Coming into the second half of the year, I’d say the release schedule of Anbernic has been; high-paced and H700-based. Continuing their pattern of “one handheld a month or so” we’ve seen 5 H700 handhelds, and 1 using the T820. At least until now.

For the next 3 weeks, Anbenic’s latest handheld is the RG Cube. The company’s Android response to the Powkiddy RGB30, the ZPG A1 Unicorn, and the legendary Boyhom R40S. Not really.

Join in as I talk about specs, ergonomics, and controls. As well as the Good, Bad, and Potentially Ugly bits of the Anbernic RG Cube.


I’m gonna make this one pretty simple. Internals line up pretty well with the RG556, and outside of a slightly smaller 5200mAh battery, and a smaller 4” 720p, 1:1 display they’re going to be quite similar devices. So with that in mind. The entire spec list for the RG Cube is provided below for your reading pleasure.

  • Display: 4-inches
  • Resolution: 720×720
  • Processor: Unisoc T820
  • GPU: Mali-G57
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB w/ microSD card slot (up to 2TB)
  • Battery: 5200mAh
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac / Bluetooth 5.0
  • Software: Android 13
  • Extras: 3.5mm Headphone Jack, USB-C w/ DisplayPort, Dual Speakers, RGB Joystick Lighting, Hall Effect Joysticks and Triggers, Six-axis Gyroscope, Vibration
  • Dimensions:153 x 86 x 18mm
  • Weight: 260g
  • Colors: Beige White, Radiant Purple, Gray, Black

Ergonomics and Sizing

RP4 and Cube

Retroid Pocket 4 and the RG Cube

Before I get into testing this “three category” style of review I want to do something I always appreciated from reviews first. Sizing up the competition.

The RG Cube on its own is a really compact little bugger, and compared to the similarly priced competition (or just competition as a whole) it’s sized well. Narrower than the RP4 Pro, and a little taller. The grips of the RG Cube make it not only a thicker device but in my opinion a more comfortable one as well. However, that doesn’t take much as I never found the RP4 to be that comfortable.

Next to the Powkiddy RGB30, the Cube is slightly wider, but almost the same height. Thickness though the chonky Cube takes the cake but brings stacked shoulder buttons with it. Again, the Cube wins in comfort.

RGB30 and Cube

RGB30 and Cube

And lastly, just for kicks and giggles is another handheld I always felt was great value and worth considering. The Retroid Pocket 2S. Narrower, Shorter, Thinner. The Unisoc T610 packing little guy is great value at 2/3rds the cost of a Cube, and while not quite as ergonomic and comfortable as the cube, is probably my personal choice for the most comfortable of the “alternate” choices I provided.

Cube and RP2S

As always, the weights of these and a couple of extras are right below:

  • Retroid Pocket 2S: 198 grams
  • Powkiddy RGB30: 205 grams
  • Anbernic RG Cube: 259 grams
  • Retroid Pocket 4 Pro: 274 grams
  • Anbernic RG556: 351 grams

Now onto my “Good, Bad, and Potentially Ugly”

Oh, also, the Cube units I’m using in this review were sent to me by Anbernic directly. But my thoughts and (likely wrong) opinions are mine. 

The Good

There are a few things that I’d like to put into this section. So I’m probably going to split it up into smaller chunks even. 

Controls (Mostly)

The controls of the Cube are an improvement from the 556, and while not perfect they do a lot of things right. Stacked shoulders where the triggers actually feel like they have proper motion? GOOD. Face buttons that seem to have a solid click to them, are almost a bit heavier to press than both my Xbox and Gulikit KK3 Pro controllers. Actually, it’s quite nice surprisingly.

The Good D-Pads

The Good D-Pads

But my favorite thing about the controls? That dished up D-Pad. It feels accurate I don’t have any issues going in a specific direction when I’m playing platformers, and it doesn’t wind up being too light or too heavy compared to other D-Pads I’ve tried. Powkiddy. While it’s smaller than something like the RG Arc it gets the job done, and it’s the control method I prefer to use on the cube. 

The Screen (Also Mostly)

On my second Cube unit, the screen looks really nice, and vibrant, getting bright enough for my usual needs. But the thing that sells it is that aspect ratio. It’s been talked to death by now I’m sure. But this screen is great for Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Pico-8 through something like Winlator, and for a number of Vertical Arcade games that will really take advantage of that screen real estate.

