1Double-L19 hours ago
Removed – unconstructive
2Zuljaras19 hours ago
I think that the Retorid Pocket 2 is amazing!
Everything up to N64/PS1 is playable
3nessisonett19 hours ago
Does the version of RetroArch that both run support achievements? The whole RetroAchievements setup has totally reinvigorated my love for retro gaming.
4HamatoYoshi19 hours ago
The Anbernic does come preloaded with ROMS from the factory
5GreatCrippler19 hours ago
Between the right analog being so bad, and the 1GB of ram basically crippling Android while being fine on the SBC on the 351P, I don’t think it’s all that close. the 351P is a lot more competent device. That said, both devices suffer badly in the Q.C. department.
6BloodNinja19 hours ago
Great review of some awesome systems, here. Surprised you didn’t mention the RG351V, which performs identically but has the form factor of a classic Gameboy, with triggers on the back. I own one and it’s fantastic.
Also, if you are interested in these things, replace the memory cards with Sandisk or something, as the stock ones are garbage and 351ELEC will not install properly on the included generic memory cards. 351ELEC is still being updated, which is very nice.
Mine DID come preloaded with 600 ROMs, so I’m not sure about that part of the review. Maybe it depends on where you buy?
Also worth mentioning is that N64 emulation is very shoddy on these things, and most games will only run at about 80%, or not at all due to limitations in hardware. Saturn is unplayable. PlayStation and below are perfect. Certain MAME games have issues but most run perfectly.
7RupeeClock19 hours ago
I have an RG351P and it’s one of my favourite devices, it’s perfect for playing GBA games, but the screen makes it less desirable for the other types of systems it’s capable of emulating.
That unusual 480×320 resolution means home console and arcade games will have some scaling filters applied, which I find unpleasant to look at.
There’s a sister device called the RG351V which has a classic DMG Game Boy design, and sports a 640×480 screen. It’s absolutely perfect for home console games, Game Boy games, and more. GBA games take a small hit as you need to scale them, but they scale better than you’d expect.
It’s nice to see Nintendo Life covering Anbernic’s more recent devices though! They really are excellent little devices.
8The_New_Butler19 hours ago
If one were to own a relatively decent phone and a razer kishi type device one could theoretically (of course) play something like Metroid Zero Mission with a beautiful screen and the game looking as stunning as it ever will and have a really great controller to do it for the 5 hours 34 minutes it might take someone to complete it.
That would be a very good way to do this, not that I ever would of course…
9TryToBeHopeful19 hours ago
Got a PiBoy DMG and it’s absolutely wonderful. Going to swap out my Pi3B for a Pi4B for Christmas.
10RupeeClock19 hours ago
On the subject of being pre-loaded with ROMs, this seems to depend on who you buy it from.
The stock microSD for firmware is only supposed to have the firmware, and it might have a few public domain things on there.
When I received my RG351P back in December it was loaded with ROMs, and of particularly poor quality.
They were pre-patched with cheat codes for example which could ruin the experience.
But the RG351V I received a few months ago was not pre-loaded with ROMs, which I preferred.
11BloodNinja19 hours ago
@RupeeClock Interesting! Must be region specific.
12RudyC319 hours ago
And both use the same off-the-shelf crappy joysticks as the Switch, meaning you’re likely to get drift from those eventually, since they’re the exact same part.
With that being said, the kind of game you’d want to play on these don’t require joysticks, really, and the D-Pad looks decent enough so it’s not as much of a deal breaker here I suppose.
13Tedikuma19 hours ago
I love my RG351V. I’ve probably been playing it as much as my Switch lately.
14HamatoYoshi19 hours ago
@RupeeClock direct from China they are all preloaded, some UK sellers delete everything to circumnavigate eBay policies
15davidmt19 hours ago
@nessisonett I have the 351M and yes it supports achievements. I would guess the Pocket does as well.
16RupeeClock19 hours ago
I’m not sure anyway, both units I received were ordered from the same site, Retromimi.
