Pandora's Key 5s in review, homemade arcade machine with 2 joysticks

Retro gaming fans are enjoying a few golden years. I have friends who have tried to build their own arcade machine piece by piece, but that's too big of a company for me. Luckily, there are solutions like Pandora’s Key 5S home arcade machine with double joystick, object of our analysis today. We started!

Pandora’s Key 5s in review, a 2 player machine with 999 classic arcade games

The good thing about the Pandora’s Key 5s is undoubtedly its price. For less than 200 euros we can build a pretty nice home arcade with this machine and a good screen. What's more, has an HDMI connection, a key detail so that the games can be enjoyed to the fullest.

Console layout

The Pandora’s Key 5s is designed like the panel of a classic arcade machine, with controls for 2 players. It includes 2 joysticks with 6 buttons (A / B / C / D / E / F) + 2 extra buttons (Play / Pause and Player 1/2) for each player. That is, a total arrangement of 14 buttons. The plate is decorated with Street Fighter V motifs and has dimensions of 66.00 x 22.50 x 6.50 cm and a weight of 3,220 kg.

At the back of the console we find the connection ports. The Pandora’s Key 5s has an HDMI port, VGA output, power, internal speaker volume control and 2 USB ports. The latter are quite interesting, since they leave the door open to possible extensions and customizations for the machine in the future.

As a last interesting detail, comment that the panel has LED lighting, which serves to create an atmosphere of the most sparkling in environments with little light.

Technical specifications

In the guts of the Pandora’s Key 5s we find hardware with the following characteristics:

  • Console panel made of polycarbonate.
  • Android operating system.
  • Low energy consumption design.
  • 999 pre-installed games.
  • Plug and Play.
  • English or Korean language.

This is the general information of this arcade machine. However, if we dig a little deeper, we will see that it has a motherboard Xiyangyangs2_V55dRX powered by a processor Allwinner A13 Arm Cortex A8 combined with a 256MB (2Gbit) DDR3 SKhynix H5TQ2G63GFR. It also equips 3 HC245 chips, a STMicro STM32F103C8T6 Arm Cortex M3 MCU and a couple of additional HC245 chips.

For internal storage, we have opted for a 16GB micro SD card where firmware and pre-installed games are stored. All this, managed by Android as an operating system.

All this is data that is a bit indifferent at the moment of playing. When we start this home arcade machine, the only thing we will see is the Pandora preload screen, and we will directly go to the game selection menu, as in any other similar arcade. And does this work with Android? Effectively!

Bear in mind that we are handling retro games that are a few years old, and in this area both the hardware and the operating system are more than satisfactory. In addition, the fact that it uses a removable SD card as a firmware storage unit opens the doors, once again, to possible modifications and various "sauces".

What games are pre-installed?

This interests us. What games can we find in the Pandora’s Key 5s? The good news is that we won't find classic NES or MegaDrive games. The nearly 1000 games included are arcade classics from the legendary arcade games of the 80s, 90s and 2000s. In addition, almost all of them are video games for 2 players.

Some of the titles included in this copious anthology are King of Fighters 2001, Metal Slug, WWF SuperStars, Ms PacMan, RoboCop 2, Ninja Baseball Bat Man, TMNT, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Super Street Fighter 2, SonSon, Windjammers, Neo Turf Masters , OutRun and Tetris The Grand Master 2, among many other legendary retro games.

Control response and playability level

From what I have seen in several videos uploaded to the Internet of this arcade beauty (take a look, there is a real legion of followers of this machine), both the joysticks and the buttons are of a more than acceptable quality. The controls are responsive and the games run fast and smooth.

I have also read that some games can show some lag at certain very specific moments of the game, but I will confirm that in a few weeks, when I receive the Pandora’s Key 5s and can see its real performance first hand. I suppose that will happen in any case with the most recent arcades, because given the age of most of the games that it incorporates, it does not seem that it should have major complications in this regard.

Price and availability

The Pandora’s Key 5s has a super-adjusted price of $ 158.99, about € 130 to change, on GearBest. A really good price if we think about what a full-fledged arcade machine with all its components can cost us.

In any case, before venturing out to buy it, I recommend that you take a good look at the version of the arcade machine, since there is a version in English and another in Korean.

Opinion and final assessment of Pandora’s Key 5s

[P_REVIEW post_id = 10952 visual = ’full’]

Is the Pandora’s Key 5s worth buying as a home arcade or arcade machine? In my opinion the answer is a resounding YES. If we are lovers of retrogaming and we want to play mythical titles from our childhood again, and also in a panel with controls for 2 players, this home arcade is an inexpensive and quite attractive solution. But what am I going to tell you, that while I was writing this review I ended up buying it in an outburst like a horny fan.

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