FunKey S

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The FunKey S and a GBA SP
The FunKey S

The FunKey S is a keychain emulator console released by the FunKey Team in 2021. With a design inspired by the Game Boy Advance SP, the device has a folding outer shell that protects its screen and buttons when not in use. Making use of emulators ported to its FunKey-OS operating system, the FunKey S can emulate several retro consoles, including the NES, PS1, and GBA. With dimensions of 1.67 x 1.75 x 0.54 inches (42.5 x 44.5 x 13.8 mm), the FunKey S is among the smallest mass-produced emulation devices, comparable in size to devices such as the Game Gear Micro and Pocket Sprite.

Envisioned as an evolution of the FunKey Team's initial Keymu system, the FunKey S had a successful Kickstarter campaign in July 2020, with its €30,000 goal being met in only three hours. After several months of further improvements to the system and preparations for mass-production, device production and shipment began in late 2020. As the monthly number of device pre-orders has remained consistently high, the FunKey S remains on backorder until a sufficient quantity can be produced to meet demand. As with their prior devices, the FunKey Team open sourced the schematics and operating system of the FunKey S so that others could build and improve upon their work.

Development[edit | edit source]

The FunKey S compared to a GBA SP
The FunKey S
FunKey S dimensions

After the positive reception to their initial Keymu showcase video in 2017, the FunKey Team grew to include three members as they sought to create a mass-producible version of the Keymu. To test the hardware that they planned to use in the Keymu successor, the team created the FunKey Zero in 2018. The FunKey S would use elements from both of the team's prior systems, having the clamshell form factor of the Keymu and the improved system specifications of the FunKey Zero. Unveiling the FunKey S for the first time in April 2019, the FunKey Team continued to improve the system in the following months, initially expecting to launch a Kickstarter campaign for it in late 2019. Around this time, the fourth member of the FunKey Team, Killian, was brought on board to assist with marketing the device and building the community surrounding it in preparation for the Kickstarter campaign.

Due to continued improvements being made to the device, the Kickstarter campaign was delayed to July 2020, with the initial funding goal set at €30,000. Since this goal was met in only three hours, several stretch goals were set and subsequently reached, with the campaign ending with €165,760 raised in total from 2,046 backers. After the campaign, the FunKey Team began preparing for the manufacturing of the devices at a factory in China, a process that included the making of a mold to manufacture the device's exterior plastic shell and the adjustment and improvement of several of the device's components. After several unforeseen delays, device shipments initially began in late December following the completed assembly and packaging of the first batch of devices. Due to the quick discovery of defective MicroSD cards in several of the delivered devices, however, shipment of the majority of first-batch devices was delayed until February 2021.

Following the successful delivery of the first-batch devices to the initial Kickstarter backers, the manufacturing and delivery of second batch of devices in March coincided with the release of the second and third firmware updates to the device's operating system, FunKey-OS. As March also saw the release of several review videos from high-profile YouTubers, an influx in device pre-orders led the FunKey Team to order several additional FunKey S production batches. As deliveries of pre-ordered devices continued over the subsequent months, additional device firmware updates brought new features, such as third-party themes, key remapping, and a file explorer, to the FunKey S.

Specifications[edit | edit source]

FunKey S circuit board

Similarly to the FunKey Zero before it, the FunKey S is powered by an ARM Cortex-A7 with 64 MB of integrated RAM and uses a microSD card for storage. It also uses a 1.54 inch (39.1 mm) LCD IPS display with a resolution of 240 by 240, but has an improved frame rate of 50 FPS. While it keeps the same ∅10 mm mono speaker used in the FunKey Zero, due to space constraints it does not include a headphone jack. Other improvements made to the FunKey S compared to its predecessors include the upgrade to a 410 mAh lithium-ion battery, an improved hinge mechanism, the use of magnets to keep the system securely shut and automatically save the game to be reloaded once the system is reopened, a Menu button that both turns the system on and off and allows access to the system's settings, and a protective glass screen in front of the display that is both fingerprint and scratch-resistant.

Comparison[edit | edit source]

Differences between the Keymu and the later FunKey branded systems include the use of the Intel Edison's built-in eMMC memory for data storage rather than a microSD card, the lack of a functional speaker in the prototype unit (though it was possible to implement one), a lower maximum resolution of 128 by 128 pixels, smaller buttons, and a lower-capacity 220 mAh battery. Features only implemented in the later FunKey S and not in the Keymu or FunKey Zero include a magnetic "sleep-mode" mechanism, a protective glass layer above the display, a Menu button, 50 rather than 20 FPS, no screen tearing, and an improved hinge.

Table[edit source]

Name Keymu FunKey Zero FunKey S
Image
alt:Image of the Keymu
alt:Image of the FunKey Zero
alt:Image of the FunKey S
Dimensions 1.65" x 1.81" x 0.67"
42 x 46 x 17 mm
~3.45" x ~1.79" x ~0.32"
~87.6 x ~45.5 x ~8.1 mm
1.67" x 1.75" x 0.54"
42.5 x 44.5 x 13.8 mm
Mass N/A 1 oz
30 g
Display 1.5" (38.1 mm) 128x128 OLED 1.54" (39.1 mm) 240x240 LCD IPS
Processor Atom 2-Core @ 500 MHz ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.2 GHz
RAM 1 GB (LPDDR3) 64 MB (DDR2)
Refresh rate 20 FPS 50 FPS
Maximum storage 4 GB (eMMC) 2 TB (microSD)
Audio ∅11.7 mm mono at 700 mW
(not present in the prototype)
∅10 mm mono at 500 mW
(headphone jack also included)
∅10 mm mono at 500 mW
Battery 220 mAh lithium-ion None (prototype) 410 mAh lithium-ion