Thanks to Gogamegeek, I had the chance to try out the new ANBERNIC RG405M. Yet another metal handheld from the company that just keeps giving. This time round they hope to compete against the extremely popular Retroid Pocket 3+. But have they done enough this time around?
Many thanks to Gogamegeek for once again providing me with the RG405M and supporting the website. All opinions and views are my own, and Gogamegeek have no input on anything I write and only get to see the article once it’s been published.
There are two versions of the RG405M on Gogamegeek’s webiste, which include either 128GB storage with 3,000 games included and a 256GB variant with 4,000 games included. Each one is priced at $259.99 & $269.99, respectively, or you can buy one without any games included for $249.99. There are also two colour variants, black and grey.
The RG405M uses the Unisoc T618 chipset, which is available in other handhelds, such as the Powkiddy X18 and Retroid Pocket 3+. When I first saw the RG405M, I immediately thought of the Anbernic RG353M, which is still one of my favourite retro gaming handhelds to date.
I’m actually going to be comparing the RG405M against the RG353M for the purposes of this review, only because they do have a lot in common, but as you will read, the RG405M is also quite a step up from the RG353M.
Design-wise, whilst at first glance the two look very similar, if you look more closely, you can see subtle redesign changes, such as changing the squared corners you find on the RG353M and making them more rounded. I did find that this allowed the RG405M to be slightly more comfortable to hold for extended play sessions.
The RG405M now has a 4” IPS touchscreen display, a slight increase from the RG353M 3.5” screen. The resolution of 640 x 480 stays the same though. The 4:3 ratio on a 4” screen is perfect when playing your retro games.
Image quality, I thought, was really good, but the viewing angles aren’t as good as I’d hoped they would be compared to the RG353M. You need to be looking at the screen head-on; otherwise, the image becomes darker. It’s not a major issue for me, but for those who get a little too excited when gaming and move their hands or head a lot, they may be affected by this.
Control-wise, this is your typical Anbernic device, which to be honest, they have some of the best controls on their devices. The A,B,X,Y buttons are to the right of screen, which are smooth and glossy, and I really liked the placement. The analogue sticks are smooth and precise, and once again feel lovely to use. And then you have the D-pad to the left, which is just the right size, and as usual, it’s really comfortable to use and responsive.
You then get the usual plastic Start/Select buttons, which again are of good quality and offer a nice, clicky feel to them. At the top of the RG405M, you will find the USB-C port for charging, volume buttons, power button and a small LED light. There are also the L1, L2 & R1, R2 buttons. On the bottom are the SD card slot and headphone jack, as well as the stereo speakers, which sound quite good and clear.
In the hand, the RG405M feels lovely and offers a premium device feel, and as with the RG353M, it’s made from aluminum alloy, and it’s incredibly comfortable and smooth to hold. Build quality is superb and weighing in at around 250g, it’s portable whilst still feeling like a very premium product.
The RG405M comes with Android 12, as well as Anbernic’s own OS for gaming. Press the Home button, and you can flick between the two operating systems. All of the emulators come pre-installed, and the device works great straight out of the box, with next to no setting up or fiddling required. Another neat option is that you can switch between the Xbox and Switch button layouts, which is really handy and a neat feature.
There are also streaming apps included within the Android 12 OS, but to be honest, due to the size of the screen, I probably wouldn’t recommend using them. I found button registering issues with Xbox gaming, which makes it unplayable at the moment. For me the RG405M is a retro gaming device, and if you use it as such, then you won’t be disappointed.
Looking at the specs for the RG405M, it features a Unisoc T618 running at 2ghz, MaliG52 GPU, 4GB’s RAM, and a 4” IPS display with a resolution of 640 x 480. It also comes with a 4500mah Battery, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0. These specs should allow you to run emulation up to and including PS2.
The RG405M can emulate quite a few PlayStation 2 games, and they look pretty good on the 4” screen. When playing God of War II, I was surprised by how well it worked. Though I did experience some frame-rate drops, overall it is definitely playable. More importantly, it played out of the box for me, which is a massive gold star in my eyes.
I also found that 3DS and Wii games worked really well. Ridge Racer on the Wii played great and with very few frame-rate issues. This was also the case for PSP, most games ran very smoothly. I’m not saying that all games will play smoothly on the RG405M as it depends on the emulators being used too, but thankfully, with having Android 12 installed, you can download stand-alone emulators that may or may not give you a better experience with some platforms.
For battery life, I was getting around 6 hours before needing to charge, which is an impressive upgrade, particularly when playing the likes of PS2 games, which will draw a lot of power. This makes it an ideal handheld to slip in your pocket and take on your travels.
I really loved the RG353M when it came out, even though there has been a trickle of more powerful handhelds being released since then. But I’m really sad to say that I now need to move on from the RG353M and move camps to the new RG405M. This device is probably one of the best ANBERNIC have released so far. As a pick-up and play device for anyone not technically minded, the RG405M is at the top of the list and a must have. And if they continue to build on this, I’m very excited to see what they release in the future.
Additional note: the RG405M can play GameCube games; however, GC games were not present on the SD card that was supplied to me by Gogamegeek, so I, unfortunately, was unable to test GC games.