Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: Which one to go for?

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Written By Paulo Papa

Father, nerd, writer.

Two of the most popular sub-$150 retro handhelds are the RG351 series from Anbernic and the Pocket 2+. Let's find out here which console wins the Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+ battle!

You might as well call this decade the golden age of retro handhelds. Not only are we seeing a surge of products on the market, but also a significant improvements over the emulation consoles we’ve seen in the previous years. 

However, some retro consoles have stood the test of time, and continue to sell in large numbers. This is thanks to various reasons, including good hardware, great emulation, and eventually, a thriving community.

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Two of these models include the Anbernic RG351 and the Retroid Pocket 2+. We pit both of these handhelds against each other to see which of them is worth your hard-earned money. 

In this comparison:

Image Product Price  
Retoid Pocket 2+ Retroid Pocket 2+ Check Price
Anbernic RG351MP Anbernic RG351 series Check Price

Introduction to Anbernic RG351 series and Retroid Pocket 2+

Anbernic RG351 series

The Anbernic RG351 series, released in September of 2020, is a Linux-based emulation platform that rocked the industry and wowed tons of consumers. It spawned a series of models which started with the RG351P followed by the RG351M in January of 2021, and the RG351MP soon after. 

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: The Anbernic RG351P
The Anbernic RG351P

On that note, this eighth-gen console offers prospective buyers options that would suit their budget and their needs.

The most inexpensive is the plastic-clad RG351P provides games with a bare-bones device that comes with basic features. The more expensive RG351M and RG351MP, on the other hand, offer a more premium aluminium alloy body as well as features like built-in WiFi and dual TF card support. 

Retroid Pocket 2+

Meanwhile, the Retroid Pocket 2+ is the successor of the hugely popular Retroid Pocket 2. It was similarly released in September 2020, but unlike the above-mentioned Anbernic console, the Retroid Pocket 2+ runs on Android and is offered in a single variant. 

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: The Retroid Pocket 2+
The Retroid Pocket 2+

It proved to be a worthy competitor against the Anbernic RG351 series emulation systems as it comes with all the bells and whistles that the range-topping RG351M and the RG351MP have to offer. All for the price of a base model RG351P.

With our brief preview of both retro handhelds out of the way, let’s take a closer look at what these devices have to offer spec-wise. 

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: Specifications

The Anbernic RG351 series does come with decent specifications offering good performance right off the bat. As we’ve briefly covered above, it runs on an open-source Linux OS which opens up a lot of customization options, especially for gamers who like to tinker with their handhelds.

Out of the box, Anbernic’s RG351 devices come with the stock EmuELEC system. Owners recommend updating it to a different firmware like the 351ELEC or ArkOS. 

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: The Anbernic RG351MP
The Anbernic RG351MP

Under the hood, Anbernic’s RG351 handhelds pack RK3326 CPUs paired with Mali-G31 MP2 GPUs. Together, this setup allows for smooth emulation of a wide range of titles from various platforms.

Its 1GB RAM also helps provide owners with reasonable speed. Battery is at 3,500mAh and is said to last anywhere from six to eight hours on a single charge. 

The base model offers WiFi connectivity — albeit with the aid of an external WiFi module. 

Here are the specifications of the Anbernic RG351 series:

RG351PRG351MRG351MP
OSLinuxLinuxLinux
CPURK3326 Quad Core 1.5 GHzRK3326 Quad Core 1.5 GHzRK3326 Quad Core 1.5 GHz
GPUMali-G31 MP2Mali-G31 MP2Mali-G31 MP2
RAMDDR3L 1GBDDR3L 1GBDDR3L 1GB
Battery3,500mAh3,500mAh3,500mAh
WiFi SupportYes, via dongleYes, built-inYes, via dongle
TouchscreenNoNoNo
Display Size3.5-inch3.5-inch 3.5-inch 

On the other hand, the Retroid Pocket 2+ comes with a slew of features in a beautifully packaged unit. It rocks an Android 9 Operating System which makes it a formidable emulation system with the capability to offer things like streaming and running various Android games and applications. 

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+

At the heart of the Retroid Pocket 2+ is a Tiger T310 that works in conjunction with a GE8300 GPU. It does sport a larger, faster LPDDR4 2GB RAM. That said, a lot more can be expected from the Retroid Pocket 2+ in terms of power and performance. 

A few advantages to using this device is its 3.5-inch touchscreen display and its 4,000mAh battery. It also has a built-in WiFi 2.4GHz/5GHz as well as Bluetooth 5.0.

According to Retroid, the Retroid Pocket 2+ is over-the-air (OTA) upgrade capable, allowing the device to receive incremental updates over time. 

