Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Anbernic RG35XXSP review – A great clamshell retro gaming handheld

Anbernic RG35XXSP Review
Anbernic RG35XXSP Review
Anbernic RG35XXS Review
  • Design
  • Build Quality
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Features
  • Software


The Anbernic RG35XXSP retro gaming handheld inspired by the classic SP design is an excellent budget entry level but also ideal for collectors.

User Review
0 (0 votes)


  • Great design based on the classic SP
  • High quality display
  • Good performance for a budget handheld
  • Expandable storage via 2nd Micro SD card slot


  • Buttons are a little clicky compared to other handhelds

The Anbernic RG35XXSP is finally in our hands, let’s see how this classic clamshell inspired retro gaming handheld design compares to the original as well as comparing with other H700 processor based handhelds.

NOTE: We have read the reports of issues with the RG35XXSP breaking due to popped components and/or battery issues. We believe these are caused by not using the supplied USB cable and/or using a high powered charger. We recommend using the included USB cable and a 5V 3A USB charger. More details in our Knowledge Base post here.

Anbernic RG35XXSP Review Video

Anbernic RG35XXSP Unboxing

Anbernic RG35XXSP Review
Anbernic RG35XXSP Unboxing

We start our Anbernic RG35XXSP review with a brief unboxing. Inside the box is the Anbernic RG35XXSP handheld followed by a user manual in Chinese and English languages. Next we have a screen protector and wipes for when applying it. And last but not least, a USB Type-C Charge Cable

Anbernic RG35XXSP Overview

We continue our Anbernic RG35XXSP review with an overview of the classic gaming handheld. The Anbernic RG35XXSP is available in four colours, Silver, Gray, Black Transparent, Blue Transparent. The Silver is obviously based on the classic Silver theme while the others are more the usual Anbernic themes.

Anbernic RG35XXSP Colours
Anbernic RG35XXSP Colours

It measures around 3.5 x 3.3 x 1.06 inches (8.9 x 8.5 x 2.7 cm) when closed and weighs around 192g (0.42 lbs.)

The lid flips open to reveal a 3.5 inch IPS display with a 640×480 resolution. The resolution is great for retro gaming as most upscale quite nicely to this resolution. On the lower half we have a classic D-Pad, gaming buttons while are a bit clicky and a menu button at the top. The left side has a volume button, and the right side has a power button and reset button. The front has a 3.5mm audio jack and two micro SD card slots. Inside the first is the OS and some space left for games. The second is empty and can be used for extra game storage.

Anbernic RG35XXSP Front View
Anbernic RG35XXSP Front View

The back has a pair of left and right buttons and in between is a Micro HDMI port for output to a display, and a USB Type-C port for charging. And the bottom has a removable cover if you need to replace the battery.

Anbernic RG35XXSP Back View
Anbernic RG35XXSP Back View

The lid features a magnetic switch that will put the device into sleep mode when closed, and instantly wake up when opened. It’s great for quick pick up and play or while travelling. It will use some battery life so only use it if you are intending to come back to it sooner rather than later.

Anbernic RG35XXSP Carry Case
Anbernic RG35XXSP Carry Case

Also available separately is a case for the handheld. It is hardshell case with a soft finish that zips up around the side. The top half has some storage space and the bottom half is for the handheld. It fits quite nicely inside, and of course the original SP fits just fine as well in case you were wondering.

Compared to original GBA SP

We could not make an Anbernic RG35XXSP review without comparing it to the original GBA SP model. A quick comparison of the Anbernic RG35XXSP to the original. The Anbernic is ever so slightly larger in size than the original. Visually they look very similar, even down to the double hinge design. The Anbernic has a larger display and the difference in quality is chalk and cheese. You have the two extra gaming buttons on the front that are the major difference.

Anbernic RG35XXSP compared with GBA SP
Anbernic RG35XXSP compared with GBA SP

The sides are a bit different as the cartridge slot is replaced with the micro sd card slots. And the volume slider on the original is replaced with buttons. And on the back we have different ports and two extra gaming buttons. It’s a nice job by Anbernic to keep the design as close as possible to the original!

Technical Specifications

Next in our Anbernic RG35XXSP review we cover the technical specifications and also test the heat generated by the portable retro gaming console.

