We have been reviewing handhelds for well over 4 years now, mainly within the emulation niche, but with the adaptation and constant evolution of the best handheld gaming PC’s they’re getting closer and closer to low and mid range portable emulators.
So, we thought it was about time we got our hands dirty and moved from the best retro handhelds to the best handheld gaming PC’s, giving you an interesting perspective from someone who has reviewed and tested over 200 handhelds in his time.
There seems to be more and more new devices filling up the portable PC space, some great, some not so much, so we’re only listing the best of the best and why you should snag them if you’re on the market to play your PC games on the go.
Let’s jump into the best handheld gaming PC’s of 2023.
The Steam Deck is our favourite not only because it’s one of the most affordable handheld gaming PC’s on the market, but its incredibly easy to use/understand and packs a lot of power too, handling some AAA games.
The AYN Odin is originally an Android handheld, but with a little tweaking you can get Windows loaded on her no problem and at $200, it’s incredibly affordable and can play a lot of your smaller PC games that doesn’t require too much power.
Table of Contents
1. AYANEO 2S
AYANEO 2S is by far one of the best handheld gaming PC’s on the market today and is the newer sibling to the AYANEO 2. It outperforms the Steam Deck by a long shot and has been designed to look like something from outer space.
In terms of specs, the AYANEO 2S features a Ryzen 7 7840U CPU and a Radeon 780M GPU, partnered with up to 32GB’s or DDR5 RAM.
It has up to 2TB of storage and a stunning 7” IPS touchscreen display that’s incredibly bright at 500 nits and is one of my favourite parts of the entire device, it has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and it also has no bezels at all!
I was playing games such as God of War, Hi-Fi Rush and Destiny 2 on here, which is hard to believe but it works. It was astonishing to realise that i can now take AAA games with me wherever I want to, with great performance.
The design is close to flawless, with rounded edges, a front glass panel that wraps around the analogue sticks and action buttons alongside large back grips making it comfortable to hold for hours on end.
AYANEO are creating phenominal products, and this is one of their best. They are constantly pushing the boundaries of handheld innovation.
Yes, it’s far more expensive than the Steam Deck, but its for those that want to experience one of the best portable PCs in terms of performance.
It’s hard to compete with Steam, due to their size and strategy of making a revenue loss on the Steam Deck which they then recover from game sales, but AYANEO are certainly keeping them on their toes, that’s for sure, especially with the upcoming AYANEO Kun.
2. Steam Deck
It wouldn’t be a best handheld gaming PC’s list without the holy grail that is the Steam Deck. If anyone can build a powerhouse portable PC it’s the team behind Steam.
The Steam Deck starts at $399 and is being dripped out to customers throughout the year after their mass influx of pre-orders and again… chip shortages and shipping delays.
It’s a way to play all of your Steam games on the go in a fluid natural form that brings the best of Steam to your hands wherever you are whenever you want.
It’s big, it’s chunky but it packs a punch and the design layout even though it looks weird, kinda works.
The Steam Deck features a 4-core AMD Zen 2 CPU, an 8-core AMD RDNA GPU with 1GB video memory, 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage and a 7″ 60HZ IPS display (1280 x 800).
But where it works is the fluidity between your games, and how all of the PC games work on a handheld device. Originally this would have been impossible, but today’s tech has made it a reality and playing MMORPG games on a handheld device has never felt so good.
We’ll admit some games do need more tweaking to become fully Steam Deck friendly, but as the days go by more and more games are becoming natural on this device.
You can also sync the Steam Deck with a dock that plugs directly into a display, and partner it with a great gaming mouse to turn it into an awesome portable PC.
3. ROG Ally
The ROG Ally is ASUS’s take on competing with the Steam Deck, and although I personally don’t think it’s better, there’s no denying that it’s doing the rights things, especially for those that want a purely dedicated Windows Handheld Gaming PC.
It starts at around £699/$850 with impressive specs, featuring Ryzen’s new Z1 series CPU’s, a large screen 7″ FHD display at 120hz and better than average battery life.
It’s also been designed to be incredibly comfortable, while keeping the modern, hi-tech look that is typical of ASUS products while being slightly more portable than its bigger rivals.
