Well, here we are again, folks. Another leaked Anbernic console.
The most common comment made in our community is something along the lines of “it seems like another handheld is released every other week”. That used to be a joke. But now, it seems that we have become the butt of the joke.
It was literally days ago that we had new images of Anbernic’s portable gaming pc leak.
And all of this only months after the release of their latest device, the RG552, which we were not fans of.
So what exactly is going on over at Anbernic?
Well… honestly, it seems like they are just chasing after whatever is popular in the market.
You guys like the Ayn Odin? We can do that! (RG552)
You guys like the Steam Deck? We can do that! (portable gaming pc)
It would seem that the leader in the affordable retro handheld market has just become a follower.
So what is this new device?
It appears to be a Rockchip RK3566 based device (64-bit quad core Cortex-A55, up to 1.8GHz).
It has a 4.95-inch OLED display (960×544 pixels).
And it has a 3500 mAh battery, 5g wifi, bluetooth 4.2, and HDMI output.
Another listed feature is that it will include Moonlight streaming, which allows you to stream play your PC games straight from your home computer. So that is pretty cool.
I am really starting to feel like Anbernic is giving us devices we didn’t ask for. I just wish they would stick to what they are the best at, which is giving us top of the line devices for under $100.
Devices like their RG351MP and RG351V are perfect examples of everything a retro gaming device should be. And they both VERY easily made their way on our best retro handhelds list.
Then they gave us the RG552. We didn’t want it, we didn’t need it. But we got it.
That device featured a hexa-core RK3399 cpu. For those who do not speak Spanish, hexa means six.
So their previous device had six cores, with a 6400 mAh battery, and a 5.3 inch touch screen. And this new one is four cores, 3500 mAh battery, and 4.95 inch display (no touchscreen that we know of).
So Anbernic released the RG552 a few months ago and thought.. you know what? I bet the people need something less powerful. And worst looking. Team… get on it!
Okay… we are being harsh here.
Anbernic has been the number one manufacturer of gaming handhelds in the past 2-3 years. Period. And they have only had one miss so far, in our opinion.
So are we judging them too soon? Are we too quick to hate?
Well, it is our job as video game and console reviewers to pick these things apart, even before we have them in our hands. We basically made it our duty to be the authority on what is good or not in this world.
To that end, if we are using our best judgement… this new Anbernic console looks bad. It’s definitely not a step forward in any way.
Anbernic has moved away from their iconic sharp rectangular aesthetic. And they are all over the board with their devices.
Do you specialize in retro gaming devices for everything up to 64-bit era consoles? Or is your goal to make the best devices for 64-bit? Or do you want to be known for gaming PCs aimed at modern games and the ability to emulate 128-bit?
I just realized the perfect way to sum up what is happening here:
Anbernic is going through an identity crisis.
Why do we care?
I am a BIG fan of Anbernic. I am rooting for them, truly.
I spoke at length about some of these same concerns in my article about the future of Anbernic’s vertical series.
But basically what we fear is that the leader no longer has a clear vision on their target market.
Consumers need innovation and progression. If you are not giving us something new AND better, we don’t need it.
I emphasized “AND” there because it is important to stress that we do not simply want something new. The gaming community is not starving for new gaming handhelds. The market is already over-saturated. We have damn near perfect devices.
And I will say it again.. Anbernic is responsible for many of those devices we would call near-perfect. I have already proclaimed the RG351V my near-perfect device (give me a metal shell and I’m happy forever).
So if consumers can recognize a companies obvious attempts to capitalize on anything and everything currently selling… that’s not a good look. It’s not what we hope to see from our favorite company in the scene.
We don’t want Anbernic to give us 5 okay devices aimed at every niche of the console market. We want one really impressive console that knows its identity.
Back to the RG503
It is yet to be public knowledge when we will see official news about Anbernic’s RG503.
Anbernic does not really have a track record of being really in tune with the western market and making official announcements. Most news comes in the form of leaks from within China, and then boom.. we got a listing on Aliexpress for another device.
So no word yet on price or release date.
And until we have something to actually add to our shopping carts, these things are still just rumors.
With several rumored devices living in obscurity… we kinda hope that some of these devices are just tests.
For example, we never got that weird RG353V that was leaked out last year.
With new photos of their gaming PC in hand… that seems to be what is coming next.
In a perfect world, Anbernic is still the console masters we know them as.
A leak here or there, but those were just some rough drafts that nobody was supposed to see anyways.
We will get a gaming PC next and it will be pretty good. Maybe very good.
What the next move is, I dunno. I can see the challenge that a company like Anbernic faces.
How do they innovate or give us something new without upsetting fans of what they have already done? Where is the sweet spot between not enough change and too much?
Definitely a tough position to be in. Especially for a company that already has a reputation to live up to.
Take your time, Anbernic. Don’t rush the next thing. We have our fingers crossed that the next official release from Anbernic is something truly exciting. Whatever they do, we just hope they do it really well.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.