Owning the best gaming handheld can allow you to game on the go, in bed, or even on the toilet if you wish.
One of the biggest problems in finding the 'best' though, is there are a lot of handheld game consoles on the market these days, largely thanks to the Steam Deck helping reignite interest in handheld PC gaming.
With so many options on the market, knowing which handheld to go for, and what features you need to consider isn't easy. Maybe you're not bothered about power, maybe power is the most important thing - it can be tough to figure it all out.
That's where we come in. We've made a list of the best handheld games consoles around, and have made sure to note which ones suit different needs based on factors like their power, performance, battery life, games available on them, and more.
Best gaming handhelds
1. PlayStation Portal
Best console gaming handheld
Game Library: PlayStation
Our first pick is sort of an odd one. While the PlayStation Portal is technically a handheld games console, it's also one that requires you to have your PlayStation 5 on to use it.
That's because this doesn't have games on it as such but instead uses remote play to access your entire PlayStation game library, allowing you to play console favourites on the go.
It's quite cheap compared to other handhelds as a result, and in terms of graphical fidelity and game choice, it does very well seeing as it uses PlayStation's already extensive selection of titles (that's not a bad thing, by the way).
The result is a very good handheld, but one that will require you to already own a PS5 to use it. It's a nice choice for those with partners or family members who want to use the TV though.
2. Steam Deck OLED
Best PC gaming handheld
Games Library: Steam, Emulation
The brand-new Steam Deck OLED brings all of the incredible power and flexibility of the Steam Deck and upgrades it with a larger battery, and a far nicer screen.
The Steam Deck is primarily designed to allow players to take their massive Steam libraries around with them. As many of us have huge back catalogues, it's a good way to chip away at games you might not normally play while you're on a bus or train.
Along with all of those games, the Steam Deck can also be set up for emulation fairly handily, making it a great way to take retro games you own out with you too.
It's just an exceptional handheld gaming console in every right, making it the best for PC gaming without a shadow of a doubt.
- Read More: Best Steam deck docks
3. Nintendo Switch OLED
Best family gaming handheld
Games Library: Nintendo Switch games, Nintendo Online Retro Games
The Nintendo Switch OLED is a serious bit of kit that upgrades significantly on its predecessor. Nintendo has strapped a brand-new and much-improved screen onto the amazing handheld console for great detail and clarity in games.
Due to the sheer brilliance of many first-party Nintendo titles, if you want to enjoy some of the best handheld games out there, you sort of have to own a Switch. And, with its accompanying docking station, you can even hook it up to your TV if you wish to play Nintendo favourites like Mario Kart on a much larger screen.
This is particularly handy if you're buying it for a family because it comes with two controllers, and the multiplayer offerings are unrivalled when you've got games like Mario Party and Snipperclips available to you.
- Read More: Best Switch docks
4. ASUS ROG Ally
Best premium gaming handheld
Games Library: PC, Emulation
The ASUS ROG Ally is an absolute monster of a handheld games console, with so much power on offer it's hard to get your head around.
Aside from having a huge amount of RAM and a giant SSD, this thing runs games smoother than most other options could even dream of doing. And it has access to more games than the Steam Deck because it runs on Windows rather than Linux - great news for Genshin Impact fans.
While the price is a fair bit higher than anything else on our list, its cost is justified when you consider just how powerful it is thanks to its unique AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme Processor.
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5. Miyoo Mini+
Best retro gaming handheld
Games Library: Emulation
Emulation is great if you've got loads of retro games and don't mind putting the contents onto your computer to use emulators properly.
While you can use the ASUS ROG Ally or the Steam Deck, if you want something smaller, substantially cheaper, and, let's be honest, a lot cuter, then the Miyoo Mini+ is an incredible choice.
This tiny console has a 3.5" screen that stunningly displays colours, thus bringing that old-school feel back without the retro graphics. The design is very recognisable as inspired by the Game Boy too, and it has hidden shoulder buttons behind it for improved functionality in-game.
The whole package means you can play a huge number of different retro games on it with no issue, and the size and price make it great for kids, or just to carry around next to your phone.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Don't worry if you've got a few questions. We've answered some of the most commonly asked queries below.
Which handheld games console is the best?
There isn't one. Yay! Handheld gaming consoles are so competitive that which is best changes based on so many different factors that are nearly impossible to track.
We've listed five great picks above, all of which cover different needs. Take the Steam Deck as an example, which is great if you want to play PC-based titles on the road. If you want Nintendo games though, or retro games only, then something like the Nintendo Switch is going to be the best console for you.
What is the best-selling handheld games console?
The best-selling handheld gaming console of all time is also the second best-selling console overall of all time, which is the Nintendo DS. A lot of that's helped with the sheer number of versions the consoles got, but there's also no denying the sheer appeal of the device at the time of its initial release.