Retroid Pocket 2+ specifications:

Retroid Pocket 2+
OSAndroid 9
CPUUnisoc Quad-core Tiger T310
GPU1 x A75 + 3 x A55 + PowerVR GE8300 
RAMLPDDR4 2GB 
Battery4,000mAh
WiFi SupportYes, built-in 
TouchscreenYes
Display Size3.5-inch 
Find full Retroid Pocket 2+ specifications here

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: Emulation support

Emulation on the Anbernic RG351 series

The Anbernic RG351 consoles offer a wide variety of emulation support. Its emulation support runs up to the fifth-generation video game consoles. Here’s a list of some of the notable systems supported by the RG351: 

  • NES
  • Super NES
  • Game Boy
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Neo Geo
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color
  • Sega Genesis
  • Nintendo 64
  • TurboGrafix-16
  • PlayStation
  • PlayStation Portable

Emulation on the Retroid Pocket 2+

Similarly, the Retroid Pocket 2+ can flawlessly run almost all fifth-gen video game console titles. And as we’ve previously mentioned, it is capable of playing several Android games, like Dead Cells

Here’s a list of some of the systems that play on the Retroid Pocket 2:

  • NES
  • Super NES
  • Game Boy
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Neo Geo
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color
  • Sega Genesis
  • Sega Saturn
  • Sega Dreamcast
  • Nintendo 64
  • Nintendo DS
  • Nintendo GameCube
  • TurboGrafix-16
  • PlayStation
  • PlayStation Portable

This of course, is in addition to native Android support. Recently, although with very little success, owners of the Retroid Pocket 2+ have been able to play PlayStation 2 games via the AetherSX2 app.

If you already have an Android phone, here’s the best PSP emulator for Android you should read about.

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: Design and Controls

Both the Anbernic RG351 series and the Retroid Pocket 2+ have a horizontal form factor. This makes the devices suited for long gaming as horizontally-oriented devices tend to be more comfortable consoles to play on if you’re going for hours of game time. 

Anbernic RG351 series

Anbernic went for a more traditional layout though with the D-pad and the A-B-X-Y buttons sitting in the same column with the analog controllers placed below the conventional controls. The R1 and L1 buttons on the RG351 consoles are easy to press but pressing the R2 and the L2 buttons might require a little more reach as they overlap the R1 and L1 buttons. 

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+

While it may take a bit of getting used to, the controls on the Anbernic RG351s are definitely tactile and provide a good feel, which is to our liking. The iconic rubber pads at the rear of the unit also make it a joy to hold. 

Retroid Pocket 2+

Meanwhile, the Retroid Pocket 2+ sports a Nintendo Switch-esque control layout. The D-pad is positioned below the right analog control. Opposite, are the A-B-X-Y buttons which surprisingly, instead of an analog joystick, is an analog slider. 

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+
The Retroid Pocket 2+

I, for myself, do not mind — and am more accustomed to — the layout on the Retroid Pocket 2+. However, it would have been great if Retroid fitted the Retroid Pocket 2+ with an analog joystick instead of a slider. 

It is worth mentioning, that the Retroid Pocket 2+ supports TV-out feature. So, if you’re tired of looking at its small screen. You can bust it out on a larger, compatible TV. 

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: Pricing

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Anbernic RG351 series comes in three variants. On Anbernic’s website, the base RG351P models come with a sticker price of $98.99. The RG351M sells at $139.99 while the RG351MP costs a bit more at $146.99.

Conversely, the Retroid Pocket 2+ is offered in a sole variant and is priced at around the $150 mark, shipped. Many retailers list the Pocket 2+ for $99, but then shipping costs add up. Invariably, you’ll be paying $170 or thereabouts for the Pocket 2+.

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: Summary

Both the Anbernic RG351 and the Retroid Pocket 2+ are great retro handheld consoles. On one hand, you have an easy-to-use device that offers multiple variants that will suit various types of consumers. On the other, is a very retro-looking handheld that could be challenging to set up but can be rewarding once you get used to it. 

Overall, we believe that the Retroid Pocket 2+ is the best bang-for-you-buck device when compared to any of the RG351 models. Its Android OS can make it a bit challenging to work with, especially for those new to the emulation scene.

However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it has a lot more to offer than Anbernic’s RG351s. 

Anbernic RG351 vs. Retroid Pocket 2+: Where to buy? 

If you are looking to purchase Anbernic’s RG351P, 351M, or 351MP can visit the brand’s website. It is user-friendly and one can easily place an order without having any trouble. Anbernic can ship from China, Spain, Australia, and the United States. That said, buyers can easily find an option that suits them best. 

Image Product Price  
Retoid Pocket 2+ Retroid Pocket 2+ Check Price
Anbernic RG351MP Anbernic RG351 series Check Price

As for the Retroid Pocket 2+, you can pick one up from the AliExpress store linked above. Buyers that bought from the Go Retroid website have had issues, and it’s best to avoid them for now.

Let us know in the comments section below what you plan on picking!

Also read: Best Retro Gaming Consoles in 2022

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