The first batch of Anbernic RG Cube handhelds is reportedly suffering from screen issues

Anbernic RG Cube with sad text face with pink backdrop
(Image credit: Future / Anbernic)

If you’re considering picking up an Anbernic RG Cube, you might want to hold off for now, as early customers report screen issues. Not every version of the retro handheld is affected, but early “pre-production” units with light bleed have seemingly made their way into the wild. 

When investing in the best gaming handheld, the last thing you expect is to experience screen defects. However, all it takes is one design mishap for issues like light bleed to occur, as IPS display backlighting will seep out of bezels if given a chance. That appears to be what is happening with many early Anbernic RG Cube consoles right now, even though a revised version exists.

Highlighted by RetroHandhelds on Twitter, a post summarizing the situation claims “multiple reports of batch 1 retail units having light bleed,” are making the rounds, suggesting that a “‘pre-production’ batch has been sent to paying customers.” The portable gaming enthusiast also confirms that a replacement review model they received addressed the issue before release, backing up the idea that early defective models are being shipped out.

Retro Handhelds has tagged Anbernic in their post, and rightly recommends not buying an RG Cube until a statement has been made. The fact that the console makers have shipped versions to reviewers without light bleed is evidence that not every device will be affected, but it’s hard to tell whether we’re looking at a stock blunder or a more serious quality control mishap. Either way, I’d wait for some sort of answer before laying down any cash. 

What is light bleed? 

Anbernic RG Cube with light bleed

(Image credit: Retrohandhelds)

Wondering what all the fuss is about? Well, the Anbernic RG Cube complaints relate to light from the IPS display “leaking” out from behind the console’s bezel. You’re most likely not to notice symptoms of the fault when the screen is black, as white blotches of unequal illumination will show up around the edges of affected displays. The cause is usually related to the placement of LCD screens or an issue with backlighting escaping from behind a panel, and it can sometimes be remedied with some disassembly.

Light bleed can occur in any handheld, and even some Super Pocket users have shared their screen woes on Reddit. It’s not necessarily a sign of bad quality, so it’s important not to completely write the Anbernic RG Cube off just yet. That said, the nature of mass-produced handhelds means that if a large quantity is already showing up with the issue, chances are that stock in circulation right now will feature the same symptoms. 

It’s worth noting that OLED screens are less likely to suffer from light bleed, and if you fancy restoring your old handheld instead, you’ll want to check out this Game Boy Color AMOLED touchscreen mod. As for those of you hellbent on picking up a new square-screen emulation device, I’d advise either checking out an alternative like the Anbernic RG35XX Plus or simply biding your time.  

Already rocking Valve’s portable PC? Check out the best Steam Deck accessories and best Steam Deck dock for plenty of add-ons. If it’s deals you’re after, you’ll also want to swing by Prime Day Steam Deck deals and Prime Day Asus ROG Ally deals for the low-down on Amazon’s summer sale. 

Phil Hayton
Hardware Editor

I’ve been messing around with PCs, video game consoles, and tech since before I could speak. Don’t get me wrong, I kickstarted my relationship with technology by jamming a Hot Wheels double-decker bus into my parent’s VCR, but we all have to start somewhere. I even somehow managed to become a walking, talking buyer’s guide at my teenage supermarket job, which helped me accept my career fate. So, rather than try to realise my musician dreams, or see out my University degree, I started running my own retro pop culture site and writing about video games and tech for the likes of TechRadar, The Daily Star, and the BBC before eventually ending up with a job covering graphics card shenanigans at PCGamesN. Now, I’m your friendly neighbourhood Hardware Editor at GamesRadar, and it’s my job to make sure you can kick butt in all your favourite games using the best gaming hardware, whether you’re a sucker for handhelds like the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch or a hardcore gaming PC enthusiast.