ANBERNIC are still on a roll with their handheld release schedule, their most recent being this, the RG405M, a new metal handheld that wants to compete directly with the popular Retroid Pocket 3+ and the upcoming Retroid Pocket Flip.
This is a $170 handheld that uses the Unisoc T618 chipset which we have tested in the past, this isn’t new but ANBERNIC have crafted this device in such a way that its a major upgrade from their popular RG353M which many of you may know is one of my personal favourites retro handhelds.
But in a time where handhelds are coming out left right and centre, is this one I think you should buy?
Table of Contents
Design & Build Quality
Comparing it to the popular RG353M we can see ANBERNIC have made some very obvious upgrades to this device.
Firstly the shell has had a redesign, moving away from the squared corners and instead they have now gone for a more rounded approach which makes it slightly more comfortable and gives it a Gameboy Advance like aesthetic.
Because of the increased size, they have added a 4” IPS touchscreen display with a resolution of 640 x 480, making it the perfect 4:3 ratio for playing most of your retro games.
Even though the display is big enough to play large consoles like the PS2 and small enough to make it feel pocketable it’s not the best display I have ever seen.
The IPS panel has an inconsistent brightness when viewed from different angles, making it feel lower quality. I know this is typically normal from IPS panels, but it’s just something I dislike about this one.
Surrounding the screen you have your buttons and analogue sticks. Like all ANBERNIC devices the DPAD is close to perfect, it’s big enough to have control, has decent movement, and features a soft-touch click to it.
The analogue sticks used are hall joysticks, and feature high quality rubber that sits ever so slightly out of the shell, to keep it from snagging on things when travelling. The R3/L3 functionality is very responsive, and reacts to a small amount of force.
The action buttons feature the SNES colour scheme and are high gloss on both colour variants, im not the biggest fan of high gloss buttons nor the colouring of the buttons too, but that’s just a personal preference.
I think going all black, with no colouring could have made the handheld look a little more sleek.
Below that you have your analogue stick and your plastic start/select buttons which are easy to press and have a clicky feedback to them/
You’ll find no buttons or ports on the sides of the device, this is because your fingers naturally rest here, so you’ll find everything you need on top or on the bottom.
Up top you’ll find your USB-C port, volume buttons, a LED light and your power button. On the bottom you’ll find a headphone jack, your sd card slot and your dual speakers.
For me this is the perfect location for all of these ports, nothing gets in the way and everything is easy to get to, however I would have liked some kind of protective door for the SD card slot, even if it was made of rubber.
On the back you’ll find your signature ANBERNIC grips which is useful for placing it on a surface without it slipping off, oddly my fingers don’t touch them often on this device.
In the hand the RG405M is a solid device, it’s comfortable, smooth, has superb build quality due to the metal shell which is resistant to scuffs, drops and maybe even bullets and it you can feel that, because it weighs around 250g which isn’t far off a Nintendo Switch… so don’t go dropping it on your toes.
I do want to mention that it’s obvious here that ANBERNIC are trying to make their device look better, in my previous reviews i mentioned that I hated the white text slapped onto the face of the device, they have since changed this, and even the small detailing around the buttons adds to the premium nature of this device, making everything look uniform and located naturally, even the internals has been cleaned up.
Fair play ANBERNIC, fair play.
When you finally stop staring at this thing’s beauty and turn it on you will be greeted with a pre-built Android OS, which should have all of the emulators installed for you, ready to go.
ANBERNIC did install games on the SD-Card too, but this isn’t guaranteed for everyone, as they sent us a review unit and could have done it to get some brownie points from us.
It runs Android 12 which works well on here, and ANBERNIC have even added their own shortcuts to the quick menu, for example, you can swap to ANBERNIC’s front end, making it easier to skim through your games library and you can switch between Xbox and Switch mode too should you want to switch the A/B button layout.
Android obviously gives you some advantages as to what games the device can play, it has the Play Store already installed allowing you to install apps at your own wish, but do take into consideration that the 4:3 display makes games a little awkward to play, but there are a few which work well on here, especially racing games that use the built in gyroscope.
You can also stream games from your PC or console through Android but again… it’s just not built for it, and there’s plenty of better handhelds to choose for streaming, I actually don’t recommend streaming on here at all, it’s not a pleasant experience and i have experienced button mapping issues on Xbox Game Pass.
In terms of specs the RG405M features a Unisoc T618 2ghz CPU, a MaliG52 GPU, 4GB’s RAM, a 4” IPS display with a resolution of 640 x 480, 4500mah Battery, Wifi and Bluetooth 5.0.
These are specs we have seen in other handhelds in the past, so there’s nothing really new here, this type of power typically emulates games up to and including Playstation 2.
So jumping in the deep end, can it actually emulate Playstation 2 games? Yeah, most of them, even if PS2 games aren’t designed for a 4” screen.
The RG405M does a pretty good job at securing good frame rates at native resolution, there’s very little setup to it and I experienced very little issues with audio or crashes.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not the silkiest of experiences and there are some games that run poorly on it but it’s good enough for me to play for hours on end without worrying about it.
God Of War pushes the console to its limit for sure, you’ll find the odd frame drop now and then, but it’s still thoroughly enjoyable, so being honest its not a handheld i would just dump the best PS2 games onto without testing them or going in with the mindset that it might not perform well, it’s best to see PS2 as a bonus.
The same goes for Gamecube and Wii games, it works well with most games straight out of the box, but will require you to do some button mapping and tweaking by jumping into the emulation settings but that’s pretty easy to do. You will find larger games to be hit and miss in terms of emulation quality.
Smaller consoles like PSP, Nintendo DS, Gameboy Advance and best SNES games will work flawlessly here especially on the larger 4” display, and so it should with these kinds of specs.
One major upgrade I did notice that I wasn’t expecting was the battery life, throughout my review process I would easily pull around 6 hours of life out of one charge and that’s when playing some pretty demanding games.
If you are playing smaller, less intensive games you could drastically increase this time, which is very impressive.
It makes the device more likely to be picked up when I travel and because of that it rounds off this device as a reliable, powerful, pocket friendly premium device that puts itself in a place on the market that its competitors aren’t diving into.
ANBERNIC has taken a risk here, and has made many significant upgrades to the device since the previous RG353M, which has honestly made me fall in love with ANBERNIC all over again.
We have had a sticky relationship in the past, but this handheld right here is now my favourite handheld they have ever made.
It’s a really great device. It’s not perfect, but no handheld is. At this moment in time i would pick this over the Retroid Pocket 3+ but they have recently teased a metal version that’s dropping soon, so it seems that GoRetroid want a piece of the metal handheld pie.
Let the games begin.
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A 31 year old British fella that’s had a Gameboy ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and has created a YouTube channel with 260,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.