Battle of the gaming handhelds: Which system should you buy?

The best handheld gaming consoles have come a long way over the past 30 years. From the Game Boy to the Nintendo Switch and everything in between, there's no shortage of incredible gaming handhelds to select. But with so many options these days, how do you know which one is right for you?

We’re arguably in a golden age given the power of modern handhelds. If you love titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Forza Horizon 5, or Resident Evil 4, you can now have the same console or PC-like experience in the palms of your hands. 

For that kind of experience, the Valve Steam Deck, Asus ROG Ally, and Lenovo Legion Go are the best choices for powerful gaming on the go.

When deciding on a gaming handheld, you want to look for several things. This includes display size, specs and game library. Many devices feature 7-inch displays, though the Legion Go has a large 8.8-inch panel. Lenovo and Asus' respective handhelds run on the Zen 4 AMD Ryzen Z1 chip, while the Steam Deck runs on an older Zen 2 APU. Size and weight, along with additional functions, are also worth considering.

There are also alternatives in the form of cloud streaming devices and controllers. Products like the hard-to-find PlayStation Portal and BackBone One for iPhone 15 could be a better choice for you than the traditional handheld console. Not to mention, they’re more affordable.

Here at Tom’s Guide, we’ve spent hundreds of hours testing all the best handheld gaming devices and accessories. That’s why we’re able to help you decide which one is the best for you to buy, whether it’s for you or a gift for someone else. To figure out the best gaming handheld for you, check out our full video comparing all the options you can get now.

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Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.