Best Anbernic Retro Gaming Handheld Consoles

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Written By Marc Brown

I like to play games, watch anime, learn about tech, and write about it all when I can. I like going to eat pizza sometimes. Also coffee is cool.

In an age overrun by scientific leaps, bleeding-edge inventions, and breakthroughs all occurring on a daily basis, the technological industry has come especially far- specifically when you adjust your gaze towards the gaming industry and see how, with time, it has ventured into the future.

Sure, the buzz might be able the next PlayStation and VR tech right now, but they are in fact the legacy left behind by the golden standard retro handhelds that pioneered these results.

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All-time favorites such as the Game Boy Advance, the Sega Master System, NES, PS Vita, Atari, all ignited the fiery passion amongst gamers, and though the games they played have been labelled old school classics now, some companies like Anbernic and PowKiddy are devoted on bringing the vintage handheld experience back with a twist of advanced emulation.

Image: Whattopack

This article is the “all you need to know guide” on how to reunite with your reminiscent gaming days, through buying the best Anbernic retro gaming handheld console suited to you.

What is Anbernic? Is Anbernic a Chinese company?

Yes, Anbernic is a Chinese company.

Shenzhen Yangliming Electronics is a Chinese company originally founded in 2005 with the aim of taking a unique approach to gaming. Instead of building their own system, they opted for designing handhelds that emulated all the classic retro consoles like the Game Boy Advance, and Sega Game Gear, while simultaneously making breakthrough discoveries towards providing PlayStation Portable-level performance at a fraction of the price.

Now rebranded to Anbernic, the company’s R&D team remains steadfast on fanning the retro experience passion throughout the world.

Anbernic has produced several top-tier retro consoles over the years, such as the RG351MP, RG280V, and RG503. All of them have delivered one after the other—whether it comes down to the premium feel or performance. Playing countless hours of your favourite Game Boy Advanced title (Legend of Zelda)? Well Anbernic handhelds hold their end of the deal to a t.

What are the Best Anbernic Retro Handheld Consoles?

Since launch, Anbernic has kept on improving over the years, releasing new generations of its retro consoles such as the RG280V, which was succeeded by the RG350, then the RG351MP. So it’s safe to say that more than a handful of models have entered the market over the course of 17 years.

The latest series is the Anbernic RG503, which is a delicacy when it comes to emulating the best retro gaming handheld consoles. Though it is not the only available choice when faced with choosing a cutting-edge retro handheld.

For that reason we’ve compiled a little overview if you’re in the market of buying something that takes you back to the good ol’ days.

You’ll run into classy, high performance, and lustrous Game Boy famicoms in this list, that’ll surely set your heart racing as if it were the 90s all over again.

Anbernic RG351MP: ~$150

Anbernic RG351MP, one of the best Best Handheld Gaming Consoles in 2022

Anbernic RG351MP: Pros and Cons

Pros

+ Premium Build
+ Crisp display
+ Solid emulation performance
+ Battery life

Cons

– External Dongle Needed for Wi-Fi
– 4:3 aspect ratio games will be pillarboxed
– No HDMI output

Anbernic RG351MP: Specifications

  • Display: 640Ă—480 pixels, 3.5 inch IPS display
  • Rockchip RK3326 @ 1.5GHz CPU
  • 16 GB Variant, 80GB variant (16GB built in with 64GB microSD card support)
  • 3500mAh battery
  • Linux operating system

Pricing: Available on Amazon for $149.99, other competitive prices, variants, and links are listed below under the pricing banner (scroll to the end of the article).

BUY THE RG351MP NOW: Amazon | AliExpress | Anbernic store

The Anbernic RG351MP was released in January, 2021. It marked its inception a tenure later after its variant RG351P was released in the preceding September. The MP model featured a higher resolution, a premium Aluminium back, sharper contrast, but also brought increased density.

Image: EIOtroLado

All these features accomplish the RG351MP as one of the best Anbernic handhelds suited for the average first-timer, and the laid back gamer, especially due to its on the go design and buttery performance capability.

What can the Anbernic RG351MP Emulate?

If you’re reminiscent about the PlayStation 1, Game Boy Advanced, or even the Nintendo 64 era, then the Anbernic RG351MP is the handheld of choice for you. It can emulate almost all consoles till the fifth generation era, though the aspect ratio for non-GBA games will suffer due to compatibility issues with the screen.

