Anbernic: Everything you need to know


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Anbernic is one of the world’s most well-known retro handheld device manufacturers. They are owned by Shenzhen Yangliming Technology Co. Ltd, and began life in 2005. From here, it was fairly slow going for the company, where they began to specialise in hardware R&D, PCB board designs and plastic mould design and manufacturing. But, it appears that the company never put out any of their own products until releasing the PAP-GAMETA II in 2013. For all intents and purposes, the device was simply a clone of the Playstation Vita and allowed users to play a handful of retro games.

The company then put out a series of relatively basic, landfill-fodder grade handhelds until they adopted a new brand name, Anbernic, in 2019. While the company continued to make their own flavor of retro gaming handhelds, it adopted the ‘Anbernic’ brand signifier with the release of the RG350, dropping the old ‘Retrogame’ branding of their devices that persisted up until the release of the RG300, a cheaper emulation device that offered great build quality, a high-quality screen and adequate performance in a form-factor that users were familiar with.

The birth of Anbernic

The business clearly was onto something, as their next release would bring forth the now-famous Anbernic name, and offer the same open-source software experience, bolstered by extremely high build-quality. This was to make a name for themselves in a burgeoning emulation-handheld market that quietly simmered after the release of the incredibly influential Dingoo A320 in 2009, which brought forth Dingux, a dedicated OS exclusively used by retro gaming handhelds.

With the availability of older mobile chipsets being offered for discounted prices, the company saw an opportunity to coalesce their refinement in developing a device that has the build-quality of well-known first-party manufacturers like Nintendo. That’s where Anbernic focussed its efforts with its first ‘official’ device, the RG350.

Anbernic RG350 series

Anbernic RG350
Credit: Reddit

The RG350 was a rectangular handheld that supported OpenDingux, an open-source, Linux distro that’s optimized to run on relatively low-powered chipsets, which are able to run several basic emulators. The RG350 line is kitted with the Ingenic J4770 processor, with dual-analog, in addition to supporting a huge range of emulators, the RG350 quickly sealed itself as one of the best-value handhelds on the market and came in at under $100 at many retailers when it debuted in 2019.

With a 4:3 display that can display many retro consoles on an excellent screen, in addition to an HDMI output, you could potentially turn the console into a portable PS1 emulator. The RG350 was one of the devices that kickstarted the shift away from ‘tacky’ retro handhelds, and towards ones that have much more fully-featured software, in addition to a build quality that many manufacturers simply could not match at the time.

Additionally, Anbernic released a further model of the RG350, the RG350M, which included a metal shell for the console, in addition to shifting around the D-Pad and Analog placements to make it more comfortable, as well as giving the system a higher-resolution screen. This was the first time the market saw a higher-end model, with trimmings that make it not only look fantastic but also run games excellently, to boot. But, the device came at a significantly higher cost due to the metal shell. After the release of the RG350M, the company decided to bring many of the RG350M’s improvements to a plastic shell and aptly named it the RG350P.

The system went on to become extremely popular, fostering its own community over on Reddit, with community guides and more showcasing just what the RG350 series is capable of.

Model Processor Display Resolution Screen Size Aspect Ratio Operating System Weight Battery Capacity Price
RG350 Ingenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core) 320 x 240 3-Inches (IPS) 3:2 OpenDingux 160g 2500mAh $89.99
RG350M Ingenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core) 640 x 480 3.5-inches (IPS) 4:3 OpenDingux 255g 2500mAh $169.99
RG350P Ingenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core) 320 x 240 3-inches (IPS) 3:2 OpenDingux 170g 2500mAh $89.99

Anbernic RG280 series

Anbernic RG280M
Image credit: Arzeon

Anbernic would then release an even lower-cost model, named the RG280M in 2020, with a smaller 3.8-inch screen while retaining many of the features that the RG350 line did. But, due to the smaller screen, it was simply overshadowed by the groundbreaking RG350 series of devices. However, another variant of this model. The RG280V found a bit more success, thanks to its unusual form factor.