We interviewed Casey Neistat, one of the world’s most popular YouTuber and the ROG Ally is his current go-to for multi-use gaming, proclaiming that it’s “an all-round Windows PC, allowing me to game on the go, and use it as a PC for work when docked”.
Team it up with one of the best controllers for Windows PC’s and you have an incredible gaming machine on your hands.
It does price itself out of the “affordable” market, but makes up for it in style.
4. AYANEO Air
We were lucky enough to get early samples of the AYANEO Air, a extremely portable handheld gaming PC rocking a AMD Ryzen 7 5825U processor, making it capable of playing some AAA games on low settings.
It’s also the world’s first handheld gaming PC featuring an OLED display, and I can confirm the display is stunning, the 1080p resolution combined with the bright, crisp colours is just an absolute pleasure to play on.
The device even comes with LEDs behind the analogue sticks and a unique gradient colour across the shoulder buttons giving it a very unique look which is hard to do when it feels like a new handheld is coming out every single week.
At the thinnest point the AYANEO Air Pro is roughly 21mm thick, making it incredibly portable, as if it should be impossible to call this a “PC”, oh, and it only weighs just over 400g making it easy to play for long periods of time.
But that’s the problem, with the amount of power it requires to perform high-end gaming quality, it drinks the battery life very quickly, so quickly that when playing the latest games, it only lasts just over an hour from out testing.
This is the only downfall with this handheld. The battery life makes it less “portable” than others, but nonetheless, it’s by far the most impressive handheld gaming PC I have ever played on.
Halo Reach, on the go, on a handheld? Yep, that works, and that’s just how well thing performs.
Read our full review here: AYANEO Air Review
5. AYN Odin
A handheld that you probably wasn’t expecting to see on this list is the AYN Odin, a new handheld that was fully backed on Indiegogo within a couple of weeks, but rather targets emulator enthusiasts rather than PC gamers.
However, recently it has the ability to side load Windows due to the touch-screen and connected controls, but why it’s on the list comes down to power per dollar ratio.
The AYN Odin costs just $199 and packs enough power that it can emulate the best Gamecube games on the go without any trouble.
For those wanting to load up Windows on it, it still performs very well. It’s a handheld that you’d buy to play your older PC games, certainly not your newer AAA games due to the power it needs to run them well.
The AYN Odin features a 2.0GHz Dimensity D1000G CPU, a ARM Mali-G57 GPU and RG4B RAM with a 6″ 1080p IPS Display. Not the best on the list, but damn impressive when you consider the small price tag.
It also feels great in the hand, with superb controls, great battery life and cool LED’s around the handheld that you can turn on an off like Iron-Man.
If you’re looking to start dabbling in handheld gaming PC’s the AYN Odin maybe for you, but we will inform you that loading Windows on it maybe difficult for some as it comes pre-loaded with Android, not Windows.
Read our full review here: AYN Odin Handheld Review
6. AYA Neo Next
Another AYA product? Yes, but this one is their latest, and most powerful handheld gaming PC known as the AYA Neo Next.
It looks like a more modern Nintendo Switch but packs far more power, and is technically the most powerful handheld gaming PC on this list.
It features a AMD Ryzen 7 5825U CPU, AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU, 16GB RAM, 2TB storage and a 7″ IPS display (1280 x 800).
That on paper is impressive, and one of the first times it has been implimented into a handheld device. AYA have done an incredible job with putting as much power and as much of the latest tech into such a small device.
This is far smaller than that of the ONEXPLAYER and the Steam Deck, in fact it’s similar size to that of a Nintendo Switch, but with far better ergonomics and no drifting.
If you’re a minimalist or are looking for the most powerful handheld gaming PC on the market as of now, then the AYA Neo Next is the iPhone of smartphones. It’s sleek, it’s portable, the company will support you through the whole process and it performs like nothing we’ve ever tested.
It’s a beast.
7. ONEXPLAYER Mini
If the ONEXPLAYER was a little too big for you then their newer model known as the ONEXPLAYER Mini may be of interest to you.
The ONEXPLAYER Mini boasts a 7″ IPS Display (1920 x 1200), clocks 4.4GHz of speed, and runs on AMD’s cutting-edge AMD Zen 3. Not only that it has 16GB RAM, up to 2TB of storage and a slightly smaller design making it more comfortable and on par with the same size as a Steam Deck.
