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RH Reviews: The TrimUI Smart

You're here because you need a different portable device to play the backups of your lawfully obtained video games. You're not looking for "THE" mini; instead, you're looking for a small one, a mini. You want it to be an intelligent and cute color, like yellow or purple.

I have some positive news, though! There is such a device, and it costs little more than cash. Yes, it's only money.

I present the TrimUi Smart, a tiny gadget with a powerful punch and an even better appearance. What were your initial thoughts once I held it?

Looks and feels good. How does it seem at first after turning it on? It acts and looks nice. But I hoped for something else the first time I tried to play one of the included games.

After using the handheld for about five minutes, I was left with a range of emotions—so many emotions. I processed my feelings and formed my thoughts about this little portable community member.

I appreciate how vibrant the color is. It has a sleek appearance.

There it is, the screen. Although its size places it in the "small" category of handhelds, it is not exactly small.

Mini? Perhaps. It's unquestionably a good pocket friend, but is the cost justified? Does it match anything you already own? Is there a niche for it? Alright, let's get started.  


Did you ever see the tin of Altoids? That's how this thing is shaped.

The TrimUI Smart offers a pleasant appearance and feel because of its rounded corners and horizontal layout. The pastel colors (yellow, purple, white, and teal) in which the stick is available go only with its gentle matte surface.

Naturally centered, the 2.4-inch screen occupies one-third of the face's area. Face buttons cover the right side, with holes for a single speaker beneath them. Three circular buttons with symbols carved on them run along the bottom beneath the screen.

Above the relatively prominent logo and bright power light, to the left, is a D-pad. When you turn the device over, you can see small nubs on each corner to prevent scratching.

Except for a lanyard hole on the left side, the sides are empty. The top has the power switch (yes, a switch, not a button) and the L and R buttons. The SD card slot, the labels for the three buttons with symbols, and the USB-C charging port are all located underneath that.  

The Screen

Our perception of retro games dramatically impacts how much fun we have with them. Various factors influence our perception of a screen, including its size, clarity, resolution, color saturation, and bezel size.

By today's standards, the 2.4-inch IPS screen on this gadget is relatively tiny. The gadget is small, of course, but its screen size is inadequate in light of devices like the Miyoo Mini, which has a screen that occupies about half of its face. Although the resolution of 240x320 produces a passable image, better-looking ones are available.

The screen could be better when you compare the size and image quality. However, it is functional for the device and the systems it can play:

  • Colours appear accurate.
  • Sharpness is sufficient to produce a clear image.
  • There is no tearing.
  • The brightness setting (levels 1-10) offers excellent flexibility.

At 1, the screen is sufficiently dim to be played in low light, while at 10, it remains visible in high light. While I wouldn't say the screen is the main incentive to get the TUIS, it also shouldn't turn you off.  

The Buttons

Yes, you may refer to the section of a handheld device as your fingers' buddies. Or the adversaries of your fingers. The clickiness or mushiness of a handheld's buttons and their size, depth, travel distance, and even color influence user preference.

The grey, tiny, clicky buttons on the TUIS have limited travel. The four face buttons are labeled with the Nintendo-style ABXY and positioned near each other. Although a small D-pad facilitates ease of use, it also contributes to the general "cheapness" of the button design, in my opinion.

Beneath the screen are three buttons: Select, Start, and a function button. They click loudly and seem flimsy. It isn't suitable for people who don't like the buttons overall, but L and R follow suit and essentially replicate the feel of the face buttons.

The buttons are responsive and function just as intended. They were reasonably enjoyable to use, especially for old-school turn-based role-playing games. But after performing some platforming, I realized I wasn't a fan of the button feel and noise.

I value an excellent power switch, but where are the volume buttons located? A volume slider and a power switch on the left side of the gadget would have given it an almost "old school" vibe.

When I think about the TUIS buttons, what comes to mind first? Not that I'm that into buttons.  

The Internals

On paper, TrimUI Smart's internal components are robust, starting with the 1.5GHz AllWinner S3 CPU. Playing games from the PS1 era is feasible when paired with 128MB of LPDDR3 RAM; however, that is the hard limit on performance.

The smartphone has 8GB of built-in storage, and a micro SD card slot allows you to add more. However, a 64GB card would be excessive for this device.

Depending on the systems you're playing, a 1000mAh battery can last up to 2.5–3.5 hours, although my experience is that it stays closer to 2–2.5 hours. The speaker produces a sound that sounds good and undoubtedly gets loud.

