Useful things to know about Anbernic RG351-353-503-552-35XX-505-405 handheld functions, settings and shortcuts
This article provides an introduction on Anbernic along with tips, pointers and best practice for using your Anbernic gaming console. While there are similarities due to emulation and hardware, we have itemised this into Operating Systems be it ArkOS, 351Elec etc or Devices such as 351, 353, 503 & 552.
If you've landed here asking who or what is Anbernic?
Anbernic is a Chinese gaming console manufacturer who makes affordable handheld games machines. The initial 350P and 351P were very popular Linux based gaming handhelds. Their ever-growing range now offers varied retro gaming consoles from small to large and everything in between. They vary from Linux, Android and Windows based with the majority having a Linux OS with a nice menu interface that loads your games with ease. Game settings, button layouts and so on can be relatively easily tweaked delivering instant fun and options to a broad community of retro gaming enthusiasts. If you are just getting back into the scene here is our range of handheld game consoles - you may also be asking...
Are Anbernic any good?
Anbernic offers a broad range of gaming handhelds with varied appeal. The one consistent thing is that Anbernic continues to evolve and release different models. They are constantly learning, improving and continue to deliver retro gaming handhelds with a quality finish. Unlike competing handhelds Anbernic are usually well priced while always delivering quality controls, beautiful display and finish.
What software/ OS does Anbernic use on their handhelds?
Anbernic consoles primarily use a variant of the Linux Operating System. From factory they come with a modified version of Batocera. This uses Emulation Station and RetroArch as an easy to use front end interface that emulates retro gaming consoles.
The good news is that Custom firmware(CFM) is also available from AmberElec, ArkOS, Jelos, and Retro Arena. CFM software is created by passionate developers who contribute their time for free in order to improve the device experience and get more out of gaming consoles including Anbernic ones.
CFM not only improves the interface you see when navigating through consoles and games, but also streamlines performance resulting in a better gaming and overall experience.
Custom Firmware (CFM) really does take Anbernic and other gaming consoles to the next level.
Custom firmware is currently available for the following Anbernic consoles;
Please keep in mind that we provide generic guidance on how each operating system works and there may be differences between systems and versions.
If you chose to explore and install a system your device did not ship with, it may very likely not be supported by Anbernic as they, nor your reseller have control over many aspects of these. So while an exciting time, please tread with caution as setting these systems up comes with its own unknowns and challenges.
3 initial things to consider are charging, battery life and shutting down
On the 351 & 353 range, Anbernic recommends using a 5V 1A or 5V 2A DC power supply/ charger.
A genuine Samsung AC fast charger is well suited with an output of 5V 2A, as will the older iphone at 5V 1A and ipad chargers delivering 5V 2.1A, however newer apple charges are rated at 9V 2.2A.
You will also need to use a USB-A to USB-C charger. A USB-C to USB-C will not charge!
So a large USB connection like what's on a computer on the power side and the smaller C port on the Anbernic DC port. Keep in mind there are usually 2 OTG Ports of which one is DC.
There is nothing stopping you using other methods like your computer or battery banks, chargers as long as charge rate is as recomended. That said we have experienced devices not charging properly and exhibiting strange behaviours when charged using laptops or a USB port on newer wall outlets due to lower charge.
On the topic of battery, if your device has inbuilt WiFi Anbernic recommend turning it off when not in use to reduce battery drain and improve device performance at low charge.
We have experienced cases where controls have become unresponsive or display misbehaves at around the 30% mark. So while this isnt always the case it emphasises the importance of using the right charger and ultimately battery care of your console.
You can turn your Anbernic console off using the power button, however best practice is to power it down via the menu by pressing >Start >Quit >Shutdown System. We'll explore this in more detail below.
OK, let's move on..
The heart of your device
Longevity wise, as the Micro SD card stores the operating system and titles, you should consider making a backup of the card, or storing it away and upgrading to a premium brand name card setup.
The standard cards that come in these devices are not premium and can fail meaning you can lose any tweaks or updates you may have made or even worse required system files.
There is a consensus in the retro gaming community that the standard cards should be backed up and stored away and that you purchase a premium card as soon as you can.
Should you chose to not update the card, we recommend backing up the standard cards before you proceed to make any changes to your setup/Micro SD Card.
