6 Best Handheld Gaming Consoles in 2023

The world of handheld gaming consoles is more exciting than ever before. With advancements in technology, gaming on the go has become an immersive and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re a casual gamer or a hardcore enthusiast, there’s a handheld console out there that’s perfect for you. But with so many options to choose from, you might be wondering about the best handheld gaming consoles on the market.

6 Best Handheld Gaming Consoles in 2023 Featured Image

That’s what this article is all about. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best handheld gaming consoles that you can buy in 2023. These consoles offer the convenience of playing games on the go, and they often have a wide variety of games available. We will highlight their unique features, pros and cons, and pricing to help you make an informed buying decision.

But first, you might want to check out the following:

1. Retroid Pocket 3 Plus

  • Display Size: 4.7-inches | Screen Resolution: 1334×750 @ 60fps
  • Weight: 235g | Battery: 4500mAh
Retroid Pocket 3 Plus

The Retroid Pocket 3 Plus is a great option for gamers who want to play retro games. It is compatible with a wide range of classic consoles, including the NES, SNES, Genesis, and GBA.

The most remarkable feature of the Retroid Pocket 3 Plus is its extensive, pre-loaded library of classic games. This console will have you walking down memory lane, offering games from iconic consoles like the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, and more. Additionally, since it is based on Android 11 with Google Play Store, you can use it for playing Android games as well.

As for the display, the 4.7-inch display might sound small but it is adequately sized for the majority of retro titles geared for the console. Additionally, it has a touchscreen panel, allowing you to easily play more modern touch-based games. Add to that, the inclusion of dual analog sticks is another welcome feature, providing precise control that was otherwise lacking on older consoles.

What We Like

  • Compatible with a wide range of retro consoles
  • Supports Android games
  • Good battery life
  • Dual analog sticks for precise control of retro games

What We Don’t Like

  • Limited availability of modern games
  • The screen isn’t bright enough for outdoor usage

2. Nintendo Switch Lite

  • Display Size: 5.5-inches | Screen Resolution: 1280×720 @ 60fps
  • Weight: 276g | Battery: 3570mAh
Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch changed the face of modern handheld gaming devices. The Switch Lite, as the name suggests, is smaller and lighter than the original Nintendo Switch, but it still boasts most of the same features.

The Nintendo Switch Lite is a compact and portable gaming console designed exclusively for handheld gaming. What that means is that, unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Switch Lite cannot be used with a dock. As a result, you end up saving a couple of bucks while still getting stellar performance. One of the most significant advantages of the Nintendo Switch Lite is its lightweight and portable design. It’s great to use while traveling. Add to that, it’s incredibly comfortable to hold for extended gaming sessions.

The build quality of the Nintendo Switch Lite is another notable feature. It feels sturdy and durable, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of mobile gaming. In terms of games, the Switch Lite boasts an exhaustive library of Nintendo’s iconic games, including beloved franchises like Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon. As for the battery, the 3570mAh battery can easily last up to four hours on a single charge, which is pretty good.

What We Like

  • Small and lightweight design
  • Long battery life
  • Extensive library of Nintendo games
  • Durable build quality

What We Don’t Like

  • Cannot be connected to a TV
  • Limited to handheld gaming

3. Logitech G Cloud

  • Display Size: 7-inches | Screen Resolution: 1920×1080 @ 60fps
  • Weight: 463g | Battery: 6000mAh
Logitech G Cloud

The Logitech G Cloud is a cloud gaming console that leverages the power of remote servers to deliver high-end gaming experiences. It’s designed for gamers who want to play AAA titles without the need for a high-end PC.

In terms of hardware, the Logitech G Cloud packs a 7-inch Full-HD screen, dual analog sticks, buttons, triggers, speakers, and a headphone jack. While it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC, the standout feature is its ability to provide access to a vast range of AAA games without high-end gaming hardware. Through cloud gaming services such as GeForce Now or Xbox Game Pass, the console grants players access to a plethora of AAA titles.

This means you can enjoy graphically demanding games even if you don’t own a high-powered gaming PC or console. Add to that, all the heavy lifting is done on remote servers. As a result, you’ll experience minimal latency, resulting in a seamless gaming experience. And with a 6,000mAh battery, you can easily enjoy gaming on this for up to 12 hours. The only thing to keep in mind is that the Logitech G Cloud relies heavily on a stable internet connection. So long as you meet the aforementioned pre-requisite, you will find the G Cloud to your liking.

What We Like

  • Access to a wide range of AAA games
  • No need for expensive gaming hardware
  • Smooth and lag-free gameplay
  • Excellent battery life

What We Don’t Like

  • Requires a stable internet connection
  • Gaming subscription fees are extra

4. Nintendo Switch OLED

  • Display Size: 7-inches | Screen Resolution: 1280×720 @ 60fps
  • Weight: 421g | Battery: 4310mAh
Nintendo Switch – OLED Model

The Nintendo Switch OLED is an upgraded version of the original Nintendo Switch, and the device sports a stunning OLED screen. Needless to say, the display offers vibrant colors and improved visual quality, enhancing the gaming experience.

The most striking feature of the Nintendo Switch OLED is, undoubtedly, its gorgeous OLED display. With deeper blacks, vibrant colors, and improved contrast, games look more immersive and engaging than ever before. The new OLED model also has a longer battery life of up to nine hours, and a better kickstand too.

