Upcoming handhelds are coming out left right and centre, and with the recent release of the RG351MP being the best of the RK3326 chipset, what else could be around the corner, and what ones are worth looking at?
Well I thought I’d dive deep into the handheld community and show you seven of my personal favourite upcoming handhelds over the next few months. Some that will be released in 2021, and a couple that will be released towards early 2022.
Many of these best retro handhelds range in different prices, but I’ve tried to keep it somewhat budget friendly and I’m only listing handhelds under the $300 mark because that’s what our channel predominantly features.
And because these handhelds haven’t been officially revealed, we don’t have the specs for them as of yet. Please see our linked news articles about these products for the latest information.
So, sit back, relax, and let’s take a look at the best upcoming handhelds of 2021/2.
1. ANBERNIC RG552
First is the upcoming RG552 made by the popular Chinse handheld manufacturer known as ANBERNIC. ANBERNIC have really upped their game over the last couple of years but as you’ve seen from our reviews much isn’t changing in terms of specs and features.
So it looks like they’ve heard what the community has had to say and are now working on a larger, 5” handheld which is rumoured to move away from the RK3326 chips.
This is because handheld emulator enthusiasts finally want flawless Dreamcast, N64 and PSP emulation, with the potential of dabbling on some of the best Gamecube games.
Clips have been leaked and it does look like the handheld is far bigger than their typical devices. ANBERNIC have also shown gameplay of God of War on PSP and i have to admit, it’s looking pretty good, and as you know it’s a pretty strenuous game to play.
So perhaps this is the start of ANBERNIC’s new line of handhelds? As of now, like many on this list there is no official news of the specs, but in my opinion it has to emulate N64, Dreamcast and PSP flawlessly for it to succeed. If it can’t do that, it’s no better than 5 year old handhelds for half the price.
This is rumoured to release in December of this year and will feature a touchscreen too.
2. Powkiddy A20
Powkiddy are pumping out more upcoming handhelds than i’ve had hot diners, and I’m currently reviewing the X18S which is their new clamshell design, so to have the Powkiddy A20 just around the corner goes to show how much they’re investing into the retro handheld scene.
The only downfall with Powkiddy is that they rush their products, and it shows, but the Powkiddy A20 looks to bring a more powerful chip for an affordable price.
The A20 takes design features from the original Powkiddy A19, or also known as the Retroid Pocket or also known as the TRDR Pocket, they’re all the same but it will definitely intrigue those of you that like the vertical form factor.
It comes with 6 buttons making N64 gameplay more natural, two shoulder buttons at the back, a single analogue stick, HDMI out, bluetooth and a 3.5” IPS display.
Not only that because of the slightly more powerful chip it’s likely to play Dreamcast and the best PSP games very well. It won’t be the best quality, nor will it compete with ANBERNIC, but Powkiddy always price their products reasonably.
They have informed us that this is likely to release on October 15th, which is probably when this article has been uploaded, so if there’s a button below, you know it’s live.
3. AYN Odin Handheld
You may have heard of the AYN Odin handheld, it’s one we’re very excited about because it’s just over $200 and comes with a snapdragon processor that gives it the ability to possibly emulate Gamecube and even the best PS2 games incredibly well.
If that is true, then this will cause an incredible amount of competition in the affordable handheld market, something that has been long overdue.
The Odin has been successfully backed by over 2,000 backers on Kickstarter and has raised over $500,000 in just a few weeks. Backers will receive their units before Chrismtas, and then they’ll be released to the public in early 2022.
What makes this handheld great is the Android OS, with the high-end specs, premium build quality, LED lighting and a whopping 6” touchscreen 1080p display all for an affordable price.
Full specs have been released alongside video and marketing content plus they’re also releasing a dock that connects to your display that features N64 and Gamecube controller ports so that you can play your favourite emulators with the authentic controllers, how cool is that!
The team behind this handheld has also released it in three different models, the Lite, the Base and the Pro. Every upgrade comes with a power bump, more battery space and new colour variants.
It’s a great looking handheld and we can’t wait to get ours towards the end of the year. I still am a little skeptical because many “Kickstarters” that do get funded end up falling through but my fingers are crossed.
