As we start to see the landscape of gaming handhelds move towards bigger, more powerful, and more expensive… now more than ever we need to look at some of the best handhelds under $100 in 2023.
You’ve seen how it goes… Android this, bigger screen that, portable PCs… yeah yeah. We know.
We have covered the Best Handheld Gaming Pcs and they are truly awesome. The future is here, and our childhood selves would be insanely jealous.
But in my own personal opinion, nothing is gonna beat the magic of a game console that I can take with me to a coffee shop without any concern.
A console that does not require a backpack to carry and one that I will not worry about damaging by taking it out of the house.
Knowing you are risking $100 instead of $1000 is good assurance that throwing a game console in your bag or pocket is a good idea.
So let’s take a look at some of the absolute best handhelds under $100 that you can purchase in 2023 that all carry a pricetag under $100.
Table of Contents
Nintendo Game & Watch
Let’s start it off with an easy one…
If you are the type of person who is fully content with just a couple of perfect games, then I have the perfect solution for you.
Nintendo released two wonderful portable gaming consoles in the past two years that will surely keep oldschool gamers very happy for hours on end.
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Super Mario franchise, we got the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. in November of 2020. We reviewed that one here: New Game & Watch.
And in November of 2021, we got the Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Zelda franchise.
Both Game & Watch consoles contain the original game titles, as well as several of the immediate sequels. And, of course, the “watch” functionality. ie.. a digital clock for your desktop or gaming bookshelf.
These are a perfect way to relive some of the best games from two of the greatest game franchises in history.
Super Mario Bros. (the first game for the NES) and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Game Boy) are both on my personal “greatest of all time” list, and these are a great way to enjoy those titles in a super pocketable console.
The Mario version was priced at $49.99, and the Zelda one at $59.99. Both super affordable ways to get in some great gaming.
Are you looking for a game console that can handle a heftier library than the Game & Watch?
Well let me introduce you to the GKD Mini…
If you check out that review from November of 2021, Brandon reported that the GKD Mini looked awesome, but wasn’t necessarily going to hold its own against some of its competition at that time.
And I happen to agree. It isn’t a powerhouse. But let me present an alternative perspective:
The GKD Mini is one of the most aesthetically pleasing gaming consoles from the past couple years.
And if your taste in games are not reaching past the 32-bit era… this might actually be the perfect gaming console for you.
I’ve heard some great feedback on the GKD Mini from gamers who were not looking to jump into Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast emulation on the go.
If you just plan on emulating Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis… that type of stuff… The GKD Mini is a great option.
With a pricetag at around $80, it’s not the cheapest.. it’s not the most expensive.
But it is certainly gonna deliver a heck of a good time if the specs work for your gaming tastes.
Production has stopped, so prices may increase over time, just a heads up!
Do you like the aesthetics of the GKD Mini, but want something slightly more powerful?
Well how about taking a look at the RG280V from Anbernic?
The RG280V is another awesome emulation handheld at an $80 pricetag.
Any product from Anbernic in 2020 and 2021 would be top of the line build quality and performance all around, and this device is no exception.
Emulation of early gaming consoles from Game Boy, Nintendo, Neo Geo Pocket, Game Gear will all perform perfect.
The console is actually capable of higher systems, but the button layout is not made for it (no analogue sticks).
I have heard from many gamers in the community that the RG280V is their number one console to take with them on trips due to its portability and exceptional game play performance.
So we highly recommend the RG280V as one of the best handhelds under $100 in 2023.
The RGB20S from Powkiddy is a newer console on the scene, and one that we initially had mixed feelings about.
Early images had us questioning the quality of the console. These concerns were immediately erased once we had it in our hands. It’s actually a great console with good build quality.
Our second concern was the all too familiar RK3326 chipset, which has made an appearance in many consoles in the last two years including a few on this list.
So could the RGB20S deliver anything that we didn’t already have on the scene? Well… not really.
The game play options on the RGB20S are gonna be aligned with many other devices on this list. It won’t do anything we haven’t seen before. But isn’t that kind of a good thing?
