The hardware itself is great but is slightly let down with some issues with the firmware. However, we are sure these will be fixed and vastly improved over time via official and custom firmware updates. Theres plenty of classic retro games to explore and play!
User Review( votes)
- Finally a new CPU with the RockChip RK3399!
- Large 5.36″ touchscreen that looks great
- HDMI Output to TV or Monitor
- Dual boot to Android or Linux
- Built in WiFi
- Fan is very quiet
- Performance could be better with some emulators
- Having to manually enable audio when using HDMI on Linux
We have the eagerly anticipated RG552 from Anbernic review sample today. We will be unboxing it and taking a closer look at its features including the Android and Linux operating systems. Then we will run a bunch of emulators and compare the performance of them between the two OS’s.
RG552 Review Video
RG552 from Anbernic Unboxing
As always, let’s get started with the unboxing. First we have the RG552 retro gaming handheld which we will show in more detail shortly.
Next there is a US charger and UK plug adaptor. We will include a converter if you are purchasing in an EU country. Under the packaging is a USB Type-C cable for charging.
There is a user guide which is in full English and covers everything you need to get started.
There are two Micro SD Cards. The 16GB card contains the Linux operating system, and the 64GB storage card contains everything you need to get started and can go into the second card slot.
Last but not least are some screen wipes and screen protector to fit on your screen.
The Anbernic RG552 measures 7.8 x 3.3 x 0.7 inches (20 x 8.5 x 2 cm) and weighs 353 grams. The IPS touchscreen measures 5.36 inches with a resolution of 1920×1152.
On the left you can find the SELECT button, classic D-Pad and clickable Left Analogue Stick. On the right you can find the START button, four gaming buttons and clickable right analogue stick.
Along the top are Left and Right shoulder and trigger buttons. There is a mini HDMI port which you can use to connect to your TV or monitor for large screen gaming. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack and two USB Type-C ports. One is for charging and the other is for connecting peripherals to.
On the bottom you can find two speakers on either side. There are two Micro SD card slots, the left can be used for the Linux OS card, and the second for the 64GB storage. There are reset and function buttons in the middle.
On the back you can find two finger grip pads and the fan intake area. The fan is very quiet and barely noticeable even under full load with low music output.
The RG552 is available in two colours; Black and Bronze Gray.
Compared to the amazing RG351MP from Anbernic you can see that the RG552 screen is a fair bit larger.
But when compared with the GPD XP, the ultra widescreen is larger than the RG552. Personally I prefer the RG552 widescreen as it offers the best compatibility with Android games and emulators.
A very brief comparison between the RG552 and GPD XP with Geekbench 5. The RG552 scores 266 on single core and 714 on multi-core, and the GPD XP scoring 501 and 1601 on the respective cores. If you would like to see more benchmarks let us know in the comments.
RG552 Technical Specifications
|GPU||Integrated Mali T860 MP4|
|STORAGE||64GB internal eMMC (Android OS)|
16GB Micro SD Card (for Linux OS)
64GB Micro SD Card (for storage)
|BATTERY||2x 3200mAh (6400mAh). Lasts up to six hours depending on usage.|
|FAN||Fan is very quiet even while under full load.|
Dual Boot Operating Systems
There are two operating systems on the RG552. Android 7.1 is built into the storage and is booted into without the 16GB Micro SD card.
You can use the touchscreen or controls to navigate the menus. There are a bunch of emulators pre-installed which may take a little setting up initially to locate the 64GB Micro SD card and games folder. At the time of making this review, Google Play Store is not installed, but it may be added at a later date in a firmware upgrade.
The Linux operating system can be booted into with the 16GB Micro SD Card in the 1st card slot. If you are familiar with EmulationStation on other devices, then you will be right at home. The computers and consoles can be easily browsed and by default there are many set up and ready to go. Included are all the great 8 and 16bit systems and later consoles such as Dreamcast, PlayStation, Saturn and PlayStation Portable.
On to some emulator testing. Where possible we will be comparing the Android and Linux performance if there are emulators for both. If you are a true retro gaming fan then you can be assured that 8bit and 16bit classic consoles are all working great. So we will skip covering them in this RG552 review.