Backing up and/or making a new card
We use a 3.0 micro SD card reader and Win32DiskImager for Windows10.
While a 3.0 reader is up-to 10x faster than a 2.0 reader, either will do the job. If you experience slow speeds it could be your computer's USB is 2.0.
Keep in mind whatever your card size is, you'll need that and more to store it on your compuet ;-).
You'll need to remove the Micro SD Card from your Anbernic by pushing it in. Be prepared as it can fly out once you move your finger away. Insert into the card reader already connected to your computer.
CAREFULLY cancel any windows and prompts to format the card.
Using Win32 Disk Imager 1.0 click on the folder to the right of 'Image File'.
Select where you want to save the backup of your SD Card and give it a file name eg 'rg351pBackup' it will automatically add the .img extension.
Open file explorer and check what drive your Micro SD card is listed as, usually D or E, but be sure as it will backup whatever drive you select.
Chose that drive from the 'Device' drop down.
Untick OR Do not tick 'Read Only Allocated Partitions' as you want all partitions on the SD card backed up.
Click the 'Read' button and walk away.
Make sure your computer isn't set to hibernate or turn off when not being used!
To write rg351pBackup.img back to a new SD Card, just do the opposite, chose the existing image file, then the target SD Card from 'Device' and click the 'Write' button and walk away :-).
Formatting the card
Before applying an img onto a new or used SD Card you can format it first to ensure its in good shape. While you can use your computers software or other programs, we and many others use the SD Card Formatter software by TUXERA.
The difference between a 351P and 351M is the M has inbuilt WiFi and an alloy hard shell. The 351M & 351V both have inbuilt WiFi. The 35XX like the 351P has no WiFi and to achieve this require a USB WiFi dongle.
To achieve the same with the 351P/351MP you will need a WiFi dongle/adapter.
You will likely need a female USB A to a male USB C adaptor. This will plug into the the left OTG port on your anbernic RG351P/MP.
The Wifi dongle will be a male USB A 802.11n nano.
Make sure to carefully push the dongle in so that its seated well in order to make a good connection with your Anbernic device.
Activating and Connecting to your WiFi
>Click the Start button >Network Settings >Enable WiFi >wait for it to activate
>Click on WiFi SSID >Hover over your network from the list and click A >Click on Wifi Key and use the keyboard to enter your WiFi password >Click OK and wait for the connection.
>Click back out of Network Settings and you should see the "WiFi Enabled" prompt >Go back to the main menu and select EmuELEC Settings, Ensure "Enable SSH" is enabled.
>Click the Start button >Network Settings >Enable WiFi >Select your network in Wifi SSID section >Use the keyboard to enter your WiFi password in WiFi Key.
In ArkOs the WiFi settings are not where you would expect and found in the main games section.
Scroll down/up through the consoles page and near Openbor/PC Engine you'll find >OPTIONS. At the base of the options list, sometimes obscured you'll find >WIFI. Once you enter this section, you can use the shoulder buttons on your 351 to move around and highlight + to add/connect to your WIFI. To exit click on the X symbol.
How to access your games and files
You can remove the micro SD Card and plug it into your computer using a 2.0 or 3.0 card reader. Transfer speeds will vary depending on number of files and size however if your computer supports it, using a 3.0 card reader will be the fastest route.
Using an FTP program from your PC or Mac is a convenient way to add/remove ROMS, images and apply/ test adjustments quickly. Compared to a 3.0 card reader, FTP can be slower especially if you are doing a big update and pushing gigs worth of files.
If FTP is your desired route, once you have connected your Anbernic console to your WiFi, make sure to note its IP address.
The linux systems that run your Anbernic console use SFTP on port 22 for a more secure connection. From your computer or other device simply chose the SFTP connection type from within your desired FTP program. On PC we have used WinSCP and FlashFXP.
Your consoles IP address eg. 192.168.0.11
Your consoles IP address eg. 192.168.0.11
When you connect the console to your WiFi make sure to >enable remote access.
Like 351Elec Ark also uses the more secure SFTP on port 22.
Your consoles IP address eg. 192.168.0.11
Micro SD card Storage
351P & 351M have OS, storage and games on one card in 3 partitions.
