Well this certainly looks familiar, although the last time we saw this design was the first time we had this particular lineup of devices from Anbernic. Much like the 351 series that preceded it, the 353 series has now featured numerous iterations at varying pricepoints and with different overall goals to their design. The 353P(S) seems to aim for a nostalgic look and pure comfort in the hand, whilst perhaps ignoring pocketability or sleekness. It is not very surprising that Anbernic would like to return to this well as long as water keeps coming up in the bucket, as surely development of each new chipset’s design takes a lot of time and money. While some among us may be tired of seeing the same thing over and over, those of you who have not yet dipped your toes in the 353 pool will be pleased to be receiving a very mature device at this point. Early flaws worked out, plenty of software options, plenty of purchasing options, and a community that is quite familiar with the quirks and issues so that they can pass along that knowledge to newcomers.
The most prominent software options often available, and likewise the gift of a dedicated community of brilliant people, is the Custom Firmware that can be installed on the device. Sure, there is a default firmware already installed onboard by Anbernic, and it may be fine for some. It picks up and plays just fine, after all. However, if you want to tweak your device look no further while I outline some of your options available that will allow for a greater variety of experiences on this new, yet old, yet new device.
First out the gate alphabetically would be my personal favorite CFW option, ArkOS. A product of the bright mind of Christian Haitian, this firmware like many of the others is easily installed with a simple SD flashing software, my personal favorite being USB Image Tool though you can also use something like Rufus or Win32 Disk Imager. The developer cautions against using Balena Etcher though this is another popular imaging tool that people often use, and could be useful for other CFW options on this list.
Moving down that list we run into JelOS, a popular build that was mired in some controversy when the developer decided to stop releasing builds of the firmware, but it seems as though more recently they began releasing those builds again for the RK3566 Anbernic devices. Of course during the absence, a couple of other members of the community stepped forward and committed to UnofficialOS to continue support for JelOS. With both now supporting these devices, uOS is differentiated as a fork of JelOS, and thus should feature slightly different updates and features as time goes on and the two fork further apart due to the differing visions of each team.
Lastly The Retro Arena, or TheRA, is a solid CFW that has been kicking around for a while and supports a wide variety of systems outside of just the 353 devices.
Now of course one of the differences between the 353P and the 353PS is the lack of dual-boot into Android, so we won’t need to mention any of the Android CFW that this chipset has received. There was also some mention at one point that AmberElec may eventually reach the 353 devices, but that doesn’t appear to have happened.
At the end of the day, these systems are often given their full life by the community. Dedicated and passionate developers who work hard to give us the fullest experience these chipsets have to offer. If you’re looking for better performance, more customization options, actual continuing software support, or all of the above, then look no further than the options outlined on this page. There’s surely something for everyone to be found. If you’re still wondering about the 353PS itself, I encourage you to check out our full reviews, either the written one found here, or the video one found below.