The Anbernic RG351V is a gaming console that is both retro and modern, meaning it is designed to look retro while still being a modern machine that plays today’s games. It is an open platform that you can load up with your own games and then play to your heart’s content. The Anbernic RG351V is a great console for the money and offers a wide variety of games to choose from.

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The Anbernic RG351V is a handheld game console that was released in 2016 by Anbertic. It is similar to the popular Ouya games console, which is one of the major reasons why it received so much hype. Since the game console is really old school, you may look at it as a fun and nostalgic item, with retro graphics and sounds. However, it is important to note that the console comes in a different form, a handheld, which makes it much more convenient for game-playing on the go.

Do you like retro games?  As an enthusiast, you probably already have a device that you use to play retro games.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider this new device from Anbernic, the manufacturer of the RG351V. If you’re like me, you probably never heard of this company until a few weeks ago.  Or maybe you’ve already bought one, but are hesitant to do so because of the lack of reviews.  I hope to answer some questions or doubts by talking about this device in my reflections. I actually bought two models – one for myself and one as a birthday gift for my brother because I loved him so much.  In fact, the price is so good that I would recommend this device to anyone who just wants to play retro games. For the price I paid, I have to honestly say I was very surprised by what I got.  With a price of almost $100, I expected this device to look cheap and the buttons to be thin.  Or maybe the screen is too dim or dark.  That’s just not the case.  This is what I think after using this device for a month.

Power after feedback – Anbernic RG351V

Anbernic RG351V
Screen 3.5-inch IPS with 640×480 resolution
Processor RK3326 Quad-Core 1.5 GHz
Video Mali-G31 MP2
Memory 1 GB DDR3L
Storage 2 microSD card slots for up to 256 GB
Link Wifi only (no Bluetooth)
Ports 2 USB-C ports, one of which supports charging up to 2A
Battery 3900 mAh
Size 140 mm or 5.51 (e) x 94 mm or 3.70 (w) x 26.8 mm or 1.06 (h)
Weight .2 kg (.44 pounds)
Extras Headphone jack, D-Pad, ABXY, Start, Select, analog joystick L1,L2,R1,R2, function key, separate power and reset keys, volume control, mono speaker.

Design and first view

The RG351V is available in three versions: Wood texture, grey and light black.  I have the last two in stock.  The construction is identical, except for the color of the cabinet. The most interesting aspect of this device is its resemblance to the original Game Boy.  In fact, the length and width are about the same, and the thickness is thankfully a bit less.  The weight is even the same.  If you don’t have too small pockets or tight pants, this device will easily fit in your pocket. What I really like is the number of buttons they’ve accommodated while maintaining ergonomics. And the build quality is actually very good!  The device is light, less than half a kilo, yet surprisingly robust.  I don’t plan on testing it, but I’m sure we can take it down without too much damage. The cases of the two models I own are made of hard plastic with a matte finish.  The surface gives a little texture, so it’s not too smooth.  I don’t have one handy, but I think the wood trim needs to be smooth for the paint to look good.  In that case, the handle will be a bit smoother. There is a slight variation in the translucent black version that you should be aware of.  On the one hand, the green power indicator of the transparent black version shines much brighter through the small hole.  A bit boring, but you get used to it.  There is also a slight scattering of light at the edges of the backlight behind the panel.  You can only look at it from one angle, and I’m sure it varies from department to department. That said, the build quality and design are excellent, especially for this price.

IO and placement of keys

The front of the device contains the display and most of the input keys.  Below that is the standard D-pad and an analog joystick.  Both devices work very well and seem to me to be of good quality.  There is also a click button built into the joystick. The A, B, X and Y buttons are in place on the right side.  The 4 buttons are very similar and have some depth and a positive indication that you have pressed them.  The start and selection keys have a little less punch, but are still fun. There is a small function button in the middle of the unit.  I haven’t used it much because it’s mainly used for stock firmware, which I quickly removed.  You can use the joystick to turn the volume up and down.  I think there are other applications, but I haven’t checked.  I expect custom firmware to make more use of it in the future. On the left side is the volume control, on the right side the on/off switch and a small reset button.  The reset button is so small that you are unlikely to press it by accident.  It’s also very discreet. The L1, L2, R1 and R2 buttons are located on the back of the unit.  They are at different heights so you know exactly which one to press with your index finger.  They also have a solid recoil and a stronger click – which is what you need when you’re holding it like this. The placement of these buttons on the back of the device is well thought out.  Whether you have big or small hands, it fits and feels great on your index finger.  They clearly did their homework in developing this device. As for inputs and outputs, there are two USB-C ports on the bottom of the device.  One supports charging with up to 2A and the other supports data transfer.  I haven’t connected anything to the data side yet.  I have no idea why I need this, but just in case you need it.  Maybe a keyboard to debug? There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom.  There’s not much else to say about it, except that it works perfectly. There are two microSD card slots on the right side.  If you pay a little more, you can get a unit already filled with these cards, but I think it’s better to use your own.  We’ll come back to this later.  Both slots support memory cards up to 256 GB.

