Gift Guide

The 13 Best Gaming Handhelds That Are Worth Gifting

There’s truly a handheld for everyone and every budget.

by Evan Rodgers
Four handhelds on a table: Asus ROG Ally, Nintendo Switch, Anbernic RG35XX Plus, and Game Boy Advanc...
Photograph by Raymond Wong
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We’re in the middle of a golden era for handheld gaming, and I’m not just talking about the Nintendo Switch. After the Steam Deck arrived on the scene back in 2022, the floodgates have opened and we’ve been basking in handhelds of all shapes, operating systems, and purposes.

Whether you’re looking for triple-A PC gaming on the go or something pocketable to play retro games on, there’s truly a handheld for everyone and every budget. In order from least to most expensive, below are our favorite gaming handhelds to get.

13. Anbernic RG35XX Plus

The Anbernic RG35XX Plus is an incredible deal at under $65. It can emulate titles from the Game Boy all the way up to the PS1 pretty well. The handheld can struggle with more advanced 3D games for the PS1, N64, and Dreamcast, though. But for the price, if you’re looking for something with a vertical form factor the RG35XX Plus is a great option.

12. Miyoo Mini Plus

This tiny handheld is perfect for playing games from the 8-bit and 16-bit era, including Game Boy and Game Boy Advance. It will fit easily in a pocket, and the nearly bezel-less screen is surprisingly good for the price.

11. Powkiddy RGB30

What the Powkiddy RGB30 lacks in power it makes up for in size and form factor. It has a 1:1 display making it perfect for emulating Game Boy games and good enough for 4:3 consoles like the SNES. It also has Wi-Fi, which isn’t a given in this price range.

10. Pre-modded Game Boy Advance

If you don’t mind ordering from AliExpress, it’s pretty easy to find pre-modded Game Boy and Game Boy Advance handhelds that come with the FunnyPlaying IPS displays pre-installed. If you’ve got a big stack of cartridges but don’t want to torture your eyes, these modded Game Boys could be just what you’re looking for.

9. Retroid Pocket 3 Plus

The Retroid Pocket 3 Plus is primarily an emulation handheld. It runs Android, and its processor is strong enough to emulate games up to and including the PS1 (plus a bit more if you don’t mind tinkering). At $135, the Retroid Pocket 3 Plus is a great value, and it comes in transparent cases.

8. Nintendo Switch Lite

Even though the rumors of a Switch 2 are swirling, the Switch Lite is still a phenomenal handheld. $199 gets you a lightweight and portable handheld with one of the best libraries of games on any console to date. You don’t get the detachable Joy-Cons of the regular and OLED Switch, though.

7. Analogue Pocket

Despite Analogue’s frustrating “drop” style release strategy, the Analogue Pocket is easily the best device for playing the entire lineage of Game Boy games. It has a bonafide cartridge slot, and the 3.5-inch LCD 1,600 x 1,400 screen is simply heavenly.

6. AYN Odin 2

AYN’s Odin 2 is a simple, affordable, and high-performance Android handheld rocking a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. This means you’ll be able to emulate almost everything up to and including some Nintendo Switch titles, but if you want the more attractive clear shells you’ll have to upgrade to the Pro or Max models.

5. Steam Deck OLED

If you want a handheld gaming PC that you can just pick up and play, there’s nothing better than the Steam Deck. Other handheld PCs might have better hardware, but fiddling with Windows is not everyone’s cup of tea. Now that Valve installed a bigger, brighter, and more vivid OLED screen (plus better cooling), you can’t go wrong with a Steam Deck.

4. Asus ROG Ally

The Asus ROG Ally is currently the most powerful handheld gaming PC generally available. It’s smaller than the Steam Deck and it can play more demanding PC games, but you’ll have to deal with Windows 11.

3. Lenovo Legion Go

The Lenovo Legion Go is a serviceable first attempt at a handheld gaming PC from Lenovo, but it costs $100 more than its closest competitor, the ROG Ally. That said, the Legion Go has some redeeming qualities, like a built-in kickstand, detachable controllers (the right one even works like a mouse for FPS games), and a large 8.8-inch screen with high-res 2,560 x 1,600 resolution.

2. GPD Win Mini

The GPD Win Mini is a unique handheld gaming PC with a clamshell form factor and thumb keyboard. While the Win Mini won’t appeal to everyone, it’s handy to have the keyboard when dealing with Windows, and the modern AMD 7640U processor can play almost anything.

1. Ayaneo 2S

If you’re looking for a truly premium handheld gaming PC, look no further than the Ayaneo 2S. The face of the handheld is one continuous piece of glass with islands for the controls and a 7-inch bezel-less display laminated right to the front. It’s really nice.

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