Gaming handhelds are my favorite type of console, but they’ve become much bigger and more complex over time. I grew up with a Game & Watch that could fit in my pocket, but now thecan barely tuck into my jacket. The Panic Playdate, which promises to be a return to tiny whimsical gaming devices, has been . It’s finally here in my hands, and I just love the way it feels.
My full review of the Playdate won’t be coming until April 18, but for now here’s a look at the box, the Playdate and its size next to some other handhelds.
It’s a minimal package! The box opens up, and then there’s the Playdate, sitting askew to match its quirky gaming promises, along with a small instruction booklet and a matching yellow USB-C cable to charge. That’s it. There’s no case in the box, which is frustrating, since the device seems to beg to be coddled in some protective bag. It’s small and square, a shape unlike any other handheld I’ve used before.
The Playdate has a reflective black-and-white display. There’s a direction pad with two buttons, plus a signature crank, which works with games, that pops out the side of the handheld.
The Playdate’s close in size to Nintendo’smodels. It’s smaller than any phone on the market right now, which makes it a lot smaller than a Nintendo Switch.
Besides its USB-C charge port, the other thing I appreciate is the headphone jack. Nintendo’s Game & Watch handhelds don’t have one, which means you can’t keep the audio to yourself. It’s a small touch that makes the Playdate feel less like a novelty and more functional as a portable game system.
My impressions on the Playdate, and its games, are coming. For now, I can confirm that this little yellow machine is adorable and surprisingly well-built.