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The Best Handheld Consoles In 2023

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The Best Handheld Consoles In 2023

Handheld gaming has changed a lot over the last couple of years. Thanks to the advent of amazing gaming handheld PCs and many others, you can now enjoy amazing games even when on-the-go. Of course, there are quite a few options for handheld consoles that you should get in 2023, and picking only one can be tough.

When buying a handheld gaming console, you’ll need to consider the display, battery life, as well as it’s processor so that it can play high-end games. The last couple of years have been kind to this line of consoles so lucky you. Here are some of the best handheld gaming consoles in 2023 that you should buy ASAP.

01 Steam Deck

The Steam Deck is arguably the best handheld console in 2023 – overtaking even the Nintendo Switch on the top spot. There’s a lot to dig into as to why this is the best handheld console, but it all boils down to power.

To put it simply, the Steam Deck is a portable gaming computer. It’s capable of running nearly every game in the Steam library which includes hard-hitting titles like God of War, Elden Ring, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, The Last of Us, and more. The Steam Deck is able to run all of these games without any problems whatsoever. Even better, the games are run natively and not via the cloud so you don’t have to worry about having a stable connection on your Steam Deck. While it’s pricey, many would consider the Steam Deck worth the price.

The Steam Deck features quite a few buttons, which makes it easy to play most of the games on the Steam Library. True enough, you can’t play complex games like Dota 2 and other strategy games with the controller alone. However, you can still attach a keyboard and mouse to the Steam Deck so that you can play the rest of your library without any problems.

The Steam Deck is said to run for 2-8 hours depending on the game that you play. Unfortunately, this might be too short of runtime for many, especially when playing AAA games on the go. The good news is that there are lots of amazing power banks that you can supplement the Steam Deck with so with a little investment, you can play your games for extended periods.

The Steam Deck has set a new standard for handheld gaming. It’s amazing to think that this is Valve’s first foray into handheld gaming. They might eventually come up with another handheld console that tops everything we’ve seen so far.

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Huge library of games
  • Great hardware

Cons

  • Buggy software

Specification

  • Price $399.00
  • RAM 16 GB LPDDR5
  • CPU AMD APU Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5 GHz
  • Storage 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD
  • Resolution 1280 x 800 px

02 Nintendo Switch OLED

The Nintendo Switch recently became the third-highest-selling video game console of all time. That’s a big surprise considering that the console launched way back in 2017. Despite its age, the Switch still has a lot of fight left in it.

The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s latest console. It’s one of their best outings yet, especially after the disaster that was the Wii U. The result is one of the best handheld consoles of all time. While the Nintendo Switch is a handheld console, you can easily have your games played on a larger screen via your TV thanks to the dock. This makes the Nintendo Switch one of the first hybrid consoles to hit the market. The risk that Nintendo took when creating a hybrid console was large but it’s safe to say that everything has paid off handsomely for them.

One of the biggest upsides of getting a Nintendo Switch is that it comes with a jampacked library. It has amazing exclusives like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Odyssey, and much more. Unlike the Wii U, Nintendo is open to more third-party games with the Switch, so you can also play games like Kingdom Hearts, The Witcher 3, and much more. 

While the hardware of the Switch is far less inferior compared to other games on this list, it definitely makes up for it by having great games and a wider variety of ways to play. Contrary to popular belief, the Nintendo Switch isn’t just for kids. It’s also for adults too.

The Nintendo Switch is at the end of its life cycle. According to Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is one of the last major games for the Switch. However, the console is still worth getting as you have years’ worth of amazing video games waiting for your still.

Pros

  • Great game library
  • Detachable and replaceable battery
  • Great design

Cons

  • Weak hardware

Specification

  • Price $339.00
  • RAM N/A
  • CPU NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Resolution 1280 x 720 px
Nintendo Switch OLED

03 Evercade EXP

Today’s games offer a lot in terms of visuals and gameplay features. However, you really can’t blame gamers if they still want a taste of the old days through retro gaming. If that’s what you’re into, you might want to consider the Evercade EXP.

Evercade EXP is a retro-focused handheld console. It might not run the latest games but if you love games from various Atari consoles and the Commodore 64, then this is the handheld console just for you. It can hold anywhere between two to 20 games, depending on how large the titles are. Although the console is focused on retro gaming, the developers didn’t hold back when it comes to providing an amazing experience overall. From its hardware features, it’s safe to say that the Evercade EXP is the best retro handheld gaming console out there right now.

