Fresh off bungled pre-orders for the highly anticipated Pocket handheld, Analogue is back with another drool-worthy console: the Duo (not to be confused with Microsoft's Surface Duo foldable phone). Billed as "the ultimate all-in-one NEC video game system," the Analogue Duo has a cartridge slot, controller port, and CD-ROM drive, all in a sleek-looking console that'll cost $199 when it goes on sale sometime in 2021.
That list of inputs makes the Duo compatible with Hucards, TurboChips, and a slew of legacy optical disc formats... which pretty much makes it a dream machine. The Duo supports up to four wireless controllers (via Bluetooth or 2.4GHz) or you can plug in wired controllers using the original-style port (which resembles and XLR with more pins) or the USB ports. Whichever controllers you opt for, you'll need to buy them separately.
Is this real life? — Analogue hasn't committed to a timeline for the Duo, but wants to position it as the answer to retro gamers' wildest dreams:
You've always known what to expect from a video game system. Until now. Duo is an all-in-one reimagining of perhaps the most underappreciated video game systems of all time. Analogue Duo is compatible with nearly every NEC system and game format ever made. TurboGrafx-16. PC Engine. SuperGrafx. TurboGrafx CD. PC Engine CD-ROM². Super Arcade CD-ROM². 1080p. Zero lag. Bluetooth. 2.4g. Because the last thing a video game system should be is predictable.
The company adds that the console is "completely engineered in FPGA" (short for field-programmable gate array, which means the chip can be reprogrammed for different purposes). With FPGA, there's no need for software emulation — games are supported as they would be by OEM's consoles through hardware emulation alone. Analogue says it's used an "Altera Cyclone V" FPGA specifically.
Tech specs — Video output options include HDMI at up to 1080p, NTSC and PAL support, and Analogue is promising the experience will be "lag-free" with "zero signal degradation." On the audio front, the Duo will support 48 kHz 16-bit sound and deliver it digitally via HDMI or via the 3.5mm headphone jack. There's also an SD card slot for firmware updates. There'll be an HDMI cable in the box, along with a USB cable for power and a power-supply brick (this isn't a new iPhone you know) that'll support 100-240 V.
Hurry up and wait — The Duo will be available in two colors in both the U.S. and Japan. Like the Analogue Pocket, the Duo will be available in "limited quantities," so interested parties are encouraged to sign up on the company's website to be notified when the Duo goes on sale, which will be sometime next year. Whether you'll actually get it next year, though, is another question. Analogue's reputation for releasing products on time isn't great. The Pocket was announced in 2019 for a launch this year, but isn't shipping until 2021. But no matter... for this much flexibility in such a great-looking package, we're willing to have a little patience.