Partition 1 hold the operating system files and formatted using fat16 so you can view it using your Windows or Mac computer.
Partition 2, is where all the emulation files are stored along with related themes, cheats, saves, screenshots etc. This partition uses Linux EXT4 so can only be viewed using Linux systems or specific programs. Should you wish to explore Linux file transfer programs tread carefully and be sure to backup your SD card prior incase it becomes corrupted. Windows cannot read this and should it see it, will likely prompt you to format it when inserted into a card reader on your windows computer.
The last partition is where the goodies reside. This holds the game ROMs and BIOS files. Its formatted using Fat32 so you can easily access it using your PC or Mac.
Powering down your device
Why should you consider powering down your Anbernic console via the menu by pressing >Start >Quit >Shutdown System ?
While your device is booting or doing its thing it can store changed or processed data in RAM. Worse case scenario if the device is accessing the card and/or not had the chance to save above-mentioned data before you hard power it down via the on/off switch, there is a chance of missing or data corruption.
Save state and progress data
During gameplay your console will keep track of progress and updates. The biggest loss is save states/ metadata. Depending on how long you've been playing, your operating system and settings, this can happen incremental or when the device is turned off.
RetroArch progress is saved when you exit a game.
EmulationStation also saves data to the card upon shutdown using the menu and not the power button.
Shutting down using >Start >Quit >Shutdown System ensures the console has enough time to perform all of the above and shutdown in a proper fashion.
Not doing so will mean at minimum you lose progress and saves, however its not recommended and can result in tears of varied levels.
Save states - allow you to save the progress of a game and load/continue from that point later on. Irrespective of console many will use RetroArch which is where this happens. To access 'Save State' or 'Load State', press down on both Joypads while in your chosen game. From there scroll down and press A to save current position or load a previously saved position.
Best practice please :-)
Irrespective of Operating System or hardware, a common frontend used to navigate, launch, emulate and tweak game settings is RetroArch.
Consoles with dual Joypads (joysticks) usually access RetroArch from within a game by pressing both Joypads down at the same time.
Within RetroArch you can access the specific emulators >Core Options including Screen Orientation and FrameSkip.
The most common area is >Controls where you can remap buttons and where applicable force the Joypad to be used instead of the Dpad. To achieve this go intro >Controls >Port 1 Controls > and set >Analog to Digital Type as >Left Analog Forced.
Press B till you reach >Quick Menu then A A which should >Resume game.
If the Joypad now works inplace of the Dpad, you can go back into RetroArch settings and save these settings . If not, then exit and restart game to go back to default.
To save remap changes in RetroArch once you have pressed down on both Joypads, goto >Controls >Manage Remap Files >Save Game Remap File then B B B and A and A to Resume.
Be cautious to not save remap for Directory or Core as this will change on all those games and may result in you having to then remove remap for specific games that these controller changes do not work for.
Android or Linux
N64 and Nintendo DS seem to play better on Android, while Linux is easier out of the box for most other consoles.
To boot from Android you can either;
- Remove the micro SD card before powering on
- Want to leave the micro SD card in the unit but set Android as your default ? Boot into Linux and press Start >System settings, then turn off >Default Linux boot
Whatever you have set as a default, if you want to boot into the opposing operating system, you can boot your console up by pressing the Function and Power buttons together until you see the green power light.
The RG505 and RG405M run Android only, so you can navigate through the device much like you would with your phone/tablet.
The 405M has the following functions/ shortcuts;
Power on/ off/ exit sleep - hold down the round power button located top of device right of volume up/down. Hold for a few seconds until you hear the device respond/ vibrate.
Navigate - You can scroll through and select items using the touchscreen or the old school way using controls.
Exit game - to return back to game interface, press the round button with the home/return arrow located bottom left below the Dpad.
Open/ Close Anbernic game interface - Swipe down twice over the screen, 1st icon on the 2nd row shows an R icon. Tap it to set to ON. Swipe up twice to close the menu and see the interface OR click the B button twice.
Select (SE) and Start (ST) are located bottom right below right joypad. These are used for in-game coin and start.
