Best handheld console 2023: Steam Deck, Switch & more

Getting the best handheld console in 2023 doesn’t have to be a headache. These devices offer the best gaming experience while on the go. We’ve done the hard work and researched exactly which consoles you should pick up.

Gaming on the go has been around since time eternal. From the Game Boy, to modern tablets and more. However, some of the best handheld gaming consoles on the market look to take the experience several notches higher.

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Over the last few years, the gaming handheld market has exploded. You can now pick up devices like the Steam Deck, Ayaneo 2, GPD Win, OnexPlayer, and more. The market is ever-expanding with bigger brands also wanting a slice of the action, with devices like the Razer Edge and upcoming Asus ROG Ally.

To keep things a little different here, as compared to our best retro consoles guide, we recommend, but we won’t include older games consoles like the DS, 3DS/2DS, and Game Boy. So, without keeping you waiting, our top picks for the best handheld consoles are listed in all their glory below: 

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Steam Deck

Steam Deck fancy imageDexerto

In our review, we stated that the Steam Deck has changed the game – it’s just a little convoluted. Once you get past the learning curve once you start to play games outside of SteamOS, it’s an incredibly wide-open console.

Well, ‘console’ is a little bit of stretch. It’s a full-on Linux PC in the form of a handheld console. That doesn’t matter though, because both emulation and almost your entire Steam libraries (or Epic Games and GOG) always play great on the Steam Deck. With a few caveats thrown in, of course.

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The main thing about the Steam Deck that we wholly recommend is just on a cost and performance basis. This could see you through so many high-end PC games, on the go, with very little compromise.

It’s also incredibly customizable, with people figuring out how to play games like World of Warcraft and other MMOs on the go, all within the embedded controller.

Alternative to the Steam Deck: AyaNeo Air Pro

The AyaNeo Air Pro and the AyaNeo 2 are comparable, Windows 11 devices that do exactly what the Steam Deck and a whole host of other mini PCs are attempting to do.

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We found the AyaNeo to be an incredible performer, but far more expensive than the Steam Deck.

Razer Edge

Razer EdgeRazer

The Razer Edge is an Android-powered handheld gaming console built by Razer, a brand synonymous with gaming peripherals. Unlike most products, the Edge combines two different devices – a 5G-equipped Edge tablet and a Kishi V2 Pro controller. This versatility makes the console stand out from the crowd.

The 6.8-inch display of the Razer Edge is an OLED panel that makes colors look stand out, and the powerful internals help play games without any lag whatsoever. It allows you to play AAA titles over the cloud, as well as offering a robust Android gaming experience

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The Razer Edge has two variants – WiFi only and the 5G version. Unfortunately, its two significant cons are high price points and idle screen battery drains.


“Why not Android?” Well, Android doesn’t come with the solid backing of Apple Arcade, one of the low-key best subscription models to come out in the last few years. The games aren’t all brilliant, but the iPhone and iPad have a healthy library of titles that it’s hard to find something not to play.

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Recommendations include puzzle game Grindstone, JRPG Fantasian, and the slew of mobile-only games that have been stripped of their adverts. Jetpack Joyride and Fruit Ninja, as well as a few old favorites, have had cash thrown at them to ensure that paying subscribers don’t have to suffer through 30-second, unskippable adverts.

While Android can compete with this as well, the massive selection of games available on the App Store in general, including some retro classics, makes getting hold of an iPad (or iPhone if you’re in the mood for upgrading) a no-brainer. The iPad is where we love to play some gacha and RPG titles, as well as stream Steam or Xbox games over the internet.

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Nintendo Switch


Nintendo’s almighty Switch might be getting on in age, but it doesn’t mean that the games aren’t worth a look into. Grabbing an OLED or even original Switch will unlock a healthy amount of games that you might otherwise never get to experience elsewhere.

Yes, the Switch is completely worth it for the exclusives alone. Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey and more. Nintendo’s entire lineup is an excellent example of what you’re missing out on. Even some of the exclusives from other developers, like Astral Chain and the upcoming Bayonetta 3 are just worth the entry fee.

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It’s also an excellent device to have for multiplayer games, as well as catching up on the large portion of games that you never have time for. Who doesn’t want to explore Dragon Quest 11 on the go? Or the upcoming Pokemon games?

The Switch might be a bit long in the tooth, but the sheer amount of games that have made its way to the eShop over the last few years is nothing short of astounding. You will find something you enjoy, regardless of what it is.

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Miyoo Mini Plus

Miyoo Mini PlusMiyoo

After the original Miyoo Mini reached the end of its life, it was replaced by the new Miyoo Mini Plus. It comes with a larger 3.5-inches IPS display with 640×480 pixels resolution. This new retro console is powered by Linux system V3 OS comes with transparent body and improved internals.

It ships with a 64GB SD card that comes preloaded with over 7000 retro games and it also supports open source RetroArch system allowing users to download more games in relevant formats. This tiny console is powered by a 3000 mAh battery that can let you play form more than seven hours with you needing to look for a charging slot. 

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Retroid Pocket 2+, 3 and 3+

retroid pocket

While some might disagree and say that Ambernic’s options are the top, Retroid continues to present the best overall package when it comes to these Android-based retro handhelds. From its software and organization to support a variety of Android games from the Play Store out of the box, it’s just an excellent package.

The Pocket 2+ and 3 can play games all the way up to the DS and PSP rather comfortably, but top out before you can begin putting on Gamecube and PS2 games.

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retroid 3

Why are they both together? Well, the Retroid Pocket 3 presents itself with a better set of controls than the Pocket 2+. It has a pair of real joysticks, rather than the joystick and nub combo on the Pocket 2+.

The Pocket 3 will also suit bigger hands better, while the Pocket 2+, we’d still recommend for those that just want to grab hold of the device now, rather than be put on the waiting list for the 3.

While we originally recommended the Pocket 3, Retroid has a big habit of immediately releasing a new variation on their systems. The 2 was quickly followed up by the 2+, and now the 3 is joined by the 3+.

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As irritating as it is, the 3+ does present itself with a new 4GB of RAM, and a new processor, allowing it to play games that need that extra oomph.

Retro gaming is getting so much easier to get into these days. While we’ve spoken briefly about emulation, make sure you already own the games that you seek to play.

Also, make sure to check out our other guides:

Best Bluetooth earbuds for phones & gaming consoles | The best PS5 controllers | The best mobile games to play in 2023 | Best gaming keyboards | Best CPU for gaming | The best CPU for gaming in 2023 | Best budget gaming desk | Best power bank for steam deck | Best 1440p Monitor for PS5 | Best gamecube controller for Switch and PC

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