The demand for a decent PS2 handheld is high, throughout our best retro handhelds review, it’s the question we get asked the most. “What’s the best PS2 handheld?”, well, in all honesty there really isn’t one as of yet.
But, that doesn’t stop modders and weird AliExpress sellers from attempting to make this magical unicorn a thing. We’ve came across a wide number of these PS2 handhelds that you can actually buy, so we thought it would be hilarious to showcase these monstrosities, in hopes you can laugh the dream of them becoming a reality, away.
Now before we jump in, we thought we’d explain why PS2 handhelds aren’t widely a thing and that’s simply because it takes a lot of power to emulate and play PS2 games. The chips needed to power emulation within a PS2 handheld are expensive, and push the price of handhelds way above the $250 mark.
Not only does this make profits for manafacturers somewhat non-existent, it won’t have enough demand, because well, you can buy a Nintendo Switch for that, or even half a PS5 should you actually manage to find one for sell.
It quite simply comes down to demand, and profitability. But, do not fear, there are some mad men out there that are trying to make it a thing using the PS2 internals instead of emulation, but this alone makes it even more expensive and harder to mod.
Before we go anywhere, we don’t actually recommend buying these, because we’ve had some bad experience with buying handhelds from modders on AliExpress, especially this one.
Known as “Timeharvest” on AliExpress this seller mods old consoles into even worse consoles. A few months back we bought a “Gamecube Handheld” of this guy, and it literally arrived broken and the best bit… When we turned it on, it started to smoke aggressively and almost catch fire.
This is not a joke and you can witness the video here for yourselves. We sent it back for a refund, but the seller obviously removed our 1 star review because well, it could have killed us. We’re not even sure how it managed to safely get on an aeroplane to ship to us.
His most recent flamethrower is called the “PS2 Gamebox Time”, or as we like to call it the “PS2 Gamebox How Much Time Until It Lights My Flat On Fire?”.
This PS2 handheld uses an official PS2 motherboard along with a massive 5″ IPS display, Nintendo Switch analogue sticks, and up to 3 hours of battery life.
You have to load PS2 games onto the USB stick yourself, and charge it via the included power supply, which might we add is huge.
It’s made from a 3D printed material which if our Gamecube handheld is to go by, it’s very low quality. It also changes shape under both cold and hot conditions, so when ours arrived it was all bent, and the buttons fell into the shell due to transportation.
There is a link below to look at the listing should any of you be crazy enough to pick this one up!
2. Modded PS2 By /DarkWingMod
This is the only “decent” PS2 handheld we could find, and of course it’s been made be a reliable modder known as /DarkWingMod on Reddit.
He created a portable PS2 back in 2019 using an old PS2, a Raspberry Pi and a 5.6″ display, along with lots and lots of hours tinkering. In fact, he has been picking at this project for over 6 years, and has created what can be only called one of the nicest PS2 handhelds we’ve seen.
Unfortunately, as you can imagine this one isn’t for sell, but he has mentioned that if he were to make them for people it would be upwards of $1500, so not cheap!
But that said the quality does look great, and beats anything currently on AliExpress. The shell looks injection moulded, and so do the buttons. This PS2 handheld looks like an old PS Vita who’s had a few too mince pies and maybe taken some inspiration from the SEGA Game Gear.
The controller board is from a Genius Maxfire Blaxe gamepad and the motherboard is taken from a PS2 Slim. The Raspberry Pi internals is simply used to download games via ethernet, everything else is PS2 internals meaning it runs games at full speed with no emulation.
Battery life is 90 minutes but as you can imagine its a PS2 running on a small battery so its not going to last long. A great achievement and one we wish was open to buy for the public, we can keep dreaming.
Another $600 PS2 Handheld you can actually buy, from the dodgy sellers TimeHarvest! This time it’s a slimmer, PSP styled handheld for those that want something a little more… premium? No, that’s not the word, lets go with polished.
This PS2 handheld obviously takes the styling from the PS Vita, along with a bright yellow shell, four shoulder buttons, two analogue sticks and official playstation action buttons.
What’s different about this one is that it supports PS3 and PS4 wireless controllers, plus the ability to play your best PS1 games. You can even hook it up to a mobile power bank should the 3 hours not support your Jak and Daxter obsession.
The huge 7″ IPS display does look quite nice, and so does the layout, but we just don’t trust this user enough to spend our hard earned cash.
Hopefully down the line perhaps ANBERNIC will create something powerful enough to run PS2 games, but as mentioned at the start of this article, it’s just too expensive to do that as of now.
This is probably the best PS2 handheld that you can actually buy, because its sold on AliExpress here for $300 and it only takes a couple of weeks to arrive.
What’s different about this PS2 handheld compared to the rest is that this is built on a Raspberry Pi and uses classic playstation analogue sticks.
Our good friend Wicker Gamer Collector has actually reviewed this and was somewhat impressed with the outcome. It’s not made by the TimeHarvest guys so we’re certain it will be better quality, but remember, this is a DIY kit, so it isn’t going to be perfect.
This PS2 handheld has a 7″ screen, has 4 hours battery life and comes with a PS Vita like aesthetic and 4 shoulder buttons.
Perforamnce though can be hit and miss, yes it can emulate PS2 games and sounds like a harrier jet while it does, but at times especially in large 3D games you’ll notice some frame drops.
We’ll update this article when we find even more PS2 handhelds. We’re hoping throughout 2021 that this article will get much fuller, and in time, possibly an affordable one may come into sight.
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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.