I’m not a fan of it for 16:9 systems and didn’t play much Switch or PSP because of it. But most 4:3 content, when put on this device, fills about the same amount of space for any other 3.5” handheld out there. As long as you can deal with top and bottom black bars, I think this is probably one of my favorite screens in a compact device as long as your name isn’t R40S.

The Performance (Yes Actually)

Anbernic RG Cube First Impressions - GTA 2

GTA 2 on the RG Cube

This isn’t going to rival an Odin 2 or a Pocket S, but the Unisoc T820 performs incredibly well. Normally I’m someone who forgets to upscale games so at the very least I can comment that most PS2 and Gamecube will do well at 1x resolution, though I hope that’s not a surprise to anyone. However, for once I did remember to make adjustments, and GameCube at least I was content with playing at a 2x scale. 

Everything Dreamcast and below are going to be a non-issue, and with a little bit of setup if you want to do it yourself DS is surprisingly nice to play on the Cube. Though with everything else, I prefer my DS games on a DS. For the price this thing sits at, I think the Cube offers some tremendous value for what it can do.  

The Bad

I have two things really to place into the “bad” category, and one of those is based purely on personal preference. 

The first of these are the sticks to the RG Cube. They look like switch sticks, they click like switch sticks, and they even feel like them! But they aren’t. The sticks in the RG Cube are my big downside to the controls. Stick-up top isn’t my first choice with a D-Pad like this, but that’s personal preference. 

Looks Good, Feels Band Man

Just like a number of handhelds in this scene, the RG Cube utilizes Nintendo Switch-styled sticks. This means, just like those other handhelds, it features the low range of motion that everyone has gotten used to. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve gotten used to sticks from Retroid and AYN, but I think we really need to stop using this style of Switch sticks. Regardless of whether or not it comes with cool RGB lights. I’m not going to bring this up with every handheld, but especially on these expensive handhelds, we deserve something better. 

I don’t like these sticks and Anbernic should really look into some new ones.

Also, one other bad thing. I’m just not a big fan of their launcher, and the need to have a physical button just for that. It works. It does its job. But Giving it a big physical button was unnecessary as well to a degree. This one is absolutely a personal preference, but to me, that’s a no-go. 

The Potentially Ugly

This is a pretty simple one, and one that hopefully has been fixed and addressed by now. But, just like a lot of the reviews on the YouTube scene, my review unit of the RG Cube was sent in with a good bit of screen bleeding. Despite being told this was something that’d be fixed for retail units.

They weren’t. At least in the first batch.

There’s no beating around the bush here. If you’re an early Cuber and you have a device with screen bleed. It’s not something to just ignore, and it’s not a nothing-burger of an issue. Make sure to get that issue sorted out with Anbernic or the seller you received yours from. The second unit sent to me has no noticeable light bleed, so that tells me they can in fact fix it. I’ve been told that they mostly just want to send out replacement front plates. If you can make that fix, great! If not, don’t accept that answer.

So while this is ugly. It’s only potentially so depending on what batch you receive, and how it can get settled if it is an issue.

Final Thoughts and Competition

Anbernic RG Cube Review - Mario and Luigi Nintendo DS

At the $150-$200 price point you have a number of options. The RP4 and RP4 Pro occupy the top and bottom. The RG556 hits you with a $160-$170 price depending on sales. And really right now? Those are your options unless you can find a great deal on a G Cloud? Maybe a Razer Edge if they’re discounting that enough?

If you want the most compact device in this price range. Maybe not thickness, but front-facing size, the Cube is easily my recommendation. It has its shortcomings and concerns just like everything else, but in the couple of weeks that I had my first unit, it was the device I was taking with me most. Even compared to my cheap ones like the RGB30 or RG Arc. 

For the most well-rounded retro handheld, it’s the move. If you want Android games or PSP and Switch emulation, I’d lean towards any of the other options I mentioned as they’ll do better in those from my experience. 

The RG Cube, despite my initial concerns, is truly my go-to. My handheld of choice. It’s my number 1(by 1). As long as Anbernic doesn’t keep its breakneck release pace, at least.

Purchase the RG Cube from AliExpress, or directly from Anbernic.

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