Classic handheld game consoles came with a variety of screen sizes, resolutions, and aspect ratios. And that can make it difficult to find a modern handheld that has a screen perfectly suited to playing retro games designed for some of those consoles: a modern screen that handles Game Boy titles with ease will display black bars for PSP games, and vice versa.

One Chinese handheld maker has an unusual solution: a display that rotates 90 degrees to switch between landscape and portrait orientations. It’s an interesting idea… but one that might have limited utility in its current design.

That’s because the Small Universe X Sugar Cubes handheld has a 3.9 inch, 1240 x 1080 pixel OLED display with 31:27 aspect ratio (or close to 10:9, if you want to round to an easier-to-grasp number).

Flip it sideways and you have a 1080 x 1240 pixel, 27:31 screen. It’s pretty close to square in either orientation, which means that you won’t see as much benefit from switching orientation as you would if, say, you were going from 16:10 to 10:16.

That said, it’d be hard to do much better than this without wasting a lot of space with large bezels.

The handheld’s other features are said to include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and a metal body.

There’s no word on how much the Small Universe X Sugar Cubes will cost, when it will be available, or if it will be distributed outside of China.

via Retrododo and NITTRX (YouTube)

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  1. The concept is sound, even if the display doesn’t have a great aspect ratio for it. Maybe a future version will have a ratio that makes a little more sense. 4:3, or 5:3 would be a good starting point.

    In the other side of this, who the heck thought “Small Universe X Sugar Cubes” was a good name? I get that this is a Chinese company and it’s easy to get things a little messed up in translation but that name is a mouth full. I had to look at it a few times to make sure I had it right. Surely they have a native speaking English language marketing consultant they could have run that name by? To many syllables, and a plural name for a product that comes as a single unit. That’s a recipe for consumer confusion and an easily forgotten product. It gets hard to buy your product if the name is hard to remember and enter into a search engine. I can think of a number of names that would have been been better. “Square 1” (to emphasize the square part that spins and link it to the expression ‘back to square 1’). “SpinR” (pronounced Spin-R, but intentionally not hyphenated to make it look like you might pronounce it”spinner” to emphasize the fact that the screen spins as a feature). Just to name a few. Sugar Cubes tells me absolutely nothing about this thing or what it does, has the wrong plurality, and is already the name of something common that doesn’t share any attributes to the this handheld. And stick with ‘Small Universe X’ glued to the front and it feels like a crappy sequel name for something else that was better.

  2. A display that rotates means a flex cable than will break sooner than later, i.e. a short lifespan by design. No, thank you, next!

  3. This would be a lot more interesting if it was a 16:9 screen. There’s no point in rotating a screen that is almost a square ratio.