RG351 Handheld: Which Version Is Right for You?

RG351

Anbernic

Whether you’re looking to get into retro gaming on the go or upgrade to the latest device, Anbernic’s RG351 series are some of the best portable emulators out there.

But with a frankly dire naming convention, it’s hard to know the difference between the RG351P, RG351M, or RG351MP. Add in a ‘V’ and things get even weirder. Seriously, who names these things?

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Thankfully, we’re here to break down how each of the systems differ and explain just why the RG351 series is one of gaming’s hottest devices out there.

What Is the RG351 Series?

Anbernic’s RG351 series of retro handheld consoles have proven immensely popular with retro gamers and the wider retro scene. These things are both affordable thanks to the use of older tech to keep costs as low as possible while managing to emulate systems up to and including PS1 at near 100 percent accuracy.

Want to play Tomb Raider or Sonic 2 on the go with a built-in controller? The RG351 is for you.

I own the RG350 and have played easily a good hundred or so games, and they all run perfectly. Some even better than the original hardware.

In terms of which consoles the RG351 series is capable of emulating, Anbernic states NES, SNES, Master System, Genesis, Game Gear, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, PS1, Nintendo DS, and N64 are all playable.

Note the word ‘playable’ here. Technically you could get N64 running on an RK3326 chipset, but it wouldn’t be an enjoyable experience. Same for Dreamcast and Nintendo DS.

From my own experience, ‘up to PS1’ is the best way to look at this system. If it’s NES, SNES, Master System, Genesis, Game Gear, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, or PS1, your games will run like a dream. Just don’t expect it to be able to do any more than that any time soon. If it’s power you’re after, the RG552 will be more to your liking.

You can also pick up a micro-HDMI cable and output the RG351 series of consoles to a TV if you decide you need a larger screen.

In terms of build quality, the RG351 series does just about enough. Don’t expect something on par with a PlayStation or Xbox, of course, but compared with some of the other products on the market, Anbernic has made something that feels better than the rest. You can, of course, opt for a more premium feel depending on which version you decide to pick up.

Which RG351 Is Right for You?

RG351P

RG351P

Anbernic

Buy On Amazon Here

The RG351P is, essentially, your basic version. Although it’s worth noting, the basic versions of Anbernic products are what put them on the map. This is a highly-affordable retro handheld console with enough power to play up to PS1 games with minimal problems. If you’re after a cheap way to get into retro gaming, the RG351P delivers crisp visuals and decent speeds at a low price.

The only real drawback of the RG351P is the 480×320, 3:2 aspect ratio. For Gameboy Advance titles, they scale perfectly and actually look better than if they were running on the original hardware. But for home console titles that use a 4:3 aspect ratio, you will be left with black lines on either side of the screen to accommodate the difference in size.

This isn’t a major issue, especially given the price, but it’s an issue Abernic decided needing fixing with the release of the RG351MP.

  • CPU: RK3326 quad-core 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: Mali-G31
  • RAM: DDR3L 1GB
  • Color Display: Yes
  • Screen Size: 3.5-inch
  • Touch Screen: No
  • Connectivity: USB
  • System: Open-source Linux system
  • Memory Card: 64G with 2400+ Games

RG351M

RG351M

Anbernic

Buy On Amazon Here

The RG351M is a really easy-to-understand console. It’s the RG351P, only instead of the plastic casing, Anbernic has opted for a more premium feel by switching in an aluminum alloy shell.

Admittedly, this isn’t a major upgrade, and the RG351M does run on par with the RG351P in terms of speed and emulation accuracy. The difference here is all about outer quality. The aluminum shell makes the RG351M feel like a fully-fledged product. While the RG351P does feel like a toy, the RG351M feels like a serious contender from a serious company.

I do need to point out, as with RG351P, the RG351M comes with a 480×320, 3:2 aspect ratio, meaning Gameboy Advance games will look perfect, but you’ll be stuck with black pillar boxes when playing games designed for 4:3 ratios.