The RG280 series carries the same chipset as its bigger brother, the J4770, and ran on much of the same firmware, giving it the power to emulate up to PS1 reliably. The 280V was the first vertical handheld that Anbernic released, and while it packed the same internals as the other models up to this point, it ditched the analogue stocks in favour of an incredibly tight form-factor, which made the device incredibly pocketable, while also having access to all of the Dingux OS and software had to offer, and a reasonable price point.

Model Processor Display Resolution Screen Size Aspect Ratio Operating System Weight Battery Capacity Price
RG280M Ingenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core) 320×480 2.8-inches 3:2 OpenDingux 205g 2500mAh $109.99
RG280V Ingenic JZ4770 (1GHz, Dual-core) 320×480 2.8-inches 3:2 OpenDingux 120g 2100mAh $79.99

Anbernic RG351 series

Anbernic RG351P

In early 2021, Anbernic released the successor to the highly popular RG350 series of handhelds, dubbed the RG351. These devices are all powered by the incredibly popular RK3325 chipset, which we first saw in the Odroid Go Advance, but became popular in the market due to its affordable price, and sheer versatility with the titles that it can run, which allows the RG351 series to emulate up to PSP-level devices with some success.

The RG351P was first released, and as the name suggests, it possesses a 3.5-inch display in a 3:2 aspect ratio that allows for pixel-perfect GBA emulation, in addition to running on a version of the EmuElec OS, and can be upgraded to the aptly-named 351Elec. You can also run the RG351 in another OS, named ArkOS. But, the device ships with 351Elec by default, and is currently being supported by a development community to further enhance the user experience in the device itself.

The RG351P was incredibly popular, due to its price point, build quality and ability to run pixel-perfect GBA games and a palatable price point, but there were some roadblocks. Anbernic had to remove the HDMI output seen on the RG350, in addition to running into issues with integrating WiFi on the system due to issues with the PCB. However, a revised, metal-shelled version named the RG351M was released soon after, and brings back built-in WiFi, for quick connectivity to game collection scrapers which give you oodles of metadata to pilfer off of the internet.

Seeing the popularity of the RG351P and RG351M, Anbernic learned from their successes with the RG280V and created another ‘vertical’ handheld, based on the technology in the RG351, named the RG351V, which has a form factor reminiscent of the original Game Boy, and ditches the right analogue stick, and brings with it a 4:3 display.

In late 2021, Anbernic released a further model of RG351, named the RG351MP, which brings with it a metal shell, but possesses a 4:3 aspect ratio for those who are looking for pixel-perfect accuracy in emulating home consoles, which rounds out the entire stack of RG351 devices, which all share the same

Model Processor Display Resolution Screen Size Aspect Ratio Operating System Weight Battery Capacity Price
RG351P Rockchip RK3326 (1.6GHz, quad-core) 320 x 480 3.5-inches 3:2 EmuElec 160g 3500mAh $99.99
RG351M Rockchip RK3326 (1.6GHz, quad-core) 320 x 480 3.5-inches 3:2 EmuElec 260g 3500mAh $139.99
RG351V Rockchip RK3326 (1.6GHz, quad-core) 640 x 480 3.5-inches 4:3 EmuElec 200g 3900mAh $114.99
RG351MP Rockchip RK3326 (1.6GHz, quad-core) 640 x 480 3.5-inches 4:£ EmuElec 267g 3500mAh $149.99

Anbernic RG552

RG552

In December 2021, we saw the first Anbernic device to run Android, the RG552. This is an entry into a different product segment to their other devices and competes at a different price-point to their previous devices. Sporting a Rockchip RG3399 in addition to a Mali GPU, the RG552 is distinctly more powerful than its predecessors, and comes with it a 5.3-inch screen, in addition to various doodahs like an HDMI output, which we did not see in the RG351 series previously.

