The TRDR Pocket is a new handheld games console that has been revealed in April of 2021, and there’s a lot of controversy around it because SouljaBoy himself has helped launch it.
If you’re new to the recent SouljaBoy scam then it’s worth watching our video about his previous games console. SouljaBoy himself has had a bad history launching Chinese knock off consoles that he claims “he made from scratch”, and many who bought it never received a product after taking customers money. And not to mention the cease and desist he got from Nintendo when he launched it because he was using their games without a license or consent.
We recently published the above video going over why this new TRDR Pocket handheld is probably a bad idea to buy, because who would buy a handheld associated with a scammer? Nobody.
After making the video we received a FaceTime from the team behind TRDR Pocket. They’re a startup based in Spain who are wanting to create a “brand new” handheld games console for todays generation.
After a long chat with the TRDR team they have made it clear that they didn’t know about SouljaBoy’s history, and that if they knew that, they probably wouldn’t have partnered with him. That call was a couple of days ago, and as of writing this, we can still see they are using SouljaBoy to promote their product, so it seems as if they don’t care, or told lies.
Before we dive deeper here, I personally want to say that we do not in anyway want to harm TRDR Pocket as a business, even if this article feels like it is. They as a company want to create a games console for the masses, with a difference (which we respect), and that’s exactly what they are doing. However, the way they have gone about it is probably the worst way possible, and their marketing strategy makes it hard for us or anyone to believe what they are selling.
This article goes over our opinions, and why after reviewing handhelds for many years, this feels a little sketchy. As a brand we pride ourselves in helping retro gamers make valuable decisions when buying products, and as much as we don’t like “hating” on businesses, we much prefer helping out the community by advising against products that our community will most likely not enjoy. This is simply a personal opinion and we have yet to test the TRDR Pocket ourselves.
Grab a coffee, this might be a long article.
What Is The TRDR Pocket?
The TRDR Pocket (trader pocket), is a handheld games console that mixes gaming with social media. Using Android 10, it allows you to install games, and with some coding from the TRDR Pocket team, they have allowed use of Netflix and Tik Tok to be used with buttons instead of the typical gestures.
That’s actually pretty cool, and the dev team have done a good job making this a possibility. While on the phone with them, they made it clear that this product is for gaming and social media in one, allowing you to game, with your favourite apps just a press of a button away.
TRDR Pocket Specifications (Rumoured)
- 3.5″ Touch Screen Display
- Helio P60 2.0GHZ Processor
- 3GB RAM
- 4000 MAH Battery
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Android 10
- $199 – $299
Why The Community Dislike The TRDR Pocket
If you’re aware of the TRDR Pocket you may have seen a lot of hate around the product. You can check their Instagram comments, YouTube comments, Twitter replies you name it, like any new product you’re going to get haters. But this time, there’s a lot of them.
To keep this article some what short and sweet, we are going to list some of the bad features, and bad marketing around the TRDR Pocket, then we’ll go over them swiftly below. So, let’s begin:
- Used SouljaBoy to sell their product.
- Using the same shell/buttons from Chinese knockoffs.
- Trying to make profit on SD cards.
- The console has no trigger buttons for shooting games.
- Nobody has received one yet, not even their ambassadors.
- There’s no gameplay, or footage showing the TRDR Pocket working.
- Gamers don’t want Netflix on their handheld.
- Tik Tok and social media on a 3.5″ display just isn’t fun.
- They don’t tell you what games it can actually play.
Firstly, for some reason they teamed up with SouljaBoy, which is THE biggest marketing mistake they could ever make. Whomever decided that this was a good idea has single handedly put the business at risk, because every gamer (which is their target demographic) knows SouljaBoy has scammed customers in the past with knock off games consoles.
The team mentioned they didn’t know this, but a quick google search would have confirmed that for them, so we don’t feel too bad writing this article because that’s just poor market research. To cement this, after our phone call with them stating “they didn’t know”, we’re seeing them RT SoujaBoy’s tweets and using his platform to promote it even further.
You can also expect new ambassadors/celebrities to hop on the band wagon soon too. It seems the team have some very big contacts in the celeb world.
Secondly, the biggest reason a lot of people are not trusting them as a brand is because they are advertising it as a “new console” when in reality they are using the exact same design as old Chinese consoles in the past, just like the original Retroid Pocket (above) and the Powkiddy A19 which sold for $80.
