Handheld gaming is back. Whether you’re trying to find retro-gaming fun or action-packed adventures, these handheld consoles are ideal for using the go. Go through this guide to help you choose the best handheld– and our choice of the best handheld consoles out there today.
What Is Handheld Gaming?
In 1989, it beat the completing Atari Lynx, and the later released Sega Game Gear with its extensive library of engaging games. Comparing the initial Game Boy to the NES controller that was out at the time, the inputs and button layouts were nearly similar. This element made it pretty necessary for gamers to familiarize themselves with how the games played. Nevertheless, due to the massive drop in computing power and hardware distinctions, the only games were on a monochrome screen of black and white. The Game Boy display screen had a resolution of 160×144 whereas the NES showed games at 256×240 completely color.
These devices naturally developed and improved dramatically. The Game Boy Color incorporates color to games, but it wasn’t till the Game Boy Advance SP that a backlit screen allows you to see what was going on the display in any surrounding. Meanwhile, the Game Boy libraries were growing alongside Nintendo’s console mainstays. Spin-offs of other iconic Nintendo characters and Mario came along together with original games like Pokemon. No matter what you wished to play, handhelds appeared to give you various options.
It wasn’t until the production of the PlayStation Portable that handheld gaming started to close the gap with house consoles. Full-fledged franchises that were heavily graphics-intensive released on the gadget, and in a discussion, it was more alike to the leading Playstation 2 than it was to the competing Nintendo DS. The drawback, nevertheless, was that with only one analog stick and a decreased number of shoulder buttons, it was difficult to recreate the home console experience for innovative games entirely, graphics aside.
It is an issue that has annoyed handhelds because of their conception and ultimately lies at the core of portable versus console gaming. No device has merely been developed to match a 1 to 1 controller specification, allowing for players to play the most innovative games they prefer. Not only were the titles simplified in graphics but also commands. With the present PS Vita, space is limited, but improved graphics can’t offset the familiar feel of a controller in your hands.
How to Purchase the Best Handheld Console for You?
What games can handheld consoles play?
The range of games on offer differs substantially from device to device. The Nintendo Switch deals a full home console experience, while the 3DS XL is a more lightweight system that mostly plays unique titles. Android devices can play retro games and run emulators, in addition to more recent games downloaded from Google Play. Many handheld consoles support both cartridges and digital downloads; one benefit of selecting a Nintendo or Sony device over a smaller sized manufacturer is the possibility of finding previously owned cartridges, along with the expectation of better assistance in case something goes wrong.
Am I Able to Play Retro Games on a Handheld Console?
The 3DS and PlayStation Vita offer backward-compatibility with older handheld devices, and you might find remakes of traditional titles. But if you want to run an emulator you’re better off with an Android tablet– there’s a wider variety of high-quality emulation software out there.
What About Battery Life?
Whichever gadget you select, you can expect a minimum of three hours of play. Most devices will give you 5 hours, and some will last approximately 6 or seven hours. Longer is better, undoubtedly, however in truth, you’ll hardly ever be playing a device for hours on end, and as soon as you switch your device into standby it’ll hold its charge for days or weeks– so you ought to have sufficient battery charge for a couple of train journeys without needing to top up.
Which is the best handheld gaming console?
Nintendo Switch: The ultimate handheld console (Best Overall)
The Nintendo Switch has more features than a handheld gaming gadget. In your home, you can hang it up to your living-room TELEVISION like a routine console; and when you want to leave, you can pop it out of its dock and carry on gaming on the integrated screen.
The games are quite as much as house console requirements too: some of these exceptional titles are ‘the 100+ hour-long The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and the exceptional Super Mario Odyssey’. There’s likewise a multitude of fantastic multiplayer titles and the interesting Nintendo Labo. Almost all major Switch games begun cartridges, however, they’re also available digitally, along with a long list of indie games available using the Nintendo eShop.
