If you’re after the capability of the RG350M but in a smaller form factor, you’re in luck. The RG280M is a slimmed down RG350M, sacrificing one analog stick, the HDMI port and larger screen in favour of a smaller more pocketable machine.
The RG280M is powered by the same JZ4770 as found in the PocketGo v2 and RG350/M, but contains a smaller screen at 2.8 inches. There is some confusion over the resolution of the display. Initially it was said to be 320×480 (or 480×320 in landscape), but the AliExpress listing describes a screen similar to that of the RS-97 with non-standard pixel alignment. And to add to the confusion, there is also a rumour that it’s actually 320×240 and the developer was drunk when he stated the specs to retailers!
Similar to the RG350M, this device comes with an OCA laminated screen. This removes any air gap between the LCD and the screen lens by filling it with a clear adhesive. This has two benefits, the main one being far superior clarity compared to a non-OCA’d screen. It also means that you won’t ever be getting any dust under the screen, as there’s no space for dust to get trapped.
The RG280M comes with 2 USB-C ports, one for charging and one for OTG functionality. It also has two microSD card slots, one for the OS and one for your ROMs. This means you needn’t transfer your ROMs back over each time you decide to upgrade the OS. Inside is a 2500mAh battery which the manufacturer states will give you 8 hours of play time. Probably a little less, however these chips are very efficient and it won’t be far off that.
The RG280M has an aluminium alloy shell, just like it’s big brother the RG350M. It comes in the usual array of colours, as well as an amazing looking neon pink and blue fade. I’m sure this colour scheme is not to everyone’s taste but personally I think it looks excellent. I really don’t need another Ingenic handheld, but I am very tempted by this one for the colour alone.
Ingenic JZ4770 machines are successful largely due to the amazing community development around OpenDingux. If you want an easy to use and hugely customisable OS with more emulators than you can shake a stick at, one of these is a great choice. Just be aware that PS1 is the extent of this chip’s capabilities. Out of the box supported systems include the below.
- CPS3 (partial support)
- Atari Lynx
- Wonderswan Color
- NEOGEO Pocket
- GB / GBC
- Mega Drive
- Sega Master System
- Game Gear
- PC Engine
There are plenty of other emulators and ported software available for this platform, take a look through the github repository for some idea of the possibilities.
Whilst handhelds such as the RK2020 offer more CPU power than this, we’re far from having an OS as good as OpenDingux on those machines. The age of the Ingenic JZ4770 is almost over, so if you’re still agonising over which device to get, here’s another to add to your list.
Personally the RG* series machines are the best, which narrows it down to either the RG350, RG350M or this RG280M. The RG280M is the only machine to come in this pink/blue color scheme, which is almost reason enough alone to get this one I reckon. It might be worth waiting to see if the price comes down a bit, although there are no guarantees. If you already have a JZ4770 device that you’re happy with, the RG280M doesn’t offer anything new. After all, the RG280M is just a slimmed down version of the RG350M with some features removed.
Be sure to check out the comparison page if you want to see the differences between these three versions.