It’s still big, but not as heavy and a little more ergonomic. It has kept the comfortability as they have used the same buttons and shoulder buttons, but just in a slightly more compact layout compared to its bigger ONEXPLAYER AMD brother.
It still packs a bloody big punch too, allowing you to get up to 60FPS from AAA games on this device. Take a look at this if you on the market for one of the best gaming PCs for beginners, in handheld format.
8. AYANEO 1
AYA Neo is a company that is attempting to be the “Apple” of handheld gaming PC’s. They have sleek marketing, a very modern looking device and a CEO that likes to keep active across social media by building in public.
The AYA Neo is their biggest and most popular portable PC and was released in 2021 on Indiegogo and completely smashed its goal and secured over £1,000,000 in backing. The great thing is that they delivered on their promise and many gamers are playing on this handheld still to this day.
After this successful launch AYA built a reputation for themselves and are putting their foot down to build a business that competes with ONEXPLAYER and Steam within this highly active niche.
The AYA NEO was so popular due to the marketing and the fact that it was one of the first to be a crowdfunded handheld gaming PC for the community.
The AYA NEO features a AMD 2.3GHZ 4500U CPU, 1.5GHZ AMD Radeon GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB of storage and a large 7″ IPS display (1200 x 800).
It also comes in a Pro version should you want more power, but the price increases with that, many are using this device purely for emulation, as AYA have released a “retro” edition with a Gameboy DMG colour way.
It’s very similar to the ONEXPLAYER’s output, but it has a sharper, more modern look with backlit buttons and slightly larger bezels, why you would get this over a ONEXPLAYER comes down to aesthetics.
It packs a lot of power and can play most AAA games very smoothly, just take into consideration the battery life only lasts a few hours when playing heavy games. The same goes for all handheld gaming PC’s on this list.
We’re in this time where these devices are fairly new to the market, so innovation is constant but because its new the battery life isn’t superb, maybe we’ll get there in a few years.
The ONEXPLAYER came out before the Steam Deck, and many avid handheld gamers wanted to dive into what was deemed “the most powerful portable pc on the market”, and it pleasantly surprised the PC market with its incredible build quality and internal specs.
The ONEXPlayer features a 4.2GHZ Ryzen 4800U CPU, an 8 Core AMD Radeon GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage and a 8.4″ IPS Display (2560 x 1600), making it an absolute powerhouse and allowing you to play games in Full HD at crispy frame-rates without any problems at all.
We’ve tested the ONEXPLAYER and can confirm it doesn’t disappoint, but what I noticed the most was how comfortable it was to play on, yes it’s fairly heavy but most handheld gaming PC’s on this list are.
The buttons are perfectly placed, the analogue sticks are sensitive and sturdy enough for fast paced games like shoot em ups to be easy to grip, and the shoulder buttons we’re incredibly nice to play on, with big buttons and nice feedback to them.
Plus the giant 8.4″ screen consumes all of your attention! To me it felt like a huge screen was placed between a Xbox controller, and because it felt so familiar it was easy to play on straight out of the box.
The fans do make some noise, so tinkering with the CPU power on the fly was needed, but that said, it’s one of the best handheld gaming PC’s on the market if you’re looking for something that looks good, feels familiar and performs very well.
But let me remind you, it’s heavy and fairly large, so the next handheld may tickle your fancy.
10. ANBERNIC Win600
The ANBERNIC Win600 is a handheld that we have tested for many weeks, but it just wasn’t for us, it had many downfalls, which is especially surprising from a company that used to create such incredible handhelds just a couple of years ago.
The Win600 is on the list because it could be great for some of you out there that are looking for a handheld that you can buy instantly, and get it delivered in a week or two, which is rare these days.
The Win600 is made be ANBERNIC and features Windows 10, but the team also worked closely with Steam to get SteamOS working fluidly on the device, giving it a “Steam Deck Mini” look and feel.
It can play a wide number of 2D PC games, and most of your retro games up to and including Nintendo Wii and PS2.
But it cannot handle AAA games, or any large 3D game very well, making it a handheld gaming PC for those that like 2D platformers, fighting games or smaller PC games.
We don’t advise picking it, but if you’re desperate, then give it a shot.
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A 29 year old fella that’s had a Gameboy addiction ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and created a YouTube channel with 240,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.