For the past few months speculation has been rife on Tony Jih’s forthcoming RG350 handheld over at the Retro Gaming Handhelds discord server. Finally we have some photos of the brand new open source dual analog device!
We’ve known for some time that this handheld will be powered by the JZ4770, which is the same CPU as found in the GCW Zero. It’s a fairly substantial upgrade over the JZ4760/B that we’ve been force fed in a myriad of handhelds over the past year or so (RS-97, LDK, RG300 etc) – allowing for much better SNES emulation and a larger selection of playable PS1 titles too. In fact, photos of the desktop also show icons for an N64 emulator, but based on the GCW Zero performance I would only expect a small handful of N64 titles to be playable.
Yesterday Tony finally leaked some engineering sample images, which show the device in all its glory. The dual analog device will contain a 3.5″ 320×240 IPS display at 60hz, a 2200mah battery, 4 shoulder buttons (L1, L2, R1, R2) as well as L3 and R3 on the analog sticks. The machine will also have 512MB of DDR2 RAM, HDMI output and (dual?) USB-C charging and data transfer ports.
DIYGameModz also uploaded a video of the device in action playing Metal Gear Solid via the PS1 emulator today.
The handheld will of course be running some variant on OpenDingux, most likely RetroFW so development for the machine should be red hot right from the outset.
Reactions to the reveal are mixed, and some criticism comes from the fact that the D-Pad takes second rank after the left analog stick. Whilst this is a layout that should be familiar to those with modern consoles, the majority of the games played on a device like this will rely heavily on the D-Pad and the placement of it looks less than ideal.
Whilst it’s nice to have an IPS display in here, it’s also a shame that we’re stuck with 320×240 again. Maybe most people don’t mind it too much, but for me GBA scaling on this resolution doesn’t look good.
The RG350 is due to be released later this year. Initial rumours stated by Christmas, but now we’re being told it could be sooner.
It looks as though the manufacturer and/or distributor will be Anbernic – who do have a shop on Aliexpress, so it’s probable that it’ll be available there once it’s released. The price is said to be under $100, so I would expect to see it for a cent or two less in the initial days or weeks.