The 505 has the following functions/ shortcuts;
Power on/ off/ exit sleep - hold down the power button for a few seconds until you hear the device respond/ vibrate. Power is the round button located at the base below the logo/ near the micro SD card slot.
Navigate - You can scroll through and select items using the touchscreen or the old school way using controls.
Return to main screen - Press the oval button with the back arrow on the right hand side of the console
Launch game interface - Press the circle button on the right hand side below the back oval button.
Navigating the game interface
Press A on specific console to see included games
Press B to return to main menu
Upon hovering over a specific game, press A to start
Within a game press START and B buttons to make selections
Exit game - press SELECT and START at the same time. This brings up RetroArch > Press B then UP and select > Quit RetroArch
You can also press the circle button on the right hand side below the oval back button to exit a game, but this will exit you from the whole game interface.
Power Off/ Restart/ Screenshot - hold down the power button at base of console will bring up the Android options menu - using the touchscreen make your selection.
Should you experience any issues and need to reset back to factory defaults, from the main page scroll down to show the menu and select >Settings >System >Reset Options >Erase All Data (factory reset).
The WIN600 runs windows 11, however just like a Windows desktop you can access BIOS boot options and select USB as your boot device. You can then boot to Batocera from USB without affecting your Windows setup.
To boot your WIN600 from USB you need to;
Press power on left side, then hold down the "volume -" which should show your boot options. Select your USB stick using the the Dpad and X (make sure you're in mouse mode, not gamepad mode)
N64 - Linux
N64 has a number of emulator cores depending on what OS you are using. We have had some good success with Mupen64Plus and Mupen64Plus Stand Alone.
To change cores for all games while in the N64 game list press >Select >Advanced system options >Emulator. Scroll over desired core and select A. To do the same per game, while in the N64 game list, hover over desired game and press >Select & >X together followed by >Advanced game options >Emulator then hover over and press A. B takes you all the way back where you can test the game. Depending on cores you have available you can test which works best for specific games on your console.
The RG 35XX runs a closed source operating system that suports up to PS1 emulation.The Onion custom OS is underway, so once it lands should lift the consoles abilities and overall experience.
For now the stock 35XX OS navigation shortcuts are;
Exit Game - Press >Menu and >Start keys at the same time followed by pressing >A to select Exit Game
Power on/ off/ exit sleep - hold down the power button to enter/exit sleep mode. To exit hold down the power button for 3 or so seconds and you will see the Goodbye page as device powers off.
Shut down from Menu - Scroll across to the >Settings section depicted by cogs. Press A, go down 1 and Press A on > Shut down.
Exit Game - Single or double press >Menu
Power on/ off/ exit sleep/ Shutdown - Unlike most systems using Garlic OS you simply hold down the power button to sleep/shutdown. Done in-game it will go into sleep and re-start where you left off.
Access RetroArch - Hold down >Menu and then Press>X
Use 1 save slot - Garlic OS by default uses incremental save states resulting in a lot of files and wasted space. To avoid this you can access the RetroArch menu, select >Back >Settings >Saving, disable "Increment Save State Index Automatically"
Drastic - Nintendo DS
Drastic is a standalone Nintendo emulator, so unlike most other consoles it does not use RetroArch. Here's a few pointers;
351P/ M/ MP
To exit game depress left Joypad, scroll up one position taking you to bottom of list being >Exit Drastic >click B
L2 shoulder switches between DS screens
R2 shoulder switches between single and dual DS screen view
R2 shoulder then pressing L2 shoulder will let you swap order of dual view screens from left to right and vice versa
R3 is used to touch screen, when moving your stylus around using the right Joypad pressing it over an area activates R3
Use the Right Joypad to control pointer and A button to select
The stock RG552 ships with a variant of Batocera. In order to access the main menu from within the game, you need to click the Function button located at the base - don't confuse this with !Reset!. to exit scroll down to selection and press down on button A.
PSP - Playstation Portable
Select and Start keys pressed together will not exit this emulator. You will need to press the left Joystick and scroll down to exit >click B
Press the right Joystick and scroll down to exit >click B
Daphne - Laser Disc emulation
Daphne emulates all the old school laser disc titles, like Drastic it does not use RetroArch.
Keep in mind that some titles will take longer than usual to load, so be patient, as what appears to have froze is likely loading..