NOTE: In some early reviews of the sample, there was an issue with the audio lagging by around half a second on the Linux OS. This has been fixed in a firmware update for Linux OS and should already be up to date on devices sent to customers.
We start off with the SEGA Saturn and Yaba Sanshiro on Android. With no frame skipping on, Sega Rally Championship crawls at an unplayable pace. With Sexy Parodius it is far more playable, but does have some noticeable frame drops. Frame skipping didn’t seem to work for me but it should make the games more playable.
On the Linux OS, the Saturn emulator uses some frame skipping and SEGA Rally is far more playable, though you can see the frame skipping. Sexy Parodius runs great now and with less noticeable frame skipping.
Next up is N64Plus FZ on Android. We found the performance to definitely vary between which game you are playing on your retro gaming console. For example on Rampage we were in the 40 fps area. While on Road Rash 64 it was more in the 20’s to 30s. Enabling frame skipping will get it running at 60 or maybe change the emulator itself.
Linux performance seems to fare better with games running at 60 FPS for the most part. I couldn’t tell if there was a lot of frame skipping, so the performance seems to be better than the Android version.
PlayStation emulation is pretty much perfect on both Android and Linux. I did not see any frame drops while I tried out a bunch of games.
Dreamcast emulation seems to be very good on the Android OS with games running at a stable 60 frames per second. But as you will notice, if you change the resolution settings to widescreen 16:9 it will stretch the game to fit the display which looks horrible. I recommend leaving it in a 4:3 ratio.
Unfortunately on Linux, the performance takes a stumble with games running in the mid 40’s area. I would expect this to be fixed in an update to the OS.
GBA and Drastic
For the popular retro handhelds I did not have any issues with frame drops. Here we are playing Sonic Advance 3 on the GBA, it is running very well and also looks great on the screen!
And on the dual screen system we are playing FIFA 2011. Apart from not being able to switch to full screen it played very well.
Now onto the PlayStation Portable and the great PPSSPP emulator. On Android we had far greater performance thanks to Vulkan graphics support. This overall works better than OpenGL so we recommend changing to Vulkan in the settings.
Tekken 6 blazes along at mostly 50 to 60 frames per second and we did not notice any major issues. We tried a bunch of different games and got very good results.
Unfortunately God of War has still not reached 60 frames per second. We were getting from late 20’s to early 40’s depending on how busy the scene was at the time. With frame skipping enabled you can get this running at 60 and it is still very playable.
On Linux, the performance is far worse on God of War with the FPS struggling to get to the late 20’s area. Other games are more playable, but this definitely needs some improvement in a future update.
The Dolphin emulator is only available on Android. We tried a number of games and apart from some basic games we did not get near 60 frames per second. For Burnout 2 we were mostly in the 30’s with occasional low 40’s.
For Soul Calibur II we were getting mid to late 20’s for the most part. I checked the settings and couldn’t really get the performance to improve any more.
HDMI Output works in both Android and Linux. On Android it is essentially plug in and it does all the work for you. On Linux you will need to boot up, insert the HDMI cable, go into settings and change the audio to HDMI then reboot. Then change that back when you are finished using HDMI output.
Other than the Linux issue with the audio switching, HDMI output seems to work very well. It outputs to 1080p resolution maximum as we are trying on a 4K monitor. And on Android you can go into the settings to change it lower if you wanted to
So overall the Anbernic RG552 hardware is good, but far from perfect in regards to the software. I think some more care and time would have resolved a lot of these issues, especially with the Linux performance side of things. Anbernic has already fixed the audio lag issue and this should be in the final version released to customers.
We would also like to see some improvements to the Android OS.
In particular, Google Play Store to be added so you can easily add and update your apps. There is also an issue with the right analogue stick not being recognised which we have notified Anbernic about. [UPDATE 14/12/2022] Anbernic have released firmware updates for both Linux and Android OS. The audio lag in Linux is now fixed. And for Android, you can now install the Google Play Store and the issue with the right analogue stick is now resolved. This version of firmware should be in the models customers receive, but we will make RG552 firmware updates available for download on our site.
The issues are essentially software based, so we expect improvements over time from Anbernic. Or most likely from the real unsung heroes who work hard on custom firmware. I expect to see massive improvements from them in their custom firmwares.