This is most likely because they do not have to design a new shell or create new moulds, and the shells used are simply bought from China at bulk, saving them a lot of money in the long run. This as a business is a smart thing to do, but the not so smart thing to do, is advertise it as a brand new designed handheld when these things have been for sale on Amazon and AliExpress for years now.
They have however added a new touch screen display to it and a faster chip, so why they didn’t advertise it as a new version, or pull back on promoting “we’ve made a new handheld” we do not know, that probably would have stopped a lot of the backlash.
They have simply taken the design from someone else’s work, and added new chips, a new screen and Android 10 to it.
Those are the two biggest reasons why people aren’t buying it. There’s a lot of smaller reasons that just add to the problem for example, the difference between the $199 version and the $299 “Pro” version is a 128GB SD card which can be bought for as low as $15 on Amazon, let alone how much it was in bulk.
There’s also no trigger buttons, so when they advertise it as playing “Fortnite” we struggle to see how exactly, and they haven’t shown any Fortnite gameplay on this thing what soever, so how do customers know if it can play Fortnite? They don’t.
And this is the main problem with the TRDR Pocket, it comes down to incredibly poor marketing. No gameplay footage, poor choice of ambassadors, lies when it comes to design, and insanely high price tags for “Pro” versions.
What’s Good About The TRDR Pocket
There’s a few things we like about the TRDR Pocket, amongst the long list of flaws. What they are trying to do is mix Android gaming with social media, but they fail to bring this message across on their marketing campaigns and website.
Previously with Android handhelds its been tricky to implement apps that require touch screen to work efficiently on small screens with only buttons. But, with some good coding skill it seems the TRDR team have got Netflix and Tik Tok to work using the anaologue stick.
The TRDR Team also seem like a nice bunch of guys, there’s many of them working on this, all day and all night and they have some great talent behind the scenes.
Now, we’ve seen this in the past, the Retroid Pocket 2 has this, with the simple hold of a button you switch from pressing, to a cursor, so its nothing new, but nobody has ever done it with social media apps.
That’s where TRDR is doing something different in the handheld scene, they’re trying to create a handheld games console with social media capabilities. But why do that? Gamers can do both on their phone, surely if they were looking something to separate them from gaming on a smartphone, it would be a console that just plays games REALLY well?
The idea is there, but the bad choice of design (small screen, and no trigger buttons) makes it hard to game efficiently on here. Most Android games require touch screen, but doing that on a 3.5″ display must be hard.
What The TRDR Pocket Team Need To Do
The handheld gaming scene is very saturated, you have the Retroid Pocket 2 which is an incredible handheld console that can emulate up to Dreamcast games and use Android applications for $80, brand new with a big boy SD card.
If you want more power, you have the PiBoy DMG, a Raspberry Pi 4 handheld that’s basically a computer for $150, or the RG351V which is a $100 handheld that dominates the retro gaming scene. There’s just so much competition, for far cheaper.
Their target demographic is incredibly small, they’re looking for customers who wants an Android handheld to play games on which also has the ability to open and use social media applications. The TRDR Pocket doesn’t excel at this, yes it can technically do it, but playing Fortnite or PUBG on a console with no trigger buttons is near impossible.
Using Tik Tok or Netflix with an analogue stick on a tiny display is frustrating, so what we advise TRDR to do, is go back to the drawing board, and create a brand new product.
Something nobody has seen before, a handheld with a bigger screen, shoulder buttons and one that has a touchscreen that can be used efficiently with a swipe of a finger.
If they make this product a reality they need to partner with actual gamers, not celebrities who haven’t picked up a handheld in years, not rappers who have scammed people in the past and not influencers who just have lots of followers.
They actually need to do some market research and use their marketing budget wisely, they should only work with brands and influencers who have followers that actually love handhelds and gaming. TRDR Pocket are more likely to spend tens of thousands on Justin Bieber doing a Instagram post, rather than sponsor 50 retro gaming YouTubers, and that’s why they won’t sell many of these consoles.
As much as we want to see the TRDR Pocket team excel in bringing something great to the handheld scene, it seems that are shooting themselves in the foot every week with poor marketing decisions and lazy product design.
Their concept is great, but using old shells that resemble knock off consoles to increase profit margins isn’t helping the gaming community trust their brand.
We hope they go back to the drawing board and start something new, with full transparency.
They have been kind enough to send a sample unit out, so we will update this article with our full review once and if it arrives.