You’re gonna get the same awesome performance on your Game Boy, Arcade, Atari, Super Nintendo, etc. And it will even handle Nintendo 64, Playstation and PSP quite well (it’s got enough buttons for that).
The display is beautiful. The shape is nice. And the whole console look is just cute and friendly.
If the look is not for you, then it’s just not for you. But after sitting with it for a while, we actually have come to really like the RGB20S, and it’s just a dang cute console.
You can pick up an RGB20S today for $80-90. So what’s not to love about that?
The Powkiddy V90 is one of the absolute best handhelds under $100, and has held a spot on our favorites list for a couple years now!
It is important to emphasize that this console is not gonna pack the kind of power of most of the others on this list.
But it absolutely blows us away that this $40 game console from 2020 is still one of the best ways to play your favorite retro games in 2023.
Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Neo Geo Pocket, Sega Genesis, Wonderswan and even Playstation (though the button setup isn’t great for that).
All on a super affordable console that looks identical to the Game Boy Advance SP.
We have previously described this as the perfect emulator to give to a child, but we also don’t wanna give the impression this is a throwaway device.
In 2023, this thing is still holding its own with the big boys, and is still one of the absolute best portable game consoles if you do not need a powerhouse.
We still highly recommend the V90 in 2023, and it has an easy spot on the list of best handhelds under $100.
Powkiddy even released a black version recently, so there’s never been a better time to check it out.
You guys may remember the Anbernic RG353P that was released in June of 2023, and is actually the best console to come from Anbernic in a long time. Not perfect, but not bad.
Well one thing that makes that console interesting in this conversation is that it was actually entirely inspired by a device that came to us over a year ago (including the box design).
Besides being about half of the price of the Anbernic RG353P, it also has half of the analogue sticks.
But for a device that is gonna play everything up to Playstation 1, that’s not a terrible thing.
These sub $100 handhelds are gonna satisfy every desire.
Like almost every device on this list (except the Game & Watch), the PocketGo S30 is gonna play Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Game Gear, Genesis, or Neo Geo Pocket type devices perfect.
Many of these devices can play stuff like Playstation or Nintendo 64, but you shouldn’t expect to get much satisfaction in the performance or button configuration for those type of consoles.
For someone like me who just wants to have a go at Tetris on the Game Boy or Super Mario World for the SNES… a device like the PocketGo S30 is absolutely perfect.
So for that reason, the PocketGo S30 takes a spot on our list of the best handhelds under $100 in 2023.
Again, this handheld has stopped production, meaning it may increase in price overtime.
The RG351MP from Anbernic is easily in our top 5 of all time for retro gaming devices (depending on which RetroDodo team member you ask, it might even be the number one).
The metal shell is a dream, and it is one of the best RK3326 chipset devices for retro game emulation.
An RG351MP will cost you anywhere from $140 to $180 depending on when and where you buy it. So that puts it off the charts for this list of handhelds under $100.
But you know what device does make the cut? The predecessor to the M(etal)P(ro)… the RG351P(lastic).
A near identical internal hardware setup, with slightly different external proportions and a plastic shell.
But don’t let the plastic be a reason to consider this device any less premium than the other Anbernic products from 2021.
In 2021, Anbernic was the king of build quality for retro gaming devices, and the RG351P is a prime example of their best work.
At the time of its release, the RG351P was the absolute best RK3326 chipset device on the scene, as well as one of the best looking.
And it still holds its own next to the metal shell successors that will cost you an extra $50.
The RG351P has dual analogue sticks, so this thing will play the usual 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit.. and you will also get some pretty awesome game play performance and button compatibility with Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Playstation and PSP!
That’s right, you can actually play many of the 10 Best Selling PSP Games of All Time on a handheld device that will cost you around $90 in 2023.
An easy device to forget with the RG351MP so fresh in the memory.. but let’s not forget: The Anbernic RG351P is still one of the absolute best ways to play your retro gaming collection in portable form in 2023.
