ANBERNIC RG35XX 2024 Review – Their Most Confusing Handheld Yet

anbernic rg35xx 2024

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A Handheld That Shouldn’t Really Exist
Handheld Design9
Pricing & Market Stance5
Emulation Performance8
User Experience5

ANBERNIC’s RG35XX 2024 is confusingly placed on the market, priced just $14 less than a handheld with the same design, better battery life, better shoulder buttons and WiFi/Bluetooth capabilities, making it a device that’s likely worth passing on.

The RG35XX has had 3 different iterations since early 2023 and it is obvious that it has become a very popular ANBERNIC handheld for those that don’t want to break the bank, but this new 2024 model… is just straight up confusing.

They have upgraded the original RG35XX with a new CPU adding slightly better performance in the palm of your hand, alongside more battery capacity, moving from 2100 to 2600 MAH’s.

This now competes directly with their RG35XX Plus, because of the spec bump, but ANBERNIC still wants the Plus to be better so they haven’t added Bluetooth or WiFi to the 2024 model and haven’t added the better shoulder buttons, purposely making it incredibly confusing for new customers.

So, where the heck does this sit in the RG35XX line of devices? Do you buy the original RG35XX, the RG35XX 2024 or the RG35XX Plus?

  • Lovely Modern Display
  • Very Affordable
  • Pocket Friendly
  • Build Quality/Design
  • No WiFi or Bluetooth
  • Better Alternatives By ANBERNIC
  • Terrible Operating System
  • Uncomfortable Shoulder Buttons

RG35XX 2024 Specifications

anbernic rg35xx pricing
  • 1.5GHz Allwinner H700 Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU
  • Dual-Core G31 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 3.5” IPS Display (640×480
  • 2600MAH Battery

These specs might sound a little familiar because they are almost identical to the RG35XX Plus that launched a few months ago… so our performance tests are going to be almost exactly the same too.

So, to clear up the confusion, the old RG35XX is still on ANERBNIC’s website for $49.99, the new RG35XX 2024 with better specs is priced also at $49.99 and the RG35XX Plus is priced at $63.99, this plus version has the same specs, but better shoulder buttons, better battery life, WiFi, Bluetooth and access to the battery pack for only an extra $14.

 I will say straight off the bat that the Plus version is absolutely worth the extra $14, there’s no question about it, and it’s why I am very confused with where this is positioned.

RG35XX 2024 Design & Build Quality

rg35xx 2024 a handheld history

Just like the original RG35XX the design is the same, featuring a bloody lovely 3.5” display that’s bright enough and colorful enough to play outside without an overwhelming amount of glare. The bezels are slim making it look modern and the viewing angles are great too, making it an all-round cracking display for a device of this size.

It comes in four colors, gray, transparent black, transparent purple and white, my favorite being the DMG Gray here which has a gray screen bezel for extra spice.

Below that you’ll find your action buttons, featuring ANBERNIC’s famous D-PADs which are close to flawless, they have great direction, sturdy enough to feel every press but flexible enough to enjoy fighting games. Your menu button in the middle will pull up your emulator settings, allowing you to swiftly get into your save states and display options, then next to that your nicely sized action buttons.

rg35xx 2024 buttons

The only negative I have regarding the ABXY buttons is that they are high gloss, which ain’t good if you like to eat snacks when you play, they become slippery quite quickly, so I found myself cleaning them more than expected.

Below that are your lovely start/select buttons and a small speaker grill that takes design inspiration from the original Game Boy, it even slants in the corner of the shell too, a lovely touch. It’s not going to blow your socks off but it’s front facing and does the job.

Around the sides you’ll find your USB-C charging port, a headphone jack, two SD card slots, a reset button, a on/off button, mini-HDMI out and volume buttons, all where they should be located naturally.