They’re a reliable seller in my experience. They might’ve started deleting the pre-bundled ROMs at some point which is best practice, but probably a hassle if they receive them like that.
17BloodNinja18 hours ago
@davidmt Where is the option located for achievements? I’ve never tried that, sounds fun!
18TryToBeHopeful18 hours ago
”However, steaming is possible, it’s just that we haven’t been able to test it personally ourselves.”
19BloodNinja18 hours ago
@RupeeClock Yeah, as much of a hassle as it might be for them it’s better than having their products taken down.
20Heavyarms5518 hours ago
There’s so much competition in the stolen technology/portable piracy box department these days. There’s a new one like every 2-3 weeks it feels like. But they tend to be worse than iPhones in terms of incremental improvements.
21BloodNinja18 hours ago
@RudyC3 The stick present in the RG351V feels a LOT tighter than my Switch Joycons. That being said, the device is extremely easy to take apart and tear down compared to a Switch Joycon, so if a stick messes up you could buy replacements and fix it.
22nessisonett18 hours ago
@davidmt Brilliant, thanks!
23moodycat18 hours ago
I’d love one for up to and including PS2 games, but good lord those prices.
24Damo18 hours ago
@HamatoYoshi Resellers often remove the ROMs, though. That was the case with the units supplied to us by DroiX.
25JayJ18 hours ago
I think the Anbernic is the clear winner here. I actually got into these devices fairly recently and the Anbernics are very impressive, well made and I love how everything feels focused around retro gaming with the 351 interface. The Retroid is cool for people who want Android and a bit more that they can do with it, so it’s all on your needs really. I just think the Anbernic 351M is pretty hard to beat though, a real top quality device for the money.
26Damo18 hours ago
@TryToBeHopeful Oof! It is indeed. We wouldn’t recommend steaming ANY piece of hardware.
27Shambo18 hours ago
My RP2 got bricked and I haven’t been able to recover it as of yet (but haven’t tried every possible solution either, I will do so soon). Currently awaiting my RG351M I found at the price of an RG351P, and in the meantime just using my tablet sized laptop and PS4 controller to play GBA games (most of which I have originally, even some I had to import). But I don’t feel like there’s anyone being harmed by getting old games nowadays for free, especially not if the “legal” way is to pay an arm and a leg, for what may or may not turn out to be a bootleg in the end anyways. Especially not if they weren’t even released here, or even officially translated to a language I understand. Never forget that most corporations, including but not limited to governments, happily leave backdoors open in their “law” and “policies” to abuse “maritime rights” when and where they can, and are therefore themselves the most unethical type of pirates, so no moral authority when it comes to piracy, let alone ethical piracy, because someone has to bypass the pirates in power, who even claim the right to claim your rights, and punish you when you claim yours back.
But I got sidetracked.
28JayJ18 hours ago
@Tedikuma Yeah same, the 351 V and M are easily the best right now, I got both of those, but the P is also great and pretty much a cheaper M.
The Gameforce is also worth looking into, a bit more ergonomic and it sort of blends the advantages of the two different Anbernic 351’s, you got the 4:3 screen with a horizontal handheld, but like most things it’s got it’s own advantages and disadvantages. These are the 3 I got right now, but I also got a 280V which is a cool little mini take on these, it’s actually the first one I got that got me into these.
29ukaskew18 hours ago
I have the R351P and it absolutely does come crammed with ROMs if bought direct, re-sellers might delete them I suppose. There is an excellent guide to doing a clean install on the web just a quick Google away, if nothing else it’s worth a fresh start just to replace the stock SD card with a SanDisk.
I adore mine.
30Luminous11718 hours ago
@Heavyarms55 It feels like there’s yet another one of these things coming out every other day.
31hel10518 hours ago
I bought a 351M not long ago and I’ve only played around with it a bit, but I love it. It’s just challenging figuring out why some games don’t work/controller inputs don’t work/how to play multi-disc games, etc. Still, it’s amazing just to be able to play some of the games that I’ve wanted to replay for years (or play for the first time), but that just aren’t easily available for whatever reason.
