ANBERNIC has had a crazy year. 90% of the products they have launched this year somehow made their way into my bin, it must have fallen off my desk…
But a couple of them just so happen to be some of their best handhelds ever made, for example I absolutely love their RG353M, it’s a near flawless handheld that has simply kept to its lane and made small refinements to make it even greater than the previous version.
Now towards the end of the year ANBERNIC has decided to launch a bigger handheld, something that has more screen real estate, and something that can emulate the best Dreamcast games, the best Gamecube games and potentially the best PS2 games for a respectable price.
ANBERNIC has a history of poorly priced products in my opinion, so I was intrigued when I saw the $150 price of this device. It’s likely that they have seen the incredible sales of the previous Retroid Pocket’s, knew that they would have a larger handheld coming out this year and wanted to eventually compete with it.
And that’s basically what they have done, but in ANBERNIC fashion, it’s one step forward, two steps back.
ANBERNIC RG505 Build Quality
First of all you will notice that ANBERNIC has updated their packaging, it’s slimmer and you’ll no longer get a wall socket included, instead, it’s just the handheld, a cable, manuals and an added screen protector.
My first impressions as I pulled it out of the box was that it feels very light for a handheld of this size, and when I shake it, there’s a lot of buttons rattling and just overall… clutter.
I don’t know why, but when something is oddly light and sounds like a cereal box in my mind it just screams low quality. I like a sturdy, well built handheld that doesn’t sound like a boxed jigsaw puzzle.
In terms of design, I don’t actually mind the way it looks, this Gameboy DMG colour variant is my favourite of the bunch, and the simple button layout on the face is easy to understand with embossed text instead of the awkward printed text that you can see on the RG353M.
But the more I look at it the more the screen bezel sticks out, and it’s one of the largest screen bezels I have seen all year, something I know many of you viewers dislike in handhelds.
Between the oversized bezels you’ll find a 5” OLED touch screen display with a 960 x 544 display, perfect for playing PSP games in 2x resolution and i had no issues, it’s bright, sensitive to touch and does the job well.
The buttons are well suited to this device, the action buttons don’t stick like some of their other handhelds and the analogue sticks are hall joysticks which are much higher quality than normal but through my review process I dd notice some flaws.
The first being the DPAD. As much as I like it, it’s firm, a great size and has a nice responsive touch. I don’t like the fact that when I press the down button, it likes to go right…
Small things like this happen on almost every ANBERNIC device I own, there’s always something, however big or small, and today, it’s the DPAD.
It’s likely easy to fix for me because I can just plough my way through unscrewing the back, but for a newcomer that doesn’t feel comfortable doing this, it’s incredibly annoying.
And then, the shoulder buttons are just very poor. A handheld of this size should feature stacked and flared shoulder buttons.
These are too small, too loud and i find myself having to push them down fairly hard to actually get them to work, they are just… terrible..
Around the sides you’ll find your buttons and ports. for example your USB-C charging port, a headphone jack. Volume buttons, speakers, SD-card slot, the world’s smallest on/off button, menu, and the ANBERNIC button which shows your games library in ANBERNIC’s OS, which I might add is so bad that I find myself always using the Android apps instead.
One thing is missing though and that’s the HDMI Out, personally, i never use this feature, i have other gaming systems that i go to if i want to play on the big screen, but for some o you out there i know this will be an issue, so take that into consideration if you’re thinking of buy one.
Then finally on the back you have the signature grips, which I think do needs updating as they are starting to look a little cheap. How they do this i do not know, but i’m keen for something different here.
How comfortable is it?
In terms of comfortability it’s not the worst and it’s not the best, because it’s so light it can be played on in bed, or on the sofa comfortably, but little to no innovation or attention has gone into the ergonomics of this device, it’s pretty basic aesthetically.
However, it does start to impress me when I dove deeper into the gaming experience, and remember, I am doing this all through the Android operating system.
- 4.95″ OLED Touch Screen Display (960 x 544)
- Unisoc Tiger T618 Octa-Core (2x [email protected] + 6x [email protected])
- Mali G52 GPU
- 4GM RAM
- 5000MAH Battery
- 128GB Memory
- Android 12
- Hall Joysticks
Upon receiving this unit, it didn’t have the Google Playstore, so i held out on this review in hopes ANBERNIC would sort that, and i can confirm they have. New orders will have the Play Store installed and those who already have their devices will receive an automatic update that adds it for you, this was appreciated and i like to see ANBERNIC and others do this more often.
I installed my emulation apps, added my ROMs and was ready to game, and like i always do, i jump in the deep end, so immediately had to test Playstation 2 emulation.
ANBERNIC RG505 Performance
I tested Marvel VS Capcom and was pleased to see it running well, close to flawless in fact, this isn’t the hardest game to run, but its a great start.
I then decided to test one of my all time favourite PS2 games, Burnout 3 – Takedown. At first it didn’t run very well at all, but after spending a few minutes in the settings and tweaking a few things I got it running to an okay standard.
My camera isn;’t good enough to show but there are some flickering issues.
I then went for something a little bit newer and slightly more strenuous, and that is Need for Speed Most Wanted, here you can start to see it reaching its limits, with lots of slow down, some graphical flickering and audio flaws.
Just like the Pocket 3+, this chipset and spec cannot emulate all PS2 games, but most, it’s when you start teaching for the larger, more intense games that this device starts to slow.
In terms of Gamecube emulation the RG505 is very good at playing these games, through testing i noticed very little issues, i had high frame rates, no crashes and the audio qas great too.
Gamecube is where the RG505 flourishes the most, anything above that and you’ll start seeing a decrease in performance.
I then tried PSP in 2x native resolution on one of the most intense PSP games, and again it worked really well, the screens resolution makes it look incredibly crispy and i hate to say it, i prefer playing PSP games on here rather than the original hardware.
I am glad 2x resolution works, because it was plastered all over their marketing material and from their past history sometimes it can be a false claim, but not this time.
Then of the “big consoles” you have Dreamcast, again it runs incredibly well which should be the case as older less powerful devices can run dreamcast games.
When I think about it, it’s quite impressive that a $150 device can emulate gamecube, PSP at 2x resolution, dreamcast and some PS2 games. This market is moving incredibly fast and the competition is bringing down the prices making this level of emulation more affordable.
And because the RG505 runs on Android you can even hook this up to your cloud gaming services such as Xbox Games Pass, and although the text is a little small, and it relies on a good internet connection the experience ain’t half bad for a cheap device like this.
This opens it up to even more gamers who not only want to play retro games, but also want to dabble on some game streaming too.
The 5000MAH battery allows for around 6 hours of playtime out of the device, but it all depends on what emulator you are using, what games, what brightness etc, but i was getting 4 -6 hours continuously across the board.
The stock OS still needs work, it’s not user friendly nor is it easy to get to grips with and combined with the DPAD issue, the shoulder button issue and the very average look aesthetically, it pulls the overall experience away from being great and also entices people to get the Retroid Pocket 3+ for the same price which doesn’t have these issues.
ANBERNIC took a shot, albeit a respectable shot, especially when it’s rare that they challenge competitors’ prices, but in ANBERNIC fashion they cut corners and didn’t innovate enough to make this a “great” handhelds.
It’s simply just… okay, it was saved by its pricing in all honesty, $20 more and i would have said some bad things about it.
A 29 year old fella that’s had a Gameboy addiction ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and created a YouTube channel with 240,000 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.