2024 has been off to an interesting start. Ayaneo released a few handhelds already, Powkiddy has their Max 3 (non-pro), and the Gameforce Ace is finally shipping. Amongst the crowd of randomly released handhelds came a pair of devices in the $150-$200 price point that really raised some eyebrows. Or at least mine, but I get shocked by a lot of things. I’m talking about the Anbernic RG556 and the Retroid Pocket 4 Pro. 

Priced at $175, or $185 after pre-orders end, and $200 respectively. These two devices have a lot to offer for their similar prices, and depending on what you’re looking for, one could definitely be the device for you. 

If you’re looking at these two, unsure of what to grab, hopefully this first look comparison at the RP4 Pro and RG556 can help you make up your mind and make the choice that’s right for you. With it being a first-look, don’t expect the big performance questions to be answered. That’ll be in our full RG556 written review, or in the video reviews over on the Retro Handhelds Channel!

Before getting started, the RP4 Pro was purchased by me from Retroid, while the Anbernic RG556 was sent to me by Anbernic. All the thoughts (and likely wrong) opinions are my own though, and you have to read them.

Quick Specs Rundown

Let’s make this quick, I’m not the big specs guy and you’ll see that more in the full reviews.

The RG556 is powered by a Unisoc T820, 8gb of ram, and 128gb of internal storage. All powered by a 5500mAh battery, and running a 5.48 inch AMOLED display at 1920×1080. It’s got the usual Wi-Fi channels and bluetooth 5.0, but I want to mention it also supports display out over the Type C port, which honestly, is a nice inclusion.

The Retroid Pocket 4 Pro on the other hand is powered by a Mediatek Dimensity D1100 , 8gb of ram, and 128gb of internal storage. Alongside that is its 5000mAh battery, 4.7” 1334×750 IPS display, and usual fixings of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Oh, and it also has display out over USB-C as well as a Micro HDMI port. If that’s all your thing, of course, though for Retroid it’s a common inclusion now. 

Ergonomics and Size

First up is a pretty straightforward comparison. The size of these handhelds, and how they feel in the hand. The RG556 is quite simply, a larger device. The screen is larger, the grips are larger. It’s taller, thicker, and wider than the Pocket 4 Pro. If you’re looking for a pocketable device, this is not it. Though I wouldn’t say the RP4 is either, that’s just my opinion. 

    The added size comes with some benefits, the RG556 is way more comfortable. The grips fill my hand nicely, and my thumbs find their way to the buttons with ease. Meanwhile, the RP4 continues the lineage from the RP3 and RP3+ of, well, not great ergonomics. It’s fine, but it feels awkward to hold at times, and using the sticks is a lesson of I don’t want to. But I did anyway, and it works. The RG556 gets my points. 

One last note, the RP4 Pro has this nice textured finish that makes it really nice for me to grip, while the 556 feels like bare smooth smudgy plastic. Mine originally squeaked when I girpped it, though that has gone away. It might have just been my unit, though. Overall, the RG556 wins for Ergonomics.


RP4 Pro – 274 grams

RG556 – 351 grams

Controls and Screen

I’m gonna put two things into this section, because I think they’re some of the most iimportant parts of actually using a handheld. The controls and the screen.  

Controls first: the RG556 generally has larger controls than the RP4 Pro. The RG556 features slightly stiffer buttons, and a looser, less clicky d-pad in comparison to the RP4, and they’re all nice, but aren’t my preference. I think I’d compare the 556’s button feel to the 35XXH, a device that’s close to 1/3rd the price. The RP4 on the other hand has buttons that are less stiff to press, and the classic vita styled d-pad that I actually have really gotten to like over time. Now that I own a Vita, I can see what everyone’s been talking about.

Shoulders and Triggers? RP4 wins. The shoulders are less clicky, and the triggers have a lighter, and possibly smoother travel by comparison. The RG556 feels like it just has a little more resistance in it, and I’m not a big fan.

The sticks are hall on both devices, and while the Switch esque style sticks are fine on the 556, the RP4 hall sticks are just way better again. They’re smoother which makes them feel lighter, and I don’t know for sure why, they feel like they have better travel.

