Anbernic is back with another entry in their 35XX line of devices, but this one has made a huge stir among the community. Introduce the RG35XXSP, a clamshell device with the same form factor as the GBA SP. I am here to give you my first impressions of the device and see if it is worth preordering.

Comparison Shot

Comparison with Panic Playdate and GBA SP

Just like the previous XX devices, the RG35XXSP has the same H700 and Mali G31 GPU. Below are the specs provided by Anbernic. If you would like to know more about the internals and specs, check out Andrew’s article here.

  • Display: 3.5-inch, OCA, 640 x 480
  • Processor: Allwinner H700, Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A53, 1.5GHz
  • GPU: Dual-core Mali G31 MP2
  • Storage: 64GB TF/MicroSD, Dual microSD card slot, Supports up to 512GB
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, 2.4G wireless controller, HDMI-out
  • Battery: 3,300mAh, rated for up to 8 hours
  • Charging: 5V/1.5A, supports C-to-C charger
  • Extras: Magnets in the upper and lower casing to support magnetic closing.
  • Dimensions: 8.9cm x 8.5cm 2.7cm
  • Weight: 0.192kg = ~192g
  • Software: Linux

First Thoughts

This is just a first impressions article, our more in-depth review article will be coming soon along with a video from Zu, so keep an eye out! In hand, the device feels great. The bottom half is a bit thicker than the original GBA SP, but for someone with bigger hands, it feels good. The hinge is also a great replica of the GBA SP. The hinge is much better than that of the Retroid Pocket Flip as you can push the screen further back and adjust the angle you want to use it at.

Different Angles

Trying Different Angles

With the transparent black model, the feel is not that of a smooth plastic but has a matte texture feel. I don’t notice any discomfort trying to reach any of the buttons and it just feels natural in my hand. The screen looks good and I don’t notice any odd viewing angles.

The Buttons

The buttons have been a hot topic for this device as they have been classified as clicky and maybe a little hard to press. I am here to confirm that yes, this is true. I tried finding a device that has a similar button feel to it and the closest I had was the Playdate.

The force used to press the buttons feels similar to a Miyoo Mini Plus, but there is a much louder click on the 35XXSP. It takes a little bit of force to press them, but I do think it is something you can get used to if you don’t hyper-fixate on that sort of thing. This may just not be a device to bring to bed and try not to disturb your partner who is sleeping.

The D-Pad is also clicky, however, I really like it. It has the same click as the facebuttons, but it pivots very nicely. The last device I had a hands-on review with was the 28XX and the button size of this fits my hands much better than that.

The remaining buttons all suffer from that same clickyness. The power button, start, select, function, reset, and volume buttons are extremely loud (yes, volume it is a button and not the SP slider). The shoulder buttons are clicky, but not as loud and clicky as the 28XX. Check above for a video of me pressing the different buttons.

Things I Like

I received the transparent black model and got excited because Anbernic released the video of the front cover being removable so you can put it in different designs. This was not as easy as I initially thought that you could just clip it off, but this is not the case. You have to remove the five rubber membranes by the screen and also the screws to get it open.

Another thing that I think is awesome is the sleep feature when the device closes. This is such a cool feature and it works really well from my limited experience. There are magnets within the lid that will let the device know when it is open and closed. As someone with a newborn, being able to just close this and know that my game will resume when I open it is a game changer.

It is a small thing, but when you open GBA games through RetroArch, there is a pre-applied overlay that looks just like the GBA SP bezel. I know this is just something on RetroArch, but I think it is just something a little extra that hits you with that nostalgia.


Since this device uses the same chipset as other devices in the XX family, don’t expect a different performance. Some of the higher platforms you can play (but not all games or even all at full speed) are PSP, Dreamcast, and N64. Again, you can play SOME of these. With the absence of analog sticks, some of the button layouts can be awkward.

I tried Wave Race for the N64 and it ran pretty well, but I had to remap the analog stick to the D-Pad. For PSP, I tried God of War: Ghost of Sparta and it wasn’t as bad as I thought! The cutscene for the introduction played nicely, but the gameplay was stuttering badly and I would say not very playable in my opinion. Can you squeeze out more performance by tweaking the settings? Possible, but I did not try that for this first impression.

The real bread and butter for my use case is the performance on lower-end systems. This is going to be my daily driver for GBA, SNES, NES, Genesis, and other devices like that. I think even playing some PS1 RPGs could be a nice experience as well. Again, if you have another XX device from Anbernic, you should know what to expect.

Final Thoughts

So do I like this device and recommend it? My answer is I love it so far and I may recommend it depending on the situation. Do you have another portable device that does the same performance already that you like? Then you don’t need this. If you hate clicky buttons, I would actually recommend to avoid this too. However, if you love that form factor of the GBA SP, this is great and I highly suggest it for that if you can overlook some of the downfalls.

GBA Size Comparison

Thickness Compared to GBA SP

Personally, I am putting my Miyoo Mini Plus up for sale now as I only need one device that has that level of performance and that is portable. No device will ever be perfect if we nitpick everything that is wrong with it. If you want that nostalgia and to play some of your favorite old games, go for it! I can’t wait to see what CFW will look like in the very near future.

How to Order

The RG35XXSP retails for just $64.99, and, it went on sale at 3 AM PDT on May 17.

Anbernic includes a 64GB microSD card, screen protector, and USB-C charging cable. Those who want a second microSD card can get a 64GB+128GB combo for $79.99.

When the RG35XXSP goes on sale, Anbernic is already offering $6 off any configuration! That brings the price down to under $60, which is a great deal. This deal will only last for three days, so you’ll want to jump on this quick.

What did you think of this article? Let us know in the comments below, and chat with us in our Discord! Keep an eye out for our full review coming very soon! Check out Zu’s Review below.


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