This Android-powered retro handheld gives us major Sega Genesis vibes

Anbernic RG ARC-D and RG ARC-S promo render hero
(Image credit: Anbernic)

What you need to know

  • Anbernic has announced its all-new RG ARC-D and ARC-S gaming handheld.
  • The ARC-D offers a dual-OS solution, running both Android and a custom version of Linux.
  • You can pre-order either of these handhelds now, with shipping expected to start on November 20. 

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in popularity when it comes to handheld consoles. On one end of the spectrum, there are Windows or Linux-based options like the Lenovo Legion Go, ASUS ROG Ally, and Steam Deck. On the other side, companies like Anbernic, Ayaneo, and AYN have been offering more budget-friendly handhelds. 

More recently, Anbernic announced its all-new RG ARC-D and RG ARC-S retro gaming handhelds. From the outside, these handhelds share the same design, sporting a shape that looks almost identical to the Sega Genesis controller. On the front, you'll find a 4-inch IPS display with a 640x480 resolution, while sporting an array of six buttons, a D-Pad, bumpers, and front-firing speakers. 

When you start to dive a bit deeper, you can see where the differences really lie. Both are powered by a Rockchip RK3566 SoC, with the ARC-D offering 2GB of RAM and the ARC-S sporting 1GB. A big reason for this difference in RAM is that you can use both Linux and Android 11 with the ARC-D, whereas the ARC-S is limited to a custom version of Linux.

The ARC-D also features a touchscreen display, making it easier to navigate the interface. More importantly, the dual-OS approach means that you can fire up many of your favorite retro emulators or play some of the best Android games.

Anbernic RG ARC-D and RG ARC-S spec comparison

(Image credit: Anbernic)

Some of the other features you'll find with the Anbernic ARC-D include a microSD card slot and 32GB of onboard eMMC storage. While the ARC-S also includes a microSD card slot, it lacks onboard storage, meaning you'll want to make sure you get the best microSD card to load up all of your games.

If you were a big fan of the Sega Genesis and want a dedicated handheld for on-the-go gaming, then you're in luck. Pre-orders for the ARC-D and ARC-S are live directly from Anberic's website, with prices starting at $89 or $69, respectively. According to the listing page, Anbernic expects to "start shipping on November 20th."

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.