Is it still relevant?
When an Anbernic handheld hits the market, we expect a high standard.
When they release a large and expensive device, we expect even better.
Enter the RG552.
Straight away we can see this thing means business. It sports a nice 5.3″ display that pushes out a high resolution, and uses the RK3399 chipset which should put this ahead of Anbernic’s other models.
Controls are extremely conservative.
D-Pad is Anbernic’s usual, the Super Nintendo style which was decent for the most part, but we had problems pulling off the Super moves in games such as Street Fighter (down to forward twice then punch). Buttons, too are slightly gritty but nothing out of the normal.
The layout, looking similar to a Playstation 2 controller is comfortable for the most part, but it’s apparent that the L1 and R2 shoulder buttons are difficult to hit. For twitchy fighting games, not recommended. The analogue sticks do the job and have a button when pushed in. The layout of these sticks could do with being better thought out, they’re not in the most ergonomic spot.
The model we received had Android 11 preinstalled onto its 64gb of internal space. It is, however without the Google Playstore; any new software would need to be manually installed via apk files, or by using an alternative apk store like apkpure.
There were also emulators preinstalled. PPSSPP, Retroarch, Mupen64Plus FZ, and they ran quite well. 60fps in OutRun 2006 with 2x resolution (unbuffered) kept me happy for the most part, but then while trying other things in Android had the handheld restart on many occasion.
Anbernic’s saving grace? Linux!
This unit came with two MicroSD cards. A 16gb and a 64gb. The former had Anbernic’s version of Batocera installed, and the latter was full of games.
To load Linux, simply insert the MicroSD cards before we turn on the console.
At first sight, it’s pretty incredible. Many emulators and games from the Atari, all the way to the PSP are installed. Adding games to the list is quite simple- Pop the games MicroSD into your computer and then copy over your own files.
But performance is VERY hit and miss.
Even the easier-to-run systems like Genesis had slowdown. We assume this is because Anbernic failed to test each emulator on the system. Simply switching to Picodrive in the system list had this running at 100% speed.
Dreamcast also performed poorly.
Marvel Vs Capcom 2 with slow music at the character selection is an obvious sign that the software is simply not optimized for the hardware.
Jelos, the BETTER alternative
Thankfully in mid-late 2022, we have a few alternatives. We tested out Batocera and JELOS on a newly bought MicroSD. Batocera ran, but was hit and miss… The diamond? JELOS!
Soon as JELOS is installed, everything runs FAR better. This is what we expected at stock. Dreamcast, Naomi- Alright! PSP… Better, but as we don’t have VULKAN, we get slightly worse performance than experienced on Android.
In closing, the RG552 is a poor choice.
After testing both MicroSD cards, we found out that both were fake-spaced cards. We cannot stress enough that using these cards is a BAD idea. Losing data, corrupting save files. It’s an insult that these were included in a $200+ handheld.
If Anbernic sold this with no MicroSD cards and was priced similar to the Retroid Pocket 3, it then might be a good choice if you wanted a large screen handheld that can run older systems.
Outside that? There’s not really much going for it.
When we have the cheaper Anbernic RG353P, and then the Retroid Pocket 3 hitting it out of the park, we can’t recommend this unless it is more reasonably priced.
Cons: Price, performance, controls