Here's a few pointers;
351P/ 351M/ 351MP/ RG552
To exit game depress both Select & Start buttons together.
To add coins press Select
To play press Start
Some laser games will give you a move prompt like a coloured dot/area or an arrow. You will then need to timely respond with a movement in that direction or a button press. Its all about timing and speed.
ScummVM is capable of playing a large range of retro adventure and role-playing games including popular Sierra, LucasArts and other titles. ScummVM is not an emulator, its actually a complete rewrite of the games executable.
When adding titles to ScummVM depending on console and operating system you will need to find the "Scan Games" option. On Anbernic devices look in the "Tools" section.
Once in a game, to access the main menu press the Start button. You can navigate using the left Joypad and select using the A button. To exit main menu press Y.
Press select once in a game to access/close the Virtual Keyboard. Joypad to navigate and press A to select.
Pico-8 can be a tad tricky, you need the latest Pico files from https://www.lexaloffle.com/pico-8.php
For Linux you will usually need the raspi files of which most go into your Pico root folder and depending on your console and setup pico8, pico8.dat, pico-8.txt and pico8_dyn may be needed in the /carts folder.
Once setup you can go into the /carts folder and select your desired game.
To exit games press >Start >Shutdown
Exit from a Game
Hold down left Joypad and then press the circle >Function button >Press B >Go up 1 position with Joypad or Dpad >Press A on Quit RetroArch
Tip: 351V volume on left side if held down in either up/down position will adjust screen brightness
Press Select and Start buttons twice at the same time
Press Select and Start buttons twice at the same time
If you're unable to exit a game or it has locked up you can try L2 and Select and Start buttons at the same time to force exit
Hold down the Function button located 2nd to the right at base of console and press the >Start button top right. This will jump you back to menu without other options.
Hold down the Function button located centre left of screen and press the >Start button top right. This will jump you back to menu without other options.
RetroArch 351P /351M/ 351MP
>Press both Joypads simultaneously >Press B >Go up 1 position with Joypad or Dpad >Press A on Quit RetroArch
or if you have hotkeys enabled;
>Double press both Select / Start at the same time
ArkOS 351P /351M/ 351MP
>Double press both Select / Start at the same time
Electro Arcade devices have the Hot Key set to the Select button. Holding down Start / Select at the same time when using Linux will exit your chosen game.
To boot from Linux you need to have the 16GB micro SD card in the TF1 slot.
JELOS Specifics 353P/M
Locking up at boot
Some versions of JELOS can sometimes appear to get stuck during the boot up process. To help the device correct itself you can try holding down the Volume + button during the boot sequence.
Edit Emulator or per game settings
Hover over desired game and tap on the X button once. You can then edit emulator, or games metadata where the game can be deleted if required.
Press the >START button, from the onscreen menu Press A over >Network Settings followed by >Show Network Indicator and then > Enable WiFi. Hover over >Wifi SSID and Press A, do the same to select your WiFI network from the list. Press B and then A when when hovering over >Wifi Key. Use the onscreen keyboard to enter your WiFi password. The UP arrow is used for capitals and once done hover over and Press A on the enter Key. You can press B to back out, keep in mind it will take some time to activate and may appear frozen, so be patient.
In the >Network Settings section once you have an active WiFi connection you will see your allocated IP address top right on the first line.
If you want to connect to your console via windows you will need to hover over and press A for >Enable Samba.
Once you're done with desired settings Press B until back to games interface. You should see the WiFi signal top right. If not you can repeat above to confirm you are connected.
Windows Explorer file access
Now that you have connected to WiFi and been allocated an IP address, you can open Windows File Explorer and type in two back slashes followed by the consoles IP address. For example: \\192.168.0.123
You will be prompted for a username and password. Standard username is: root
The password can be accessed or set via >Start >System Settings >Root Password. This can be left empty or set to whatever you like. Please follow best practices and use a secure password.
Keep in mind the option above >Rotate Root Password. Turn this off if you don't want it automatically changed on restart.
Press >START >System Settings >Start Update
If this fails you can download the required update file usually in .tar format to your computer and copy it across to the relevant folder on your console such as \\192.168.0.123\update. The OS update should run next time you boot your console.