DISPLAY3.5-inch IPS full viewing angle, OCA full lamination/ 640*480
CPUH700 quad-core ARM Cortex-A53, 1.5GHz frequency
GPUDual- core Mali-G31 MP2
STORAGESlot 1: 64GB Micro SD card, Slot 2: empty, can be used for more storage
COMMUNICATIONS2.4/5G WIFI 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 (Only works with Bluetooth controllers)
BATTERYPolymer lithium battery 3300mAH, lasting 8 hours
CHARGING5V/1.5A, support C2C charger
DIMENSIONS3.3 x 3.5 x 1.06 inches / 8.5 x 8.9 x 2.7 cm
COLOURSSilver, Gray, Black Transparent, Blue Transparent

There have been discussions about the temperature while playing the higher demanding systems such as the Dreamcast. We let it run for a while and got a highest temperature of 37 °C which is nothing to worry about.

Anbernic RG35XXSP HDMI Output
Anbernic RG35XXSP HDMI Output

OS & Menus

We will continue the Anbernic RG35XXSP review with a look at the operating system and its software. Anbernic have been improving their lower end portable gaming handheld menus this year and overall while quite basic they still do the job. 

Anbernic RG35XXSP Console Menu
Anbernic RG35XXSP Console Menu

You have the native games menu which covers a variety of systems ranging from PSP, Arcade down to WonderSwan.

Next is the RetroArch menu which has a wider selection of systems. Again everything from PSP to WonderSwan, but additional systems such as the excellent Pico-8, Atari and SEGA systems and more including some game ports.

Anbernic RG35XXSP RetroArch
Anbernic RG35XXSP RetroArch

Simply select a system, browse the games available for it, pick one and it loads straight into it. While playing you can press the Menu button to bring up the menu. Depending if you are using native or RetroArch, there’s options for quitting out, save and load states, etc.  RetroArch has a more extensive range of customisation.

There’s an App centre with music and video player as well as an ebook reader for some non-gaming activities. And on the settings screen there are some options for date and time, language, network settings etc.

Anbernic RG35XXSP System Menu
Anbernic RG35XXSP System Menu

The menu is basic in appearance, but it’s fast and easy to navigate which is what you want on a handheld.

Emulation Performance

We know from other H700 mobile gaming handhelds that the processor is  good for emulating up to the PS1 and Dreamcast. You shouldn’t have any issues from the earliest right up to the later era. Let’s check out a few of the newer systems for the Anbernic RG35XXSP review.

The DS is very playable but do keep in mind there is no touchscreen so you will need to use the on-screen stylus. On the PS1, all the games we tried run great. N64 overall works well, you will find a few lower performing games. On the SEGA Dreamcast there’s some games that won’t work very well as they are too demanding. Try some frame skipping to help improve it.

Anbernic RG35XXSP Dreamcast emulator
Anbernic RG35XXSP Dreamcast emulator

On The PSP  there are some very well working games. But do not expect to be able to play the more demanding games like God of War Chains of Olympus which runs at around 20 frames per second.

Final thoughts

Time to sum up our Anbernic RG35XXSP review with some final thoughts. At the price point the Anbernic RG35XXSP is great value for money. You can run right up to DC and some PSP with this chipset, something that a couple of years ago wouldn’t be possible at this price.

Afterburner on 32X
Afterburner on 32X

The clamshell design in my opinion is great. It fits easily in your jeans pocket and won’t have any issues in your jacket pocket or a bag. The sleep mode works well enough, you can fold it closed and in your pocket in moments, and just as fast to get back into the action.

The smaller size still remains comfortable in your hands to play on for a good length of time. If you are watching a video or listening to music you can even put it on a desk unaided. Talking about time, the battery life is very good, around 8 hours give or take. That’s a decent length of time and enough to get you through the day. The supposed heat issues are not really a concern as we have shown.

The Anbernic RG35XXSP is an excellent entry level vintage gaming handheld if you are looking to dip your toes into retro gaming handhelds. But here’s the thing, I have tried just about every handheld out there, and for the design, portability and price, I think it’s still worth considering getting one for the collection.

You can learn more about and buy the Anbernic RG35XXSP here. Use the code RGSP5OFF for 5% off on the checkout. The code is valid for one month of this review being posted and can not be used during store sales or other promotions.

That wraps up our Anbernic RG35XXSP review, we hope you have found it useful. What do you think of the retro gaming handheld? Worth buying or pass? Let us know in the comments.

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.