On the back you have your four shoulder buttons, which unfortunately are not stacked but they do the job. They’re not great, nor are they terrible, but the fact they didn’t add the Plus’s shoulder buttons irritates me because that wouldn’t have cost them anything extra, they have purely removed them to entice their customers in buying another one of their devices.

rg35xx plus vs rg35xx 2024

Another confusing feature is the sticker on the back, because it actually states that this device is the RG35XX+ which it isnt… the Plus handheld has a sticker that has the word “Plus” instead of the icon, so again, this would confuse newcomers who pick up the device because it has the + icon, it’s not like there isn’t space to add 2024 at the end of the line.

Comparing the RG35XX 2024 to the better Plus version there are some minor differences in the design, but you wouldn’t notice them at first glance. For example, the start/select is slightly slanted differently, the volume buttons are different, there’s a removable battery door, a black screen bezel not gray and the shell itself is just a few millimeters smaller, but again… all pretty much unnoticeable.

User Experience & OS

rg35xx 2024 OS

Once you turn on the device you will be greeted with a slightly different OS compared to the god awful OS from the original RG35XX and in all honesty, this one isn’t much better. Time after time I mention in our ANBERNIC reviews that they need to work on their UI, but they seem to just keep ignoring the community, and it’s still terrible.

Yes, it’s fairly easy to understand but it doesn’t scream innovative or unique in any way, and it’s one of the biggest negatives I have about ANBERNIC products. I’ve been talking about it for years now, but nothing has changed. 

I understand many of the community like installing their own operating systems, but coming at this from an average consumer’s perspective they need to change it. A part of me believes ANBERNIC doesn’t change it because the community is happy to clean up their mess, with admittedly remarkably great open-source operating systems.

Because this device has no WiFi or Bluetooth there’s no over the air updates or any way of connecting a bluetooth controller to it, making the HDMI-out port a little useless, because let’s be real, nobody is going to hook this up to their TV and use it as a controller, its 2024 not 2004.

Emulation Performance

anbernic rg35xx 2024 emulation dreamcast

It’s going to perform just as well as the Plus version, which admittedly is a nice upgrade from the original RG35XX.

For example, this can now emulate PSP and Dreamcast games very well which was impossible on the original, and that’s thanks to the nice power bump.

The screen ratio allows for most retro games to fill the screen nicely, for example Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance and Playstation 1 games, all which run really well on here.

The limit for this device is PSP emulation, you will notice some slow down on larger PSP games for example God Of War, smaller PSP games will run well but not all of them, so that’s where this device cuts off, and with the lack of a analogue stick, it does make some games a little awkward to play on, so don’t buy this if you’re specifically wanting to play PSP games.

rg35xx 2024 save state

I found myself playing a lot of GameBoy Advance and PS1 games on here which the previous RG35XX could emulate fine, and I think that comes down to the size of the screen. I get the most satisfaction from a 3.5” display on those consoles, Dreamcast and PSP I do tinker with but I naturally prefer a larger screen on those consoles…. Which contradicts the whole CPU upgrade, I know.

The 2024 model does now allow SEGA 32XX emulation as a bonus for upgrading… thanks ANBERNIC, that’s just what we asked for?

I did notice that the sleep function didn’t work as well as intended, after putting the device on sleep at 100% charge it was on 2% charge after just 20 hours, so I recommend turning this off completely when you travel with it because it does drain quite swiftly.

Final Opinions

Overall, it’s not a terrible device, if this was to have been released with no other iterations it would be have been a great device, but there’s no real reason to buy this if you already have the old RG35XX because this device works best at PS1 and below, and it’s not worth downgrading from the older Plus model because it has less features and poorer battery life.

Sooo…. I hope you can understand why I am a little confused with the market placement of this device. There’s no denying that RG35XX handhelds are great, but this one just feels obsolete unless you want to save $14 and don’t want WiFi, Bluetooth, better shoulder buttons and better battery life.

It was an easy change for ANBERNIC to make, one that will make them some quick cash, but I don’t believe it will be a popular device with the Plus variant being on the market.

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retro dodo team 2024

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