32cherryghost4118 hours ago
I’ve been looking to get a device like this for awhile, but have been unable to make up my mind about which one I want to get. I think after reading the article and the comments, I might go with the 351P or 351V.
33CactusMan17 hours ago
Nice. My greatest concern with these devices is build quality and battery life. Some times the CPU is so power consuming you can not even fix it with replacing the battery. Getting ROMs and BIOS files to get RetroArch running, I can do that myself. If you go to the info tab from the emulator you are using it points out witch files are missing and where to put them.
34TryToBeHopeful17 hours ago
Serious question, what’s the advantage of these over something like ExperimentalPi’s PiBoy DMG? Mainly price?
35ibis_8717 hours ago
@Damo What about N64 games performance? I would buy any of those to play N64 out of the box, but not Mario Kart 64 everybody likes to show in their YouTube reviews. I’m mainly interested in Rare games (Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64, Jet Force Gemini, Banjo games, Conker’s Bad Fur Day), Turok games, Rogue Squadron, Rayman 2, maybe good old Tony Hawk Pro Skater and the Quake 2 port. Donkey Kong 64 is notorious for how tricky it is to emulate without graphical artifacts and sound shutteing, as well as GoldenEye, which can be very slow in busier areas. The RG350 could handle PS One games quite nicely without any tweaks, including graphically heavy ones, like Vagrant Story, Metal Gear Solid, Legacy of Kain etc, but failed miserably as soon as it came to N64. I wonder if there’s serious improvement in case of the RG351.
What about DC performance? Do main classic run well (Sonic Adventure 1-2, Crazy Taxi, Skies of Arcadia, Shenmue)? I’ve never owned one and could catch up on those quite a bit.
36Lapses17 hours ago
@ibis_87 Not sure about the retroid but the 351 is very hit and miss with N64. I tried f-zero and banjo kazoie, worked amazingly. Perfect dark is just about playable but very choppy and bear in mind translating N64 control schemes can sometimes be very odd. Best to assume most games won’t work and be pleasantly surprised if one does.
I always think the little anbernic 280v gets overlooked. It won’t tackle the N64, psp and Dreamcast stuff but as mentioned these are unreliable on the more powerful systems anyway. If you just want 16 bit and playstation emulation it does brilliantly and it’s genuinely pocket sized and super rugged. No analogue sticks, but few playstation titles actually rely on them. I know the 351 is better but I play the 280v way more.
37jipiboily17 hours ago
No mention of the TV out or Bluetooth support of the Retroid Pocket 2 or did I missed them?
They were selling factors to me! Those features make it kind of a hybrid.
38ibis_8717 hours ago
@Lapses Thanks a lot, I mainly like to emulate 1-2nd gen of 3D-capable consoles though. The 3D-revolution happened when I was about 10 yo and I was blown away by it so much that I still prefer early 3D games over almost perfect 2D 16 and 32-bit games even now, when those graphics are not so amazing anymore, to say the least.
39SpringDivorce17 hours ago
I don’t get the point of these TBH. I own a OnePlus Nord, and a Poco X3 Pro, and both of them run N64 perfectly. Paired with a decent pad I’m not sure why I’d ever need a dedicated retro handheld. Not that it stopped me picking up the Evercade for some odd reason. I think it’s the collector in me that one.
40jipiboily17 hours ago
@SpringDivorce if you have an iPhone, you could not run emulators. And also, having these dedicated devices is great to share in a family. Also, if your phone is owned by your job or used for work, you should limit emulators or any apps that are more “dangerous” to avoid leaking any sort of data.
There’s a bunch of reasons for those devices to exist. Maybe none for you, but there are reasons
41NinChocolate16 hours ago
Still rocking the Vita and Retroarch for my Genesis on the go fix
42CactusMan16 hours ago
@SpringDivorce We are opposites. I′m not the collector type of guy. Looked at Evercade, I really liked those indie cartridges. But in the end I was like I just play Coffee Crisis on Nintendo Switch and emulate the Mega CD version of Earth Worm Jim. Evercade has got great games.
