The RG99 is a new portrait mode handheld that has recently appeared on AliExpress. It shares the same shell as the RG300 so you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a rebrand or clone. But under the plastic exterior, the RG99 isn’t what it looks like.
The RG99 quietly appeared at various retailers on AliExpress a while ago now. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it is, as the listings typically don’t share any information regarding the CPU or software.
One of the differences between the RG99 and the RG300 is the price. The RG99 is around $10 cheaper than the newer IPS version of the RG300, so you may be tempted to go for it over the RG300. But be aware, the RG99 is not nearly as powerful as the RG300.
So what is the RG99?
The first clue is that there is no secondary microSD slot underneath the battery. These images come courtesy of a user on the RetroFW discord server.
But the main difference, and the reason these are cheaper than the RG300, is visible once you check the mainboard.
That chip highlighted in red is a JZ4725B. That’s the same as the one in the RS-90 and it is a vastly inferior chip to that of the JZ4760B in the RG300.
|Model||CPU (MHz)||GPU||Release Date||Handhelds|
|JZ4725B||360||N/A||2005||RS-90 Retromini, RG99|
|JZ4740||360||N/A||2007||Dingoo A320 (Later models)|
|JZ4760(B)||600||Vivante GC200||2010||LDK, RS-97, RG300|
|JZ4770||1000||Vivante GC860||2011||GCW Zero, RG350, PocketGo V2|
In fact, as you can see above the RG99 isn’t capable of nearly as much as the RG300 in terms of raw power. That’s not to say the JZ4725B is useless, in fact the work that pcercuei did on the RS-90 Retromini has turned the machine into a beautiful little handheld. But can we expect the RG99 to get the same treatment? Probably not, at least not right now. For now you’d be stuck with the stock firmware, which is likely to be pretty poor.
If you’re after a device with this formfactor, it’s advisable to spend the extra few dollars and go for the trusty RG300. With the RG300 you’re getting a machine with a robust and mature custom firmware in the form of RetroFW, as well as the raw power to properly emulate some more demanding titles.