The Miyoo Mini is one of the newest devices on the list, and probably the curreny most popular handheld under $100.
I have seen a ton of these things popping up on my instagram feed, and it is very popular in the Game Boy community.
People have even started making custom buttons and shells for them!
Recent software upgrades developed by the gaming community means it is an even better experience if you wanna do some tinkering.
Not that you need to… you can buy one online for $60 and play your favorite retro games right out of the box.
With aesthetics inspired by the original Game Boy console, but in ultra miniature form… this thing is just a joy to see sitting on your desk, and an even greater joy to jump into some classic games on.
Like many on the list… Game Boy Color, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Atari, Neo Geo Pocket… all gonna perform at 100%.
And at the size of a deck of playing cards this is truly one of the most pocketable on the list.
Maybe one of our favorites in 2023, definitely one of our favorite mini consoles, and also one of the absolute best handhelds under $100 in 2023.
Expect to see this one on the best of the year list as well.
Retroid Pocket 2+
The Retroid Pocket 2 was already an awesome horizontal format game console. We gave it the win on our list of the Top 10 BEST Retro Handhelds Of 2020.
So when they gave us their pro model, the Retroid Pocket 2+ we were absolutely blown away.
Finally a game console with a more powerful Unisoc Quad-core Tiger T310 chipset, and we also finally got an Android device with a touchscreen.
The Retroid Pocket 2+ has an awesome button layout, nearly perfect fit in the hands, and is one of the absolute best retro emulation handhelds on the scene.
It can hold its own next to consoles that cost 2-3x as much. But luckily for you, you don’t have to pay that much.
You can get this absolutely incredibly gaming device for $99 and have a heck of a good time playing your favorite retro games.
It can even play some GameCube and Playstation 2 titles, something no other device on this list can come close to!
If you’re looking for the most compact console on this list of best handhelds under $100, we got you covered…
Take a gander at the Funkey S. It’s a super tiny handheld console inspired by the design of the Game Boy Advance SP, and it can run emulation all the way up to Playstation 1.
Yes, Playstation game play on a keychain. Literally.
This one came out all the way back in 2020, and we still are amazed at what the team behind the tiny console could accomplish.
Back at that time, we saw the passionate team working tirelessly to get the performance of the Funkey S to be as intuitive and smooth as possible on the device.
And we felt good supporting a product from a company that was tied in with their community and listening to their needs.
That kind of connection feels missing with many of the current console makers, so knowing that you can reach out to the Funkey team on Instagram and probably hear back is reassuring when spending $70 on a device like this.
If you’re hoping to find a way to have Game Boy, NES, Genesis, SNES, and even Playstation in your pocket or on your keychain… here is the best way to do that.
Bonus: Anbernic RG351V
So I am gonna cheat a bit here on this one…
On our full review of the RG351V, we reported the price at around $108.99. But from my own experience, you can typically get one for much cheaper than that.
I have personally purchased three RG351Vs, all under $100, and that included shipping.
So depending on when and where you are buying, the RG351V is one of the absolute best handhelds under $100.
And as I’m sure you know by now, this has been my number one favorite gaming console of all time since I got mine last year. I pretty much praise the thing any chance I get.
I love the vertical format, the fit is perfect in my hands, and I think the design of the console is just near perfect.
This is another RK3326 chipset console… but to me, it’s the best in the lot.
So what can you play on it? Well… Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Arcade, Neo Geo Pocket, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, Playstation, PSP, Nintendo DS. I mean, did I say enough here?
Like all consoles on this list, if you come into it thinking of it as a perfect emulator for anything up to 32-bit, with some bonus 64-bit game play… you are gonna be more than happy with what you get.
I jump between Tetris on the Game Boy to Mario Kart on Nintendo 64 to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on Dreamcast. Does that sound fun? Well it is!!!
I think I’ve shown enough love for the RG351V on the site by now, so let this be my final encouragement that you need one, like right now.
My favorite gaming console of all time, and one that you can easily pick up for under $100. Get it.
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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.