It’s not that I dislike PC gaming, but I find video game consoles more convenient to use. Then again, I lose out on the ability to upgrade my games’ visuals by throwing in a different graphics card. The folks at Marseille believe they have a solution for console players with the mClassic, dubbed the “world’s first add-on graphics processor” for home consoles.
The mClassic is a plug-and-play HDMI upscaler. You plug the adapter into an HDMI port on your TV or monitor, connect a micro-USB cable to the adapter for power, and connect an HDMI cable from your consoler to the adapter. It claims to improve the graphics of your game consoles by re-painting jagged pixel edges with smoother strokes and sharper details. In practice, this means the signal reaching your TV appears less pixelated and more detailed overall.
According to Marseille, the mClassic converts 480p and 720p signals into 1080p and 4K signals, respectively. The conversion happens with a switch on the side, which allows for three output modes: a Scaling Off allowing the signal from the console to get to the TV untouched, a Scaling On mode acting as the main operating mode, and a Retro mode retaining the aspect ratio of older titles while still upscaling the content.
There are a few quirks to keep in mind. Though the Scaling On mode is the main operating mode, it’s intended for 16:9 content. That means older consoles designed for 4:3 content, such as the SNES and GameCube, will be stretched to fit the screen. If you mainly play older games, you’ll want to stick to the Retro mode.
Also, the mClassic and its upscaling don’t work the same across consoles with HDMI output. For example, the mClassic doesn’t make much of a difference for games using 2D pixel art, such as NES and SNES titles. Instead, the adapter works best for titles with polygons and textures, such as titles for the Nintendo 64 and beyond. Lastly, the mClassic also works best for titles with native resolutions. It still works with titles without a native resolution, but it’s harder to constantly re-paint those jagged pixel edges if the resolution constantly changes.
Our Sister-site How-To Geek said it best:
The mClassic has a great collection of features that make it both flexible and affordable.
And that fact earned it one of Best of CES awards.
At only $99, the mClassic is a promising little upscaler that might make you dust off your Sega Dreamcast or PlayStation 2 to relive the older days.