There is no doubt that the emulation landscape has grown by leaps and bounds in the short few years since the pandemic. A lot of people found themselves with extra time they weren’t used to having, and started to pine for the games that they had so much fun playing with in their youth. New companies started popping out of the woodwork with handheld solutions for your nostalgic cravings. There were handheld devices that existed in the years leading up to the boom, but they never caught on with the mass appeal that we’re seeing now.

Anbernic RG380M

I had for years played emulators on various PCs, phones, iPads, and modded dedicated gaming hardware, but never a handheld specifically. I had recently picked up a Kinhank Console X Pro, which is yet another Android set-top box loaded with games on Emuelec when I saw a deal link for the Anbernic RG280M handheld for $55. For less than the cost of a new game, I could have a loaded emulation in handheld form? Sure, what the hell. That simple act of wallet abuse has led to a habit that goes on to this day…

Anbernic RG280M Specs

  • Screen: 2.8-inch IPS screen
  • Resolution320 x 480
  • Touch Screen: No
  • Model Number: RG280M
  • Colors: Gradient, Black, Gray
  • Material: Aluminum alloy shell
  • CPU: 4770 dual 1.0 GHz
  • Battery: 2,500mAh (up to 8 hours)
  • Storage: Built-in 16GB, external TF card up to 256GB
  • Dimensions: 136 x 61 x 18mm

So much has happened in the hobby in the short amount of time since this device came and went, but it could still show its contemporaries a few things about quality and design. The RG280M sports an all-metal shell and has some real heft and quality feel to it. Two grip pads on the rear make play sessions on the horizontal handheld a totally comfortable experience at any length.

Anbernic RG280M Collage

The 4770 processor above gives you an idea of the device’s capabilities. In a nutshell, it will run anything up to PSX, and do it well. This is a quality device meant for folks who want a solid experience with older games. This isn’t the device to maybe run a few PSP games with frame skip enabled, just put that out of your head. If you are looking for a great pocketable way to play classics on the go, and don’t need the bleeding edge, then it’s still a great handheld.

I took the RG280M down off the shelf to take a few pictures for this article and ended up playing Parappa the Rapper for 20 minutes before I did anything. It didn’t feel dated or outdone by any of the devices that have replaced it since. It just feels like a quality product that does its job to the best of its ability, and for this, I salute you noble forgotten-deal handheld. You can check out our full retrospective on the Anbernic 280M here.

Where to Buy

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