At a time when we are very close to seeing new models arriving with upgraded and more powerful specs, Anbernic are attempting one last push at bringing something new to the market. And if I’m honest, the RG351MP has to be the best handheld to date. If only it had come a little earlier to the market.
Whilst I love the RG351MP, and it really is stunning in its build quality and upgraded image quality compared to the RG351P, knowing that more powerful handhelds are just around the corner really does sway my thoughts on whether you should or should not upgrade to this model.
Spec-wise, we have seen it all before, and if you read my previous review for the RG351P, you will know what to expect. The only difference this time round is the image quality of the screen, which is very similar to the RG351V, which if you checked that review out, I reported it as being excellent.
- Rockchip RK3326 @ 1.5Ghz
- Mali-G31 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 3.5″ IPS Display (640 x 480 – 4:3)
- 3500mah Battery
- Weight: 267g
- WiFi (With Dongle)
- 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Anbernic make some of the best quality retro handhelds on the market. Build quality tends to be second to none, and the RG351MP improves things even further.
The RG351MP has to be their highest quality handheld to date and currently on the market, even though it is still very similar to their previous metal handhelds, such as the RG350M and RG351P.
The RG351MP is made out of a block of aluminum and comes in three different colours: matte black, mint green and ocean blue. Ploylab sent me the ocean blue to review, which I have to say looks absolutely stunning.
As with their other handhelds, you will find a new 3.5″ display with a resolution of 640 x 480 and an aspect ratio of 4:3, this makes it perfect for playing retro games, and boy, do they look good on this screen.
The screen is great, it’s clear, has bright colours and is as close to HD quality that you will find on any handheld of this type. Other than the RG351V, it’s the biggest feature that puts this ahead of the RG351M and the RG351P by a long way.
You get the typical ANBERNIC control scheme. The D-pad is placed on the left and allows you to play fighting games with ease. This is of good quality and the same as the previous handhelds.
You get two analogue sticks, which are the same as the ones on the Nintendo Switch, and they have R3/L3 functionality. These sticks have been used for years and are no different from what you have used before.
The action buttons have a nice bounce to them and, again, are exactly the same as previous handhelds by Anbernic, but that isn’t a bad thing as they are very good to use, as well as comfortable for long gaming sessions.
On the top of the RG351MP, you get four shoulder buttons. They are nice and comfortable to use, but again, they no different from the ones used on previous models.
It has two USB-C ports for charging and for accessories, such as the Wi-Fi dongle that comes with the handheld. That’s right, the RG351MP does not come with built-in Wi-Fi, which is a bit of a step back for Anbernic. It also has a headphone jack, two SD card slots, volume buttons, reset, on/off and dual speaker grills, which offer decent sound quality.
On the rear you get the two rubber grips that help with long gaming sessions, as well as the usual branding, etc. This really does feel like a premium handheld and very similar to the RG351M but with a much improved screen. Build quality on my ocean blue model was flawless, I absolutely love it.
Performance-wise, the RK3326 chip is very outdated, and this is where the RG351MP may be a hard sell for most retro gaming enthusiasts. Most gamers will already have the RG350M & RG351P, so they will know exactly what this revision can do, and that is not a great deal different, unfortunately.
The RK3326 chip can emulate all retro consoles up to PS1, with a few of the Nintendo 64 games thrown in for good measure. But many of the PSP games will struggle considerably…forget about playing God of War, for starters.
However,stick with the consoles up to PS1, and you will be very delighted with the performance of the RG351MP. And along with that new 4:3 display, the games do look stunning.
Out of the box, the RG351MP uses Emulation Station, which is very easy to use. You will find some kinks in the system if you stick with what you get; however, you can change the OS to something else, such as 351Elec, which is what I prefer.
At the end of the day, the RG351MP is a beautiful device. Build quality is excellent, and it is by far one of the best handhelds I have played to date. If this had been released six months ago, it would have totally dominated the retro gaming scene. However, as it has come so late to the party, I do have mixed feelings regarding whether or not to recommend upgrading your previous devices to this.
If you are a retro gaming fanatic and have to have every handheld going, then yes, you really need this as part of your collection. However, if you are looking for something that has upgraded specs compared to what we have seen already, then I’m afraid you should wait for a few more months and see what else comes to the market.
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