Anbernic RG503 Review: OLED Screen Love!

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Written By Mark Tait

A keen gamer from the North East of England, I currently run my own website Something New Reviews, as well as write for Gaming Respawn.

Anbernic have been on a roll of late. After the massive success of the RG351 series, they’ve gone on to launch the RG552, the RG503, and most recently, the RG353P. We’ve actually summed up the best Anbernic handhelds neatly for you to check out. In this post, we’ll deep dive into the RG503—so here’s the Anbernic RG503 review!

In this review

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Anbernic RG503

Anbernic RG503, $140

OLED goodness, strong emulation makes for a stellar handheld on-the-go.

Anbernic RG503 Review: Specifications

The Anbernic RG503 is a ‘modern’ retro handheld with some neat features and specs. Here they are, listed:

ModelAnbernic RG503
Display4.95-inch, OLED (manufactured by Samsung)
Resolution960 x 544 pixels
CPURK3566 Quad-Core 64 bit Cortex-A55, 1.8GHz
Connectivity2.4GHz/5GHz WiFi, Bluetooth, USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
Price~$140 on GeekBuying
Anbernic RG503 specifications and pricing

What’s changed

Whilst is isn’t a significant step up when compared to previous Anbernic handhelds, what you do get with the RG503 is a stunning OLED screen, as well as 5GHz Wi-Fi, which is ideal for streaming from a PC. It’s also using the new Rockchip RK3566 processor, giving it a little more punch when playing harder to emulate platforms such as the PSP.

Anbernic RG503 Review: Design and Controls

The RG503 looks a little different to previous Anbernic handhelds, it sports a more ’rounded’ aesthetic, which at first i was a little unsure about. The screen is also inset, instead of flush with the main body of the handheld, which takes some time getting used to. It’s nice that Anbernic have attempted to move away from the standard when it comes to these handhelds, as they are usually square or oblong in design.

Anbernic RG503 review - Megadrive emulation

The RG503 is made from plastic and the one reviewed is black, however there is also a silver and blue one available. Whilst the build quality is ok, the all plastic mould, due to its increased size, does feel a little plasticky. It will be interesting to see if Anbernic release a RG503M, which as you will probably know the ’M’ stands for metal, as they usually do this with their popular products.

Control setup will be instantly familiar to those who have previously bought products from Anbernic. You get the excellent D-pad, two analogue sticks, four face buttons as well as four shoulder buttons. They all feel great to use, as would be expected from Anbernic, as they are known for good quality buttons.

The power and volume controls are both located on the left and right edges of the RG503 and the ‘Reset’ and ‘Function’ buttons are both on the bottom of the handheld. I did find that I had to be careful when trying to hit the function key, as I sometimes accidentally pressed the reset button.

There are two microSD card slots; the left one contains the OS while the second holds your games. The RG503 comes with a Linux & emuELEC OS. Anyone who has used this OS with previous Anbernic products will know that it works fairly well. But like most handhelds new to the market, it will just be a matter of time before a new custom firmware is developed, which tends to help with performance.

Anbernic RG503 Review: Display and Emulation

The RG503 supports all of the major platforms including SNES, Game Boy, N64, PSP, Playstation, Mega Drive and arcade platforms. You certainly will be spoilt for choice, when it comes to what it can play.

When it comes to performance the RG503, works well. You may need to change some of the emulator settings, particularly with MAME games, as well as with the N64, as some games will crash if left on auto. However this is an easy process and once done i found most games played surprisingly well. just how well. The 3500 mAh Li-Po battery will give you over six hours of battery life too.

The standout feature on the RG503 is without a doubt the screen. The RG503 uses the same 4.95-inch, 960×544 pixel OLED screen that was used in the original PS Vita. It offers incredibly bright and colourful images, with amazing contrast. Even without having ROMs to test, the image quality was outstanding. I’d love to see Anbernic continue to use this panel moving forward, for any future handhelds they release.

ALSO READ: The best Anbernic handhelds, ranked

Anbernic RG503 Review: Summary

Anbernic RG503 review - PlayStation PSP emulation

Overall, the RG503 is a mighty fine handheld with something not commonly seen on retro handhelds—an OLED screen. Emulation is top notch, and the design is great. With some community support, it might soon become somewhat of an RG351MP competitor, who knows.

You can buy the RG503 from Geekbuying here.

In this review

Anbernic RG503

Anbernic RG503, $140

OLED goodness, strong emulation makes for a stellar handheld on-the-go.

So moving forward, Anbernic need to continue to improve their handhelds this year, as 2022 is the year that we will see some great handhelds coming out, and one thing is for sure, things are going to hot up in the retro gaming arena.

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