Anbernic RG353M Review

I recently wrote an article about the new Anbernic RG353V gaming handheld and how the company had released a vertical gaming handheld that ran on both a Linux & Android OS. In the article I praised the RG353V for being a great hybrid handheld. Not only that, but it had a fantastic screen, could play most games really well, even up to PSP (but sorry, no God of War), and it was super portable due to its size.

There were some caveats to this though, mainly down to the design layout of the rear buttons, which weren’t exactly comfortable to use. But overall, the RG353V was a great handheld. So, in usual fashion, Anbernic have released a third reiteration of the RG353V (the second being the RG353VS).

I’d like to welcome the new re-designed RG353M (“M” standing for metal). If you are a pure retro gamer and into your retro handhelds, you will know that Anbernic will often release the “M” version as a premium handheld. And the RG353M is now certainly a premium looking and feeling handheld.

I’m not going to go over the specifications or how well it plays games as it is identical in both those areas when compared to the RG353V, so I would recommend reading the original review for the for that device to help you decide whether this one is worth buying.

As usual I would like to thank Gogamegeek for providing me with the review unit, which came with over 35,000 games on the included 256GB SD card, and I chose the purple colour. There will be an affiliate link below that will take you to the Gogamegeek website, where you can purchase the handheld for yourself as well as support this website.

The first thing you will notice with the RG353M is that it is no longer vertical, instead moving back to the horizontal design that we are used to with the majority of Anbernic products. This allows the overall use of the RG353M to be more comfortable with extended play times.

Facial buttons are what you would expect from Anbernic in that they are of excellent quality overall. I wouldn’t have expected anything else from them, to be honest. The D-pad has a nice, solid feel to it and has a nice reach when using it, supported by that nice membrane back. The buttons are the same and feel really good to use. The sticks are similar to those of all the other ‘M’ version handhelds and are a very good, responsive quality.

On the edges again the design stays the same with two SD card slots, one for the OS (take it out if you want to boot into Android) and one for the games. Mine came with over 35,000 games thanks to Gogamegeek. You also get two speakers, which sound excellent and can go really loud without any distortion.

On the other edge, you get a headphone jack, OTG and USB-C charging port, as well as an HDMI out port, so you can connect it to your TV as a mini-console. There is also a function key that takes you back to the main screen.

The four shoulder buttons this time around are all on the corner of the handheld and tiered next to each other. Due to the horizontal design this time, they sit perfectly where your fingers will go when holding the device. Once again, they are of excellent quality and very comfortable to use compared to the RG353V.

Furthermore, the “M” version is actually made out of an aluminum shell instead of plastic. This really does give it a nice, premium feel, and it wipes the floor with its younger sibling. The purple version I received looks stunning, and I really liked it.

The first thing you will notice about the RG353V once you switch it on is the fantastic image quality. The 3.5” touchscreen display has a resolution of 640×480 and is crystal clear and bright with vivid colours. Anbernic continue to be one of the best when it comes to their screens, and you will not be disappointed here.

RG353M Specifications

  • 1.8GHZ Quadcore RK3566 CPU
  • Mali G52 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 3.5″ Touchscreen Display (640 X 480)
  • 3500MAH Battery
  • WIFI/Bluetooth
  • Weight: 232g
  • Dual Android/Linux OS

I tried using KODI, which was already built-in, and after some tweaking, it played really well. Image quality, as well as sound, was immediately impressive. I’m not sure how often I would watch movies on a small screen like this, but it’s always nice to know I have that option.

However, it’s the games that really show what this handheld can do. Very similar to the RG353V, I found that all of the included platforms worked remarkably well. This also includes Dreamcast games, which the ones that came pre-installed played without any slowdown or frame rate drops, including Sonic Adventure 2.

PSP games also worked really well, though the God of War games still had some frame-rate issues, which made them unenjoyable to play. However, everything else I tried played great, and I really cannot complain about anything.

So overall, Anbernic have done it yet again. They have released an upgraded “M” version of another handheld. Some might see this as just a money-making ploy with little substance or need to acquire. I would say that they are completely wrong. There is certainly enough here to warrant this as a must-have gaming handheld. And I totally recommend this upgraded version to all retro gaming enthusiasts.

RRP: $179.99

Buy your own RG353M HERE

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