While we appreciate our consoles such as PS-5S, Xbox Series X, and powerful PCs, along with the impressive graphics they offer in our living rooms or bedrooms, it is also delightful to have top-notch handheld gaming consoles for playing favorite games on the move.
Whether you want to combat monsters in bed or seek entertainment during a car, train, or plane journey, a handheld video game console is an ideal source of joy and satisfaction for gaming enthusiasts. With numerous options available, selecting the right handheld can be challenging.
At TechEngage, we have curated a list of the finest portable gaming consoles for 2024.
Table of Contents
- Nintendo Games
- AAA Games
- Great build quality
- Hard to get hold of
|Rating on Amazon
|4.8 out of 5 stars – Out of 24,861 Reviews reviews.
|Buy on Amazon
Nintendo has been the dominant force in handheld video gaming consoles since the release of the original GameBoy in the early 1990s. Their extensive game library sets them apart, making their handheld consoles the ultimate choice for on-the-go entertainment.
The Nintendo Switch is their latest and most impressive portable handheld device, delivering a remarkable AAA console experience to your hands. When it comes to handheld systems, the Switch Lite is the ultimate choice.
If you’re interested in playing Pokemon Sword, Pokemon Shield, or Animal Crossing: New Horizons, or if you need a portable console, the Switch Lite is unbeatable. Nintendo offers a diverse selection of captivating games that will keep you entertained for hours. Additionally, there are AAA games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt available for on-the-go gaming, albeit with reduced graphics compared to consoles.
The Nintendo Switch Lite is a compact and lightweight gaming system with excellent value. Featuring a built-in +Control Pad and a sleek unibody design, the Nintendo Switch Lite is perfect for gaming on the go. If you desire a gaming system that is solely yours, the Nintendo Switch Lite is always ready to accompany you on your travels.
This little handheld monster is great for kids at this price, both little and big (and decidedly adult if you’re a kid inside), and I mean, come on: on what other hardware can you play The Witcher 3 on a train!
- Runs Android apps
- Great for emulation
- A little dated
- Clunky UI
|Rating on Amazon
|4.2 out of 5 stars – Out of 238 Reviews reviews.
|Buy on Amazon
Our second pick on this list is an Android-powered handheld gaming device by GPD. The GPD XD Plus is a compact device that easily fits in your pocket, similar in size to a standard mobile phone. It is ideal for playing classic games with its physical clamshell controls.
The GPD XD Plus, powered by a Hexa-core MediaTek MT8176, delivers strong performance in mobile games and emulated retro titles. Its 720p IPS panel enhances the gaming experience on this compact device.
The battery has a capacity of 6000mAh and can last up to 10 hours during gameplay and 120 hours when the screen is off.
The GPD XD Plus, being an Android tablet, offers various social features, such as social media and video apps.
The XD Plus, released in 2012, is now outdated. It is suitable for emulating older games, but may struggle with newer Android games and cannot play AAA games.
With an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5, Amazon reviewers love this device. One happy customer writes in their five-star review:
“In the few weeks I’ve owned this thing, I’ve fallen in love with it. I now understand the keymapper button which allows you to bind touch controls to the physical buttons, thus making me far more formidable in PUBG mobile. Most of all, Since Valve released their Steam Link APK and since Moonlight (for Nvidia Game streaming) is a several-years-mature app, I’ve been having a blast playing games (with 1440p resolution on the host machine) from my PC all day today, when at home.
I feel like I really consolidate a lot of my efforts with this device. It has no business playing PC games from my home desktop, over-the-internet, as well as it does.”
- PlayStation Integration, PS Now
- The decent backlog of games
- Abandoned by Sony
- No new releases
|Rating on Amazon
|4.5 out of 5 stars – Out of 1,751 Reviews reviews.
|Buy on Amazon
The PS Vita, Sony’s advanced handheld gaming console, was released in 2012 as the successor to the popular PSP. It features a wide range of PlayStation Vita games, including Final Fantasy X, God of War Collection, Minecraft, as well as classic games from PS One and PSP systems.
With a PS4, you can use Remote Play to play your PS4 games on your PS Vita system anywhere in your house. Stream a variety of games over a local Wi-Fi network while you’re away from your PS4 or TV.
This system is compatible with Sony’s game streaming platform, PlayStation Now, granting instant access to a vast collection of over 700 PS4, PS3, and PS3 games available to play on the go. Notable titles include Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Crew 2, Injustice 2, and others.
With an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, despite its age, people really love their PS Vita. One happy customer writes:
“The PlayStation Vita is a system that literally improved on nearly every aspect of the PlayStation Portable System, it’s predecessor. The screen display of the PlayStation Vita System is absolutely gorgeous, the touch screen display is extremely responsive and smooth, and the dual analog sticks feel very natural and right at home to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 users.
