We have hardly had any time to process the release of the Anbernic RG35XX SP and they are already back with a new release, the RG Cube. At first, I was very skeptical of this release, but as the release got closer and closer, I got more excited. Will it live up to my expectations or will I find it to be RG Crude?

We are in such a weird spot with handhelds. A couple of years ago, I didn’t think one of these cheap handhelds could do PS2 and Gamecube, yet here we are. I don’t need perfect performance because I have other capable devices. I am now intrigued by the weird and unique.

This thing just looked so weird to me. It looks like something I could find in the toy aisle shopping for my daughter. The color options were vibrant and a bit unique by Anbernic standards and they finally are starting to stack their shoulder buttons. I had to try one for myself.

This will just be my first impressions. There will be a full review coming to both our website and YouTube channel later, so be sure to check back. You can also check out Stubbs and his first impressions in the video above.

The Device

Anbernic RG Cube First Impressions - GTA 2

GTA 2 on the RG Cube

I received the black model and at first thought, it looked like a McDonald’s Happy Meal Toy version of the Odin 2. Luckily it feels much better than that in hand. The black shell does not smudge as badly as I thought it would. I was forcibly trying to create fingerprints on it and yes I could do it, but it wasn’t as easy as when I had the first Odin. The fingerprints were easy to wipe off.

I am surprised at how comfortable this feels. My fingers form naturally around the grips on the back. The grips also have a nice textured feel to them. The power button and volume button are on the right side which I am not a big fan of, however, they are recessed a bit into the shell so they won’t be accidentally pressed as easily.

There is a fan on the back of the device that has 3 settings for you to turn on from a quick drop-down menu. I noticed the fan does not get in the way and the loudest setting isn’t too loud, just a little whiney. The heat from running the higher systems was not too noticeable for me.


Anbernic RG Cube First Impressions - 2

The rubber membrane buttons feel good to press. I also enjoy the floating D-Pad reminiscent of the RG Arc. For the shoulder buttons, R1/L1 have a nice little click and are not as loud as the RG28XX. R2/L2 I really like. They have a nice resistance to them that I enjoy. Both of these have a nice texture on them too.

The sticks are okay. I hear they are the ones from the RG556, but I never had that device. They aren’t as smooth as those of the RP2S or Odin 2, but they are serviceable. I didn’t hit the side of the shell when circumnavigating them. Also, they have RGB lighting around them if that is your thing.

The Screen

Anbernic RG Cube First Impressions - 1

Stubbs had some light bleed on his device. I was curious to see if mine would be the same. However, I am lucky to announce I do not have any on mine! Anbernic said they want to fix that issue moving forward before retail, so take that with a grain of salt and hopefully, it isn’t a screen lottery.

Personally, I really like the screen. The colors look great on it and it is so bright. I even had to turn down the default brightness because it was too bright playing at night. Overall, I would say the screen is one of, if not the best features on this device.


The RGB30 was a hugely popular device because of the 1:1 screen and I never got one because I heard of some of the issues that a lot of people weren’t highlighting. I have never had or used a screen like that before, so this instantly became a good selling point for me. It was more powerful than just playing Game Boy and Pico 8 games though, and was that overkill? Below are the specs provided by Anbernic.

  • Display: 3.95-inch IPS touchscreen, 720 x 720 resolution
  • Processor: Unisoc T820
  • Graphics: Mali-G57
  • Storage: 128GB UFS 2.2 w/ microSD card slot (up to 2TB)
  • I/O: 3.5mm Headphone Jack, USB-C w/ DisplayPort
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 2.4GHz/5GHz, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Battery: 5,200mAh (rated for 7 hours), 5V/2A charging
  • Extras: Dual Speakers, RGB Joystick Lighting, Hall Effect Joysticks and Triggers, Six-axis Gyroscope, Vibration
  • Software: Android 13
  • Colors: Beige White, Radiant Purple, Gray, Black
  • Dimensions: 153 x 86 x 18mm
  • Weight: 260g

At setup, the device downloads a few emulation apps for you to use. Things like Citra, Dolphin, Retroarch, Duck Station, and more. It is running their Anbernic version of Android, which is improved, but still not great. I couldn’t even sign into the Google Play Store to download a frontend. There is an Anbernic built-in front-end that you can get to from the Anbernic button, but it is just okay.

Since this is using the same chip as the RG556, the performance will be similar to that. It is a bit stronger than the T618 chips that were popular recently. This means it can play a decent amount of GameCube and PS2. Of course, the lower systems will work as well.

Testing Games

Testing this out, I had no issue running the lower-end systems as expected. Game Boy looked fantastic on this screen and I was surprised how much I liked it. This also goes for Pico-8 too. Both of those were a great experience.

N64 played like a dream, which again should not be a big surprise. GameCube surprised me with how well it ran. I was playing a few games like Time Splitters 2, Custom Robo, and X-men Legends at 2x resolution. PS2 had similar success with games like Simpsons Hit and Run, Gregory Horror Show, and Silent Hill 2.

3DS/DS Machine?

Back of the RG Cube

Back of the RG Cube

One of the big selling points for this device shown in the marketing by Anbernic was the opportunity to play DS and 3DS games. Heck, the Cube even resembles a 2DS in a way as well. I don’t like emulating these because I would rather play on regular software, but I decided to see if this would sway my position.

Nintendo DS played great. Using Drastic, there was no problem playing any of the games that I tried like Contact, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, and Lego Lord of the Rings. I still think I will play these on the original hardware personally.

3DS is a system I have never emulated before so it took a little bit to get myself acquainted with Citra. I tried Popolocrois: A Story of Seasons and it ran well! It looked good and I didn’t hate it. You could trick yourself into this being a 2DS mini for some of these games. I did try Fantasy Life and there was some slowdown, but still playable. Sadly, I am sticking with my 3DS, but that is a me thing and you may find enjoyment in this still.

Final Thoughts

This is a strange device to recommend. I think Anbernic should have priced it a little lower to be more competitive. At this cost, you could probably look at things like the RG556 or Retroid Pocket 4/Pro. If you want that 1:1 screen, the RGB30 is much cheaper.

Next to the SP

Next to the RG35XX SP

It feels silly to get this for Game Boy and Pico-8, but I am probably going to use it for that. I can also see myself using this for the higher systems too just because I like the silly look of it. I also like how small it is and it is as comfortable as it is. That D-Pad is great too. The battery life seems great from my limited testing. If you are into a unique device that is fairly small and powerful, this could be a buy for you.

This is just a first impression and I have not had this in my hand long. Keep an eye out for our final review coming shortly. There will be a written review and also some square screen comparisons on the way. Also, there will be a video review on the YouTube channel soon as well.

Order your own RG Cube at the links below. Pricing for the RG Cube starts at $169.99 but for the first three days of release, you’ll automatically save $10 when pre-ordering.

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