Today Retro Dodo is taking a good hard look at the best cloud gaming handhelds of 2023. There’s a ton of them!
As you have probably noticed, we have new consoles releasing pretty much every week these days. And it only seems to be increasing.
With the rise of Android and Windows based handhelds, it will be more common to see cloud gaming make its position more prominent in gaming consoles.
The consoles will get better, the programs will get better, and the cloud games will get better.
Whether it is the affordable dual-boot type handhelds or the more premium gaming PCs, both now have viable options for cloud and streaming game play on the go.
You’ll still need a crazy good internet connection to make it all work smoothly. But the option is there nonetheless.
So which cloud gaming handhelds are currently the best on the scene?
Let’s take a look!
8. GPD Win 3
GPD has been pushing the boundaries for portable gaming for many years now.
And their GPD Win 3 is perhaps their coolest release to date.
We mentioned this one on our list of the Best Handheld Gaming PCs, and it still holds up as one of the most interesting portable gaming PCs on the market today.
This portable Windows PC features a really unique build.
The GPD Win 3 features a slide-up screen revealing a full keyboard, a throwback to that classic Blackberry vibe that is so loved. Not unlike the Sony VAIO.
Inside is a capable 2.8GHz i7 CPU with 4 cores and 8 threads running up to 4.40GHz turbo.
And on the outside is a gorgeous 5.5″ HD display with touchscreen.
It’s a rather chunky device overall, but some of us have grown to love that safe feeling bulk. There’s something satisfying about it.
And it’s bulk for a reason… this thing is packing a punch.
It’s massively powerful, and it comes with that full keyboard, which is a welcome addition to a portable gaming PC.
This or their upcoming GPD Win 4 are both incredible options for portable gaming. And can easily shred through cloud gaming like it was nothin.
An easy addition to our list of best cloud gaming handhelds of 2023. And surely the GPD Win 4 will be on next year’s list.
7. Logitech G Cloud
The Logitech G Cloud is fairly new on the scene, and shows a trend towards cloud based gaming in the mainstream.
Logitech is not known for gaming consoles, but they have a ton of experience in tech development.
It’s not too surprising to see a larger company like Logitech dip their toes in the gaming scene with the success of devices like the Steam Deck.
Logitech has the advantage of a long history of experience making high quality tech, and the G Cloud gaming console is no different.
It’s a beautiful handheld and it has really great ergonomics as well.
And because this is a device almost entirely focused on cloud gaming, the internals only need to be powerful enough to stream video content.
That means you can have a much smaller hardware package inside the shell.
It’s a super slim and light device, despite how large it actually is.
The size is almost entirely thanks to that gigantic 7 inch screen.
Oh, and it’s got a really efficient battery as well. The thing lasts forever!
If you’re looking for a console that is entirely focused on cloud gaming, you won’t find a more beautiful build than the Logitech G Cloud.
6. ONEXPLAYER Mini
The ONEXPLAYER Mini is surely the most premium handheld on this list.
The ONEXPLAYER line of gaming PCs are known for their superior build quality and for being absolute beasts with high end performance.
Of course, we could have ranked the bigger brother, the ONEXPLAYER… But if you’re here looking for cloud gaming, you really don’t need power like that. Especially not for the price of a ONEXPLAYER.
The ONEXPLAYER Mini sits in a sweet spot of powerful enough to handle a lot of awesome AAA gaming, plenty of power for retro emulation, and can easily handle cloud gaming.
It’s got a 7 inch IPS screen, and runs off of a AMD Zen 3. Not too shabby for the “Mini” version.
We said that the ONEXPLAYER Mini is the most premium on this list of best cloud gaming handhelds… and it’s also got the most premium pricetag.
Starting at $1,199.00, that ain’t exactly something you’re gonna wanna throw into your backpack willy-nilly.
These are devices that demand respect. Both in performance, appearance, and value.
If you’re somebody who likes ultra-massive-maximum-premium-ness… the ONEXPLAYER Mini is the most elite way to cloud game in handheld form.
5. Anbernic RG353M
A couple of us here at Dodo Towers really wanna discredit Anbernic’s past year of handheld releases…
But it’s hard to ignore the return to form in their latest console, the Anbernic RG353M.
A return to form quite literally, as the console goes back to that classic aesthetic and build quality that made Anbernic one of the best in the emulator scene.
The RG353M is the upgraded iteration of their previous heavy hitter, the RG351MP.
So what’s different in the new RG353M? Well, kind of a lot actually.
First, the console is a slimmer overall footprint. That is partly thanks to their new analogue sticks. Magnetic hall joysticks, in fact.
They also removed the Anbernic logo that has been prominent on most of their previous consoles. Perhaps they heard the complaints from most consumers about this logo placement (I liked it!).
And a feature that is making a regular appearance on the last few Anbernic devices that is perhaps a bit overlooked in reviews: HDMI out!
Yeah, you can now connect these portable consoles directly to your television to play both retro or cloud games on the television.
Of course, if you’re here for portable cloud gaming, you’re likely thinking more about handheld play. But it’s cool to know the option is there.
What makes the RG353M so special in today’s topic at hand is that it is a dual booting handheld.
Like several of their recent consoles, the RG353M comes preloaded with both Android and Linux operating systems.