43davidmt16 hours ago
@BloodNinja There are two steps: First, you need to set up an account on RetroAchievements.org. Then, on the 351M you have to enable it under the Main Menu/RetroAchivements
More info is here:
44dorksoul16 hours ago
I would also recommend the 351v. The form factor is better and it has a 4:3 screen which makes it better for emulating most old systems.
The piboy isn’t practical as a handheld. It’s loud, it’s heavy, and the screen isn’t laminated…. There’s a solid 2 mm gap between the outer protector and the actual display. Not saying it isn’t a good device, but ironically, handheld use is more of a novelty for it, than main feature.
45FargusPelagius16 hours ago
Love the idea of these, but they aren’t quite there yet for me. I use a Shield TV and that gets me up to Dreamcast, with a few issues.
PS2, GC an xbox is the sweet spot however, so need a touch more grunt for an ideal retro handheld.
These certainly make the Switch look more impressive.
46SpringDivorce16 hours ago
Completely forgot about the Apple walled-in system, it’s been that long since I used one. Oops.
47Damo16 hours ago
@ibis_87 It’s defo a bit hit and miss with the N64 and DC. Some games run well while others are slow or refuse to run at all.
48RudyC316 hours ago
@BloodNinja These sticks always feel tight when they’re new. I remember when I swapped my old drifting sticks in my launch day JoyCon for new ones I bought off Amazon, they felt tighter too, but that quickly goes away. Comparing my old sticks to my newer ones now, after more than a year of use, they feel pretty much the same, yet the difference when they were new was staggering.
49Damo16 hours ago
@jipiboily Yep, it’s got both – I’ll add that in!
50SpringDivorce16 hours ago
I had to sell off a collection some 18 years ago (thousands of original games over MD/SNES/Saturn/PS1/Neo Geo) and I’ve not really been in a position to start again up until this point. Since then, retro prices have absolutely exploded, so I decided to just pick up Switch carts and the Evercade as it’s a relatively inexpensive way of building up a nice cart collection.
51drewber263516 hours ago
Just ordered my Retroid Pocket 2! I have an old PSP that I previously used for emulating old games but it just didn’t feel right for some reason. The RP2 is such a great design that I couldn’t pass it up
52Arehexes16 hours ago
As someone who has multiple of these things. The best bang for your buck with little extra work is the RG351V running 351Elec (or ArkOS if you want to tinker more with retroach).
I can’t get behind the Retroid Pocket 2, it’s too fiddly and just misses the mark with gba games. You have to use their version of Retro Arch or another emulator more designed for touch screens. Trying to play Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and hearing that stutter just irks me. Even trying to install custom firmware on the RP2 is annoying. The software isn’t straightforward, and if it hangs mid flash you have to take it apart. Which isn’t a cake walk. Having to switch input modes constantly also is a pain because the lack of a touch screen. So many little things made me put it down and swear off it.
53RCGamer16 hours ago
To play 8-16bits I prefer to mod my New 3DS XL. There is no major updates to come, so I wouldn’t bother to worry about anything
54Lordplops16 hours ago
I have the RG350M, love it. It fills in what my Vita, Switch, New 3DS, GPD XD+, GPD Micro, and GPD Win Max may miss. Which isn’t much, tbh.
55nkarafo16 hours ago
I have RP2 but the emulation of N64 is NOT good. You have to lower the resolution, eg 512×384 and not 640×480 which then it has a good framerate but it’s ugly! I have tested many different plugins and settings and some Rare games are not very playable (for me at least). I wish it could be a little better in specs so that N64 is very good.
56koekiemonster15 hours ago
@nessisonett I own the RG351M and it does have support for achievements
57CactusMan15 hours ago
http://retroachievements.org/game/677 Mother 3 with achievements. Just set up a account input the user settings, nice.
