Anbernic RG300X
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

We've covered the exploits of Chinese firm Anbernic on Nintendo Life before, thanks to our coverage of its generally excellent RG351 handheld. The company has become popular in recent years due to the fact that it combines great design with solid ergonomics – and its systems are pretty decent when it comes to replicating classic consoles via emulation.

Anbernic's latest effort, the RG300X, seems to follow the same pattern. It's clearly a clone of the Game Boy Micro in terms of design – it even rips off the 'Famicom edition' styling seen in a Japanese exclusive version of that particular Nintendo handheld – but is slightly larger and has a bigger, 640x480-pixel 3-inch screen. It also throws in two extra face buttons and two additional shoulder buttons for good measure – oh, and you charge its 2,500 mAh battery using USB-C.

The D-pad is excellent, as are the buttons, but the LCD display is somewhat disappointing. It looks washed-out and dull, especially when compared to the screen on the RG351. On the plus side, it has an aspect ratio which is more suited to retro games than the screens seen on many other handheld devices of this type.

Beating at the heart of the RG300X is the same dual-core 1.0GHz JZ4770 processor that's found in so many of Anbernic's handhelds. Many fans were expecting the company to step up to a faster chipset, but given the chip shortage that is currently gripping the globe, that's perhaps a little optimistic. It means that performance-wise, the RG300X isn't going to blow away the competition, but it does at least mean that 8-bit and 16-bit emulation is solid. There's no analogue stick to speak of, so you'll probably want to stick with pre-N64 titles anyway.

The unit we were sent for review (by online reseller DroiX) uses the Linux-based OpenDingux OS, which is quite old and outdated by modern standards – especially when compared to the EmuELEC OS that is used on other Anbernic devices. There's a chance someone will release custom firmware for the RG300X in the future, of course, but for the time being, navigating the system's UI is occasionally very cumbersome – and it goes without saying that most retailers supply the unit without any ROMs included, so you'll need to acquire them yourself, legally if possible.

For the asking price of around £70 – slightly less than the RG351 sells for – the RG300X is certainly worth a look, especially if you're sold on the Game Boy Micro-style design. We have to say, it's certainly the most appealing aspect of this product. Emulation is generally decent, assuming you want to stick with NES, SNES, Mega Drive and GBA titles. It's a shame that the display is sub-par when compared with Anbernic's other products, and that its OS feels like such a relic from the past.

This article was originally published by on Fri 20th August, 2021.