You’ll find a few disadvantages of the Nintendo Switch, however. The rate is high– not surprising considering how powerful it is– and it’s noticeably more significant than the 3DS XL. Given that it’s a relatively brand-new release, it can also be hard to find stock at every seller, and pre-owned games are thin on the ground.
Dimensions: 239 x 14 x 102mm (WDH); Weight: 398g; Display: 6.2 in 1,280 x 720-pixel touchscreen (output increases to 1080p when chipped
); Storage: 32GB built-in, expandable memory via microSD; Connectivity: 802.11 a/c, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, headphone jack, USB Type-C, USB 3 and USB 2 (when chipped)); Battery: 4,310 mAh (~ 3.5 to 7 hours).
Pros of using Nintendo Switch
- The only console that is naturally combining house and handheld choices.
- At least some of the best games commonly comprises two games exclusive to Switch: Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.
- The Switch has full assistance from third-party publishers, unlike previous Nintendo consoles.
- A top quality touchscreen screen
- A disassembling controller and split-screen multiplayer alternative for gaming with friends.
Cons of Utilizing Nintendo Switch
- Compared to handheld consoles instead of the house ones, the Nintendo Switch is pretty expensive.
- Supply chain issues. It looks like Nintendo hasn’t gotten ready for such success by the console, which led to a substantial shortage.
New Nintendo 3DS XL: Best for Die-Hard Nintendo Fans
Nintendo has been the most popular handheld consoles since the days of the Game Boy. The New Nintendo 3DS XL enjoys a comprehensive library of excellent handheld games from some of the best developers worldwide. The display isn’t as sharp as your mobile phone, but it’s detailed enough to make games look terrific.
Since the 3DS XL uses proprietary cartridges, there’s a vast market in second-hand games, making this excellent for gamers on a budget– although you can also download digital titles using the Nintendo eShop and keep them on a microSD card. A choice of different liveries is offered too, consisting of a SNES-styled look, and you can even switch out the case paneling to personalize them yourself.
Necessarily, if you’re searching for pocket-sized gaming, the New Nintendo 3DS XL is indeed the best the market has to use.
Dimensions: 160 x 21.5 x 93.5 mm (WDH) when closed; Weight: 329g; Display: 4.88 in (leading), 4.18 in touchscreen (lower), 800 x 240 pixels; Storage: microSD (4GB card consisted of); Connectivity: 802.11 b/g, NFC, earphone jack, proprietary charger; Battery: 1,400 mAh (~ 3.5 to 7 hours).
Pros of Using Nintendo 3DS XL
- An action up compared to its predecessors due to improved CPU performance, a brighter screen, boosted controls, and a better camera.
- Nintendo still supports the console, and therefore new titles are to come.
- It has a face-tracking 3D screen.
- Built-in amiibo compatibility, permitting you to port characters from the Wii U handheld game console.
- It has a motion detector for interactive play.
Cons of Using Nintendo 3DS XL
- Compared to the previous designs, battery life hasn’t considerably enhanced, providing 3.5 to 6 hours of gameplay without charging.
- An A/C adapter is not part of the package.
New Nintendo 2DS XL: Best Budget Pick
The New Nintendo 2DS XL processes all the same games as the New Nintendo 3DS XL, but it lacks the 3D screen. Making it quite a bit less expensive, so it’s the ideal handheld console for children, and there’s a wide range of titles ideal for ages five and up. Indeed, nearly every 3DS game is a child- and family-friendly, and Nintendo also provides exceptional adult controls on the console so you can obstruct specific content, bar access to the eShop and even set playing time restrictions.
The New Nintendo 2DS XL does not have the case-swapping abilities of its older brother or sister does, but you can choose one up in this incredibly cute Pikachu-style finish. If you’re purchasing a handheld console for your child, you can’t go wrong with the New Nintendo 2DS XL.
Dimensions: 160 x 20 x 86mm (hwd) when closed; Weight: 260g; Display: 4.88 in (top), 4.18 in touchscreen (lower), 800 x 240 pixels; Storage: microSD (4GB card consisted of); Connectivity: 802.11 bg, NFC, headphone jack, proprietary battery charger; Battery: 1,300 mAh (~ 3.5 to 7 hours).
