If you’re in the market for a pocket-size handheld console, the Creoqode 2048 should drop right off your list. At almost 30cm wide and weighing 538g, the 2048 is an absolute beast of a machine thanks primarily to a large full-colour LED matrix display that dominates the front of the device.
Originally designed for digital signage, the LED matrix is low resolution – just 64 pixels wide by 32 pixels tall – but extremely bright. The Creoqode 2048’s display, thankfully, comes preassembled; the kit as a whole can be assembled almost without touching a soldering iron using only the bundled tools and a cross-head screwdriver. That “almost” is important, though. While the 2048 is indeed designed to go together using little more than the simple tools included in the imposing packaging, the wires included with the 18650 lithium ion battery holder are too thin to support the power draw of that impressive display. As a result, unless you solder thicker wires in their place using the guide provided on Creoqode’s website, you’ll find the device rebooting when too many pixels are lit.
It’s an oversight that casts a shadow over what could otherwise have been an extremely impressive device. Coupled with the lack of a gaming framework for programming your own titles and weak examples, plus the use of physically impressive but awkward to push anti-vandal style switches for the buttons, the Creoqode 2048 is likely to prove a source of as much pain as pleasure.
The battery glitch aside, assembly is straightforward. The whole process takes anywhere between one and three hours depending on experience and how often you drop the small M2 nuts, slowed through pin-by-pin wiring of the display and instructional images that rely on the precise orientation of hard-to-see pieces of transparent acrylic.
If you’re willing to overlook some of these shortcomings, the 2048 is by far the most powerful device on test. Based on an Atmel ATmega2560 microcontroller, the development board that powers the 2048 has plenty of spare pins for expansion - which makes it doubly confusing that Creoqode opted to leave out any means for the 2048 to produce sound.
It’s the price, though, that does for the 2048. When devices such as the Gamebuino offer a more established ecosystem and more features – albeit without that eye-catching LED display – for a quarter of the price, the 2048 is a hard device to recommend.
KEY SPECS 16MHz Atmel ATmega2560 256KB program memory 64 x 32 RGB LED matrix display six buttons five-hour battery single-game internal storage 293 x 33 x 108mm (WDH) 538g