Playdate, the quirky $179 handheld console from Panic, might be delivery to twenty,000 early adopters later this yr, however a unit has already been despatched to the oldsters at iFixIt to see what makes it tick.
Arriving with no video games included (“a teardown was about all it was good for”) and the serial quantity #1255, it appears that evidently Panic has acknowledged that folks will wish to undertake repairs and mods themselves. To that finish the warning included on the within is sort of particular.
“Hey! My job is to remind you that Playdate is delicately assembled,” a sticker on the within reads. “Breaking something in right here will void your guarantee. Please watch out!”
And simply how repairable is it? Nicely, it relies on the half. The battery – a 740mAh cell, round 1 / 4 the scale of what you’d get in an iPhone 12 – comes out with somewhat drive, and ought to be straightforward to sub out. Ditto the headphone jack, which is modular.
However there are different bits which might show trickier. The monochrome show is reported to be a Sharp reminiscence show that ought to be replaceable for underneath £50, nevertheless it’s so firmly glued to the housing that iFixIt’s consultants weren’t assured of eradicating it with out inflicting injury. “If it is advisable substitute your show, you’ll most likely want a complete new plastic face,” the positioning explains. “Most likely not costly, however not ultimate.”
The identical is true for the buttons. “All the controls are aggregated onto a single FPC — straightforward to swap, however a bit wasteful if just one factor breaks,” the positioning observes.
All of this contributes to an total 6/10 rating – although the positioning notes that the machine doesn’t actually match inside its typical repairability tips, attributable to its distinctive place amongst handhelds. “It exists in a class all its personal, and, just like the machine itself, we dug in principally for enjoyable.”
Talking of the distinctive qualities, the crank is one side that’s definitely value highlighting. There are not any gears or mechanical elements right here: as an alternative, it makes use of a Corridor impact sensor, the place turning the crank rotates a cylindrical magnet which prompts a sensor. Which means it received’t ever ‘drift’ like different handhelds’ controllers, and ought to be much less more likely to fail over time.
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The positioning took the time to check it to a different monochrome yellow handheld from yesteryear. It’s a bit extra pocketable, however has us hoping for a Tetris port all the identical.
You possibly can nonetheless order a Playdate, as Panic beforehand instructed us that it will make as many items as there’s demand for. However in the event you order at the moment, your handheld received’t arrive till 2022, sadly.