Is the Super Console X the best android TV retro arcade console?
What is The Super Console X?
It's a small affordable android TV box repurposed to run old school retro games. The games and emulation setup are loaded onto a Micro SD Card found in the TF slot of the unit. It comes with Nintendo or Playstation 3 style game pad controllers and overall provides affordable fun.
The Super Console X currently comes in 3 models being X, X-Pro and X3 Max+. Depending on the model and accessories, prices range from USD$90 and upward + shipping.
If buying from a foreign country expect to be waiting at least 3+ weeks. During COVID who knows.
Like anything out of China the spec and setups vary dramatically. With the entry level Super Console X and X-Pro, the game counts vary from 33,000 games on a 64GB card up to a maximum of 50,000 on a 256GB card and everything in-between. Everything needed for this retro games console is loaded onto a Micro SD Card that slots into the side.
With the crazy amount of games included, the list is LONG, to say its hard to review the games is an understatement. It can take some time to find a specific title, but its safe to say it will keep you busy.
Spec and performance wise as these two both use the S905M/X chipset, irrespective of price there is very little difference between the X and X-Pro versions.
Reviewing the case, its quite small with the X and X-Pro. The light construction brings it in at 106G while its slightly bigger brother the X3 Max+ with a more sturdy construction comes in at 142G.
The base models have holes in the base, but no heat sink or fan, so be sure to keep it where it can breath to avoid overheating which can happen during more demanding use/games.
What does the Super Console X games box run on?
The X & X-Pro boxes use Android 7.1, while the system loads up into EmuELEC v3.5. If you've come across the Retro station 11K and Retrostation14K sold in Europe, it runs a newer version of EmuELEC with an improved theme. Yes you will also see this familiar look on Raspberry Pi RetroPie that uses OpenELEC, but in this case you won't have the setup headaches. Plug and play, not pray ;-)
OK, so what is EmuELEC anyway? it's the emulation software comprising of countless console setups. Each setup can be adjusted opening the door to games from some 50+ consoles.
EmuELEC is stable and widely used but the quality of game play will depend on the hardware performance of the device you're using it on.
Consoles you say? Anything from Atari to Dreamcast, Gameboy, Nintendo and so on.
If you're looking for the technical specs of the Super Console X & X-Pro;
- Android 7.1 Operating System
- S905M/X Chipset ARM Cortex A53 Chipset
- Quad Core 1.5GHZ CPU
- 1GB RAM
- Mali-450 GPU
- AV Out
- HDMI Out @ 1080P/720P - Max resolution 1920 x 1080
- Ethernet Port
- 2x USB 2.0 Ports
- Micro SD Card
- DC 12V 1A
- Dimensions 100 * 100 * 22mm
- 106 Grams
More details on Consoles? as mentioned this retro console is capable of supporting up to 50 different types of emulators.
It has GBA, CPS1, CPS2, CPS3, FBA, SFC, GB, SMS, WSC, MD, PCE, FC, GBC, N64, PS1, PSP, DC or GG among others.
Super console X & X-Pro plays a lot of the old arcade classics well. You will notice frame rate drop on more demanding games and consoles like Nintendo 64 - some bearable others not. This little engines limitations become more evident when diving further into more demanding consoles like Dreamcast & PSP which are its achilles heel.
Here are some console shortcuts we came across you might find useful;
- Select + B to get to emulator menu within a game
- Select + Y to save state
- Select + X to load
How does the Super Console X and X-Pro compare to the newer X3 Max+?
Here's a standard Android 64-bit benchmark test:
The Super Console X3 Max+ performance difference when using a single core is up 27%, while for more demanding game play the gap increases to 32%.
But they use the same chipset right? How old is the tech in these devices?
The Super Console X & X-Pro runs an Amlogic S905M/X released in Early 2016, while the X3 Max+ has the S905X3 released end of 2019.
X & X-Pro uses Android Nougat 7.1 released in October 2016, while the X3 Max+ uses Android Pie v9 and is shy of 2 years newer with a release date of August 2018.
The x3 Max+ runs at a faster GHz rate with graphics, execution and clock rate along with more memory. As you would expect the newer chipset does more a lot easier. With the extra memory in the X3 Max+ the difference becomes obvious.
All Android benchmarks have the X3 Max+ substantially ahead.
Here are some of the comparisons for you to review;
|Benchmark||SC X & X-Pro
||SC X3 Max+
|Geekbench 4 single core||608||773|
|Geekbench 4 multi-core||1,609||2,128|
|Geekbench 5 single core||92||132|
|Geekbench 5 multi-core||354||458|
|GFLOPS performance||4.7 GFLOPS||5.33 GFLOPS|
|Multi-core / watt performance||322 pts / W||426 pts / W|
The Super Console X3 Max+
The SC X3 Max+ sold by Electro Arcade out of Melbourne Australia comes with the newer Android 9.0 system, newer processor, more RAM and ROM. Yes its faster and has more resources to ensure it can handle the requests you throw at it.
The SC X3 Max+ uses the same hardware as the Retrostation 11k and Retrostation 14k however it has more RAM and ROM giving it more resources when needed. The result is smoother game play and less glitches when gaming gets intense.
It runs a newer version of EmuELEC and in short will play games smoother, especially the more demanding ones. While it wont play everything to perfection, given the titles it houses, the Super Console x3 Max+ punches above its weight and price range.
Those who have experienced retro gaming consoles will tell you less is more. The SC X3 Max+ has had games vetted in an effort to remove as many titles that don't play well. Our goal is to provide a console that you can enjoy instead of a long list of unplayable and foreign language titles that frustrate and take away from your retro gamin experience.
Apart from more power the X3 Max+ has more interface options. Here are the technical details;
- Android 9 Operating System
- S905X3 ARM Cortex A55 Chipset
- Quad Core 2.0GHZ CPU
- 4GB DDR RAM, 32G eMMC ROM
- Mali-G31 MP2
- Optical Audio Out
- HDMI Out @ 4K 1080P - Max resolution 3,840 x 2,160
- Ethernet Port
- WiFi 2.4G & 5G
- USB 3.0 Port
- USB 2.0 Port
- Micro SD Card
- DC 5V/2A
- Dimensions 105 * 105 * 28mm
- 300 Grams
Whichever Super Console X retro gaming system you decide to go with, the overall game play and price break should keep most smiling.
If you can't look past the cheaper build quality and wanting something a little newer and faster then the Super Console X3 Max+ is a worthy pick up that delivers on price, quality and more so game play.
Whichever way you go, you’ll fall in love with the interface and spend countless hours experiencing games that many still rate as the best.
Happy Retro Gaming to whichever family member gets in first ;-).
*If you're having issues getting a 4k picture to display you may want to look into either a High Speed 18Gbps(HDMI 2.0) or Ultra High Speed 48Gbps(HDMI 2.1) HDMI cable and of course check what your screen is capable of.