It does not get quiet enough, in my opinion. It is a little noisier than I would anticipate a level 1 volume to produce, even at the lowest volume. This tiny device offers a unique chance to employ features like retro achievements because it has built-in Wi-Fi.

The Bluetobuilt-in TrimUI Smart is a great addition to the small handheld device market. It is compact in size and shape.

It has easy-to-use buttons and a clear screen. The internal components are also impressive. However, besides having Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, it doesn't really stand out in the market.


This is where the TUIS falters the most. To put it mildly, the stock Linux firmware that powers this device must be improved.

I would give this firmware a dollar if I saw it standing in a corner. It is met with a lackluster interface with loud, intrusive background music and slow performance as soon as you switch it on.

When I began testing games, I noticed a consistent lag in the sound and picture every 4 seconds. This issue made playing the game unpleasant. This made playing the game feel not very good."

Although this might be resolved with the inclusion of custom firmware, buyers who intend to purchase this only to play it unaltered should still consider this issue. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are excellent and straightforward to set up, which is good because they are essential functions. Although it is included, the file browser is mainly ineffective.

You can make changes to your connections, adjust the CPU speed, and update important settings in the Settings menu. You can also update your ROMs, change the language, and control the screen brightness and volume. Although the app menu is limited, you can access Retroarch and change the settings as you see fit. The available systems feature tidy, small icons that blend well with the firmware's general design.

This firmware may use some improvement. The firmware on this device might make someone new to the vintage handheld scene wish they had either bought a different device or gained more experience flashing custom firmware. The community will have to make the necessary upgrades.

This will make the portable device less convenient to use. Portable devices are supposed to be easy to use. It is my honest desire that the majority of buyers of this gadget are aware that installing custom firmware is strongly advised.  

So What Can It Play?

Fully Playable

Atari 2600, Atari 5600, Atari 7800

Nintendo Entertainment System

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo Game Boy

Nintendo Game Boy Color

Nintendo Game Boy Advance

Nintendo Virtual Boy

Sega Master System

Sega Genesis / Mega Drive

Sega 32X

Sega CD

Neo Geo Pocket

Neo Geo Pocket Color

Mostly Playable

Sony PlayStation

Out of Reach

Nintendo 64

Sega Saturn

Sega Dreamcast

Nintendo DS

Aside from the glitches in the games (such as audio skipping and stuttering), the systems and games I tested performed reasonably well. Everything worked perfectly, even with SNES.

I even got the PS1 games I tried to work, look, and sound right. I tested three PS1 games and didn't encounter any significant issues.

Playing PS games on a little, horizontal handheld device was enjoyable. The screen worked well.

The speaker produced loud and clear sound, but it became almost silent when covered with your hand or thumb. The buttons all worked smoothly. There was a fun factor present.

According to community testing, the Playstation 1 library functions well until you get into the more demanding 3D games, such as Bloody Roar 2, which starts operating around 40–50 frames per second instead of at top speed. It's important to remember that while PS games function well on the TUIS, the library is not entirely playable at full speed.

I believe the experience was lacking. I would expect more for a device at this pricing point—a more comprehensive bundle, reliable performance, and a more substantial feel. The Smart doesn't play PS1 games well. I think it's reasonable to expect it to play the games it comes with without any stuttering.  



  • Size and form factor: This thing is pocketable.
  • Colors. All of the colors offered look nice and add to a unique style.
  • The speaker gets loud. Yeah, I like that.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth inside provide opportunities for OTA updates and retro achievements on your favorite old games.


  • The screen does not do it for me. It doesn’t make my loins stir. The size is underwhelming, and the quality is just…okay.
  • The buttons need to be more darn clicky.
  • The stock firmware could be more frustrating and function better.
  • The lack of L2 + R2 buttons will affect some PS1 games’ playability, and the lack of volume buttons is maddening.

Final Thoughts:

  • I had high expectations for the TrimUI Smart experience and was not disappointed. It features built-in Wi-Fi, lovely colors, and an excellent form factor.
  • A lanyard hole is included. A menu button is present. But once I had it under control, I was generally unimpressed.
  • Some significant mistakes were made with the TUIS, but the Miyoo Mini may spoil me. It was not so much the lousy firmware as the screen failed me. The buttons are too close together and not my style. I was disappointed even with the lanyard hole because there have to be VOLUME buttons above it!
  • While this is a decent handheld, more affordable options are available for a better gaming experience. Consider buying one of them used if you can find one. For now, though, the TUIS isn't the "smartest" purchase unless you want small-device retroachievements. While visually appealing, the TrimUI Smart could be more enjoyable to use.  

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