Where to buy the RG552 from Anbernic?
ANBERNIC RG552 FAQ – Everything We Know So Far
Originally posted by benjamin on: 01/10/2021
The ANBERNIC RG552 is an up-and-coming handheld for which information currently available is quite scarce. Therefore, we thought it would be useful to put together a compendium of information available and create an RG552 FAQ.
As of 01/10/2021 – Everything on this page is “hearsay” taken from a mixture of community posts from the (awesome) RetroGameHandhelds Discord and Baidu Tieba, a popular Chinese forum. So take every granule of information posted here with a grain of salt, as nothing is finalized until ANBERNIC publicly announce it themselves.
Last Updated: 10/12/2021: RG552 Firmware Update Guide added!
We’ve made a MEGA GUIDE on how to get started with the RG552. If anything, it’s more of an FAQ than this article!
Check it out below!
If you were not aware, the initial batch of RG552’s came with firmware that was not quite up to scratch. That’s why we’ve prepared a handy guide on how to update the firmware for the RG552, with the official update released by ANBERNIC very recently.
Take a look at the linked post below for more info!
10/12/2021 Update: RG552 Review Video
Our review of the RG552 from Anbernic is now live! You can read the text version on our blog post here or watch the video below.
6/12/2021 Update: RG552 Pre-Orders Closed Temporarily
Now that we’ve been able to get a better hand on the supply situation, we’re pleased to announce that pre-orders for the RG552 have now been re-opened.
You can pre-order an RG552 from DroiX here, for a limited time price of £184.95. Once this promotion is over, the RG552 will cost £209.95.
The current estimate for the units to arrive with us is around the 20th of December, and all pre-orders will be dispatched shortly after they arrive.
However, given the precarious time of year when it comes to international shipping (delays can always happen), We would advise opting for an alternative Retro Gaming Handheld if you urgently need a gift for the holiday season.
2/12/2021 Update: RG552 Pre-Orders Closed Temporarily
Due to overwhelming demand, we have had to temporarily close pre-orders for the ANBERNIC RG552, as we need to ensure that we’re able to procure enough units to meet the first batch of orders.
Pre-orders will go live again soon in the coming weeks once we are able to get a better idea of the supply situation and shipping timeframes.
1/12/2021 Update: RG552 Pre-Orders Are Now Open (On DroiX)
Hey there! Another quick update for all the people hungrily awaiting further news on this interesting little handheld.
We at DroiX are pleased to announce that the RG552’s release price is now available (at least, from us here at DroiX)!
The RG552 will cost £209.95 GBP (incl. VAT) on release. However, you can pre-order the RG552 from DroiX for a limited time at the reduced cost of £184.95 GBP (incl. VAT).
Our current tentative release date for the RG552’s is the 20th of December. Please note that this date is a rough estimate. Given how close it is to Christmas, and how often delays occur at this time of year, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find one in your stocking on Christmas morning.
Of course, Santa could also come early and they might arrive a few days before… who knows?
That should just about wrap up the coverage of the RG552 in this FAQ. We’re expecting a sample unit to arrive within the next few days, so once we have that, we’ll update the table above with the specs we’re able to confirm (such as the mysterious HDMI output).
We’ll also have other articles live in the weeks following its launch (we’re particularly excited to try the good up-and-coming Android PS2 emulator on it, for what it’s worth).
30/11/2021 Update: Official Promo Video Premiere
Another short one!
It seems as though the initial estimate of the 29th that we were given by ANBERNIC wasn’t as accurate as we hoped it’d be… These things happen, so we apologize for any hopes we may have raised and dashed!
That aside, we have more exciting news! The RG552 now has an official promo video revealed as of this morning on the 30th of November. See below for the full premiere.
Blink and you’ll miss it – it’s only about 20 seconds in length, but it’s nice to have confirmation of the device’s existence that isn’t just sly nudges and winks via the odd image here and there.
Stay tuned for the release and final pricing, which we’ll update this post with as soon as they’re available (keep an eye on our website too – the listing should be live in the coming weeks so you can place your pre-order!).
18/11/2021 Update: RG552 Release Date Announced!
