Emulation handheld maker Anbernic has released more details about what the RG ARC-D and RG ARC-S handhelds will be capable of.
Check out the console in action in the video below and then we’ll get into what’s powering the new devices and what kind of performance you can expect.
In This Article
Anbernic RG ARC-D and RG ARC-S Specs Explained.
Two versions of the Anbernic ARC handheld are set to be released, each with some pretty substantial differences.
The RG ARC-D is the flagship handheld and will no doubt yield a higher price due to its dual operating system, double the RAM, extra storage space, and touchscreen interface. What you really need to think about here is what systems you’ll be wanting to emulate. Having Android as an option opens up the most possibilities as you’ll be able to download extra emulators through the Google Play Store. More recent systems like 3DS or Wii U are likely to be out of the question due to their higher power demands, but anything below that should run without many issues.
One quick point, Anbernic has had trouble on past handhelds when it comes to Linux. That’s not to say the RG ARC-D or RG ARC-S versions of Linux will be bad, but given Anbernic’s track record, it’s worth factoring in. For what it’s worth, Anbernic has normally always delivered a working version of Android, so I don’t have as many concerns over that operating system.
As for the Anbernic RG ARC-S, this handheld uses the same RK3566 chipset as the RG ARC-D but only comes with a single operating system in Linux. RAM is also halved at 1GB, and there’s no internal storage. Everything, the operating system included, runs from a single 16GB microSD card. It also doesn’t feature a touchscreen, but that’s a given seeing as it doesn’t utilize Android.
|OS: Android, Linux||OS: Linux|
|Chipset: RK3566||Chipset: RK3566|
|RAM: 2GB LPDDR4||RAM: 1GB LPDDR4|
|Storage: 32GB eMMC, 16GB microSD||Storage: 16GB microSD|
|Misc: Bluetooth, WiFi||Misc: Bluetooth, WiFi|
|Touchscreen: Yes||Touchscreen: No|
Both Anbernic ARC handhelds use the same RK3566 chipset. That’s a solid choice as Anbernic has seen success with this chipset in the RG353P and the RG353V. The other upside of using this chipset and these RAM configurations is we know what each system will be capable of.
I won’t bore you with tech speak because I like to keep things simple and understandable. In simple terms, the RG ARC-D should be able to play up to Dreamcast and a selection of GameCube titles before it runs out of emulation power. The RG ARC-S, meanwhile, should be able to play up to Dreamcast but may struggle somewhat will playing the entire catalog.
Here’s my recommendation for each system.
- If you want to play only SNES, GBA, and Genesis games: Get the Anbernic RG ARC-S.
- If you want to play more advanced games like Dreamcast, N64, and some GameCube: Get the Anbernic RG ARC-D.
Just keep in mind the above recommendation comes with the assumption the operating systems are good enough. If the RG ARC-S comes with a botched version of Linux, then it’s not really worth it.
Regardless, I’ll always recommend getting a device with Android support over Linux anyway. Linux is great, but it’s got a higher learning curve than Android. Plus if you’re coming from iOS or an Android phone, chances are you’ll adjust to the new version of Android much more smoothly. And, as I mentioned, having access to the Google Play Store unlocks more options and the ability to keep your emulators up to date. I’ve been playing with my Android-based AYANEO Pocket Air a lot recently and being able to update emulators like Yuzu through the Play Store makes my life so much easier.
Anbernic has released the pricing information for the RG-ARC series. As expected, there are several different models to choose from. The main choices here are whether you want it to come with just Linux or with both Linux and Android. You’ve also got a choice of different storage options – 16GB, 16GB and 128GB, and 16GB and 256GB.
- 16GB: $89.99
- 16GB and 128GB: $104.99
- 16GB and 256GB: $119.99
- 16GB: $69.99
- 16GB and 128GB: $84.99
- 16GB and 256GB: $99.99
As I’ve noted, we don’t yet know how compatible the Linux version will be. It’s possible it’ll be fine, but if you want to avoid potential problems, I’d go with the Android dual-OS version. It does cost more, but Android is more likely to have fewer problems overall.
RG-ARC Release Date.
The pre-sale page for the Anbernic RG ARC systems is now live. Shipping is due to start from November 20, 2023. If you’re ordering from the Anbernic website, it normally takes around two weeks for items to arrive.
Thanks to RetroDodo for the heads up!