2020 has seen the beginning of a shift towards more powerful ARM SoCs in our obscure handhelds, but does that mean the Ingenic chips of yesteryear are doomed to fade into obscurity? Well, nope. Not just yet anyway. Enter the aluminium alloy RG350m.
The hugely popular but semi-flawed RG350 from 2019 is getting an interesting refresh. The RG350m fixes the biggest issue of its older brother, the d-pad placement. It also adds a couple of nice touches which could make the RG350m the definitive Ingenic machine.
Changes and Improvements
The main complaints of the RG350 have all been addressed in this revision.
- The d-pad position is swapped with the left analog stick. Now the d-pad is up top and the analog below it.
- The internal microSD card is now accessible from the outside of the shell. The secondary microSD slot is still present too.
- The analog sticks are now low profile versions, which protrude less distance from the shell. This should mean the device is more easily pocketable than its older brother.
- The LCD has even had an upgrade, from 320×240 to 640×480.
- Rumour: WiFi has been added (this is unconfirmed).
There has also been some tweaking of the other buttons on this new iteration.
- The power button is now on the left hand side of the shell.
- The volume rocker is now on the right hand side of the shell.
- Both microSD slots are accessible on the bottom of the RG350m.
Whilst the HDMI port is still present it’s unlikely that it’ll be functional in software. If it’s ever worked out, the RG350 will likely have the functionality enabled as well.
Availability and Price
Currently the device is only available in an aluminium alloy shell. The RG350 also had this option, and it came with a high price tag. The aluminium alloy RG350m is shipping for around $135. We don’t know yet if a plastic version will be made available in future, but I hope that it will.
For me this is the perfect form factor. The RG350 is a great device, and with these tweaks I can’t imagine a better layout aesthetically. A plastic ~$80 version of this handheld would be a very elegant and dignified end to the era of the JZ4770.
The RG350m is available on Aliexpress right now, and will eventually be available in a choice of 3 anodised colours.
The RG350m will be available in rose gold, space silver and space grey. I believe most places are shipping the space grey version right now. More to follow when Anbernic lists their units.