Though it can emulate the Dreamcast, PSP, and Nintendo x64, it is known to suffer sometimes. Weight and the occasional stutter aside, the RG351MP holds up as a great choice.

Anbernic RG503: ~$160

The Anbernic RG351MP features the RK3566 processor
Image: Anbernic

You can read our Anbernic RG503 review here.

Pros and Cons

Pros

+ High Resolution Samsung OLED panel
+ Wi-Fi ready
+ High battery capacity
+ Double stereo speaker system
+ Vibration motors

Cons

– No Android support
– No fast charging

Anbernic RG503:Specifications

  • Samsung 4.95 inches OLED, 960Ă—544 pixels
  • RK3566 Quad-Core 64 bit Cortex-A55, 1.8GHz
  • 16 GB Variant, 80GB variant (16GB built in, 64GB TF card support)
  • 3500mAh battery
  • 512GB SD card support
  • Linux OS

Pricing: The Anbernic RG503 retails at $169.99 for the 80G variant. Alternatively you’ll find a better pricing referred to in the pricing section of the article (scroll to the end of the article).

BUY THE RG503 NOW: Amazon | AliExpress | Anbernic Store

Released at about the same price point as the RG351MP, the 502 brings a better bang for the buck with its beautiful sleek OLED display. The display is the main traction, but it is further backed up by an even capable processor. Though it certainly lacks the retro build or the classy feel, it makes up for that by providing smooth emulation till every fifth generation console.

The Anbernic RG503, sitting pretty

Definitely an upgrade over the Anbernic RG351MP, and worth every penny if you can spare some extra cash.

What can the Anbernic RG503 Emulate?

As expected of the processor, anything correlating with the Dreamcast, PS1, N64, SATURN, all are emulated spectacularly. Super Mario 64, DOOM, Gram Turismo are all benchmarked at a constant frame rate and steady resolution, so you can go all out.

But If you’re looking for a handheld that goes beyond these boundaries and into the PlayStation 2 era, then proceed towards the next banger in this list- the beastly Anbernic RG552.

We recommend reading our Anbernic RG503 review for more info.

Anbernic RG552: ~$225

The Anbernic RG552 retro console
Image: Anbernic

Pros and Cons

Pros

+ Can emulate the PlayStation 2
+ Dual boots Android 11, as well as Linux
+ Ultra-crisp IPS display packing 1920Ă—1152 pixels
+ Dual batteries
+ Fast Charging capability
+ WiFi support
+ Manual Overclock available
+ Premium build quality

Cons

– No OLED display, which is a must at this price
– Lacks the classy retro feel as it looks more like a modern console

Anbernic RG552: Specifications

  • 5.36 inch IPS 1920Ă—1152, 5:3 display with touch screen
  • 1.8GHz, octa-core RockChip3399 processor
  • Android 11, Linux OS
  • 2Ă—3200mAh Batteries
  • 30W fast charging
  • Support dual TF card expansion max to 512GB
  • Dual analogue sticks, with motors

Pricing: You’ll find this power monger for $226.99 on Amazon, as well as on the Anbernic store.

BUY THE RG552 NOW: Amazon | AliExpress | Anbernic store

Enter the RG552, which is irrefutably Anbernic’s flagship handheld device. The top-notch CPU, Full HD+ display, dual speakers, Android OS, and vibratory motors provide for a bamboozling futuristic retro trek, all supported through the dual 3200mah batteries that’ll handle 7 long pleasurable hours of merrymaking fun.

The RG552, one of the best Anbernic retro console with a large screen
Image: Nintendo Life

If you can spare the buck, then without a second thought opt for the 552, as this little behemoth won’t let you down even while playing the most demanding releases of the retro era.

What can the Anbernic RG552 Emulate?

As the case with every company’s flagship device, the Anbernic RG552 excels in its field. It’s capable of emulating the post PlayStation 1 era, launching from the classic Nintendo DS, Sega, GBA, to the high-end PlayStation 2, PSP, Dreamcast- all being emulated without a hitch. Also, due to the Android 11 support you can browse through the gigantic catalogue of Steam compatible games as well!

Though the RG552 supports about every retro game ever released, it falls short on one front which could’ve enhanced the experience by tenfold- a punchy OLED display.