Whether it’s worth the extra cost all comes down to how much you’ll be playing on it. The metal casing really does feel much nicer in-hand than the plastic equivalent. If you’re into gaming and are expecting to sink hours into playing the RG351M, the upgraded shell really is worth investing in.

  • CPU: RK3326 quad-core 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: Mali-G31
  • RAM: DDR3L 1GB
  • Color Display: Yes
  • Screen Size: 3.5-inch
  • Touch Screen: No
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Material: Aluminum alloy shell
  • Memory Card:64G with 2400+ Games

RG351MP

RG351MP

Anbernic

Buy On Amazon Here

If you’re after the best of the best landscape RG351 consoles, the RG351MP is as close to perfection as you can get.

It takes the lush aluminum shell from the RG351M and mixes in a screen that’s capable of outputting at 640×480, meaning consoles that ran in the 4:3 aspect ratio will fill the entire screen.

On the inside, the tech is essentially the same as the RG351P and RG351MP. While that may not sound enticing, it’s perfectly acceptable. The tech runs up to PS1 with very few issues, so it’s hard to complain about something that does what it should.

What it comes down to is what you want the RG351MP for. If it’s purely for Gameboy games, the RG351P or RG351M will do the job. But if you’re planning on playing NES, SNES, or Genesis games, you absolutely want a screen that’ll showcase them in the best possible way.

  • CPU: RK3326 quad-core 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: Mali-G31
  • RAM: DDR3L 1GB
  • Color Display: Yes
  • Screen Size: 3.5 inch
  • Touch Screen: No
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Material: Aluminum alloy shell
  • Memory card:64GB with 4224+ Games

RG351V

RG351V

Anbernic

Order On Amazon Here

If there’s one console that throws a spanner in the works it’s the RG351V. Instead of offering a landscape-style device as seen with the other RG351 series, the RG351V opts for a vertical orientation not too dissimilar to the Gameboy.

As with the other models, this device packs in enough power to run up to PS1. It’s pretty much the same tech on the inside, albeit in a different shell to offer up a different way to play.

The only drawback of the RG351V is the lack of a second analog stick as this limits which games are playable when it comes to PS1. If you’re picking this up as an 8-Bit or 16-Bit system, that won’t be an issue. But for later games that need a second stick, expect problems.

  • CPU: RK3326 quad-core 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: Mali-G31
  • RAM: DDR3L 1GB
  • Color Display: Yes
  • Screen Size: 3.5 inch
  • Touch Screen: No
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Memory card:64GB with 5000+ Games

RG351: Where’s Cheapest?

If you’ve decided the RG351 is for you, and you know which version you’re after, the final choice you need to make is how fast you want it. If you want it as soon as possible, Amazon is going to be the best choice. Not only that, dealing with Amazon’s customer support is a breeze should you run into an issue.

If you’re looking to save and don’t mind waiting a few weeks for delivery, however, AliExpress is where you can pick up the RG351 series of devices for the cheapest. And they offer free shipping on a lot of products, making it the go-to storefront for retro enthusiasts who want to save as much as possible.

Below you’ll find all the links you need for each of the devices on AliExpress. Just be warned, prices can fluctuate on there, so be sure to check both Amazon and AliExpress to get the best deal available.

Should You Buy an RG350 In 2022?

In a word. No. It’s not really worth it. The RG350 series isn’t that different from the RG351 in terms of the internal tech, but the operating system user interface on the RG350 is quite ugly. With the RG351, you get a customized EmulationStation, which honestly looks and feels a lot more like a gaming console than the RG350 equivalent.

If you can grab an RG350 while it’s considerably cheaper than the RG351, by all means, go for it. But as both systems cost similar prices, it’s just not worth picking up an RG350 when the RG351 is such a massive improvement.

Disclaimer: Heavy Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs and may receive a commission if you purchase a product via a link on this page.

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