For controls, the RP4 wins.

Screens are gonna be down to personal preference. 4.7” vs 5.5”. 750p vs 1080p. IPS vs AMOLED… wait, that one’s actually not an easy draw. 

The RP4 Pro has a really nice IPS display, that originally had a green tint to it, and after software updates has become closer to the likes of my RP3+ and RP3. However, from personal use, the AMOLED display of the RG556 is just nicer to me. It’s a little larger of a screen, slightly higher resolution, and in general just a better experience for me.

Put the RP4 buttons in the RG556 and I think I’d have really found a winner. 

The Android OS

Both devices come out of the box running Android 13, a nice touch and makes the longevity of these devices feel like they could go a bit longer.

While the RP4 takes you through the process of setting things up, adding emulators that you choose to install, and letting you choose whether or not you want the Retroid launcher, the 556 didn’t. It may just be my unit, but the RG556 was already setup in Android, with emulators pre-installed from Flycast to AetherSX2 and even Moonlight. And of course their classic animated anime girl background that I’ve left in place for this comparison. 

Both devices have a number of settings in their swipe-down menus to help you setup the handheld for how you need. The RP4 features forced landscape, Performance modes, and fan controls. The RG556 includes keymapping, CPU performance toggles, fan control, and controller modes to switch between Nintendo mapping, and Xbox mode. An option that’s great for making sure you can properly experience game streaming!

They also both have their own launchers which nowadays feel pretty barebones in comparison to Pegasus, or Daijisho. Neither device does anything wrong, and I don’t really think you’ll have much of an issue setting up your devices. 

GammaOS for the 556 though, please.

The Gaming Experience

Again, this isn’t a full review, check out the review over on the RH Youtube channel, or our upcoming full RG556 review, but it isn’t a handheld discussion without talking about the gaming experience.

Android gaming is great on both of these. I’ve been playing a lot of Dicey Dungeons on the RP4 Pro, and I found myself returning to Dead Cells and Horizon Chase Turbo on the RG556. Saying this, I think I’m gonna try Grid Autosport on the 556 now. The stick is in the right spot for it on that device.  

Everything under Dreamcast runs great on both handhelds. However, whether you’re a d-pad up top, or a stick up top kind of person will determine which of these will be a better option for you. At least in those systems. Once you reach Gamecube, PS2, and Switch you’re going to have a hit or miss experience. Gamecube runs pretty well on both devices, PS2 becomes a not concrete, and Switch is going to be a system where you have to pick your battles. Though there are some wonderful videos about Switch emulation on the RP4 Pro out there already. The RP4 has the more powerful processor and can generally brute force its way through more games, but the RG556 isn’t a slouch either, and offered a pretty dang nice experience as well.

Though Burnout 3 Takedown still wasn’t perfect on either device for me… sad.

Conclusion… for Now

In the end, if I could only pick one of these devices and I had to sell the other, I think I’d take the RP4 Pro over the 556. It feels nicer in the hand, it’s got a smaller screen but more performance. And for the games that I play; Android games, Dreamcast, and some Lighter Gamecube, I think it’s the better choice for me. It isn’t as ergonomic, but I guess that’s what the $15 grip case is for.

The RG556 isn’t a bad choice though. Great screen, nice face buttons and d-pad, Android 13 and a usable interface. And a genuinely nice screen. Really, if they had put an RP4 Pro into the RG556 body and screen, I think you’d have 95% of a winner. The biggest gripe I had was the unfinished plastic body, and the squeaking that eventually went away. 

Really you can’t go wrong in either direction. Just like with every other handheld in the market it’s a game of give and take. I want this, but can’t get that. For $175-$200 this is a good place to start. But please. Whatever you do, don’t buy the RG552. That thing is still like $190 and it’s not worth that. Anbernic please…

You can purchase the 556 from Anbernic directly at: this link, and the RP4/Pro from Retroid directly at: this link.

What did you think of this article? Let us know in the comments below, and chat with us in our Discord!

If you want a couple of video reviews too well good luck! Here’s the Zu Review for ya.

And here’s Aish’s new Deep Dive review!

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