As for the games, it’s compatible with the extensive library of Nintendo Switch games. What’s more, is that you can seamlessly transition from playing in handheld mode to docked mode and enjoy your games on a larger TV screen. This is possible with the help of a Nintendo Switch Dock. This versatility is a significant advantage, allowing you to experience your favorite titles in different ways. It’s a bit more expensive as opposed to the standard Nintendo Switch, but the OLED panel easily justifies the price bump.

What We Like

  • Gorgeous OLED display
  • Compatibility with a vast game library
  • Supports dock for TV gaming
  • Excellent battery life

What We Don’t Like

  • Slightly expensive
  • No major performance improvements over the original Nintendo Switch

5. Valve Steam Deck

  • Display Size: 7-inches | Screen Resolution: 1280×800 @ 60fps
  • Weight: 669g | Battery: 40Wh
Valve Steam Deck

The Valve Steam Deck is a powerhouse of a handheld gaming console, and the device is backed by a custom AMD processor. It provides access to the vast Steam library and offers a PC-like gaming experience on the go.

The Steam Deck lets gamers access their entire Steam library. As such, you get to play your favorite PC titles on the go. Whether you’re into action-packed shooters or immersive RPGs, the Steam Deck can seamlessly run the games, thanks to its custom AMD processor. It also comes with dedicated controls like thumbsticks and trackpads. This means you’re not limited to touchscreen controls, making it suitable for a wide range of games.

The Steam Deck runs on Steam OS, which is a Linux-based operating system. Since it’s not purely Windows, there are certain games that will not work on the Steam Deck. Thankfully, Valve provides an easy way to check which games are compatible with the Steam Deck. And while the Deck is a bit bigger in size compared to the other options on this list, it still provides a comfortable and firm grip.

But that’s not all. One unique feature of the Steam Deck is that it comes with support for Remote Play as well. As such, if you own a high-end gaming PC, you can stream games from it to your Steam Deck as well. What’s more is that Remote Play works with Sony’s PlayStation 5 as well, which is an added plus. At the end of it, the Steam Deck is an excellent choice for gamers who want a PC-like gaming experience on the go.

What We Like

  • PC gaming in a handheld form
  • Powerful custom hardware
  • Customizable controls
  • Steam library compatibility
  • Supports Remote Play

What We Don’t Like

  • Slightly bulky design
  • Average battery life
  • Not all PC games work

6. ASUS ROG Ally

  • Display Size: 7-inches | Screen Resolution: 1920×1080 @ 120fps
  • Weight: 608g | Battery: 40Wh

As good as the Steam Deck is, its reliability on Linux somewhat limits its gaming chops. The ASUS ROG Ally addresses the issue by booting Windows 11. It also brings along a lighter design with more modern hardware, for a bit more cost.

One of the standout features of the ASUS ROG Ally is the high refresh rate display. With a 120Hz refresh rate, it provides ultra-smooth visuals, reducing motion blur and enhancing the overall gaming experience. Whether you’re engaged in fast-paced shooters or exploring open-world RPGs, the higher refresh rate adds a level of responsiveness that’s hard to beat. Add to that, the console is powered by the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, which ensures that you can run demanding games without compromising on performance.

Thanks to the fact that the ROG Ally runs Windows 11, it is essentially an ultra-portable gaming laptop. You can use it like a Windows machine, and install just about any game you want, as long as it runs on Windows. Of course, Windows in itself isn’t super optimized for touch screens, so the initial setup can be a bit bumpy. That being said, ASUS provides excellent tools like the Armory Crate and the Command Center for easy control when using the Ally for gaming.

If you desire even more performance, you can check out the AYANEO AIR Pro. However, the top SKU for the same costs a pretty penny. And even then, there are issues in terms of availability and after-sales support. Put all that into context, and the ASUS ROG Ally really is the best handheld gaming PC out there.

What We Like

  • Powerful processor
  • Stunning and smooth display
  • Customizable controls
  • Adjustable TDP
  • Endless games library thanks to Windows

What We Don’t Like

  • No touchpad
  • Windows isn’t optimized for touch
  • Poor battery life

FAQs on Best Handheld Gaming Consoles

1. Can I play multiplayer games with friends on handheld consoles?

Yes, most handheld consoles support local multiplayer using built-in wireless features or by connecting additional controllers. Many also offer online multiplayer options.

2. Can I connect a handheld console to a TV?

Not all handheld consoles can connect to a TV. The Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck, for example, offer TV output options, while others, like the Nintendo Switch Lite, are strictly for handheld use.

3. What are the advantages of handheld gaming consoles?

Handheld gaming consoles offer portability and exclusive game libraries, providing gamers with the flexibility to play on the go and access unique titles not available on other platforms.

4. What are the disadvantages of handheld gaming consoles?

Handheld gaming consoles have limitations such as reduced processing power and smaller screens, which may impact graphics and gameplay immersion. Additionally, extended use can also lead to eye strain.

Gaming On-The-Go

Well, that was our list of the best handheld gaming consoles you can buy in 2023. Each of these consoles comes with its own unique features, strengths, and weaknesses. Whether you’re a fan of retro classics, Nintendo exclusives, cloud gaming, OLED displays, PC-like gaming, or top-tier performance, there’s a handheld console tailored to your preferences. So, which of these consoles will you be opting for? Let us know in the comments below.

Last updated on 09 September, 2023

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