Monday, April 25, 2016

Analogue Nt Review (without too much focus on video)

The Analogue Nt is a cool piece of kit that's basically a remade, improved NES made from scrap Famicom parts and Kevtris' sweet Hi-Def NES mod. You already know a couple things about it: It's pretty expensive ($500+ when new, $1000+ used) and it has great quality video. The Hi-Def NES mod is the heart of this console, not all of Analogue's accouterments. I've had a second-shipment Nt as my daily player for a month now and here are my impressions.

The Good

Video and sound quality are outstanding of course, in both 720p and 1080p. There's no noticeable lag, glitches, artifacts, etc. It is real hardware after all. You've already seen pictures of how great this is somewhere else if you're on my tiny blog. This is obviously the main reason to buy one since as far as I know you can't get Kevtris' mod yet.

Famicom and NES slots. This is actually pretty big to me. One console with both ports is way more convenient than using an old Honeybee adapter for all my Famicom carts. It makes me much more likely to break out the Famicom games.

Support seems wicked fast. I was shipped an incorrect power supply and within a couple hours they had mailed me the correct one. That's good to know about such an expensive piece of tech.

It looks nice I guess? I personally think it looks too Famiclone-y but most people like the aluminum chassis.

The Bad

The cartridge slot is just awful. First of all, it's very loose. The NES toploader you can just jam the cart in there one handed and you're good to go. There is a lot extra space on either side of this slot, probably to prevent the aluminum from damaging your carts. This allows for a lot of back and forth motion when the cart is inserted. I insert each cart very slowly and carefully with two hands both to prevent damage to my carts and to prevent damage to the connector by rocking it too much! I just feel like I'm going to break or scratch something every time. On the plus side, carts usually work the first time.

The power button is on the back of the console. This is just an overall pain in the ass. I have to reach around my wiggly, loose cart to turn the thing on and off or reset it. Again, it seems like this was designed for aesthetics over functionality like the aluminum shell.

The bottom of the second run is a thin piece of bendy plastic. I think the first run shipped with aluminum bottoms. This is not a thick piece of hard lexan or anything. When ever you pick up the console and feel your fingers squish into the bottom it adds to the "this feels kind of cheap/fragile" feeling.

The Four Score doesn't fit. Obviously the Nt has 4 ports built in already, but I use the Four Score to add turbo. I've worked around this with an NES extension cable.


If I was rating Kevtris' Hi-Def NES mod, it gets a resounding 10/10. I see no reason to switch back to CRTs, even RGB monitors. But I'm rating the Analogue Nt which I think could've used a lot of improvements. The price isn't the problem at all, the aluminum case and focus on aesthetics is. If they made a hard plastic shell with a tight cartridge slot that didn't feel like it was going to damage my carts I think the Analogue Nt would probably be great.

In my opinion if you're choosing between Hi-Def NES and Analogue sometime in the future, Hi-Def NES mod on original hardware is the clear winner. If you're a crazy person thinking about spending $1000 on Ebay for an Analogue Nt, I would only do it with the understanding that you're basically paying for a sneak preview of Hi-Def NES.

I plan to get one of my original NESs modded in the future, but the Analogue Nt is a cool enough piece that I have no plans of selling it even at the currently massively inflated prices.

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