It would be convenient to have NES gaming on the go - while waiting in train stations, hospital waiting rooms, or public transport. A more expensive option like a PSP or DS is not a great idea - robbers prefer to grab these for a quick buck.
There are lots of these at the local bazaar for all good things from China, 168 Mall (naturally), at one of the many stalls selling electronic goods.
PSP knock-offs are more expensive. You would be better served by a basic player that did not look too weird and had the same range of functions. The pictures below represent the unit I will be reviewing - image credit to the company who placed the watermark.
Test the unit first to see if it had the button assignment for the NES correctly placed, or at least in an acceptable configuration. In the unit I reviewed, X was B, O was A, but Select and Start were swapped (Select = Triangle, Start = Square).
The unit came with only one NES ROM: Contra. I tested other MP5 players before and they were not running 100%. I was thus impressed when I did not see any slowdown or sound glitches on my quick playthrough.
I did not care much about its 180 degree swivel camera at VGA resolution, or its ability to use microSD cards, or play MP3s and AVIs and open TXT files. The only things that interested me are its NES playing capability and its ability to output to a TV via RCA. We actually tried to hook up the MP5 player to a big LCD TV and it works with audio. Too bad I wasn't able to take a picture of how horrible a NES console's output would look on a HDTV.
The unit did not disappoint. I loaded the complete NES romset (without the duplicates, about 2300+ games in total, 500+ MB) and found that most games that did not require a custom mapper can be played on this machine. There is a bit of a control lag sometimes but I can compensate for it after a few playthroughs. The internal speaker is a disappointment (validated when I opened the case and found it to be really cheap). However you can put in a 3.5mm headphone jack and the audio output drastically improves.
If you are looking for a nostalgia fix, get one of these MP5 players and download a bunch of NES ROMS from the internet to put into the unit's 2GB internal memory. I brought this reviewed unit to the office and showed how NES games were played. The next day, one colleague asked me to buy her one unit and another went by herself and bought a similar unit. That is the power of word-of-mouth advertising. That also shows how older gamers like myself still appreciate the older games of our childhood.
I've taken some videos below. The resolution leaves much to be desired, but you'll get the picture enough for you to try the experience for yourself.
This video shows you the music player and the NES capability of the MP5 player. Sorry for the blurry resolution, I took the video using my aging cellphone camera. Games: SMB3, Pac-Man, Parodius, Xexys (failed to load), Xevious, Balloon Fight.
This video shows you the music player with the casing removed. Again, I apologize for the blurry resolution, I took the video using my aging cellphone camera. SMB2 is playing. Note the battery and the speaker.
Updated with new videos:
This video shows the MP5 player hooked to a big TV. My friend is playing Jackal.
This video shows Ikari Warriors being played on the big screen.