However, the design is now actively cooled, and with a larger form factor, the company has chosen to retain their now-signature rectangular look. However, this did not necessarily translate to a more ergonomic feeling. In addition to this, they also use a plastic shell for the device, and applied metallic paint, making it appear as if the console was made of metal, but is in fact, plastic.

Sporting a 16:9 aspect ratio, it feels like this device was made to emulate later consoles, in addition to other android titles too. However, the pricing for this particular device just doesn’t make sense, coming in at $230 USD, while not remaining competitive against the likes of the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus. It’s a rare misfire in Anbernic’s lineup.

Model Processor Display Resolution Screen Size Aspect Ratio Operating System Weight Battery Capacity Price
RG552 Rockchip RK3339 (1.8GHz, hexa-core) 1920 x 1152 5.3-inches 5:3 Android 7.1 367g 6400mAh $230

Other Anbernic handhelds

Anbernic has also released a couple of other curious handhelds, like the giant Game Boy Micro-looking RG300X, but it isn’t a widely discussed, or used handheld due to being outdated on release. Additionally, they also have a few other handhelds pre-RG350 such as the RG300, which were not released under the Anbernic brand naming scheme.

Additionally, the company has also released a handful of boxed consoles, but none of them has been standout enough to feature. Without a doubt, Anbernic now knows where its niche lies, but the release of the RG552 has clouded a seed of doubt in my mind over if the company knows which direction it is going in if they’re priced to compete with the likes of the Ayn Odin Pro, but lacks the power of something as simple as the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus. They need to keep up with their upcoming devices in order to remain competitive in this ever-evolving space, so

Upcoming Anbernic devices

Anbernic isn’t stopping there, with further devices in an attempt to diversify their product stack out of simply being in the budget retro emulator space, and into something that is more premium. We’ve not seen a true successor to the RG351 line quite yet, but they do have two different projects in the works that reflect two different markets that Anbernic is focussing their efforts on.

We’d like for Anbernic to release revised versions of what they’re good at, like a true successor to the RG351, as the form-factor is fantastic for a light, portable device. Unfortunately, the company has yet to give their answer to the sheer power of the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus. In the meantime, we have heard of a few devices that you might want to keep your eyes on.

Anbernic Win600

The Win600 is Anbernic’s entry into the desktop-class handheld market. We currently have very little information about the device outside of a YouTube video which shows off the WIN600 text on the back of the device, which resembles the RG552. The channel which uploaded the video has been known to leak other Anbernic devices, so you can be assured that this one is likely going to be real, and might be closer to release than we might first anticipate. The video also shows off that we have two colors, gunmetal grey, in addition to white.

We don’t have much more information, but the moniker ‘Win600’ may relate to the screen size, as Anbernic has done so in the past. This leads us to question what exactly they might the specifications of this handheld might be, and what segment it might be targeting. It could be Anbernic’s first gambit into a Steam Deck-like market, where the likes of Ayaneo and OneXPlayer currently inhabit.

Anbernic RG503

Over the last week there have been several leaks about the Anbernic RG503, which appears to be slightly less powerful than the RG552, but has an ace up its sleeve: a 5-inch OLED screen. Leaks suggest that the RG503 is equipped with the Rockchip RK3566 chip, which places it as stronger than the RG351 series, but less powerful than the RG552, which means that we might be seeing a successor to the 351 lines. The killer feature of the RG503 appears to be the OLED screen, which is reportedly taken from Playstation Vita screens.

Additionally, the design appears to be rounder than what we’d usually see from Anbernic, and at first glance, we’re not too impressed with what we’ve seen thus far. It appears to have an HDMI output, in addition to a rounded back that shows off the ergonomics of the device itself.

This isn’t the most exciting handheld that we’ve seen, but Anbernic is boasting 5GHZ WiFi functionality to use the device over Moonlight as a dedicated game streaming device, too. In order to stay competitive, we’d estimate that Anbernic will price this at around $150.


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