Anbernic Nano Review

When you think of a mini-gaming handheld, you may automatically think of FunKey S or Playdate. These were two of the most popular ‘mini’ handhelds on the market, and then we had the Miyoo Mini, which was even more popular due to its size and number of emulators it could support.

Anbernic have yet again stepped up to the mark and released the Anbernic Nano. And let’s just get this out there straightaway: The Nano is probably the best mini-handheld available at the moment, bar none.

The Nano is one of the smallest gaming devices I’ve seen but still powerful enough to play everything up to PS1 games. And the quality of this device is astonishing, considering the price and size of it. Anyone into collecting gaming devices needs to have this as part of their collection.

Specification-wise, it might not look like the most powerful of handhelds, and it doesn’t need to be as it’s still capable of playing a plethora of platforms:

  • 1.54″ IPS Display (240 x 240)
  • ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.2Ghz CPU
  • 64MB RAM
  • 1050MAH Battery
  • Red, Blue & Purple Colours
  • USB-C Charging
  • Aluminium Shell

The Nano is very small. Measuring at just 7cm tall, 4cm wide and 1.7cm thick, it is small enough to slip into your pocket, or by using the attached keyring chain, you can attach it to your house keys. When I first saw it, I wasn’t sure if it was even going to be usable, but how wrong I was.

The screen is a 1.54″ IPS display with a glass screen and small bezels. Image quality is stunning, considering the size of it. It’s very bright, with great looking colours that are very sharp. This could have killed the Nano had Anbernic gone for a cheap display, but thankfully, they didn’t.

The buttons are titchy, as would be expected with a handheld of this size. However, I’m pleased to say that, like every other Anbernic device, quality is excellent, especially the D-pad. Anyone with big hands may struggle with the controls, but I wouldn’t expect someone with huge hands to be buying a mini device anyway.

On the side is a micro-SD card slot, Wake/Sleep/On/Off button, and two very small shoulder buttons, between which is a USB-C port for charging.

The shoulder buttons are placed just in the right positions, making them a joy to use, and they make that nice clicking sound when pressed. Considering how small the Nano is, it’s really comfortable to hold. Whilst you won’t be having long marathon sessions with the Nano, if you’re out and about, it’s the perfect device to use when sat at the doctor’s or waiting for your car to be fixed.

When it comes to the sound, it’s nothing startling, but it does the job quite well. The speaker grill is at the bottom of the Nano, with a small metal mesh hiding it.

The OS is the same one used on the FunKey S, so those who have used one of those handhelds will be right at home here. Once switched on, you are greeted with a small clock face, and before you can do any gaming, this has to be set. It took me a few attempts to do this and save the settings though as it’s not the most self-explanatory of setups.

There are two menu systems to choose from: GMenu2X and Retrofe. In my opinion, there is really only one to use for best results, and that’s Retrofe. The Gmenu2x menu system is way too cluttered and smaller on this screen.

The Nano I received from Gogamegeek came pre-installed with thousands of games, which allows you to get straight into gaming. Though due to its size, you will probably only play the Nano for short periods of time and not marathon sessions.

It’s ideal if you’re on a lunch break and have a little bit of time to spare, and as you can very easily save your position at any point, it’s a great little gadget for exactly that, 10-20 min blasts of nostalgic fun.

The Nano may be small, but it can emulate all retro platforms up to and including PS1. Forget PSP and GameCube, guys, the Nano just isn’t powerful or practical enough.

Playing Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Final Fantasy on PlayStation 1 and Sonic the Hedgehog on the Mega Drive just worked as they should. It made me smile when I saw how well they did work, and they still look really good on the smaller than life screen.

Pressing the Sleep/Wake button on the side brings up the menu, allowing you to save, load a game, change aspect ratio, etc. It’s a very simple and fast process to use.

But this power needs to come from somewhere, and the tiny 1050MAH battery certainly has its work cut out. I was pulling in around 2 -3 hours of gameplay on one charger, depending on what consoles I was trying to emulate.

So, what are my final thoughts on the RG Nano? Build quality is very good, and I love the metal shell. It feels like a premium device for its size, with a nice bit of weight to it. I love the colour of the shell too, blue is my favourite colour, and it looks great.

Image quality is great for its size too, and the buttons are just as premium as they are on other Anbernic products. It’s just a great pick-up and play device for short bursts, when you have 10-15 minutes to spare.

The gaming platforms may not be up there with the more powerful handhelds, such as playing Dreamcast games, etc. But what it can play, it plays really well, and you will spend many hours going through the long list of games included here.

 

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