I play the Vita in bed after the kids are down. I also take it on trips but I mostly play it at home. The Vita feels great, looks great, it’s a solid dependable piece of hardware, currently priced attractively at $156. It has an enormous library of games and I prefer it to play on a TV or monitor.”
- Limited functionality
- Really small
|Rating on Amazon
|4.3 out of 5 stars – Out of 154 Reviews reviews.
|Buy on Amazon
This product is ideal for retro enthusiasts seeking an affordable system to enjoy their beloved classic games. Featuring a 3.5-inch IPS display protected by tempered glass, it is conveniently portable for pocket-sized gaming of GBA and PS1 favorites.
Featuring a 3500mAh battery, this console offers up to six hours of gameplay on a single charge. It fully supports games from PSP, PS1, NDS, N64, DC, and other platforms. Just insert a TF card and enjoy endless playtime.
The product is well constructed with Switch joysticks, providing a tight and secure feel. The RG351P features stereo speakers located at the bottom. The buttons are designed in a SNES style, complemented by Sony-style joystick placements.
One Amazon reviewer writes about this product:
“This is a high-quality system. You can tell by the craftsmanship they put a lot of effort into making this device. Button function as they should and the dual-analog sticks can be pushed in to function as L3 and R3 buttons, great for many games and emulators.
The system came with some preloaded games and a decent charge so I was able to get up in running immediately. Games run really good and I didn’t notice any screen-tearing. Retro Arch is built-in and is the main heart of the emulation, and if you know anything about emulation then you know Retro Arch is king. Comes preloaded with Emulec but you can download other OSs if you want to.”
Lastly, a portable gaming device that is not a physical console can be found in your smartphone. In reality, in numerous aspects, if you do not require exclusive or high-quality console adaptations, your smartphone is likely the optimal option for gaming while traveling.
Both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store offer a vast array of excellent mobile games. While some may not meet the same standard, there are numerous options that are truly exceptional. Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic and games like Call of Duty: Mobile provide immersive experiences comparable to those on the PS3. Although touch controls may not be optimal, enhancing your experience is simple with the addition of accessories such as Bluetooth controllers.
One major recent revolution in handheld gaming is the introduction of game streaming services such as Google Stadia. These services stream your gameplay from a powerful remote server, delivering PC-level performance directly to your phone, provided you have a reliable internet connection.
Before considering a dedicated game console, try out the device that may already be in your pocket, regardless of how you prefer to play games.
The choice of the best handheld video game consoles depends on their intended use. For playing exclusive AAA games with excellent build quality anywhere, the Nintendo Switch Lite is the top pick. However, if price is a factor and you are willing to compromise on AAA ports, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G smartphone is a suitable option.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do handheld video game consoles compare to dedicated game consoles?
Handheld video game consoles are designed for portable gaming and are smaller in size compared to dedicated game consoles. They typically have built-in screens, controls, and rechargeable batteries, allowing gamers to play games on the go. Dedicated game consoles, on the other hand, are larger and require a TV or monitor to play games. They usually offer more powerful hardware, better graphics, and a wider range of features. While handheld consoles offer portability, dedicated consoles provide a more immersive gaming experience.
Can I play PC-level games on handheld video game consoles?
No, handheld video game consoles typically have hardware limitations that prevent them from running PC-level games.
Which handheld video game console is best for playing AAA games?
The Nintendo Switch is the best handheld video game console for playing AAA games.
What are the pros and cons of the Nintendo Switch Lite and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G for gaming?
Nintendo Switch Lite:
– Portable and lightweight design
– Dedicated gaming device with a wide variety of exclusive games
– Longer battery life compared to the original Nintendo Switch
– Lower price point compared to the original Nintendo Switch
– Cannot be connected to a TV or used in tabletop mode
– Joy-Con controllers are built-in and cannot be detached
– Limited multiplayer options due to lack of detachable Joy-Con controllers
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G:
– Powerful hardware capable of running demanding games
– Large, high-resolution display for an immersive gaming experience
– Versatility as a gaming device and smartphone in one
– Access to a wide range of Android games and apps
– Battery life may drain quickly during gaming sessions
– Risk of overheating during intensive gaming
– Touch controls may not be as precise or comfortable as physical buttons or controllers
– Gaming performance may vary depending on the game optimization and device settings.
When looking to improve this article on the 5 best handheld video game consoles in 2024, consider providing more details on the features and specifications of each console. Additionally, include information on the gaming libraries and compatibility with popular game titles. Lastly, consider expanding on each console’s pros and cons to provide readers a balanced perspective.
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