When it comes to looking for a portable handheld you’ve really had a couple of category options. The ever-popular 3.5” scene, with your 350Ms or your RGB20 or if you’re really feeling it your Retroid Pocket 2+. Outside of that, it was always really small devices. Thumby’s, Pocketsprites, or more recently RG Nanos and GKD Pixels. 

But this year has been seeing a couple of devices with a 2.8” screen that almost fall right into that happy medium. So with the Anbernic RG28XX and the Miyoo A30 now in hand, how do they stack up against each other? And is it worth a swap over from something like the Miyoo Mini


When it comes to specs you’re not looking at the most impressive device in any regard. An H700 and 1GB of RAM in the RG28XX, an Allwinner A33 and 512GB in the A30, and a Sigmastar SSD202D and 128MB of RAM in the Mini V4. The largest battery sits in the 28XX at 3100mAh whereas the A30 and Mini V4 have 2600 and 2000mAh respectively.

All of this powers the reason we’re talking about them in the first place, their tiny 2.8” displays. The A30 and RG28XX both rock a 640×480 resolution, meanwhile, the Mini V4 ups that slightly to 750×560 giving better scaling for GBA. Though if you get a Mini V1-3 you’ll get a 640×480 display as well.

All this to say that they’ll all perform most games to your expectations, but don’t expect to go off the deep end unless you find a device with some sort of G99 in it at a similar size.

Ergonomics and Size

First up, sizing. They’re all small devices; duh, but what’s funny is how close in size the 28XX and Miyoo A30 are. They’re almost identical in height, width, and thickness, but the A30 feels slightly larger in my opinion, most likely due to the center plastic ring being slightly larger than the front or back plate.

The Mini V4 on the other hand is about an inch and a half shorter than the others are wide, but is also a little wider than the others are tall. Compared to a 3.5” device like the 35XX H, they all feel a decent bit smaller. And as always, I’ve put their weights down below.

  • Mini V4 – 104 grams
  • A30 – 115 grams
  • RG28XX – 126 grams
  • RG35XX H – 183 grams

Ergonomics-wise, it’s a bit of a wash for me personally. Verticals, while being a better look and a better experience for me mostly, aren’t as ergonomic. So between the A30 and RG28XX which one feels better in hand? Honestly, it’s the A30.

The tapers on the edge fit my hands better, but really the buttons being higher up, and the shoulders being way larger just give a nicer experience. They’re easier to reach, easier to press, and better ergonomically. Which is almost a shame to me as you’re about to read going forward. 

Buttons and Screens

Let’s get the screen out of the way first. They’re all just about the same size with their slightly different resolutions if you’ve got a V4 or not. Honestly, they’re all bright enough, though I enjoy OnionOS and its screen adjustment settings.

The A30 on the other hand, when it came out of the box it felt super dim by comparison. However, software updates and optimizations seem to have at least helped a little with the brightness.

I recommend checking out what RetroBreeze had to say about the firmware over on Twitter. That leaves the 28XX which is fine. Nothing special to say about it, which in today’s landscape should hopefully be a good thing at least.

Now onto the buttons. Right away the 28XX has the best stock face buttons, but the worst sizing. Being smaller than the Mini V4 and A30 means these tic-tacs of a button can be covered all at once by my fat thumbs.

The same goes for the D-Pad. The Mini V4 on the other hand has the best combination of actuation and size. Light glossy buttons that are light to press and don’t require too much force.

All of this compared to the A30 though, which is larger in size, and feels almost lighter in the face buttons. And even worse has a D-Pad that I get fairly regular accidental diagonals while playing Apotris on.

Which in turn makes ME LOSE BECAUSE I PUT MY T PIECE DOWN TOO QUICKLY. Overall though the shoulder buttons on all 3 are serviceable. The 28XX are too small, the flat shoulders on the Mini V4 are hard to get to but work, and the A30 feels a bit mushy but is easy to get at and a nice size.

2.8 inch compromises everyone! It’s fine.

Firmware and Gameplay

When it comes to firmware, there’s one thing I have to say. OnionOS reigns supreme. MinUI might be my firmware of choice, but OnionOS’s customization, usability, and general breadth of use make it one of the best firmware choices out there. And in turn, means the Mini V4 has the best firmware of the bunch in my opinion.

Matched alongside that with pretty much great performance in gameplay up to PS1 and then support for Nintendo DS emulation means it covers just about every base I want in a small device. The Pico-8 support wins it some points as well.

Following that comes the RG28XX. Being in the same H700 platform as the 35XX+, 35XX (2024), 35XX H, and 35XX SP means that firmware is just a few steps away. Currently, you’ve got a number of choices from the Stock to Knulli, MuOS, and MinUI (my favorite).

Which paired with a platform that can play the same as the Mini V4, but also push to DS, Dreamcast, N64, or PSP you’ve got a lot in a small package. But honestly don’t expect the world out of the last three. You’ll be lucky to get a lot playable. It’s a PS1 and below machine for me as well.

Finally in last comes the A30. As of writing you really just have the StockOS. Which is fine out of the box, but had some questionable setup. Russ from RetroGameCorps shared that SNES doesn’t run great out of the box, and to fix it you need to go into Retroarch display settings and turn off the filter that was preapplied.

Sucks to need, but at least helps performance. The old chip with a smaller battery means it doesn’t last as long, but other than that, it performs well and even has a stick with it if you happen to play a game that needs it. But overall its’ user experience isn’t my favorite.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a pocketable 2.8” handheld I don’t think you could go wrong with the RG28XX or the Miyoo Mini V4. The Miyoo A30 has the potential to be great but sits at the back of the pack in need of a “V2” revision. If you’re willing to wait the xMagic XU Mini looks really promising, and is a device I’m absolutely going to be grabbing when it comes out. 

As for the 2.8” screen scene now. If you don’t want either of those you can step back a generation to the Anbernic 280M, or the Powkiddy V90, both of which seem to still have popularity and fans behind them, even as they get surpassed by new options today.

Regardless devices like these are awesome for taking with you, and for someone like me become better choices for portability over their larger 3.5” counterparts. I’m looking at you Miyoo Mini Plus.

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