If you’re a fan of the Steam Deck but have a few gripes about the console that you just can’t look past, then I have a few recommendations for you.
If there’s one handheld console that’s made big waves in recent years, it’s the Steam Deck. And, while you can buy one quite easily now, the initial waiting process was torturous for many, which of course led people to search for other consoles that would do the job just as well.
While the Steam Deck has some powerful emulation features (check out our how to install emulators on Steam Deck article), there are so many other powerful handhelds looking to take a slice of the pie today, all offering that same level of portability.
But which are the best? Which one can go toe-to-toe with the Steam Deck and come out unscathed? Which Steam Deck alternatives could knock it from its pedestal, and which handhelds are on the horizon that are looking like worthy contenders?
Table of Contents
1. AYANEO 2/2S
As of now, the best steam Deck alternative on the market is the AYANEO 2 or their upgraded AYANEO 2S if you want one of the world’s most powerful portable PC’s crafted by an innovative company that has only been around for a few years.
The AYANEO 2 features a Ryzen 7 6800U CPU, a RADEON 680M GPU, 32GB’s of RAM, 2TB storage and a stunning 7″ LCD touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 @ 60hz.
This thing is a beast, and it’s designed with a premium nature, featuring a glass panel on the front that surrounds the entire face of the device.
There’s stunning LED customisations that add to the modern, minimalistic look, alongside perfect egonomics that allow you to play for as long as the battery lasts… not long.
That’s the only downfall with a device of this calibre, AAA games can last anywhere between 1 and 3 hours of gameplay before needing a charge.
But that aside, it’s the most powerful handheld on the block. If you want to experience the best of the best and have an endless budget, this is the one to go for.
It’s truly remarkable, and AYANEO are doing what the competition aren’t, and that’s innovating… quickly. We have used the AYANEO 2S since it released in early 2023 and it still shines to this day.
2. ASUS Rog Ally
The ASUS Rog Ally is a brand new entry in the portable Windows game console market released in mid 2023. It is quickly building a reputation as one of the strongest possible competitors for the Steam Deck.
Being a tech giant like ASUS has its benefits, like being able to price your new device at a starting price of $599. Something that the smaller companies in the market cannot afford to do.
It boasts a AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme CPU, 16GB’s of RAM, a AMD Radeon GPU, a 1080p display (120hz), and up to 8 hours of battery life.
When we met with Casey Neistat, he showed us how much he loves his ROG Ally in our video below.
So it’s got more processing power and its 7 inch display at 1080P 120Hz is a much better resolution than the original Steam Deck.
It’s also got what most people will view as a more conventional gaming look to it (the Steam Deck is still a bit odd looking).
It’s one of the most popular Steam Deck Alternatives right now, for good reason and it’s one of the most affordable on this list.
The ONEXPlayer claims the title of the “most powerful portable pc on the market”, and they really are not far off from that mark.
With stats like an 8.4″ 2K IPS display, Tiger Lake i7 CPU, Windows 10 operating system, 15300mAH battery… it is really a powerful gaming device.
Like the Steam Deck, it’s called “portable”, but you are essentially going to be carrying a laptop in your bag if you take it with you on the go.
But if you do not mind massive gaming consoles, this thing is actually a joy to play on.
The button configuration and the feel in your hands is one of the best we have experienced in recent times.
And the screen is insanely beautiful. It is massive, and at arms reach distance, it really immerses you in the game play.
The ONEXPlayer is now out of the crowdfunding stage, and you can purchase one directly from the ONEXPLAYER official website starting at $799.
With some upgrades, it might end up costing you closer to $1100. So that puts it a bit higher than what you would expect to pay for a Steam Deck.
But if you prefer the visuals of the ONEXPlayer, or like that you can purchase one now, it’s one of the best Steam Deck alternatives to snag today.
4. AYANEO Air Pro
One of the latest handhelds we have reviewed is the AYANEO Air, a powerhouse device with a AMD Ryzen 7 5826U Zen 3 processor all in a device that is just 20mm thin.
This device is by far the most powerful handheld we have ever reviewed. Yes, the 5.5″ screen may be slightly too small for a handful of games, but if you’re looking for portable power, this is the go to.
AYANEO are new on the block, yet they continue to launch and reveal incredible products, their flagship being the upcoming AYANEO 2 which is likely to launch this year also.
But where the AIR beats most of these handhelds, is simply portability. It’s thin, it’s lightweight and the OLED display is incredibly crispy.
But with portability, comes problems. Inside is just a 10,000MAH battery capacity meaning the Pro models (which we tested) only lasts just over two hours when playing our favourite games.
Yup, battery life sucks, but then again, what do you expect when you’re playing AAA games at 720p 60FPS?
