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The Best Handheld Gaming Devices for 2024

by | Feb 22, 2024

For decades, we’ve been seeing PCs dominate the gaming space with decked-out processors, lightning-fast components, and gigantic 4K monitors paired with them. Sure, the gaming console has sweet additions coming out in their own time that hook up to screens, but it’ll be a while till they come to the level of PC.

But what if we told you there’s a completely different niche slowly frothing up to bypass the colossal mountain of PC goodness that rakes up gamers by spades?

Remember the good ol’ days of the PSP? Or if we were to go even further back when the Nintendo GameBoy was at its peak?

Handheld gaming is coming back in style, and we’re here to list all the best consoles ready to serve portable gaming in all its glory in 2024!

 The Best Handheld Gaming Consoles _ Our Top Picks

#1. Valve Steam Deck OLED

Valve Steam Deck OLED

If you can’t beat an entire industry that builds mammoth-sized PCs, bring an extra small PC into the fray with all the features of a regular-sized one!

The Steam Deck is Valve’s surprise entry into the console industry with a hint of reminiscence for the old days when handheld retro games were all the rage. And with the OLED model, Valve only adds to a near-perfect console.

A gorgeous 7.4-inch touchscreen that displays content in brilliant 720p OLED quality while you lounge in your home is what the average gamer dreams of. Other subtle, under-the-hood upgrades include a better battery life that gives 1 to 4 hours extra compared to the regular model.

The OLED model enables faster downloading as well, thanks to Wi-Fi 6E. Pair that with an exceptional Internet Service Provider (ISP) like ATT Internet, and you have a device that can easily power all your online gaming.

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Who it’s for

PC gamers, particularly those with accounts on Steam, will be pleased to own this console. Imagine having your Steam library with you on the fly and the ability to play all your favorite games on a device that you can pop into your backpack. Neat, right?

PROS

  • Fantastic OLED screen
  • Improved battery
  • Faster downloads
  • Runs quietly
  • Excellent emulation support

CONS

  • Can barely handle the latest AAA releases
  • Anti-glare screen only available for highest tier model

#2. Asus ROG Ally

Asus ROG Ally

Asus is not one to back down from competition. The company has a freshly released handheld gaming console going by the name of “Ally,” making the rounds on the internet and in stores. It runs Windows 11 right off the bat, and with features like a 1920 x 1080p screen running at 120 Hz, this (small) bad boy is one tough cookie.

However, the battery timing isn’t too hot. We’d recommend packing a charging cable whenever you’re taking it out for a spin outside.

Who it’s for

Let’s face it, a full-on desktop interface is going to look weird on a portable screen. That’s why Asus includes its own Armory Crate interface that summarizes the screen into a smaller menu. Pick whichever option you want and dive into a PC experience that may be small only in size but offers the biggest selection of PC games on the market.

PROS

  • Attractive 1080p 120Hz display
  • Slick design and sturdy build
  • Steady performance in most gaming scenarios
  • Runs full Windows 11
  • Decent battery life outside of gaming
  • Asus software changes modes and remaps controls on the fly

CONS

  • Many games require lower graphics settings for smooth performance
  • Super short battery life while gaming
  • Some finicky controls, particularly for navigating Windows

#3. Lenovo Legion Go

Lenovo Legion Go

The most evident difference between the Legion Go’s features and those of the other devices we’ve mentioned is the enormous form factor. Lenovo likes to shake up things in whichever industry it dips its toes into. Likewise, when the company decided to plunge into handheld gaming, it did so with a supersized 8.8-inch QHD screen that fits into an intimidating-looking portable device.

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Who it’s for

The Legion Go is for those who want some more oomph if they are to invest in a portable gaming console. The Legion features detachable controllers, like the Joy Cons on the Nintendo Switch, and an FPS mode that can turn the same controller into a dedicated mouse. The price tag on the Go is quite hefty, so choose wisely.

PROS

  • Gorgeous 8.8-inch QHD screen
  • Steady performance with many AAA games
  • 49.2WHr Battery
  • Multiple Modes
  • Runs full Windows 11
  • Two USB-C ports
  • Included carrying case

CONS

  • Buggy Legion Space software
  • Gaming at QHD rarely worth it
  • FPS mode is clunky
  • Detaching controllers is awkward
  • Heavy

#4. Asus ROG Phone 8

Asus ROG Phone 8

Who said gaming consoles couldn’t include smartphones?

Asus’ Republic of Gamers isn’t putting all its eggs in one basket; they’re penetrating the smartphone market as well with a spec monster that stays restrained inside a phone design. With previous models, ROG decided to go with a spaceship-style, RGB lighting-enabled android phone that, if the company didn’t specifically state was a smartphone, nobody would have guessed so. This one, however, stays grounded with its design and balances both gaming and aesthetics quite well!

Who it’s for

Those of you who’re into mobile gaming, such as PUBG or COD: Mobile, will love what this nifty little device has to offer. Clipping accessories are also available for competitive gameplay. Pump up your game settings to the max and let this device show you why it deserves the extra cash investment.

 PROS

  • Revamped design
  • Powerful specs
  • Decent photos

 CONS

  • AI features are subtle compared to rivals
  • Smaller battery
  • Short update timeline

#5. Sony PlayStation Portal

Sony PlayStation Portal

Sometimes big companies can release devices that go out on a limb to introduce a gimmick that may or may not work upon release. It’s understandable. You have to think out of the box and take risks to land a big achievement. However, with the PS Portal, we’re still scratching our heads. Firstly, this is a streaming device. It streams your PS5’s content onto its brilliant LCD screen and has DualSense controller-esque side controls.

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Who it’s for

It’s only for PS5 owners because, without the main thing, the PS Portal is useless. But if you do have the PS5, this is a must-buy! It’s fun to use, plays everything available on the PS5, and has amazing battery life. Pair that with a set of dedicated gaming earbuds PlayStation just released, and you’ll be on your merry way to a portable (in-house) gaming experience.

PROS

  • All-in-one solution for PS5 Remote Play
  • Good screen and hardware
  • Lengthy battery life
  • Full DualSense integration

CONS

  • Other Remote Play methods are cheaper
  • The value of your $200 hinges on Wi-Fi performance
  • Why on Earth is it Wi-Fi 5?
  • Always needs a connected PS5
  • No auto-brightness

The Power of Handheld Gaming Consoles in 2024

We’re still a ways away from having portable gaming challenge mainstream gaming devices in terms of performance. But if handheld gaming can market itself as a flashier, simpler, more accessible solution to gaming, then we could see the portable market incur a potential boom in popularity. Also read Best iPhone for Gaming in 2024.

Top games that have won accolades as of late, such as the likes of Baldur’s Gate 3 and God of War Ragnarok, can run on most of the aforementioned devices. If such titles can make their way to smaller screens, it might not take much time for handheld consoles to tip the scales in their favor.

Conclusion

While handheld gaming consoles still have some limitations compared to traditional gaming devices, they have the potential to become more popular by offering a flashier, simpler, and more accessible gaming solution. With top games becoming available on these devices, handheld consoles may gain popularity and challenge mainstream gaming devices in the future.

FAQs

Is handheld gaming a better choice?

This entirely depends on your preference and if you can spare time and money to set up a regular gaming console.

Is mobile gaming popular?

Yes, more than 6 billion smartphones are currently in use playing mobile games.

Do handhelds count as consoles?

Yes, they do.

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