Pros of using New Nintendo 2DS XL
- It retains most functions of the more pricey New Nintendo 3DS XL design, including an amiibo support, upgraded processor, and improved controls.
- The only difference was a couple of New 3DS exclusive titles; everything else is almost the same vast array of games.
Cons of Using New Nintendo 2DS XL
- It plays 3D games and videos in 2D only.
- Despite a durable design, the console’s hinge tends to wiggle a bit when the gadget is open.
PlayStation Vita- Best for Sony Fans and PlayStation 4 Owners
Sony’s second handheld console is an incredible gadget– however, unfortunately, it was terminated in the UK a couple of years back. If you prefer a PS Vita, therefore, you’ll need to track down a used one via eBay, Amazon or CeX.
If you’re a fan of odd and unusual handheld games, nevertheless, it’s well worth looking for one out. Pre-owned video game cartridges can be rather inexpensively, and you’ll also find some exquisite Limited Run editions of eccentric indie games to get. You can still buy brand-new titles digitally on the PlayStation Store too– and, because you’re not limited to regions with the Vita isn’t restricted, you can choose many games from Japan, where the console is still very popular.
If you’re a retro gaming fan, the PS Vita also plays a wealth of original PlayStation games and PlayStation Portable titles. You can even link it to your PS4 (either over your house Wi-Fi or via the internet) and play the most recent games from another location.
Dimensions: 183.6 x 15 x 85.1 mm (hwd); Weight: 260g; Screen Display: 5 inches 960 x 544-pixel touchscreen; Storage: 1GB built-in, expandable as much as 64GB with proprietary memory; Connectivity: 802.11 bgn, 3G (optional) Bluetooth 2.1, headphone jack, micro-USB; Battery: 2,210 mAh (~ 4-6 hours for games, 7 for video, 12 for music).
Pros of Utilizing PlayStation Vita
- It has a big 5-inch screen and quality visuals.
- It has a lightweight, slim yet solid style.
- It has a variety of Japanese games.
- Its selection of Western indie games is rather excellent too.
- Initial PS and PS Portable titles are likewise readily available, providing a retro gaming experience.
Cons of using PlayStation Vita
- The PS Vita lacks AAA titles, and top-tier developers including Sony itself don’t pay enough attention to the console anymore.
- Heavy focus on the Japanese market.
- It has a pricey memory card (approximately $90 for the 64GB choice) which you need for downloaded material, updates, and conserving files.
Nvidia Shield K1: the Best handheld console for retro gamers
It is strictly a tablet instead of a console– however, do not think it’s just another Android device. Nvidia’s useful Tegra K1 processor makes it a remarkable on-the-go gaming platform.
Given that it runs Android, you’ll have access to all the most popular smartphone games, in addition to a wealth of emulators. The K1 is capable enough to run PlayStation, N64 and Dreamcast games, and some Gamecube games will work too. Nvidia has also worked with video game studios to optimize classic titles for the platform so that you can play games such as Tomb Raider and Metal Gear Solid Revengeance too. You also get Nvidia’s GeForce is also now available as a streaming service so that you can access PC-quality games as long as you have Internet, or stream your PC games to the Shield K1 if you prefer playing PC games on the couch.
What you may find challenging with the Shield K1 is its rate– and the fact that it’s becoming tough to get new, as Nvidia shifts focus to the Shield TV and its other jobs.
Dimensions: 221 x 9.2 x 126mm (WDH); Weight: 356g; Display: 8in 1,920 x 1,200-pixel touchscreen; Storage: 16GB, expandable microSD to 256GB; Connectivity: 802.11 abgn, Bluetooth 4, GPS, micro-USB 2; Battery: 5,200 mAh (~ 8.5 hours).
