CheckMag | 3 best gaming handhelds currently on the market
Handheld gaming devices have existed for decades and have continued to evolve over the years. Recently, the category has become more popular with the release of new and more powerful hardware, some of which rival what is available on gaming PCs. If you are on the lookout for a gaming handheld, these are some of the best options currently available:
1. Steam Deck OLED
The Steam Deck OLED is best described as a mid-cycle refresh of the Steam Deck released in February 2022. Powered by SteamOS, and with more than 10,000 compatible games available from the Steam storefront, this Valve gaming handheld fixes a handful of the shortcomings of the original, and also comes with a number of new features. There’s a bigger and brighter display that is also an OLED panel, a more efficient AMD processor, a larger battery capacity, and improved battery life.
For input, the Steam Deck OLED has many buttons, including the familiar ABXY buttons, a D-pad, two thumbsticks, and bumper and trigger buttons. In addition to those mentioned above are two touchpads and four rear buttons.
With a price tag that starts at US$549, the Steam Deck OLED packs a 7.4-inch 90 Hz 1280×800 OLED display, a 6 nm AMD APU, and a 512 GB/1 TB NVMe SSD. There is also a microSD card slot to add more storage, a 50 Wh battery, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and a USB-C port with DisplayPort support.
2. Nintendo Switch OLED
While we wait for the rumored Nintendo Switch 2, the Nintendo Switch OLED (available on Amazon) is still the best bet when it comes to enjoying Nintendo’s expansive library of games, which includes exclusive titles such as Super Mario Bros. Wonder and Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom. Although the Nintendo Switch OLED’s processing power pales behind those of the other handhelds on this list; this is particularly obvious when playing games such as Mortal Kombat and FC 24. Nevertheless, there are still tons of games, particularly first-party titles, that run fine on it.
Priced at US$349 with 64 GB of expandable storage, the Nintendo Switch OLED can be played in handheld mode, tabletop mode, and can also be connected to an external display such as a TV or monitor. It has a 7-inch OLED screen, detachable controllers, and supports both local and online multiplayer.
3. Lenovo Legion Go
Lenovo joined the portable gaming scene with the Legion Go, a massive handheld with a whopping 8.8-inch 144Hz QHD+ touchscreen. The Legion Go ships with Windows 11 and not a custom OS like the Steam Deck. However, there is a custom launcher on top for an interface that makes it easier to access games and adjust settings. The Legion Go has a few tricks up its sleeve. In addition to having detachable controllers like the Nintendo Switch OLED, the right controller can double as a mouse when attached to an included base. This comes in handy when playing FPS games.
Talking about games, owners can purchase games from the Legion Game Store, subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, or download from several PC game stores. Starting at US$699, the Lenovo Legion Go has an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB/1 TB PCIe Gen4 SSD storage, a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.1. It also packs a 49.2 Wh battery which supports fast charging (up to 70% in 30 minutes).