With the best portable gaming console, you can have fun anytime, anywhere. The best gaming PCs and consoles, such as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, make wonderful housemates, but they are cumbersome to bring on a trip and impossible to play while in transit. For this reason, there are portable game consoles: machines with a moderate amount of power that can be easily carried in a backpack or even carried in a pocket.
The best handheld gaming consoles of the past, like the Nintendo Game Boy and the Sega Game Gear, forced players to pick between limited specifications and high power consumption. The devices here are able to run complex games with high-quality visuals. Also, long playtimes are possible due to reliable battery performance.
1.The Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is without a doubt the best Nintendo system in years, providing seamless gaming whether at home or on the go. The hybrid console provides two modes of play. At home, you can connect the Switch to a dock and use a standard controller to play on your TV.
When you need to go somewhere, simply unplug the Switch from its dock, attach the Joy-Con controllers to either side of the device, and take it with you wherever you go. The gaming experience is nearly identical in either case; you don’t even need to pause your current session.
2.OLED Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch OLED is not a necessary upgrade for existing Switch owners. If you haven’t already purchased Nintendo’s hybrid handheld, the OLED model is the one to get. This Switch model has a seven-inch OLED screen, a sturdy kickstand, improved speakers, and a dock with an Ethernet port built in. Otherwise, it’s identical to the base Switch, which is an excellent console thanks to its large game library and smart portable features.
3.Lite Version of the Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch Lite is roughly two-thirds the size of the standard Switch and offers two-thirds of what we love about the larger model. The Switch Lite, like its bigger brother, has access to Nintendo’s massive library of first- and third-party games, as well as a comfortable control scheme and a large, colourful screen. Whether you want to play Zelda, Mario, and Animal Crossing, or Doom, Bayonetta, and Assassin’s Creed, the Switch Lite can deliver the same great games in a profile that fits easily in a backpack or purse.
4.Deck of Steam
Valve’s massive and powerful Steam Deck is a work of art. It can play a surprising number of PC games and is the ideal portable for any die-hard Steam fan or anyone with a large library of PC games. The Steam Deck can be pricey for the higher storage tiers, but it’s not a bad deal for what it can do. The Steam Deck is unique in its ability to play PC games or stream cloud-based games, as well as connect to a monitor, keyboard, or other accessories. Check out our Steam Deck review.
The Pocket appears to be a completely remade Game Boy, and in some ways, it is. Analogue’s stunning handheld is capable of playing original Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance cartridges flawlessly, as well as Sega Game Gear games via an adapter (Atari Lynx, Neo Geo Pocket and Turbografx-16 adapters are supposed to be coming soon). It has a high-resolution colour screen, USB-C charging, and a separate dock for TV play.
6.iPad Air by Apple
Because the Apple iPad Air is one of the best tablets available, it stands to reason that it is also one of the best handheld gaming consoles. The Apple App Store has some of the best smartphone games available, and it usually receives the best titles months before Android. You can play indie darlings like Monument Valley, Florence, and Threes in addition to perennial favourites like Fortnite, Hearthstone, and Minecraft.
Apple Arcade, on the other hand, is what truly distinguishes the iPad from Android tablets. For $5 per month, you can get access to over 100 games through this subscription service.
7.ROG Phone 5 from Asus
The best handheld gaming console is arguably the one you already have on you, which is why a dedicated gaming phone, such as the Asus ROG Phone 5, is worth considering. This excellent (albeit large) smartphone is powerful enough to run any Android game, allowing you to enjoy both casual handheld games and longer sit-down-and-play experiences. (Having a controller helps with the latter.) Whether you prefer Crossy Road or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the Asus ROG Phone 5 has what you’re looking for.
8.Deck of Steam
The Steam Deck isn’t the first handheld PC on the market, but it’s arguably the first to mainstream the experience. The Steam Deck, as the name implies, is a Valve product that allows you to access the majority of your Steam library natively.
That means you can play almost any PC game that you can buy on Steam — and you can also try your luck with side-loaded titles. Steam is the most popular and well-known game download platform on the Internet, and Valve has done an excellent job of optimising these titles for non-Windows platforms.
In our review of Playdate, we describe it as a “bright yellow embodiment of the joy of playing and indie gaming spirit.” There’s really not much else to say about it. The Playdate is a small handheld with face buttons and a crank handle on the side.
This crank has resulted in many inventive gaming experiences, and the console makers drew in many great indie devs to contribute, such as the minds behind Cursed to Golf, Chuhai Labs, Getting Over It’s Bennet Foddy, or Return of the Obra Dinn creator Lucas Pope.
The Ayaneo Air is extremely small. Furthermore, given its size, it is surprisingly powerful. It’s also a feature-rich console, with hall effect joysticks (no drift!) and RGB light rings beneath them, an OLED screen, and expandable storage. If you’re limited on space, it’s one of the best handheld gaming consoles.
However, there are some issues. It can occasionally limit you because it has less power than others on the market. The Aya Space operating system could also use some polish, and if you crank up the TDP, this little thing can get quite hot.