Anbernic RG35XXSP Review – A classic design with an awesome modern twist

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Being a retro gaming handheld fan, the Anbernic RG35XXSP based on the classic GBA SP design had my interest from the moment it was announced. In our Anbernic RG35XXSP review we see how it compares with the original design as well as what the new hardware can handle.

Unboxing the Anbernic RG35XXSP

Anbernic RG35XXSP Review
Anbernic RG35XXSP Unboxing

We start the Anbernic RG35XXSP review with a brief look at what you get with it. Cracking open the box feels like unearthing a forgotten treasure, with the Anbernic RG35XXSP itself nestled amongst a user manual, 64GB micro SD card, screen protector, and screen wipes for when applying it – everything you need to embark on a pixelated adventure!

A Modern Take on a Classic Form

Available in four colours – a timeless silver (reviewed here), a sophisticated grey, and translucent options in black and blue – the Anbernic RG35XXSP evokes a sense of familiarity. It’s slightly larger than the beloved GBA SP (see further below for comparisons), but retains the iconic clamshell design that made the original so beloved. Flipping it open reveals a vibrant 3.5-inch IPS display, a good size for immersing yourself in retro classics. Lets take a closer look at the controls for the Anbernic RG35XXSP review.

Controls That Feel Like Home

Beneath the display lies a layout that will instantly bring back memories for any retro gamer: a D-pad that feels satisfying under your thumb, responsive gaming buttons (if a little clicky), and a dedicated menu button for easy navigation. The sides house familiar volume and power buttons, alongside a headphone jack for private listening sessions. Dual micro SD card slots provide ample storage for your ever-growing game library.

GBA SP and Anbernic RG35XXSP controls comparison
GBA SP and Anbernic RG35XXSP controls comparison

The back boasts comfortable shoulder buttons for additional control complexity, a micro HDMI port that lets you connect to a TV for a big-screen experience, and a modern USB-C charging port for convenient power-ups. A clever magnetic switch puts the Anbernic RG35XXSP to sleep when closed, making it perfect for those quick pick-up-and-play sessions. An optional hard-shell carrying case adds an extra layer of protection for your cherished handheld.

A Heartfelt Homage to the GBA SP

Placing the Anbernic RG35XXSP next to its predecessor, the GBA SP, is a delightful exercise in nostalgia. While the size is slightly different, the clamshell design feels instantly familiar. The modern touches, like the larger and higher-quality display, are immediately noticeable. The extra shoulder buttons add functionality, and the micro SD card slots replace the cartridge slot, a testament to the evolution of gaming. It’s a clear homage to the GBA SP, but with the power of modern technology hidden beneath its familiar shell.

Unleashing the Power Within

The RG35XXSP boasts a quad-core H700 processor with a Mali-G31 GPU, backed by 1GB of RAM. This translates to smooth emulation for most true retro consoles you throw at it. The 3300mAh battery ensures you can enjoy up to 8 hours (depending on the system and CPU frequency) of retro bliss on a single charge, keeping you fuelled for extended gaming sessions.

Simple Menus, Endless Possibilities

Anbernic RG35XXSP Menus
Anbernic RG35XXSP Menus

The Anbernic RG35XXSP features a user-friendly menu system that’s easy to navigate, even for newcomers. It offers access to native emulators for a dozen of consoles, from the iconic PSP to classic arcade experiences and even the quirky WonderSwan. But for the more adventurous gamer, RetroArch is included, providing a wider selection of systems and extensive customization options to tailor the experience to your liking. There’s even an app centre featuring a music player, video player, and eBook reader, offering a well-rounded entertainment package beyond just retro gaming.

Emulation Muscle for Classic Games

The true test of any retro gaming device lies in its emulation capabilities. The Anbernic RG35XXSP tackled most retro systems up to PS1 era with ease. The PS1 emulator worked great and with the games we tested we experienced no issues at all. This goes the same for DS emulation which works very well, but do remember there is no touchscreen support so you will need to use the on-screen stylus when required.

The N64 emulator did struggle with a handful of demanding titles. The Dreamcast emulator required some tweaking for resource-intensive games, but even then we did experience slow downs in games. Lower demanding PSP games generally ran fairly smoothly, but anything more demanding i.e. titles such as God of War will run at around 20 Frames Per Second.

Anbernic RG35XXSP Review Summary

A brief summary of our Anbernic RG35XXSP review. For the price point, the Anbernic RG35XXSP offers exceptional value. It tackles emulation for most retro consoles, including the PS1. But for Dreamcast, N64 and PSP emulation, you will want to consider a more powerful device such as the Retroid Pocket 4 PRO. The clamshell design offers excellent portability, the sleep mode is a convenient feature for on-the-go gaming, and the battery life is impressive.

A Retro Gem at an Unbeatable Price

The RG35XXSP is a fantastic entry point for anyone curious about dipping their toes into the world of retro gaming. It offers a taste of the classics with a user-friendly interface and impressive performance. But even for seasoned retro enthusiasts, the combination of a nostalgic design, excellent portability, and a budget-friendly price tag makes the Anbernic RG35XXSP a worthy addition to any handheld collection. It’s a love letter to a bygone era of gaming, wrapped in a modern package.


  • Faithful design based on original GBA SP
  • Good range of emulators
  • Fast, if a little basic, menus
  • Decent controls
  • Sleep mode is a nice idea


  • Not quite enough power for more demanding systems like the Dreamcast and PSP. and and

We highly recommend DroiX for all things handheld gaming. Based in London, UK, they ship worldwide with fast delivery options. All their products come with at least one year warranty (two years for GPD products) and are backed up with excellent customer service should anything go wrong.

We hope you have enjoyed our Anbernic RG35XXSP review!