The console is armed with a 4.3-inch IPS screen, a mini HDMI out port, USB-C charging, and Wi-Fi, and it has about five hours of battery life, depending on the game. At purchase, the console will include 18 games and familiar titles such as Mega Man, Street Fighter II, and much more. As for adding games, you can simply download them as you go. We would’ve wanted a larger storage for the console, to be honest, but even with its limited space, you’re already getting hours upon hours worth of gameplay already so it’s worth it.

The Evercade EXP isn’t for everyone but for retro gamers out there, it’s one of the best handheld consoles there is. Evercade is constantly improving its offering with more hardware upgrades. There could come a time when the next Evercade EXP console is the best handheld there is.

Pros

  • Best for retro gaming
  • Simple and accessible design

Cons

  • Can't play any modern games

Specification

  • Price $149.99
  • RAM 4 GB
  • CPU 1.5 Ghz Processor
  • Storage N/A
  • Resolution 800 x 480 IPS
Evercade EXP

04 Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch Lite might be smaller than its predecessor but it still packs the same power and library that you’d expect from the Nintendo Switch.

To put it simply, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a more compact version of the Nintendo Switch. The size is noticeably less and there’s a huge difference in the weight as well. It’s perfect for those who are always on-the-go, and for those who don’t really want to play on a larger screen so they’re content with what they get with the Nintendo Switch Lite. The console packs less power than a regular Switch. Despite this, the Nintendo Switch Lite is still capable of running every game in the Nintendo Switch library so that should be a great thing to consider for those who want to fully enjoy what Nintendo has to offer.

As expected, as the size of the lite is less, the price is also more affordable. It’s particularly great for kids as the console is durable and light enough for their hands. The Nintendo Switch Lite comes in a wide selection of colors which is a good thing for those that are looking for a specific style. Although the screen is smaller, the display itself is pretty amazing and the battery life is pretty much the same as a regular Switch. You can waste hours of your time with the Nintendo Switch Lite still. It proves that small packages can result in great things still.

The Nintendo Switch Lite isn’t compatible with docks no matter what you do. That can be a problem when playing games that require a large screen such as RingFit Adventures and Mario Party. The console isn’t good for those that want to enjoy local multiplayer.

The biggest downside of the Nintendo Switch Lite is that the controllers aren’t detachable as with the regular Switch. If it gets stick drift, you’ll have to spend a lot on repairs.

Pros

  • Can run entire Switch library
  • Very compact
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not great for certain Switch games

Specification

  • Price $219.99
  • RAM 4 GB
  • CPU Octa-core
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Resolution 1280 x 720 px
Nintendo Switch Lite

05 Logitech G Cloud

In terms of hardware and performance, one of the best handheld consoles out there right now is the Logitech G Cloud. Based on the name itself, you might already have an idea about what this console is focused on.

The Logitech G Cloud is the first handheld gaming console that relies purely on streaming services. It can handle Xbox Game Pass or Nvidia GeForce Now. It’s basically the closest thing you’ll get to a portable Xbox console. For many, its reliance on the cloud might be a good thing as you no longer have to worry about storage. The problem however is that you’ll need a constant source of connection to be able to play your games. Unfortunately, the console doesn’t have any SIM card support, so you’ll have to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. This could be a deal breaker to many as it limits what the Logitech G Cloud can do.

The Logitech G Cloud doesn’t just feel like an Xbox handheld console. It looks like that too. Its color scheme, sticks, and D-pad layout all scream Xbox One and Xbox Series X. If you have any of these consoles, then the Logitech G Cloud will feel very familiar. As for the specs, the console has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chip, which is a powerful CPU for a handheld device. The display is a seven-inch IPS Full HD screen, so you’re getting crisp visuals along with the powerhouse of a console that it is. In fact, it might even have one of the best screens in a handheld device.

Due to its extensive library of games, powerhouse specs, and amazing display, the Logitech G Cloud deserves a spot on this list. Being cloud-focused isn’t really a problem, but we would’ve ranked this console higher on this list if it had a SIM card slot for better connectivity options.

Pros

  • Cloud-focused
  • Great specs

Cons

  • Doesn't have SIM slot

Specification

  • Price $298.99
  • RAM 4 GB
  • CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Resolution 1080p
Logitech G Cloud

Jonas Sunico

Feb 27, 2023

Jonas is a writer with over 6 years of experience in the tech and gaming industry. He holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from University of the East Philippines and is one of the proud leaders of the academe's Journalism Society. At heart, he's a hardcore tech junkie that loves video games, the latest gadgets, and the wonderful science behind social media and AI.

314 Articles Published

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