Portable gaming consoles are becoming popular, and there are many options. So here are the 5 best handheld gaming consoles to get in 2024.
Handheld gaming consoles have made a huge comeback, dominating the gaming communities with their features, performance, and portable convenience. Instead of building or buying gaming PCs, players always on the run prefer handheld gaming consoles that deliver Full HD display at 120 Hz without compromising on graphics.
The performance and features of these consoles make things overwhelming when choosing the right gaming console. Therefore, we have narrowed the search for you by bringing the 5 best handheld gaming consoles of 2024 that are the best bang for your budget. We will enlist features with the pros and cons of each console to help you make the right choice.
1. ASUS ROG Ally
The first one on our list is the ASUS ROG Ally, which is by far the most powerful gaming console in terms of specifications and output. The ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck seemed a competitive comparison based on their specifications, and still, the ROG Ally stays on top with its 8 cores and 16 threads processor.
The ASUS ROG Ally comes in two variants based on the difference between the processor and the price. You get the perfect gaming control with the joysticks and trigger setup that looks and feels like an Xbox controller. The special thing is the assignable buttons that add better interaction with the captative touch. Let’s discuss the features and why you may or may not want to buy the ASUS ROG Ally.
Processor/GPU: AMD Ryzen Z1 Zen-4
RAM: 16 GB
Storage: 512 GB 4.0 NVMe™M.2 SSD
Display Screen: 1920x1080p FHD 7-inch Display Screen
Battery Life: 3-6 Hours
- High-quality graphics with a considerably fluent refresh rate that syncs perfectly with the FPS.
- Better cooling setup as compared to the other handheld gaming consoles.
- Crisp button setup with feature to custom map two button functions.
- The display feels like 720p.
- Battery life may vary to perform poorly if the gaming load is increased.
2. Nintendo Switch OLED
Nintendo Switch OLED is probably the console that brought back the era of handheld gaming. Since its release back in 2017, there has been some competition between Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch OLED based on their specifications and features. However, many gamers still choose Nintendo Switch as the best handheld console available due to its lasting battery life and comfortable handling support. However, some players do complain about Switch’s overheating issues.
The best thing gamers love about Nintendo Switch is its feature to connect to a larger TV screen without additional costs. Therefore, if you ever fancy playing games or watching Netflix via Nintendo Switch on a higher definition, you can connect the console to a TV screen. However, one downside of Nintendo Switch is its relatively smaller library of games than other consoles. However, many indie game titles and famous first-party games from Nintendo’s history are still available.
Processor/GPU: Nvidia Custom Tegra Processor
RAM: 4 GB
Storage: 64 GB Flash Storage
Display Screen: 1280x720p OLED 7-inch Display Screen
Battery Life: 4-9 Hours
- Supports a wide variety of first-party indie games.
- Comfortable button mapping and controller setup.
- Attachable with a TV screen with adaptive graphics and resolution.
- No full HD screen.
- The operating system limits many operations.
3. Lenovo Legion GO
If you want a fusion of Asus ROG Ally, Nintendo Switch, and Steam Deck in a single handheld gaming console with a high-end display screen, then Lenovo Legion GO is your best choice. Lenovo Legion can run every CPU-intensive game like Red Dead Redemption 2 on medium to high settings. This handheld gaming console took the best features from its rivals and combined them to appear as the latest handheld gaming console on the market.
Lenovo Legion GO has the best display, unlike other handheld gaming consoles, with an 8.8-inch QHD screen that supports a 144 Hz refresh rate. Like its rival ROG Ally, this console also supports Windows 11 and shares the same processor. Moreover, it has detachable controllers like Nintendo Switch for co-op or multiplayer. And you get the trackpad like we have seen on Steam Deck to get that accuracy on point. Surely, it’s the best handheld gaming console and the latest one available on the market. However, it lacks when it comes to battery life and overheating issues. Moreover, its slightly heavy as compared to other handheld gaming consoles.
Processor/GPU: AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme with RDNA
RAM: 16GB 7500Mhz LPDDR5X
Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 2242
Display Screen: 2560 x 1600p 8.8-inch QHD Display
Battery Life: 1.5-2.5 Hours
- Amazing display screen with vivid colors and sharp resolution.
- Smooth and lag-free gaming experience on many AAA games.
- Windows-based operating system which supports the majority of game library.
- Battery life is not that good.
- Quite heavy to hold for a handheld gaming console.
4. Valve Steam Deck
Steam Deck is another quality handheld gaming console that gives ready-to-play access anywhere, anytime. This portable gaming console has Steam OS, allowing it to connect with Xbox, PS4, or PS5 controllers for a more personalized gaming experience. Valve made Steam Deck more like a portable gaming PC as you get a wide variety of Steam games, and with the 16 gigs of DDR5 RAM, it can easily run many AAA title games.
The design and control handling is comfortable, and you can easily enable or disable haptic feedback. However, the responsiveness of controls and diversity of the Steam Deck is worth appreciating, making it one of the best handheld gaming consoles.
Processor/GPU: AMD Zen 2 4c/8t @ 2.4 to 3.5 GHz processor with AMD RDNA 2 CUs 1.6 GHz GPU
RAM: 16 GB
Storage: 256 GB or 512 GB NVMe SSD
Display Screen: 1280x800p IPS 7-inch Display Screen
Battery Life: 2-8 Hours
- Supports a wide variety of games from Steam.
- Efficient processing power.
- Better control scheme with reassigned able controls.
- Does not support all of the AAA title games.
- Battery life is not very reliable.
5. Nintendo Switch
Last but not least, one on our list is the fan favorite console of the gaming community, the Nintendo Switch. We placed the Nintendo Switch OLED on the top because of the brand’s popularity and amazing display screen. However, this console gets you the perfect specs for the perfect price, making it a popular option for a budget-friendly, high-performance gaming console.
The joy-cons can be slotted into either side of the screen; like the OLED version, you can attach it to a larger display with a TV or play in the Tabletop mode. The retro-looking design of this console never changed, and it all comes under the $300 mark. Hence, for budget gamers who love to play games while they’re on the go, this is the best gaming console they can get.
Processor/GPU: Nvidia Custom Tegra CPU
RAM: 32 GB RAM
Storage: 32 GB Internal Storage
Display Screen: 1280×720 IPS 6.2-inch LCD Display.
Battery Life: 3-6 Hours
- Great value for money and gives a decent performance.
- Large capacity for RAM to handle resource-hungry games.
- Works perfectly on docked mode with the TV for a large display gaming experience.
- The screen size of the console itself is pretty small.
- The build quality doesn’t seem too sturdy.
Handheld gaming consoles are officially back, making a competitive statement in the gaming communities with high-end performance hardware and portable features. Such high-end gaming technology in a small form factor makes it an appealing choice for gamers who are always on the go. This article featured 5 of the best handheld gaming consoles yet available. Hopefully, the details we shared with you will help you to make the right choice for your next gaming console.
Are the Batteries Reliable on Handheld Gaming Consoles?
The gaming performance can affect the battery life, and a typical gaming console may only run for a maximum of 3 to 4 hours on high brightness and peak performance.
Can You Upgrade Handheld Gaming Consoles?
No, there are different variants available for the same console in terms of RAM and storage that varies on the model and price of the handheld gaming console.
Which was the First Ever Handheld Gaming Console?
Smith Engineering and Milton-Bradley introduced the first handheld gaming console in 1979 as the LCD-based Microvision. This console featured interchangeable cartridges.