Anbernic Win600: Is it Worth the High Cost?

We now know what the Win600 can and can't do, and as is the case with Anbernic handhelds, it's got its problems.

Anbernic’s latest console the Win600 is available, and now people have had a chance to play on this thing, there are a lot potential buyers need to consider.

Below you’ll find all the buying advice you need including, the price, availability, specs, and what the Anbernic Win600 can emulate.

Video: Win600 In Action

In the video below, Anbernic shows off the Windows 10 operating system in action along with what comes in the box.

To give you an idea of what this Windows console is-and-isn’t capable of, we previously got a brief look at games in action on the system, including Dead Cells, Street Fighter V, Cuphead, PUBG, Gris, Thief, and Wolfenstein II – all of which appeared to run at near full-speed. Exciting stuff, right?

If you’re interested in getting games like TMNT Shredder’s Revenger running on an Anebrnic device, we’ve got an in-depth guide to walk you through the process.

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Anbernic Win600 Specifications

There are two different versions of the Abernic Win600. The first offers up the AMD 3020e processor paired with the smaller 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), while the second opts for the more powerful AMD 3050e processor and ups the SSD storage to 256GB.

It’s worth noting, Anbernic says both the SSD and RAM can be removed and upgraded for something more powerful should you feel the need. That’s actually a pretty great little addition as it means if you’re not fussed about the extra processing power, you can always go for the cheaper model and whack in your own SSD. RAM is less interesting as it goes hand-in-hand with the processor to an extent, but more options are always a good thing.

The Win600 also boasts air vents along the top to help with cooling and features USB 3.0 and fast-changing USB-C. The USB port is something that’s really got time intrigued. Given the device comes with Windows 10 pre-installed, I’m curious to see how well fight-sticks and wired controllers work on it. I’d also be curious to see whether the 8-BitDo works right out the box.

One thing to keep in mind, Anbernic has said the first time you boot the Win600, expect a five-minute wait time. It’s a Windows console after all, so there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

What’s interesting is the selection of games Anbernic has chosen to show. When Aya Neo launches its high-end consoles, that company goes with games like Cyberpunk 2077 due to the benchmarks needed to run such a game. Conversely, Anbernic has been upfront about how powerful the Win600 is, and went with showcasing lesser powerful PC games so users don’t expect more than what they’re getting. Good move, Anbernic. Honesty is a good look.

In terms of what it can run, Anbernic goes with “indie and emulator games,” as the official description. I’d still wager we’re looking at something akin to the early Xbox 360, which is what many of us retro handheld collectors are after.

It’s important to realise the Win600 does not come with a microSD slot. This may not sound too bad but it’s going to limit not just how much spare space users have on offer, but also switching the operating system isn’t as simple as changing the pre-formatted card. You’ll need a special adaptor if you want to seamlessly switch between OSes.

3020e

  • Processor: AMD 3020e at 2.6Ghz
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX Vega 3
  • Storage: 128GB M.2 SSD/256GB M.2 SSD
  • RAM: 8GB of DDR4
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home pre-installed, SteamOS
  • Screen: 5.94-inch OCA laminated IPS display
  • Battery: 4500mAh*2

3050e

  • Processor: AMD 3050e at 2.8Ghz
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX Vega 3
  • Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD
  • RAM: 8GB of DDR4
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home pre-installed, SteamOS
  • Screen: 5.94-inch OCA laminated IPS display
  • Battery: 4500mAh*2
  • Connectivity: USB 3.0, USC-C, Wi-Fi 5.0, Bluetooth 4.2

What Can the Anbernic Win600 Emulate?

According to Anbernic, the Win600 will be capable of emulating PC, Xbox 360, PSP, PS1, PS2, PS3, DS, 3DS, N64, GameCube, and Wii. If it can run those systems, it should be able to emulate below PS1 without breaking a sweat, too.

Now for a healthy dose of reality. I had my doubts about higher-end emulation and they’ve been confirmed. Up to Dreamcast and N64 I didn’t have any concerns about and RetroGameCorps also agreed when they went hands-on with the console.

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GameCube and Wii are also confirmed as very possible, although that’s on a case by case basis.