351Elec / AmberElec Specifics
By default these are set to use the standard controller. Should you find a particular game loads with no working buttons, from within the game on 351P /M /MP >Press both Joypads >Scroll down/up to "Controls" and press A >Scroll down/up to "Port 1 Controls press A" For "Device Type" select either "Standard" or "Dual Shock" by using left/right DPad. Click B and then return to game by >Pressing both Joypads. Repeat the process to try other Controller types. In some games this can be used to change between using the left DPad or Joypad.
This approach can be used on other consoles to swap between different controller types when experiencing control issues.
PSP titles can be tweaked in-game per title to improve play and performance.
To do so press down on both joysticks together to view the menu. From here select >Settings and press B.
Move over to graphics and try the following settings;
- "Frame skipping" 1
- "Frame skipping type" Number of frames
- "Auto Frameskip" tick
- "Force Max FPS" 30
Depending on how each game performs you can tweak the settings to your liking.
Keyboard/ Mouse based games
Using the above approach you may need to select >RetroKeyboard and then scroll down to map your desired DPad/Joypad/Buttons to what the specific games original controls were. For example Arkanoid uses Numeric pad for left/right and space bar to shoot. Once mapped and tested select >Save Game Remap File.
Works in each console, not across all games. When in the given console be it N64, Nintendo DS, PC Engine etc >Press Y. Keep in mind you will need to repeat this and >Press RESET to remove the filter text and show all games again.
Removing unused game assets
So you've previously deleted unwanted games and looking to free up more space on your card? You may still have images, videos and other assets from those games. From your main menu Press >Start >Emulationstation Settings >Developer >Clean Gamelists & Remove Unused Medias.
Background music - skip/next
If your setup has background music when your looking through the game lists, pressing the left Joypad will skip to the next track/tune.
Changing Emulator core per Game
Depending on how your card is setup the number of emulator cores you have per console will vary. For example MAME which is used for arcade titles can include the following cores;
We have had a fair bit of success using MAME 2003 Plus and FBAlpha.
Depending on your setup, you can select a different core which can improve gameplay or enable a ROM that didn't previously work.
To do this in AmberElec, hover over the specific game, Press >X, then Select >Advanced Game Options >Emulator. Scroll over the desired core and Press >A. You can then Press >B until you come back to games menu.
Try the game by Pressing >A. If no luck you can repeat the process with another core version.
C64/ Amiga Emulation
Some games will take longer to load and appear to have frozen on the blue C64 load screen - be patient :-).
Keyboard show/hide: Select button or pressing right joystick
In-game selection: B button
Space bar: X (Used to skip intro's etc)
Run/Stop: (R/S) key on virtual keyboard (bottom left near commodore key)
Enter key: Used after entering your name (RET)
Fire button: X & B buttons together achieves this on some games
Have noticed on some consoles if the virtual keyboard is visible and you press Select/X to access RetroArch settings, when you come back out to the game the virtual keyboard cannot be removed. You may need to turn VK off before doing so, or save your settings/remap etc then exit and reload the game to test changes each time :-(.
The right Joypad is used sometimes in menu selection, along with shoulder buttons for Yes or No . The keyboard can also be used for Y/N along with other keys. While some games will just play, others will need a combination of keyboard and button selection to get them going.
This includes using the keyboard to enter page/word references used for protection. You can usually enter anything along with pressing Enter.
Joystick and button tweaking - with caution. Press >Select & >X while in chosen game. Scroll down to >Controls the >Port 1 Controls.
Some games prefer RetroPad and Left Analog (forced) but again will depend on the console and game, you can also play around and tweak your button function layout here. Keep in mind some games only used keyboard so you may need to map to reflect this. You can also set controller to keyboard and attach as USB keyboard to the OTG port using a type A to C adapter.
Press B to back out to > Quick Menu then press >Resume.
Repeat this process until you are happy with setup. You can then from >Controls select >Manage Remap Files and chose >Save Game Remap File. This will store your custom controls setup for given game. Be cautious in here as you can accidentally save for all games.
Some games will need keyboard entry to start, select players etc.
Keyboard show/hide: Press down on left joystick.
ZX Spectrum Emulation
Being a personal computer the virtual keyboard is a must here by pressing the SELECT button to show/hide and button A to make a selection.