58jrb36315 hours ago
At this point, these systems are nearing one year old and their chipset is even older and honestly truly outdated at this point. You could spend less on a prepaid phone, pair your Xbox controller and have improved everything.
Recommending them last year? Probably worth it. Tody? Hell no.
59HOUSE12 hours ago
I’m going to throw in my two cents here. I recently got into the portable emulator hobby myself. I was going back and forth between the two devices and settled on the RG351M. For the following reasons (my opinion, of course).
1) Superior build quality. The D-pad and analog sticks are better on the Anbernic models.
2) D-pad placement. Let’s be real here, 95% (or more) of all your time is going to be used on 2D games. Why put an analog stick on the default position here?
3) OS. As NL pointed out, the 351ELEC OS is so easy to get up and running, it’s almost too easy. It’s a 600 MB download, taking up very little of the SD card (which means more room for games). Android is far more versatile, but you will be spending so much time trying to get it to do things that when it really comes down to it, isn’t the whole point of something like this is to pick up and play games? The 351ELEC OS gets this and does everything you need it to do.
They are still both very fine handhelds though but I really think the 351 is the way to go.
60ibis_8711 hours ago
My good gentlemen, could anyone please confirm if there’s any improvement in N64 emulation (yes, I’m still at it) on the 351ELEC over the stock firmware out of the box on the 351M/P?
61Papichulo10 hours ago
It plays the best games pretty freakin well, but if you want true 100% N64 emulation get an ED64 Plus. It’s an N64 Everdrive that comes preloaded with the entire N64 library and only goes for $60
62MarcianoMD9 hours ago
Still better dpad than Nintendo Switch
63Brodieman9 hours ago
I have had the RP2 for months and love it. N64 is hit or miss but there are plenty of different emulators to try out and people have already tested and posted the best settings for the most popular games.
64Heavyarms559 hours ago
@Luminous117 I completely agree. But many tend to be extremely similar and forgettable.
65Lapses9 hours ago
@ibis_87 my previous reply was from me using ARKOS, and I believe development has ceased on that OS now. 351ELEC is still being worked on so there may be improvements or new emulators supported for N64 but as of about a month ago it was largely the same results as ARKOS. Sorry to not give the answer you want but I think N64 is always going to be patchy on this tier of handhelds.
Keep an eye on Retro Game Corps, though. They/he runs a great site & channel which highlights any significant updates to the various OSs, and it’s just a great source of info for retro handhelds in general. Watch it, though – he’s very enthusiastic and may just end up convincing you to get one even though the N64 stuff isn’t quite what you’re looking for. It’s close!
66wummle8 hours ago
I have both handhelds for the RP2 if you are good with tech update to LineageOS 15.1 much better interface plus android 8.1
For my RG351M I dismantled it and filed just a smidge off the stick and that fixes the DPad diagonal problem though it is fairly fiddle to put back together and check out ArkOS that is still imo the best custom firmware but 351Elec is getting closer
67nmanifold8 hours ago
As people have mentioned, THE RG351V is the gameboy style sister to the RG351 and its fantastic, the screen is amazing.
I own a Retroid Pocket 2, it feels cheap in comparison anything Anbernic make and it’s so un-user friendly.
68retrokezins4 hours ago
Personally I’d take a RP2 over the 351P/M any day of the week but I’d take a 351V over the RP2. They all have good reasons to buy though.
69blecch3 hours ago
Is it legal in the UK to rip your own cartridges and game discs?
In the US it seems to be a grey area but there should be a strong fair use argument for ripping discs for personal use. And Sony vs. Connectix established something of a precedent for running game discs (though not ISOs) on emulators.
Regardless of prohibitions from copyright law and license terms, it would be nonsensical to punish people for downloading the identical ones and zeros that are stored on game discs or in game consoles that they own.
Interestingly enough, some licensed mini-consoles such as the PS Classic (as well as many mobile and compilation releases) use emulators that were developed by hobbyists.
70ian_beale54 mins ago
Are there any handheld devices on the market that can handle Saturn emulation yet?
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