The Android OS specifically offers some interesting options for streaming and cloud gaming.
And of course, with the full selection of buttons on the RG353M, you’ll have no problems using the device to play modern games.
You’ve got two analogue sticks and four triggers. Exactly like your Playstation or Switch controllers.
With Apps like Steam Link or Moonlight… you’ll be diving into some incredible cloud gaming in no time.
And the RG353M offers one of the most compact and premium consoles to do it on.
4. AYANEO Air
The AYANEO Air is one of the recent released from AYA, who has a slew of upcoming handheld PC devices.
They’ve announced a bunch of upcoming handhelds, from the AYANEO 2 to the AYANEO Slide or the AYANeo Flip. They’ve got a console for every taste.
The AYANEO Air is the world’s first handheld gaming PC with an OLED screen.
And with a beefy Ryzen 5560U processor, the Air is capable of many of the recent AAA games… both locally or streaming.
You can play a ton of your favorite PC games through Steam, or you can log in to your Playstation Plus cloud streaming or Xbox Cloud Gaming.
The AYANEO Air certainly offers one of the most premium and beautiful ways to play your cloud games on the go. Well… at least… if you plan to go somewhere with a good internet connection!
There is also the ultra powerful AYANEO Air Pro, but you won’t necessarily need that kind of power for cloud gaming. But it doesn’t hurt, if you’ve got the bankroll for it!
The AYANEO Air is one of the most premium gaming PCs, and it is also one of our favorite cloud gaming handhelds out there.
3. Retroid Pocket 3
The Retroid Pocket 3 was certainly one of the most exciting handhelds to come out in 2022.
GoRetroid‘s previous console, the Retroid Pocket 2+ had been our number one affordable emulator since its release.
Pretty much anybody who came in contact with one fell in love with it’s compact form factor, its capable game play, and its appealing pricetag!
At just $99, the Retroid Pocket 2+ was a pretty easy go-to for portable emulation.
Oh, and it used Android!
We started to hear rumblings about an upcoming Retroid device early in 2022, and apparently the Pocket 3 was intended to release alongside the Pocket 2+.
It took GoRetroid a little longer to get the specifics ready for the release of their latest device, but it was well worth the wait.
The internals are nearly identical to the Pocket 2+, so you’re not gonna get any performance difference.
But where the differences shine are in the external appearance.
The Retroid Pocket 3 is a Nintendo Switch Lite look-alike. But a Switch Lite that comes packed with Android!
And as we have seen from the other consoles on this list: Android means cloud gaming possibilities!
The dual analogue sticks, four triggers, and awesome form factor gives you a really cool way to play both retro and current games.
The console looks great, it feels great, and it has a very affordable pricetag at just $119usd.
That makes the Retroid Pocket 3 the most affordable cloud gaming handheld on this list.
2. AYN Odin Pro
This one seems like a no-brainer… the AYN Odin has been our favorite gaming PC since its release earlier this year.
It took the number one spot on our list of the Best Android Handheld Games Consoles Of 2023. We still hold to that ranking.
As one of the most aesthetically pleasing handhelds on our list, and also one of the most comfortable… it’s really hard to find anything to complain about. So we won’t.
It’s all positives with the AYN Odin Pro. Even its pricetag… at only $289, it is one of the most affordable handheld gaming PCs out there.
Great buttons, built in LED lighting, a bunch of colorways, and most important for today’s article: Android OS.
It’s a perfect device for retro emulation all the way through PS2 and Game Cube, and also for really great streaming and cloud gaming options.
Your games will look incredible on the 6 inch touchscreen display, or connect it to a big screen with HDMI out.
1. Steam Deck
Well, you guys knew this one was coming…
As the most anticipated portable gaming PC of 2022, the Steam Deck set the bar for a lot of the devices that followed it on the scene.
The Steam deck can play many modern AAA titles, and also makes for one of the most premium options for retro game emulation.
When you first see a Steam Deck, it looks a little odd.
It’s a massive device for something being called “portable” and “handheld”. It’s not exactly pocketable.
And the button configuration just looks a bit odd. But everybody who plays one says that it is surprisingly comfortable to play.
Is The Steam Deck Worth The Cash?
Valve clearly put in the work to figure out how to make an ultra premium gaming device that feels good.
For how insanely premium the Steam Deck is, it was the pricetag that really surprised people.
With build options at $399, $529 and $649… you have some good choices based on what you hope to use the Steam Deck for.
Of course, the $649 build will give you the most power for your AAA games that are running directly off the device.
But if cloud gaming is a big interest for you, the $399 build has more than enough power to stream some of your favorite games from Steam Link, Playstation Plus, Xbox Cloud Gaming, or any other cloud gaming portal.
Access to a Steam Deck was scarce at first, but apparently you can just order one now without any sort of pre-order or delay. So it’s never been a better time to check one out.
The Steam Deck really caught us off guard. Both at the time of its announcement, and in our own personal experience playing one.
It’s an incredible achievement for handheld gaming. And we think that the Steam Deck is an important milestone for portable game devices.
The Steam Deck is our number one best cloud gaming handheld of 2023, and are excited to see the rest of the competition try to top it. Cause that means newer & better devices for us console hungry gamers.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.