Screen

The screen is a 3.5-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 640×480 px.  The viewing angles are very good and the color reproduction is also good.  I haven’t found a good way to use my colorimeter for this yet, so you’ll have to take my word for it. 🙂 The brightness is probably around 300 nits.  It is suitable for indoor use, but if you use it outdoors, you may have problems with glare.  Brightness is evenly distributed and there is no glare from the backlight, except for the transparent black blocks, which can have some glare at the edges. The screen is slightly recessed in the case to protect it from contact when you place the device face down on a surface.  A custom tempered glass screen protector is included.  I highly recommend installing it, as it provides good clarity and an extra layer of protection.  After mounting, the glass is flush with the housing. Please note that the protective screen must be mounted in a good light.  It really does fit perfectly, if you misalign it by even a tenth of a millimeter, you won’t have contact with any of the corners. Overall, this is a great screen for this device.  The resolution is perfect, as a higher resolution is too high for the emulators supported by this device.

Software and performance

I’ll be honest, the default software is probably the weakest point of this device.  It’s adequate, but not great.  It comes with all the major emulators, but I find the user interface a bit lacking and the performance is only good. Also, the version I received seemed to be an older version.  Since I needed to upgrade it anyway, I decided to switch to a well-supported third-party firmware.  351Elec was my choice, but there is also support for ArkOS and TheRa.  If you want to upgrade to one of these devices, I recommend you check out this guide: Whatever firmware you choose, you must install the required ROM.  Either on the SD card that contains your firmware or on a separate SD card.  However, if you have a spare card, I recommend using a separate card.  This way you can update or change the firmware at will without having to worry about copying games, backups and garbage information. The performance of the device is very good for most emulators.  However, if you switch to the N64 and PS1, the performance depends on the emulator and firmware used.  In a sense, you will probably be tempted to use the firmware that provides the best support for the emulator you want to use most often.  I chose the 351Elec because they constantly update the firmware and have good features. I usually left the unit in standby when not in use.  To use it, press the power button and give it a few seconds to wake up from sleep mode.  Then choose the game you want and go for it.  It’s very simple. If you want to save battery power, you can turn off the device when you are finished.  It takes about 20-30 seconds to charge, and you save a little battery power each day if you leave it off.  I chose standby mode because it drains the battery less. The only downside to the standby mode is that the green power light stays on all the time.  In fact, the light is always on when the unit is on. This indicator changes color depending on the remaining battery charge and whether the battery is being charged or not.  As far as I know, there is no way to disable it other than to turn it off. Take it all with a grain of salt.  Almost all of my testing was done with the beta version of the custom firmware.  My tolerance for error in this area is very high, and I’m an early riser, so I don’t expect perfection, nor should you.  All I can say is that the support is pretty good right now and it can only get better from here. In other words: If you decide to leave the default software, expect bugs and unstable performance.  If you choose to use the custom firmware, expect bugs, but there will be fewer.  If you expect perfect emulation of all PS1 games, you might want to try another device. The device also has a built-in Wi-Fi module.  You can use it to play with other devices, as well as connect to the internet for upgrades and scraping.  I haven’t had time to test the wifi on this unit yet.  All I can say is that it worked very well for the limited use I made of it. There is also a mono speaker in the lower right corner of the front panel.  It is surprisingly good and delivers a clear and intelligible sound.  I haven’t had to run it at full power yet.  The headphone jack is also good, and once you plug in the headphones, the sound is transmitted well.

Battery life

Expect 4 to 6 hours of uninterrupted play, depending on screen brightness, emulator and volume selected.  I usually leave the device in standby, which consumes about 6-10% of the battery per day.  It takes several hours to fully charge the device. That’s not bad, considering the size and lightness of the device.  You can also play while the unit is connected to the mains in the event of a power failure.  I’ve only done it once, but I didn’t feel any unusual heat or anything while charging.

Price and availability

You can buy this device on several websites, but I recommend spending the extra $10 to buy it on Amazon (price: $120 at the time of this writing – subject to change).  Not only do you benefit from Prime shipping, but you also have less trouble returning the product if you don’t like it.  Their alternatives are eBay or Chinese sites that require more than 30 days for delivery. As I mentioned earlier, I recommend buying the version without the optional microSD card.  I don’t think it’s worth it, and the SD cards that come with it are poor quality.  For the same price difference, you can buy better equipment and download the software yourself, if you have technical knowledge, of course.

Final thoughts

For the price you pay, it’s a very good device if retro gaming is your thing.  Making your own Raspberry Pi arcade console is very difficult, and the consoles don’t even come with a screen. Keep in mind, however, that this is only a portable device.  There’s no HDMI output, so gaming on a big screen is impossible unless someone can get the USB-C to pass the signal to the TV. Any way you look at it, this is a niche device, designed for a small number of people.  If this is you, I highly recommend it.  And if you’re looking for a great gift to impress a friend or family member who is already a techie, this could be just the thing. Denial: Our content is supported by our readers. If you make a purchase through certain links on our site, we may receive an affiliate commission. Read more. In addition to his passion for technology, Derek works as a biomedical engineer. He loves taking things apart, figuring out how they work and finding ways to make them better. Her other hobbies include spending time with her family, DIY projects like home automation, and running.No matter how many times you’ve played it, you’ll always be a sucker for the original Super Mario Bros.. Read more about anbernic rg351v case and let us know what you think.

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