on this device, and also take quite a bit of pressure to push down. It’s so weird compared to the rest that you have to do that. 

And the triggers are both different. My right trigger, R2, needs significantly more pressure to push down than the left, L2. They’re both different. But on top of that, you can see the amount of force needed for both is different, the lightest touch on R2 is recognized where you need pressure on L2. 

Taking a look at the rest of the handheld, we have the power button on the top, and volume buttons although they’re swapped with increase on the left. This drives me a bit bonkers, then we have micro hdmi which we’ll talk about in that section and a vent. 

Sound Issues

On the bottom, we have speaker holes, which the speakers sound a little off.

Just in case it isn’t coming through, the speakers are out of phase meaning rather than the speakers coordinating with eachother to produce sound that sounds correct, they’re working against eachother and it sounds awkward or off. This isn’t something you can fix with an OTA, this is a hardware thing that you have to fix yourself. 

There’s a headphone jack, which let’s test now for static or anything else. 

SD Card Issues

And lastly, the dreaded SD card slot. This is the first handheld, in all of my handhelds where it’s been an absolute chore to insert or remove the SD card. The actual slot is so far down that it’s impossible to do with your finger alone, you need another SD card. But on top of that, there’s some weirdness because where I can usually take my Android SD card between Android devices, and I do, constantly, this one it didn’t work. Showed it as corrupt, wanted it to be formatted and it delayed my review by a day because I had to spend a day transferring games over. A bit surprising to see.

Fan Issues

On the back of the device is the intake, with the fan. And since we’re here, we can talk about the fan. There is no fan control that I could find in settings, so what you get is what the system wants. The fan noise isn’t the normal just air noise, you can hear an electrical hum as well as it’s spinning that’s distracting, and I’ve also found the device to get quite hot even with the fan active. I don’t mean just warm, like it gets hot. We need access to the fan, or it needs to spin at a higher rpm, although I can’t imagine that noise.

Screen Issues

Then we have the display, and there’s a few concerns here as well. The brightness of the screen doesn’t get very dim at all, on the lowest of lowest settings, and it gets sun in your hands bright at the highest. Comparing the screen to the Odin 2 here, and you can see a massive difference at the lowest brightness on both, and then a massive one at the highest on both. Color wise, the Odin 2 is a bit more saturated than the GameForce is – but I actually think both look great, just a matter of preference.

But, there’s a massive issue with the screen currently. Doing a testufo test to look at the framerate and hertz of the screen, and mine is currently reading as 53fps and 53hz. This is actually very bad, and breaks a lot of games and emulators. The perfect answer to both of these would have been 60 and 60, as that’s what you need to match the panel and for basically every game out there since they’re all tuned for 60hz in emulators nowadays. Is this something they can fix over the air? Possibly. If not, they’ll have to recall all of these devices because this is something that should never have left the factory. 

But here’s the other issue, because of the 53hz screen, that means games go to 53fps maximum. If you boot up any game in retroarch, even something like FireRed, the sound is all destroyed due to it. So quite literally, nothing is actually playable right now. 

Battery wise, something is going on here as well, I lost 50% overnight just in sleep mode. It was just sitting on my desk in sleep and came today to 50%. I have no idea what’s going on there, but add it to the list. Even playing games, battery is dying constantly. 

Wrap Up

Normally I’d do a games showcase here, but there is actually no point in doing so. Nothing runs properly for me to even show off, so I don’t know what’s running well and what isn’t.

This device isn’t ready yet.

That’s going to be it for this one. Don’t forget to like and sub to help the channel grow and hope you all have a good one. 

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