Numbers are usually used to make in-game selections via the virtual keyboard. Games that support joystick use Kempston Joystick. This can be set in RetroArch by pressing both Joypads down together, selecting >Controllers >Port 1 Controls >Device Type >Kempston Joystick, then click button B. Here you can either save this setting, or go all the way back to >Quick Menu and >Resume. To save select >Manage Remap Files >Save Game Remap File OR >Save Core Remap File, then exit all the way Back and Resume.
If you are running pre 2.0 firmware you'll need to do a fresh/new install.
From 2.0 onwards if auto update does not work, you can download and place the upgrade file in GAMES/update folder. This folder will sit inline with your ROMS folder.
On this page scroll down to "Upgrades" and you'll be able to chose your console be it RG351P/M or RG351V.
RG351 latest available stable releases
RetroArch settings menu - with caution!
From within any game hold Select then press X at the same time
On the 351MP to load a game in 640*480 hold down the A button. Otherwise you get 320*480
Changing per game emulation core
Depending on your Custom Firmware setup and emulators, each console be it Arcade, NES or others you may have the option to select a different core on a per game basis. Why? A game may not play well or play at all on one core and perform much better with a different core.
To See what cores are available per game in ArkOS, navigate to the particular game and click Select. Click on >Edit this games metadata, Click on >Emulator and see if there's another option. Select that and then below this you will have available >Cores for that given emulator. Select a Core and either click B for back or scroll to the base of menu and click on Save.
Try loading the game to see if it loads or performs better. Repeat this process until you find the emulator/core match that works best for the given game ROM file you have.
Add a game to favourites
Hover over title and >Press Y
Normal or High Clock
From factory your Anbernic device will run at a clock speed of 1.3 GHz. Under >Options, setting device to >High Speed will increase clock to 1.5 GHz.
You will need to check and see how this impacts game performance along with battery life.
Issues playing GBA Titles?
If your Game Boy Advanced titles are not working, try changing the emulator core.
From the main games list page >Press Start >Emulator Settings > Nintendo GBA.
Set Emulator to >RetroArch.
For Core try using >MGBA
Press B all the way back to the games list menu and give a GBA title a try.
Options > 351 Files
Navigarte through file manager with extreme caution. To exit file manager press Y and then Select Quit.
These instructions are generic and may vary depending on your console, operating system and any custom settings. Use this as a reference as there are indepth guides on ROM versions and settings out there.
Retro game corps has a few guides and videos.
If you're using the factory OS on your Anbernic handheld then there are two primary differences being OS and games on 1 SD card or OS on 1st card and games partition on the second SD card.
The 351V, 351MP, RG503 and RG552 come with a second micro SD card slot so as a default the 2nd slot is used for games storage. This is by software setting not hardware.
If you're using custom firmware like ArkOS, AmberElec etc you have the option of running OS and games from 1 card. You may consider doing so with upto a 512GB or potentially 1TB card.
Art and Image preview aside, using methods described above to access the games partition, once you've placed the ROM in the right folder it should come up in that consoles game list be it N64, Mame etc.
If the ROM is not showing, double check the folder and extension you are using.
If it does load but fails, depending on the console be it N64, Dreamcast, Mame etc you will need to source the correct ROM version compatible with the BIOS files your using. Mame ROMS include 0.78, 0.119, 0.213. If you have multiple BIOS versions setup you'll need to select the matching emulator from your settings section.
Here is a Github link outlining systems, paths and ROM extensions Systems and paths
Titles to try
Mame/Arcade: Pengo 
Sharp X68000: Galaga '88 
PC Engine: Xevious 
PC Engine CDROM: Super Raiden 
Neo Geo: Spin Master 
FBN Arcade: Air Assault 
Sega: Chuck Rock 
PSX 1: War Games Defcon 1 
N64: Batlle Tank Global Assault 
DreamCast: 4 Wheel Thunder 
Capcom II: 1944 The Loop Master 
Sega Naomi: WWF Royal Rumble 
GBA: Action Man: Robot Atak 
Nintendo DS: Asphalt Urban GT2 
Super Nintendo: New Super Mario Land [2019: fan made to celebrate 30 years]