That was a short wait! We’ll keep this one brief however.
We have received word from ANBERNIC themselves that the RG552 is slated to “release” on the 29th of November.
However, this only means you’ll be able to place an order on this date (with ANBERNIC directly).
Given international shipping times, we would not expect most people to have them in their hands before mid-December at the earliest.
We also received a document containing most of the specifications. The most interesting thing we’ve noticed is that RG552 runs a dual operating system configuration. With Android being installed on internal eMMC, and the device also being capable of running Linux distributions (Batocera and likely more once the community gets their hands on it) via the external microSD cards.
(Our pre-orders will also be open soon too! We’ll update here with a link once they are!)
16/11/2021 Update: More Screenshots and Video Footage
It’s been a fairly quiet month and a half for the RG552. Outside of one or two more pictures of the device making the rounds. Not much info has dropped on the device.
Did the RG552 release on 11/11?
The rumoured “11/11” release date turned out to be just that – a rumour. As humorous as it would be to launch a geeky gadget on Singles’ Day, ANBERNIC stayed quiet.
(It is unusual that they missed an opportunity to announce the device however).
Reviewer Units Arriving
Retro gaming handheld hobbyist DIYGameModz uploaded a video on the 16th showcasing the Retroarch XMB-styled menus.
While not much, it is nice to see more video footage of the device. One interesting thing we noticed is that at 18 seconds in, the directories indicate that this RetroArch installation is running on top of Android. Meaning that the RG552 is now confirmed to run Android.
It is unknown what version of Android it will be however. We would guess somewhere between Android 8 and Android 10.
Popular gadget reviewer Taki Udon also teased that he is in possession of an RG552 earlier last week.
At this rate, we can probably expect more RG552 info to drop towards the end of the month. Perhaps we’ll finally get an official announcement or release date? Let’s keep our fingers crossed…
The original post from October 1st 2021 (with some minor edits) is below:
What is the ANBERNIC RG552?
Successor to the incredibly popular RG350 and RG351 product lines, the RG552 aims to provide an easy and high-quality retro gaming experience.
Because this unit kick-starts a new generation, the actual performance of the unit in games (should be) noticeably improved over previous models.
With many “next generation” devices on the immediate horizon, such as the Miyoo P60, the AYN ODIN, and more. It remains to be seen if there will be a common SoC used across multiple devices (like the Rockchip RK3266).
(6 Cores @ 1.8GHz)
|Display Size||5.5 Inches|
|Control Layout||Dual Analog; Symmetrical (Lower)|
|SD Card Layout||2x External|
|Charging||Input – 9V~12V ≥2.5A|
Supports Fast Charging (PD, QC, AFC, etc.)
|Operating System||Linux (Batocera, etc.) via microSD|
Android 7.1 via eMMC
|Speakers||Dual Stereo Speakers|
|Colours Available:||Black, Bronze Gray|
|Other Features||“10-point” Touch Screen|
HDMI Output (tentatively full-sized)
3.5mm Headphone Jack
Active Cooling (heatsink + fan)
Built-in Rumble (“dual motors”)
An Android Retro Gaming Handheld?
While unconfirmed, it is highly likely that the Anbernic RG552 will feature the Android operating system. This is a departure from the previous linux based systems of old (EmuELEC, OpenDingux, etc.). Android will grant the device access to a plethora of already-matured emulators, and it will potentially be easier to manage which emulators are on the device from a user’s perspective – as adding emulators will simply be a matter of dragging APKs onto the device and running them. Should the device feature Android in any form, we would hope that it contains at least 2GB of RAM at the minimum. As Android is rather sluggish on devices that fall below that threshold.
The ANBERNIC RG552 has been confirmed to run Android 7.1 on an internal 64GB eMMC chip.
7.1 is a little… outdated? It should be perfectly fine for the purposes of gaming, but it would have been nice if it were a newer version. There’s always the possibility of a community-developed upgrading option to come about however…
Interestingly, the RG552 is also capable of running Linux operating systems via an external microSD card. If you have ever tried using a coreELEC (or a derivative) distribution on an Android box, the process will probably be very similar.