Other Handheld Gaming Consoles
4 of The Best Handheld Gaming Console for Kids
Regardless of whether you are searching for a game console for the family home or are inclining towards something more versatile for your kids, there are a variety of alternatives out there.
Nintendo 2DS Portable Game Console
The Nintendo 2DS is similar to the 3DS but lacks the hinges. It has a wedge shape instead of the original clamshell design. However, it’s still comfortable to hold. The device plays Nintendo’s substantial library of Nintendo DS and 3DS games. Nevertheless, it doesn’t support stereo noise unless you’re wearing headphones. This console looks more like a toy than a major gaming maker, making it an inexpensive device for kids to use while playing.
The best handheld for a Quick and Affordable Dose of Nostalgia
Sega Genesis Ultimate Portable Game Player
Price $ 43.97.
The Sega comes with all three Golden Axe games, nine Sonic the Hedgehog games, and Mortal Kombat 1-3, amongst many others, and you can even pack more with its built-in SD card slot. The system plugs into your TELEVISION for gaming at the cinema, too!
The best gaming smartphone
Price $ 669.99.
If you demand strictly utilizing your smartphone for gaming, we recommend the Razer Phone– and no, we don’t indicate the iconic flip phone from Motorola in the early 2000s. This Razer comes with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor that’s coupled with a powerful 8 GB of RAM, 64 GB of expandable storage, and a 4,000 mAH battery. It has a 5.7-inch LCD screen, sizeable front-facing stereo speakers that use Dolby Atmos, dual 12 MP electronic cameras on its behind, and an 8 MP selfie shooter. It’s ideal for coupling with the SteelSeries Stratus XL wireless controller.
The best handheld for casual gamers
Apple iPod Touch (6th generation) MP3 Player
Price $209.45 (32GB variation).
Apple’s most recent iPod touch is easily the most amusing MP3 gamer available in the marketplace. It contains the same processor as the iPhone 6, a 4-inch Retina screen, an 8MP video camera, and iOS, the gadget will not just play music and video, but it’ll also provide users access to the same games and apps available for the iPad and iPhone. Nevertheless, its absence of buttons makes it a lousy choice for severe players.
The Rise of the Hybrid Handhelds
What’s The State Of Hybrid Handhelds?
What was set the tone for where gamers had constantly wanted things to go was the Remote Play to the PS-Vista from the PlayStation 3, being free to play their preferred games wherever and to continue when they returned, and vice versa. Advanced alternatives such as game streaming from one’s desktop PC ended up being a choice through the Nvidia Shield, however that needed a hefty setup and management of a PC, not to point out expensive. Probably it was and still is the best structure, even though it’s not seamless.
With the production of the Nintendo Wii U, gamers got a glance of Nintendo’s vision for the future. A different game controller with a built-in screen efficient in letting you pass up the television and display with a house console, a very first for gaming. However, the distance you could take a trip was unfortunately brief. You might barely run out space before the Gamepad lost signal to the console, forcing you to return.
The Switch is a dream become a reality for both handheld players and house console users alike. It has multiple configurations for gaming. A chipped mode allows it to run games at a higher resolution on your TV.
While a portable mode allows you to continue playing on the go, the system has the very same library of games, however even has the addition of digital titles throughout Nintendo’s history offered. If you do find yourself in the best setting, you can also set up the console on a stand and play without holding the gadget.
Having alternatives like this is a very first for gaming, and just time will tell if it achieves success enough to become a growing pattern. It has exercised for Nintendo though, so far. The Switch has outmatched all their forecasts and is currently their fastest selling console. Whether that pattern will continue upwards to match the success of the Nintendo Wii is for the future to expose.
The Drawback of Portable Devices
The most significant disadvantage to portable devices, even a home console like the Switch, is that you will always find a more effective gadget back at home. Systems like the upcoming Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro and deliver 4K 60fps gameplay to your television, an experience that you cannot link without impressive hardware. Everybody likes having more alternatives in gaming. Having the ability to switch things up by gaming in a brand-new environment is enjoyable.