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Anbernic RG503 Gaming Handheld Available To Buy

The Anbernic RG503
(Image credit: Anbernic)

At just $150, the newly available Anbernic RG503 gaming handheld is certainly undercutting the likes of the Steam Deck and AyaNeo Next on price, but its specs - as reported by CNX Software (opens in new tab) - point more toward an emulation and streaming deck than a portable PC.

The Anbernic RG503

(Image credit: Anbernic)

At its heart sits Rockchip’s RK3566 SoC (featured in boards such as the Station M2 (opens in new tab) and considered a step up from the chip found in the Nintendo Switch and Raspberry Pi (opens in new tab) 3B+), which contains four Arm Cortex A55 cores ticking over at 1.8GHz. These are backed by just 1GB of LPDDR4 RAM and a Mali G-52 EE GPU. Storage comes in the form of two Micro SD slots, and the screen is a 4.95in OLED with a 960×544 resolution but isn't a touchscreen.

To interact, you’ll need to use the D-pad, pair of analog sticks (in a PlayStation configuration at the lower edge of the chassis), four face buttons, and triggers. There's wireless communication in the form of Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2, and a 3,200 mAH battery apparently good for six hours of use. The video out port comes via a micro HDMI 2.0a socket, there's a USB port for charging, and the whole thing weighs just 235g (8.3oz) in a package measuring 19 x 8.4 x 2.1 cm (7.4 x 3.3 x 0.8 in).

Now, with one eye on our lawyers, we should tell you that the device is available with a 64GB Micro SD card stuffed with games - 4,193 of them - which, judging by video reviews we’ve seen, appear to be of the copyrighted variety. Of course, we couldn’t possibly suggest buying one for that sort of thing, but the Linux OS the device runs (a fork of EmuELEC) sets it up nicely as a streaming unit, perhaps running Moonlight to stream Steam games from a gaming PC on the same network, and pretend it’s a Steam Deck, or Chiaki to stream your PlayStation 4 games. Alternatively, Kodi functionality is advertised, so you could use it as a media streamer, though that screen is likely to be as limiting as the small amount of RAM.

The Anbernic RG503 is available from Anberic’s store (opens in new tab) for $149.99, rising to $157.99 with that naughty SD card. It’s also being sold on AliExpress (opens in new tab) and Banggood.

Ian Evenden
Ian Evenden

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • WrongRookie
    You know I get that emulation itself is not illegal but the way it's used, it's promoting illegal uses....

    Nintendo already didn't like the sound of Steam Deck which is able to play their games.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    Now, with one eye on our lawyers, we should tell you that the device is available with a 64GB Micro SD card stuffed with games - 4,193 of them - which, judging by video reviews we’ve seen, appear to be of the copyrighted variety.
    If that's actually how they sell this device, that's a quick way to get slapped with a C&D.
    Reply
  • WrongRookie
    hotaru.hino said:
    If that's actually how they sell this device, that's a quick way to get slapped with a C&D.

    Although it's inevitable that it's going to get C&D, only PlayStation and PSP seem to be of a threat to Sony. Sega is quite lenient with emulation for a long time as far as I recall.

    But then this appears to be one the best way to play PSP games with the psp servers discontinued. But again..the C&D is inevitable.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    WrongRookie said:
    Although it's inevitable that it's going to get C&D, only PlayStation and PSP seem to be of a threat to Sony. Sega is quite lenient with emulation for a long time as far as I recall.

    But then this appears to be one the best way to play PSP games with the psp servers discontinued. But again..the C&D is inevitable.
    As long as they're not shipping with any copyrighted software, Sony can send all the C&D's they want and the company can ignore them because they're not doing anything illegal. And no, advertising you can run emulators isn't illegal either, otherwise all of those modern retro gaming consoles that take in physical cartridges would've been taken down. Most of them certainly aren't running the actual hardware or an FPGA mimicking it.

    Sony lost the legal battle against emulation with Bleem 20 some years ago. Nintendo doesn't even go after emulator developers, they just go after websites that host ROMs because that's the only legal footing they have.
    Reply
  • WrongRookie
    hotaru.hino said:
    As long as they're not shipping with any copyrighted software, Sony can send all the C&D's they want and the company can ignore them because they're not doing anything illegal. And no, advertising you can run emulators isn't illegal either, otherwise all of those modern retro gaming consoles that take in physical cartridges would've been taken down. Most of them certainly aren't running the actual hardware or an FPGA mimicking it.

    Sony lost the legal battle against emulation with Bleem 20 some years ago. Nintendo doesn't even go after emulator developers, they just go after websites that host ROMs because that's the only legal footing they have.

    True. And if I remember, Nintendo also sort of applauded dolphin working out for wii as they didn't bother with them that much.

    I guess in the end, it all depends on which of these handhelds is the best alternative of Steam Deck
    Reply