ESPboy2 Takes the Chunky Original ESP8266-Powered Handheld and Slims It Down Considerably

Tiny handheld slips into your pocket, yet offers an incredibly flexible platform for software and hardware projects.

The ESPboy — a multi-function, microcontroller-powered gadget in the form factor of a compact handheld console — is back and it's been upgraded and relaunched as the ESPboy2.

The ESPboy project was launched two years ago as an add-on for the low-cost WeMos D1 Mini Espressif ESP8266 microcontroller development board, offering four direction buttons and two fire buttons below a small display. Its key feature, though: Add-on modules, which increase its functionality with FM radio reception, GPS navigation, MP3 playback, and even cellular connectivity.

The ESPboy2 changes none of this: There's still a color display, the same button layout, and an ESP8266 microcontroller at its heart. The chunky design of the multi-board original, though, is gone, in favor of a more slimline design with an acrylic case for protection.

All the software and hardware add-ons for the original ESPboy are compatible with the ESPboy2, from the first-person shooter Anarch to retro gaming emulators, Geiger counters, 433MHz radio modules, and more — with a built-in app store accessible right on the device for finding and installing new software.

The gadget is also compatible with a range of development environments and languages, including the Arduino IDE, VS Code, PlatformIO, MicroPython, and LUA, among others. The expansion connector, meanwhile, offers I2C, SPI, I2S, UART, and general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins.

The ESPboy2 is now available from the official Tindie store for $99, a $20 premium over the original ESPboy, with more information and links to the source code and schematics available on the official website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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