As expected, Xbox 360, PS2, and PS3 simply aren’t viable. There are emulator tweaks to get certain games running a little better, but if you’re buying the Win600 for those systems, you’re better off going with the Steam Deck for the extra hundred bucks.

Below is what we think the console can get away with saying works on the system based on our own research.

  • PC: Windows and Steam games that meet the requirements
  • Sony: PSP, PS1
  • Nintendo: DS, 3DS, N64, and select GameCube and Wii games
  • Misc: Any retro systems released before the PS1

Anbernic Win600 Release Date

Anbernic has revealed the Win600 is currently available for order through the official Anbernic site.

This puts the Win600 in an advantageous position. It’s got the jump on the likes of the Aya Neo Air – Aya Neo’s affordable handheld Windows PC – and doesn’t need to fend off any of the forthcoming handhelds aiming to release at the end of the year.

Anbernic Win600 Price

Win600 showing Steam and Windows 10

The cheapest version of the Win600 is set to retail for $349/£268.48, although Anbernic is knocking $25 off for those who pre-order.

The pricing leaves the most affordable Win600 in a kind of middle ground. It’s not as cost-effective as the Ayn Odin, but it’s also not as expensive as the Steam Deck.

Let’s take a look at some of the current Windows handheld price models.

  • Win600 3020e 128GB: $349/£254
  • Win600 3050e 256GB: $374/£317
  • Aya Neo Next: $1,665
  • Steam Deck: $399
  • Ayn Odin: $239 (Lite) / $280 (Pro)
  • Loki Mini – Intel/White – $239
  • Loki Zero – AMD/Clear Black – $249

With the Anbernic Win600 closer in spec to the Ayn Odin than the Aya Neo Next, it needed price in a similar bracket. $280 to $300 was our original guess and we felt that would be a reasonable price. Plus given how difficult it is to pick up a Steam Deck, the Win600 could potentially snipe that market right from under Valve’s nose.

Conclusion

Anbernic doesn’t need to go head-to-head with the Aya Neo Next. Sure, more power is always a good thing, but when it comes to emulating older systems, there does come a point where the cost outweighs what’s needed.

What Anbernic’s consumer base wants – broadly speaking, of course – is the ability to play more advanced systems like the GameCube and PS2 (most likely via Aethersx2). Xbox 360 still feels like a way off in this space and PS3 a near-impossibility at this price. But GameCube, PS2, and select Wii games are absolutely within reach with the right company at the helm.

As for the Win600, it simply isn’t up to the task, even more so when you factor in how expensive this thing is. For up to and around GameCube, emulation is good. But it’s clear Anebrnic is struggling to balance everything in the higher-tech retro market.

As RetroDodo mused, the several-hour setup combined with a battery life of a couple of hours and a device many find uncomfortable due to the stick placement simply isn’t good enough. These portable consoles just aren’t portable for more than a few hours.

This isn’t a problem specific to Anbernic, it’s a problem with the wider-market chasing profit at any cost with little regard to the user experience.

But there are issues specific to Anebrnic that boggle the mind. Why place thumbsticks so low when the console is massive and the user’s hands will be near the top on the triggers? Why boast about PS3 emulation if the hardware is bottlenecked by the CPU?

Normally this I the part when we’d say go buy the Ayn Odin or Ayn Loki, but again, that’s becoming a mess. Ayn has a backlog of orders for the Odin still to be shipped yet they’re doing to be able to release multiple versions of a new system at the end of the year?

The worldwide chip shortage is causing grief for both customers and companies, and we are sympathetic to that. But, when portable consoles aren’t doing what they should be able to, and aren’t really that portable, we’ve got to call that out. These aren’t cheap handhelds where consumers can just eat the mistake, these things cost a bomb.

Our advice for potential customers right now is to hold off on the more powerful units. The Steam Deck and Odin are great, but they’ve got their flaws. And as for the Win600, as we say, it simply isn’t worth the high cost.

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Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland has over 10 years of experience writing online about toys and video games for the likes IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, and PC Gamer. He also quite likes retro gaming. Probably too much, actually.