Anbernic RG300X: ~$85

Image: Nintendo Life

Pros and Cons

Pros

+ Lightweight in comparison with other emulators
+ Retro classy look
+ HDMI output supported

Cons

– Small-ish display
– No analogue stick

Anbernic RG300X: Specifications

  • 4770 dual 1.0 GHz CPU
  • 2500mAh Battery
  • 16 GB Variant, 80GB variant (16GB built in, 64GB TF card support)
  • 3 inch display at 640Ă—480 resolution
  • Linux operating system

Pricing: On Amazon the 64GB variant is available for $99.99, whereas the official Anbernic store is retailing the 80G version for $82.99

BUY THE RG300X NOW: Amazon | AliExpress | Anbernic store

So the RG300X is definitely something the fan-base did not anticipate. Released after the Anbernic RG351MP series, the RG300X is a relative downgrade. With a smaller screen, lower battery, and weaker performance capability, there is no chance of playing anything superseding the PlayStation 1 era like the Dreamcast. The RG300X falls flat on all ends, with the RG351P especially proving to be a better alternative.

Anbernic sure went hit or miss with this one, and though the build is appealing, the features are drop dead… dead.

Image: Nintendo Life

This console with its sleek design sure hits the feels just like the Game Boy Micro, but when choosing an Anbernic device to buy it is undoubtedly a hard pass. RG300X due to its overpriced nature, is only recommended for the die-hard fans of the 80-90s.

What can the Anbernic RG300X Emulate?

Anything up until the PlayStation 1 era works good, with minor noticeable setbacks. On the other front when it comes to the higher end retro consoles like the Dreamcast, PSP, or Nintendo x64, the RG300X can not deliver. Although due to it possessing an HDMI port, playing your favourite GB Micro games on a TV certainly feels like a blast.

Anbernic RG351V: ~$115

Pros and Cons

Pros

+ High Resolution display
+ Performance capable of running GBA, PS1 games like the MP
+ Cheaper than the MP
+ Good battery life 

Cons

– One analogue stick
– External Wi-Fi dongle required 

Anbernic RG351V: Specifications

  • 640Ă—480 resolution
  • 3.5 inch IPS screen
  • RK3326 quad core 1.5 GHz
  • 16 GB Variant, 80GB variant (16GB built in, 64GB TF card support)
  • 3500mAh battery Linux operating system

Pricing: Amazon has it listed for $149.99, which is way above the actual retail. Visit the Anbernic RG351V official store to get it for $116.99

BUY THE RG351V NOW: Amazon | AliExpress | Anbernic store

Released in unison with its other variants, the “V” model offers the classic retro vertical blueprint. Though it may be a small package, it is brimming with hardware that provides a juicy experience. The Anbernic RG351V is a perfect fit for if you want to relive your childhood recollections. Though what it lacks in its material finish, it surely makes up for with its catalogue of 2400 smooth games.

What can the Anbernic RG351V Emulate?

As you may have guessed due to its being an RG sub-type, the V reproduction delivers dazzling performance when it comes to the Game Boy Advanced, SinClair, Sega, NintendoDS, Dreamcast, and though the occasional stutter does manifest, it doesn’t ramshackle the experience.

Due to the astonishing price Anbernic have retailed it at as compared to the MP, the RG351V delivers above and beyond expectations marking a true overhaul aimed at competitive pricing.

Where to Buy Anbernic Retro Handheld Consoles?

If you’ve made it to this point in the list, then you’ll unquestionably be confused about the pricing. Amazon has one console listed for $150, while the official Anbernic store has it for $120, and maybe AliExpress might have it for even less!

To help you find the best price for each model and its respective variant, so that you can get off the countless domain visits and dive straight back into the 90s, we’ve gone through the hassle of arranging a listicle of prices for you.

In general, there are three sources to get your next Anbernic console from; the official Anbernic store, AliExpress, and Amazon. Below you’ll find the best prices available on the internet for all of the above listed best Anbernic retro handhelds.

Best Anbernic Retro Consoles: Summary

Due to the sheer number of handhelds launched, choosing the best Anbernic retro gaming handheld console feels like an impossibility. The excitement of just buying one further adds on to the stress pile, so it’s better to take a look back to yourself and ascertain what kind of a retro gamer are you?

Image: The GamePad Gamer

Is the display the most important factor? Then choose the Anbernic RG503, which packs a handful of features.

Finally, if all those just can’t satisfy your hunger for possessing everything, then aim for Anbernic’s flagship, the RG552. It compromises on virtually nothing, providing the best cost performance.

Maybe just buy them all if you’re a hard-core Anbernic fan! And don’t tell me you still haven’t checked out the Aya Neo Air, another upcoming retro handheld!

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