4. KT R1
The KT R1 news came out of nowhere and at first many thought it could be the new Retroid Pocket 3, but no, it turns out one single person is working on the KT R1 as a passion project coming to the public, making it a long but one of the most anticipated upcoming handhelds of the year.
What makes the KT R1 so interesting is not only the way it looks but the fact that it will feature a Snapdragon 845 processor in a very compact form factor.
It’s rumoured to have a 4.5” touchscreen display, up to 8GB’s of RAM, a 5000mah battery capacity, wifi, bluetooth and Android 10.
This to me just screams pocket power, and because it features stacked shoulder buttons, dual analogue sticks, a great looking DPAD and the possibility of a metal shell edition I just had to feature it in this video.
As of now there’s no rumours of release dates, nor are there any pricing leaks and this is probably because the man behind this device doesn’t want to get peoples hopes up, just in case something goes wrong.
Overall it looks like a very compelling handhelds, and if you’re like us, a smaller screen isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we’re all about pocket power and when it looks like this, it’s hard to be excited.
We update our article regularly, so if you need more information about the KT R1, check out the links below.
5. Retroid Pocket 3
One YouTuber known as Taki Udon has his hands on the packaging for the upcoming device and past leaks show the original template for the handhelds design.
The leaked images show the device to feature a 5” screen, alongside flared shoulder buttons just like the Retroid Pocket 2, Mini-HDMI Out, USB-C charging and more.
It’s likely that the Retroid Pocket 2 will be more powerful than the previous device and featured Android 10, Wifi, Bluetooth, touchscreen and hopefully a very competitive price.
It’s the first time in while where the retro handheld scene is getting a little over populated, so only the devices that spark innovation, and affordability will prevail, and from what we can tell the Retroid Pocket team really like to price their devices well.
This is all the information we have as of now, and it’s likely to be released in December or January.
6. Analogue Pocket
The Analogue Pocket is a new handheld coming out towards December that features FPGA technology. This basically means it will be able to run your old Gameboy and Gameboy Advance cartridges alongside adapters that give it the ability to also play the best Game Gear games, Neo Geo Colour and Atari Lynx cartridges.
It’s a well made, premium handheld packed full of the latest technology and with a primary goal of preserving gaming history.
Unfortunately due to Analogue’s consistent lack of customer service and customer respect they are starting to be hated by a lot of people in the community. They have pushed back the release date many times now, and apparently it’s launching in December, but as of now, it’s best to just… not get excited.
That aside it genuinely looks like a great product for those that still want that organic feeling of collection cartridges the old fashioned way.
Not only does the Analogue Pocket play your old games, but it can also act as a synthesier too, which means nothing to me but those of you that into music might find it cool.
Analogue have always made great products and the Analogue Pocket accessories look great too, however barely anyone has managed to secure the Analogue Pocket and I dislike the way they work, you can’t beat the build quality. Yes it’s not an emulator like others in this video, but it’s a new and intriguing take on the old Gameboy DMG, and that in itself is why we’re picking one up… when it releases… if it’s released.
7. Powkiddy RGB10 Max 2
And finally the last on our upcoming handhelds list, one that we found out about while writing this script is a handheld called the Powkiddy Max 2. Does that sound familiar? Well it should. The Powkiddy RGB10 Max is a handheld we reviewed not too long ago.
It was one of the first 5” RK3326 handhelds on the market and it impressed us so much that we still use it to this day.
Now a few months on Powkiddy are using that momentum to launch the max 2. This was revealed on their YouTube community page a couple of days ago.
From the images shown it looks like they’ve re-designed the shell, added all white buttons, and added flared, stacked shoulder buttons which seems to be a trend recently.
It’s likely that the screen size and price to be the same, but it’s also likely it will be a RK3326 chip too, because… Powkiddy.
If it does have a new chip, this could be a handheld that could potentially compete with the Retroid Pocket 3 and the RG552 from ANBERNIC. It all quite simply comes down to pricing.
As of today Powkiddy informed us that this will be released on the 11th November but didn’t add any specs or pricing to the email, so those pictures and the release date is all we had.
What Powkiddy are good at is packaging up an affordable handheld, with okay build quality and a pre-built OS that is easy to use for newcomers and enthusiasts making it easy to recommend to anyone in the scene.
We’ll just have to wait and see what they do with this one. We’ll update this article as often as we can when we hear about new upcoming handhelds!