Are you ready for another retro handheld? Well, ready or not, here they come! The M18 has landed over at GoGameGeek, bringing with it the vertical orientation that we’ve come to know and love. While it’s clearly the successor to the M17 in name, that’s about where the similarities stop.


M18 Colors

M18 Colors

Getting some of the basics out of the way, the M18 sports a 4.3-inch screen, offering an aspect ratio better suited for 16:9 games. While the listing claims the M18 is powered by the RK3566, according to the listed processor clock speeds, it may be the RK3288 (update, confirmed to be 3566). With this, the SoC is paired with 2GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard storage, and a microSD card slot that can be used with up to a 128GB card.

It’s not quite the same as the RK3566 found in the likes of the RG ARC-D and RGB30, the RK3288 is no slouch, as this chip handles up to the Sega Saturn for emulation. It even brings PS1 and N64 emulation to the table, along with some PSP games, provided that you’re okay with some trial and error when it comes to finding what games are compatible. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is! The RK3288 is also powering the original GPD XD, so it’s not like the M18 is hitting the market with a chip that nobody knows anything about.

Design and buttons

M18 Design Overview

M18 Design Overview

Looking at the overall design, it looks like the M18 is going to be quite comfortable with its bulbous rear end, along with the angled trigger buttons on the back. Something else that’s rather interesting about the M18 is the button and control layout on the front, as the joy-sticks are oriented diagonally, as opposed to what’s available on the RGB30, Retroid Pocket 2S, RG353V, and others. This makes me feel even better about ergonomics because it can be downright frustrating and uncomfortable to try and play a game using the left joystick near the bottom of whatever handheld I’m using.

Another oddity with the M18, at least based on the listing renders, is the rest of the buttons. If this is right, we have some rather bright and punchy AXBY buttons, to go along with angled Start and Select buttons. But then, there are Plus and Minus buttons closer to the top of the screen, and then a Home button nestled below between the right joystick and the D-Pad. Rounding out the front is a single speaker in the bottom right corner, similar to that of the Miyoo Mini+ and RG35XX+.

It’s Now Available

While the M18 (previously known as the R43 PRO) seems to be available over at GoGameGeek, you might want to hold off. We recommend waiting until our review is here from our YouTube and website to help you decide whether it’s worth the money. But, if you’re just anxious to play some games on a new handheld, you can head over to GoGameGeek. It’s priced at $89.99, but if you use code RH10 at checkout, you’ll save yourself an extra 10% (neat!).

So, if you’ve been waiting for another vertical handheld to hit the scene and want joysticks instead of just a D-Pad, the M18 is definitely worthy of consideration. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we see more of these styles of handhelds in 2024, even if my trusty RG353V is still going strong. There’s no such thing as having too many options, right?

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