5. Lenovo Legion Go
The Lenovo Legion Go release at the tail end of 2023 stiring up a lot of attention thanks to it’s unique modern look while featuring some of the Steam Decks favourite parts.
With detachable controllers that can be used like an arcade joystick for tabletop gaming, an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, and mappable buttons as well as a trackpad, it’s one heck of a machine.
And that’s in weight as well as features. The Lenovo Legion is approximately 854g, which is 185g more than the Steam Deck, coming in at 669g… so make sure to warm up before holding it.
The Lenovo Legion Go starts at $700, making it another affordable Steam Deck Alternative, and one that will entice gamers who like big screened handhelds.
6. MSI Claw A1M (Coming Soon)
Later in 2024 MSI wants to enter the ring, with a new handheld that features Windows 11, the latest intel core processors, stacks of RAM and what they claim is some of the best ergonomics in the industry alongside leading battery life after “with thousands of sample data collected from around the world” to assist with this.
They’ve even built a custom UI for Windows 11 to make the overall experience more fluid to use, similar to AYANEO OS.
MSI don’t just want you using this for portable gaming either, they are seeing this as a portable PC that can be used for work, video editing and surfing the web too, making it a great Steam Deck alternative for those that need a hybrid system for work and play.
Extra features include their unique “HYPERFLOW” cooling system which helps with performance on the 7″ 120hz display and the 53whr battery is showed to last 50% longer than the market average according to MSI.
And there’s no denying how cool it looks, with RGB lighting behind the analogue sticks and action buttons, hall effect triggers and joysticks plus WiFi 7 ready.
We’re excited about this one, for sure, and wanted to feature an upcoming handheld because it might be of your best interest to wait until this one launches, to compare.
7. Nintendo Switch OLED W/ Nitro Deck
This is an odd entry, but hear me out.
The CRKD Nitro Deck is a large, oversized grip that makes your Nintendo Switch feel like a Steam Deck.
Yes, I know it can’t play your favourite PC games, but for $299 it has an incredible library of retro and modern games for an affordable price, it’s incredibly portable and a superb console if you like playing COOP with friends.
I used the OLED Nintendo Switch and combine it with the Nitro Deck grip to give it a large, comfortable gaming exprience.
It even has extra buttons on the back if you want to map shortcuts, and a fully fledge turbo button on the front too.
It’s a left wing entry, but one I think some of you will appreciated.
8. AYANEO Kun
The AYANEO Kun takes the 8th spot in this list of the best Steam Deck alternatives!
The Kun has to be one of the most exciting Windows devices to date and is a strong contender for both the Steam Deck and every other consoles in this list.
That screen is a beast too, coming in at 8.4″ and 1600p, making it incredibly clear and open to high resolution gaming.
With a 75Wh battery, an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U chipset, and Hall sensor joysticks, it makes for an incredible handheld able to cope with anything you throw at it, including cloud gaming thanks to the 4G compatability.
The base model is costs $999, with the most expensive option coming in at approximately $1,800. This is another handheld we have yet to test, but we have reviewed many of AYANEO’s products in the past so I wanted to put this on your radar, as it’s certainly worth checking out.
9. AYN Odin Pro
We have recently compared the two incredible devices in our article Steam Deck VS AYN Odin Pro.
If we look at the devices spec for spec and compare their abilities… the Steam Deck has a strong edge.
For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on where the Odin might have an edge…
To start with, the Odin Pro is alot more aesthetically pleasing, and will feel like familiar territory if you have a Nintendo Switch or a horizontal retro emulator in your collection.
And with a price tag over $100 cheaper than the base model for a Steam Deck, the Odin is an obvious affordable alternative.
The easiest edge to give to the AYN Odin Pro is that you can order one right now and expect to receive it within a couple of months. The Steam Deck is still quite difficult to get your hands on.
So in our opinion: looking at the two based on the visuals, the price tags, and thinking about the wait time involved to receive one or the other…
The AYN Odin Pro is looking like one of the best Steam Deck alternatives of the year.
10. AYANEO Next
AYANEO is a Chinese console developer who aims to produce some of the most beautiful and powerful machines we can get our hands on. And we are happy to say, they are doing exactly that!
Like the ONEXPlayer and the Steam Deck, the AYANEO Next packs a punch: AMD Ryzen 7 5825U CPU, AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU, 16GB RAM, 2TB storage and a 7″ IPS display…
That’s a lot of complicated stuff that equates to great game play in a super portable gaming console that is about the same size and feel of a Nintendo Switch.
It is smaller than the Steam Deck, and like the ONEXPlayer, you can get your hands on it right now.
Like the ONEXPlayer, it does come with a pretty hefty price tag, but you are paying for the supreme quality. And again, this is a gaming laptop, at the end of the day.
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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.