Affiliate links (please click to support the channel):
Buy an RG351V: https://tinyurl.com/mwt4upw6
SD card reader: https://amzn.to/3HbANyq
AmberELEC (Custom Firmware): https://github.com/AmberELEC/AmberELEC/releases/download/20220627/AmberELEC-RG351V.aarch64-20220627.img.gz
Balena Etcher (to prepare your SD card): https://www.balena.io/etcher/
Latest version of JelOS (better PSP performance): https://github.com/RetroGFX/UnofficialOS
- I did a startup with a blank SD card in the second slot – it did not create folders on the card.
- Fortunately the info I needed for this was in the manual.
- However, as a whole the firmware and manual combination was pretty bad considering this originally retailed for over $100 – Anbernic are getting better with this but I can see why reviewers started to get quite annoyed by the very half hearted stock firmware that shipped with these 351 devices.
- I’m not going to waste time reviewing the stock firmware, you’re far better off installing one of the custom firmware options.
Custom Firmware (AmberELEC)
- CFW options – JelOS (UnofficialOS), AmberELEC, 351Droid (not complete but fun to try), ArkOS
- For this video I am going to focus the very mature and well supported AmberElec – I am working on an Amberelec / ArkOS / JelOS deep dive for a future video.
- Download latest version here: https://github.com/AmberELEC/AmberELEC/releases/download/20220627/AmberELEC-RG351V.aarch64-20220627.img.gz
- Unzip with 7zip: https://www.7-zip.org/download.htmlDownload (7-zip.org)
- Use balena etcher: https://www.balena.io/etcher/ to flash the image to an SD card.
- Now place the SD card in slot 1 (TF1) of the device – just check the labels on the back – leave the 2nd slot open and start the device – AmberElec will do it’s thing.
- You have the option here to use a large or small card depending on your device or how you want to set it up – AmberElec will allow you to load ROMS onto the firmware card or onto a secondary card.
- Your second ROM SD card must be formatted to ext4 or exFAT – you can use the regular formatting feature in windows to format the card or a more sophisticated tool like Mini Partition wizard.
- Turn your device off, place the second card into the 2nd slot (TF2) and start the device – AmberElec will put all the folders you need onto that second SD card.
- You can now shut down your device again, plug the SD card back into your computer and load your bios files and ROMS onto TF2. If you’re struggling with bios files – simply use the ones that came with your stock firmware card or Google it 😉
- There is a very extensive website guiding you through every part of Amberelec https://amberelec.org/ but these are a few things that I did to get set up initially:
- INITIAL SETUP:
- Sign into WiFi – press START > NETWORK SETTINGS > ENABLE WIFI – then enter your wifi SSID (username) and KEY (password)
- How to update the firmware START > UPDATES & DOWNLOADS > START UPDATE
- Sign into retro achievements – you can create an account here: https://retroachievements.org/RetroAchievements then sign in on your device to enable retro achievements.
- Themes – START > UI SETTINGS > THEME SET
- START > Updates and downloads > Install all themes
- If you don’t like the way your theme is looking, you can tweak setting such as displaying video, or the game rating by pressing START > UI SETTINGS > THEME CONFIGURATION
- SCRAPING ARTWORK:
- Create an account here: https://screenscraper.fr/
- Sign in on your device: START > SCRAPER > USERNAME / PASSWORD
- Choose what you want to scrape – video takes up a lot of space but it is quite fun to have – otherwsie just select Box 2D, Logo source – wheel, turn on scrape ratings, turn on scrape cartridge
- Then select NEXT
- Select “ALL” and make sure all your systems are selected
- Then press start and leave it to scrape
- Install portmaster – download portmaster https://github.com/christianhaitian/PortMaster/raw/main/PortMaster.zip, unzip and add to ports folder – remember to copy the “portmaster” folder from within the extracted folder
- MY PERSONAL GAME SETTING RECOMMENDATIONS:
- BEZELS – START > GAME SETTINGS > DECORATION SET > AUTO
- START > GAME SETTINGS > Per system advanced configuration > [your console] > DECORATION SET > DEFAULT
- GAMEBOY filter settings: – START > GAME SETTINGS > Per system advanced configuration > FILTER SET > GAMEBOY3X_DMG.FILT
- GAMEBOY ADVANCE filter setting: START > GAME SETTINGS > Per system advanced configuration > FILTER SET > SCANLINE2X.FILT
- GAMEBOY Color filter setting: START > GAME SETTINGS > Per system advanced configuration > FILTER SET > GRID3X.FILT
- You can also change filters, shaders and bezels by navigating to the game category in the main frontend menu, pressing “select” and then “Advanced system settings”.
- AmberElec automatically organises your bin files for Dreamcast
- PLAYSTATION M3U files: Tools > PSX create M3u files – I ran this script and it asked me if I want to hide the other files and I just said yes – now my playstation library is super organised. You will have to re-scrape artwork
- Moonlight – unfortunately controller typing has broken in a newer update and I could not get an older version running – so for now, you’ll need to use Jelos or ArkOS for this
- FAVOURITES: highlight a game > X > ADD TO FAVOURITES
- SAVE STATES: Amberelec is really good with this, however by default it will always ask you about the save states even if there is no save state for that game, to fix this go to START > GAME SETTINGS > AUTO SAVE/LOAD ON GAME LAUNCH > SHOW SAVE STATES IF NOT EMPTY
- PERFORMANCE TWEAKS – at this stage Amberelec is so well optimised I would simply recommend leaving it as it is.
- I noticed that the menu system can be a bit slow at times, and after some testing it is usually to do with connecting to wifi during initial startup.
- Dreamcast is set to half resolution so I can get some gameplay out of it.
- N64 I am honestly finding the most difficult to work well, however a game like Mario64 works almost flawlessly.
- PSP is set to 1x resolution and frame skip on – which isn’t ideal – but a few games are playing fairly well but mostly with some audio stuttering or gameplay stutter now and then, but overall playable. I am also enjoying Virtua Tennis with a small amount of audio stutter and game stutter once in a while – although this only works on UnofficialOS.
- But I am working on a gameplay test between platforms to give a more in depth idea of how each custom firmware gives you different performance. Because in my testing it seems AmberElec is better at N64 than JelOS, so I am sure there are other nuances to be discovered here.
- RG351V VS 2023 competitors
- RG351V is currently $89.99 not on sale
- Powkiddy: RGB20S – decent contender with the same processor, screen size and two analog sticks (BUY LINK)
- RP2+ is considerably more powerful, with trigger buttons at $99 excl. shipping (BUY LINK)
- Anbernic RG353V is only $98 HOWEVER – RG351V goes on sale regularly – I bought mine for $76 (BUY LINK)
- The RG351V is in a league of it’s own due to it’s form factor. Nothing really compares to it. It’s close to a Gameboy style, with the addition of an analogue stick. And it’s really big for people who don’t want to fuss with a smaller device. It’s not pocketable but therein lies it’s charm, in that it’s perfect for big hands and somehow has the perfect vertical handheld form factor.