For the past few years, Anbernic has been a leader in top quality builds in the retro handheld market.
With three of their handhelds making it to the top ten on our best retro handhelds in 2022 list… Anbernic helped set the standard for what a retro handheld device could be.
Is Anbernic Listening?
But with the recent release of their RG552 device, and rumors of a portable gaming PC in development, some in the western market are worried that we may have seen the best of Anbernic. Or at least that they may not be in tune with the consumers in the retro handheld market.
Discussing the topic at length with my Chinese friend, they were quick to remind me… Chinese manufacturers may not be on the same page with their non-Chinese market. That does not mean they do not know their consumer.
So it begs the question… do Chinese manufacturers need to listen to the critiques offered by the western market? If it sells, it sells. And we do not know if it is apathy or language and internet barriers that creates a disconnect.
What we do know is that Anbernic has seen great success in the handheld market.
We can only hope that dipping their toes into higher price point devices does not mean they are turning away from what made them a leader in retro handhelds.
So what is next for Anbernic’s vertical series of devices?
Will Anbernic direct its attention fully to devices made to compete with the likes of the Steam Deck or the AYN Odin handheld?
As a self-proclaimed RG351V superfan, I sure hope not. I have been literally asking Anbernic for a metal shell version for months now.
If their previous history is anything of an indicator, we should expect to see a metal shell variant sometime. But the rumor mill has been silent on that front.
What we did see were leaked images of an RG353V that could be their next vertical model. And I, for one, hope these images are not real.
Why? Because if the design in those images are, in fact, Anbernic’s next vertical model… then that would mean that they have opted to skip a metal shell version of the current design.
Our hopes for the future of the RG351V
I have been very public in stating that the RG351V is my absolute favorite handheld ever made, and I believe the design is as close to perfect as there has been. While not all of my peers are in accord, I have helped build a small army of followers for the device.
I am really hoping that the current design does not see major visual changes in a future iteration.
Enthusiasts in the retro handheld community have been hungry for a new chipset for well over a year now. And we are certainly ready for whatever is next after the all too familiar RK3326 chipset.
Are there chips that could get these devices running 64-bit games at a more consistent rate without the need for more extensive cooling hardware like their RG552?
And if Anbernic is to develop an updated model of the current RG351V, why not give players the second analogue stick, similar to their horizontal models in the 351 series?
I personally have seen no need for it with the games I tend to play on the device. But if a more powerful chipset is introduced, then we would start to see better support for Playstation and PSP games that make use of a second stick.
Maybe move the LED indicator to the side or bottom.
At this point, we are speculating and hoping. Maybe Anbernic already has plans for their vertical series. Maybe the leaked images of the redesign are real. If my responses from Anbernic are any indication, plans for the next vertical model are either secret or have not been set in motion.
I hope, by writing about it, Anbernic will start to look at the reviews from the retro gaming community more closely, including this one. Again, we do not know the mindset of Anbernic. They may be listening very well.
If I can use my powers as a writer for Retro Dodo for anything, it would be to convince Anbernic to give me the metal shell variant of the RG351V that I have been asking for. Why? Cause!
Until these devices can comfortably emulate PS2 and Nintendo Wii, the current design of the Anbernic RG351V is my number one retro handheld. And an all black metal shell variant would be my end all be all console for the next few years.
An open letter to Anbernic…
So please Anbernic… make a metal shell RG351V. Even if it does not include upgrades. Heck, sell me a black one-of-one metal shell to put on one of my current RG351Vs.
Yours truly… the number one fan of the RG351V… Nara Makes Games.
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.