The best Handheld gaming consoles provide much-needed flexibility by freeing you from the confines of a desk or sofa. With these portable devices, you can play games while you are on the go and don’t have to stay in one place.
Even though the PS5 and Xbox Series X have great hardware and are the best of the current generation of consoles, they are too big to carry around. Because they are hard to pack up and take to a friend’s house, handheld consoles are a good alternative.
With the rise of pocket-sized PCs that offer the same gaming experience as traditional consoles, the market for handheld consoles continues to grow. No matter how many games you have or what platform you prefer, you’re likely to find a handheld console that can give you the same fun as playing them on a bigger screen. Below we have mentioned the best Handheld gaming consoles.
Best Handheld Gaming Consoles Comparison Table
|Valve Steam Deck||Ayaneo Air||Analogue Pocket||Nintendo Switch|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5||AMD APU||Qualcomm||Custom FPGA||Nvidia Tegra X1|
|Battery Life||6-8 hours||2-8 hours||5-6 hours||6-10 hours||2.5-6.5 hours|
|Processor||Quad-core 2.5 GHz|
|Storage||256 GB SSD|
|Display||10.1-inch Full HD touchscreen|
|Battery Life||Up to 8 hours|
|Connectivity Options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0|
If money is no object, the Ayaneo 2 is the best handheld PC gamer you can buy. Even though its high price may come as a surprise, anyone who wants the best of the best must have it because of its high-end design, great performance, and perfect ergonomics.
It’s a real powerhouse because most AAA games from the last few years, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Red Dead Redemption 2, can be played on medium settings. When you add that to the fact that it has hall effect joysticks (so they don’t drift!) and a great d-pad, you get a really well-rounded piece of equipment. Overall, it is one of the best Handheld gaming consoles that you can buy.
Still, there are a few things that bother me about it for such a high price. The triggers are a little bit weak, the battery life is just about good enough, and we ran into a lot of bugs when we were testing it. Still, once we had worked through all of that, we didn’t have much to complain about. It is really as good as it seems.
- Powerful processor for smooth performance.
- Ample storage space for games and apps.
- Limited availability of games compared to other platforms.
- May not be compatible with some PC game titles.
Valve Steam Deck
|Processor||Quad-core Zen 2|
|Storage||512 GB NVMe SSD|
|Display||7-inch LCD touchscreen|
|Battery Life||Up to 8 hours|
|Connectivity Options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C|
We think that Valve’s Steam Deck is very close to being the best handheld game console. Running on Steam OS, it will give gamers more freedom to change things than the Nintendo Switch consoles, but it will also be harder to set up and get going. It’s not the best video game system for kids. Thus, it is one of the best Handheld gaming consoles that you can buy.
It is, however, the best portable PC gamer. There are a lot of Steam games to choose from, and the 16 GB of RAM is more than enough power for most of them. Downsides? Some games won’t work right out of the box, and either you or the developer will need to make a few changes.
The Steam Deck is made to be easy to use. It has two analog sticks about the size of your thumb on either side of a 7-inch LCD touchscreen. Compared to the Nintendo Switch Lite, the console feels pretty big in your hands, but it’s still easy to reach all of the controls, including the A, B, X, and Y buttons and the two trackpads with haptic feedback.
- Powerful hardware capable of running AAA games.
- Large storage capacity for a vast game library.
- Limited availability of certain game titles on the Steam platform.
- Higher price point compared to other handheld gaming devices
|Processor||Octa-core 2.3 GHz|
|Storage||128 GB eMMC|
|Display||6.2-inch HD touchscreen|
|Battery Life||Up to 6 hours|
|Connectivity Options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2|
The Ayaneo Air is small, but it has a lot of power for how small it is. The Ayaneo Air is another console that has a lot to offer. It has hall effect joysticks, which don’t drift, RGB light rings under them, an OLED screen, and storage that can be expanded. It’s one of the best handheld game consoles if you don’t have much space or if your hands are small.
The Ayaneo Air has less power than the other portable consoles on this list, which might sometimes limit the games you can play. The Aya Space operating system could also use some work, and this little thing can get hot if you turn up the TDP.
But if you want a small, powerful portable game console, the Ayaneo 2 is still our top pick. And if you can handle the cost, this device is the only ultra-small handheld PC on the market. Overall, it is one of the best Handheld gaming consoles that you can buy.
- Touchscreen display for intuitive control.
- Decent battery life for moderate gaming sessions.
- Lower processing power compared to high-end gaming devices.
- Limited storage space for large game installations.
|Storage||MicroSD card slot|
|Display||3.5-inch LTPS LCD|
|Battery Life||Up to 10 hours|
|Compatibility||Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance|
The Analogue Pocket came out in 2021. Its main purpose was to play old Game Boy game cartridges, but it had a better screen, buttons, and materials, and it had more games. Your Nintendo needs are met, whether you want to play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, or Game Boy Advance games. Currently, it is one of the best Handheld gaming consoles that you can buy.
But it doesn’t end there. With an adapter, you can also play games for the Sega Game Gear, the Neo Geo Pocket/Color, the Atari Lynx, and the TurboGrafx-16. All of this can’t be copied, which is a rare thing. You can expect to pay about $219 (about £190) for the Analogue Pocket, but there are long waits for delivery. It’s not cheap, but I bet any retro game fanatic will think it’s worth it.
- Long battery life for extended playtime.
- Supports a wide range of classic game cartridges.
- Sleek and portable design.
- Limited to Game Boy game compatibility.
- Higher price point compared to other retro gaming alternatives.
|Product Type||Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones|
|Battery Life||Up to 28 hours (with noise canceling)|
|Frequency Response||20Hz – 20,000Hz|
|Compatibility||Android, iOS, Windows, Mac|
|Weight||Approx. 240g (without cable)|
The original Nintendo Switch came out in 2017. It’s still a great portable gaming console for most people, with a good balance of specs and price, but it’s no longer at the top of our list because the Switch OLED is better in many ways, such as screen size and performance. The Switch Lite can only be used for handheld play, but the original Switch is more flexible and can quickly change from a home console to a handheld device. It can be used on a TV, a table, or in hand.
The Switch is fun to look at. The Joy-Cons fit into the sides of the screen, and what’s left is a simple piece of equipment that looks a little bit old-fashioned. The screen is smaller than the OLED version, but if you want to play the Nintendo Switch on your TV and on the go without spending more than $300, this is probably the best option for you. Overall, it is one of the best Handheld gaming consoles that you can buy.
- High-quality sound with powerful bass
- Effective noise-canceling technology
- Comfortable to wear for extended periods
- Built-in microphone for hands-free calls
- Lightweight and portable design
- Noise canceling can affect audio quality at times
- Limited color options available
It depends on the console in question. Some new handheld game consoles, like the Nintendo Switch, can play games from older generations. For instance, the Nintendo Switch can play games from the libraries of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS. But not all consoles have this feature, so before buying a handheld gaming console, it’s important to do research and make sure it’s compatible.
Yes, you can play games online with some handheld consoles. For example, the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS have strong online services that let you play with friends and people from all over the world. Some games for Sony’s PlayStation Vita can also be played with other people online. It’s important to remember that online multiplayer features may require a subscription to the online service of the console in question.
The length of time a battery lasts depends on the console and how hard the game is. Most handheld game consoles have a battery life of between 3 and 6 hours. But things like screen brightness, wireless connectivity, and how hard the game is to play can affect how well the battery works. Checking the manufacturer’s specs for each console will give you a better idea of how long the battery will last.