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Anbernic RG556 – Unisoc T820 powered Android retro gaming handheld

Anbernic RG556
Anbernic RG556

More details on Anbernic’s latest announced handheld have been revealed. Here is everything we know so far.

New Year and New Design

The Anbernic RG556 is a considerable change from Anbernic’s usual designs. Featuring curved grips and proper shoulder and trigger buttons, it looks more like an AYN Odin than their previous handhelds. We can see from the images and video that there is LED lighting around the two analogue sticks. It measures around 22.3 x 9 x 1.5 cm and weighs around 0.331kg

For the case colours, we know there will be a choice of four; Blue and Black in standard and transparent colours.

Anbernic RG556 different angles
Anbernic RG556 different angles

Anbernic RG556 Technical Specifications

The display is a 5.48″ AMOLED screen with a 1080×1920 resolution (rotated) display.

Powering the Anbernic RG556 is a UNISOC T820 processor. It is the successor to the well-known T618 chip which had been used in retro gaming handhelds such as the RG405V, RG505, Retroid Pocket 3+ and Retroid Pocket Flip. This processor has not been seen in a gaming handheld so it will be interesting to see how it performs. It is an eight-core CPU with three clusters, 1x ARM Cortex-A76 @ 2.7GHz, 3x A76 @ 2.3GHz and a power efficiency core of 4x ARM Cortex-A55 @2.1GHz.

The GPU is an ARM Mali-G57 MC4 with four cores @ 850Mhz. For RAM there is 8GB LPDDR4X and for storage, we would expect at least 128GB of internal UFS2.2 storage and a micro SD card reader for extra.

It will run on Android 13 OS and support Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. Powering it all is a 5500mAh battery which will last up to 8 hours depending on usage. The USB Type-C port supports 1080P DisplayPort for output to a TV or monitor.

Expected performance

Performance-wise we can compare it to the MediaTek Dimensity 1100 which has similar performance in some benchmarks. However, on some, we do see the Dimensity as high as 10% over the Unisoc. We recently reviewed the Retroid Pocket 4 PRO which uses this chip and had some excellent benchmark scores, see our full Retroid Pocket 4 Pro review here for more details.

For gaming and emulation performance we can expect similar performance levels for the most part as the RP4 Pro. It will be able to run up to PlayStation 1 and Dreamcast era without any issues whatsoever. For PlayStation 2 we should be able to see the vast majority of games running at full speed, even increasing the rendering resolution on some games for improved visuals.

We will see mixed performance on emulators such as Citra where shader caching lags will most likely be present. Though once you play through you will see faster performance. For the Vita3K emulator, we should see some playable games, most likely with some shader caching lag but generally playable afterwards. For the Yuzu emulator, we should also have some playable demanding games. Don’t expect any first-party games to work well though!

Expected release date and price

The Anbernic RG556 is expected to ship after Chinese New Year from March 5th onwards. The retro gaming handheld price is lower and competitive with the Retroid Pocket 4 PRO.

The Anbernic RG556 is shaping up to be an interesting handheld that has enough changes from the usual Anbernic designs to be an alternative to the Retroid Pocket 4 & Pro. However we will have to wait and see with some benchmarks in our full review as soon as we get our hands on the Anbernic RG556.

Bringer of videos, text and images! AKA the social media guy at DroiX. Massive retro gaming fan and collector, with a far too large collection of consoles and computers from 1970's to modern.