Notable custom firmware teams to keep an eye on are those mentioned in our best RG351 custom firmware guide. At least one of these developers will likely create something for the device at some point… or perhaps a new developer will rise up out of the blue?
Return of the HDMI
Reports indicate that the RG552 will feature a HDMI port – a feature which has been entirely absent from the “third generation” of ANBERNIC handhelds. With the more powerful processor and higher resolution display than previous models, it should provide a better overall experience.
It is unknown what size the HDMI port will be at this point in time (be it Full-sized, Mini or Micro).
18/11/2021 Update: The specifications document we have received from ANBERNIC confirms that the RG552 has HDMI output.
What we cannot say with 100% certainty is what kind of output it is. The document only mentions “HDMI”, so we’ll lean towards it being either full-sized HDMI, or mini-HDMI.
The RG552 is stated to support Wi-Fi functionality. What is not stated is if it is internal (which we sincerely hope it is), or if it is external (via dongle).
Verbatim, it is stated to “Support WiFi online games”.
We’ll be reaching out to ANBERNIC to elaborate, so stay tuned for updates.
A number of prototype images and videos have been posted on Baidu by user MaxZhou88. A known spokesperson for ANBERNIC and is often the originator of leaked info for ANBERNIC devices. So while these following images are not final, it is unlikely that the final product will differ radically. As more images become available, we will update this RG552 FAQ.
In terms of layout/appearance, the RG552 does not reinvent the wheel. Instead, it is almost identical in layout to ANBERNIC’s other horizontal handhelds, such as the RG351P.
However, one substantial difference is the presence of (what we can only assume to be) a thermal intake on the rear of the unit. The RG552 makes use of active cooling, so the presence of a vent of some kind was inevitable.
In order to squeeze as much performance as possible out of the RK3399 SoC, ANBERNIC have opted to use active cooling on the RG552. Cool air appears to be taken in through the rear of the unit, and expelled through exhaust vents (that are pointing away from the user, thankfully). This will allow the unit to maximize performance without overheating.
The RG3552 is also substantially larger than it’s predecessors (owed to the active cooling system, and the 5.5 inch screen). Above, we can see it’s only slightly smaller than a Switch. (meaning it the RG552 is about the same size as a Switch Lite).
From the preview videos above, we can observe that performance when emulating PSP games is stable. Even the infamous God Of War is capable of running at playable framerates.
Thus we can expect excellent performance for 64-bit platforms (N64, Dreamcast, etc.), the PSP/DS, and just about everything the RG351P could handle on top of that.
In addition, the RG552 may potentially be able to handle some lightweight Gamecube emulation, as can be witnessed on devices with the same processor.
No price has been officially announced as of 01/10/2021. However, given that the RG552 features: A more powerful processor A much larger screen than it’s predecessors, that is also touch-sensitive We would expect the RG552 to be somewhere within the $150 to $220 range. This would mark a shift from the “good quality, but also affordable” style of handheld that ANBERNIC are known for, as within that price range they will start competing with higher-profile devices such as the Switch Lite. 18/11/2021 Update: The estimated price we currently have for the RG552 is in the ballpark of £230-£250. It’s a bit more pricey than we initially hoped, but given the state of the global supply chain, it is understandable.
1/12/2021 Update: The release price for the RG552 is £209.95 GBP, if ordered directly from us at DroiX.
For a limited time you can also pre-order the RG552 from DroiX for a reduced price of £184.95 GBP.
ANBERNIC RG552 Release Date?
No release date has been officially announced as of 01/10/2021. However, we expect it to be available at approximately the end of the year (late-Q4 2021) or early next year (early-Q1 2022), given the frequency of updates that are occurring. We have been informed by ANBERINC that the RG552 will be available to order on the 29th of November. However, we would not expect anyone (aside from reviewers) to actually have one in their hands before mid-December, due to the factor of international shipping.
1/12/2021 Update: The RG552’s tentative release date (from DroiX) is now the 20th of December.
Keep in mind that there’s a chance that parcels, particularly international ones, might suffer delays at this time of year. This author wouldn’t gamble his savings on it being here for Christmas, in any case.
Thanks for reading this far! We will update this RG552 with more information as it becomes available.
If you have any feedback or information you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Until next time!