When most people think of gaming, they think of Sony and Microsoft. Certainly, PlayStation and Xbox are the best contenders when it comes to games consoles. These consoles are the most popular and best value for money, as they have the most current games and the widest player bases. But what about handheld gaming? And which handheld games console is best value?
Handheld games allow you to play on the go, allowing for a more relaxed experience. If you are heading on a trip or if you need some way to pass the time, then having a handheld game system can help fill that gap.
Average Console Cost
|Steam Deck||£349 (64GB) £459.00 (256GB) £569.00 (512GB)|
|PS Vita||£50-100 (Preowned)|
|New 3DS XL||£80-150 (Preowned)|
Here are some of the most popular handheld games console:
- Nintendo Switch OLED
- Nintendo Switch Lite
Each console has its advantages; hopefully, this article will help you decide which is best for you.
Nintendo Switch OLED
Nintendo for many years has been the leading company for handheld consoles. Their consoles allow their customers to play anywhere from the DS to the 3DS and WiiU.
As it’s the official Nintendo console, it has access to all the best Nintendo titles. Games like Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom, and any of the Pokémon franchise all find their home on Nintendo consoles. If you are a fan of these games, this console may be for you.
The Nintendo Switch and Switch OLED are similar in most aspects. The key difference is the screen. The OLED screen means that it doesn’t use a backlight but is also larger at 7 inches and higher resolution. If you are planning on buying a Switch, it would be better to go with the OLED model. Aside from the larger screen, it also has more storage space.
The Switch and Switch OLED also comes with a dock that connects to a TV. They also come along with an SD card slot for extra storage.
What’s the Difference Between the Switch and Switch OLED
The Switch and Switch OLED are very similar consoles. They both have the same graphics and power behind them. The Switch OLED has a slightly bigger screen at 7 inches while the Switch is 6.2 inches. The Switch OLED also has 64GB of memory, while the regular Switch has 32, but both consoles can use SD cards for extra storage.
- 7 Inch screen.
- NIVIDIA Custom TEGRA Processor.
- 64 GB storage.
- 1080p resolution in docked mode, 720p resolution in handheld.
- Battery lasts between 4.5-9 hours.
Nintendo Switch Lite
The Switch Lite is a more compact version of the Switch. It is less powerful and comes with a screen size of 5.5 inches. It also cannot connect to a dock, so it is entirely portable. If you are looking for a cheaper option than a Switch OLED, then the Switch Lite will have you covered. The Switch Lite is purely handheld, so you won’t be able to connect it to a TV.
Switch Lite Specs
- 5-inch screen
- NIVIDIA Custom TEGRA Processor.
- 32GB storage
- 720p resolution
- 3-hour battery life
The PC has one of the largest libraries of video games available. Steam is an app that hosts thousands of games. The Steam Deck will allow you to connect to your Steam library to let you play games on the go. Only certain games are Steam Deck verified, however, so not all games work with Steam Deck.
The handheld console is also bigger than the Switch OLED but has a similar screen size of 7 inches.
It is a more powerful console, but its battery will also drain faster if you play more resource-demanding games. It comes with a charging adapter, and it can connect to a TV like a Switch.
Steam Deck Specs
- 7-inch screen
- AMD APU Processor
- Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz
- 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz
- 16GB Ram
- 64GB/256GB/512GB depending on the model.
- 8-hour battery life
What is the Most Widely Used Handheld Gaming Device?
If you want something more casual that can be picked up quickly, then mobile games provide a simpler experience. There are plenty of games that you can pick up and play briefly without having to dedicate much time to them.
The games for mobile are quite limited, even if you buy a more powerful phone. The specs will depend entirely on your phone.
There are around 6.92 billion smartphone users worldwide, of these there is an estimated 2.6 billion who use mobiles for games. This number also takes into account casual gaming. The Switch is the most recent console with the most units sold, having sold 125.62 million units, not including reselling.
The best-selling handheld gaming device is the Nintendo DS, with 154 million units sold.
The PSP and PS Vita are Sony’s handheld consoles. In comparison to the Switch and Steam Deck, the PSP is much older, meaning that you can pick it up for a much cheaper price. The PS Vita is the better version of the PSP. Like the Switch, the PS Vita can also be used for watching movies or listening to music. It is a smaller size, with a screen size of 5 inches.
While it also does have quite an extensive game library, it is still old hardware, meaning that new games will not be released on it.
PS Vita Specs
- 5-inch screen
- PS Vita memory card (4, 8, 16, 32 or 64 GB)
- Quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4+
- 3-5 hours battery life
The DS and 3DS are older Nintendo consoles compared to the Switch and Wii. Both have large game libraries, but the 3DS has newer hardware and is a larger size. The DS has a screen size of 3 inches, while the 3DS is around 3.5 inches, with the 3DS XL has a screen size of 4.88 inches.
The 3DS and 3DS XL have more modern games compared to the DS and are all-around the better handheld console to get. A key aspect to the DS systems is their dual screens. Every DS has two screens. A larger upper screen and a smaller touch screen.
3DS XL Specs
- 88 inches (upper) 4.18 inches touchscreen (lower)
- 804 MHz ARM11 MPCore quad-core
- 4GB storage with SD card slot for extra space
- 5 to 7 hours battery life.
Overall, the best handheld console depends on the kinds of games you prefer to play. If you are a PC gamer, then a Steam Deck might be the best option for you. However, if you prefer Nintendo games, then any Switch console can provide you with the experience you are looking for. If you are on a bit more of a budget, then the PS Vita, or DS systems are affordable. If you don’t want anything too intensive or time-consuming or don’t have a big interest in games, then sticking with mobile gaming can help pass the time.