Steam Deck and Beyond: The Best Handheld Gaming Devices for 2024

Steam Deck and Beyond: The Best Handheld Gaming Devices for

For many years, gaming PCs have grown more and more highly effective, delivering attractive graphics and new gameplay kinds that outpace their console counterparts. Nonetheless, probably the most fascinating development in at present’s gaming PC market doesn’t assume greater—it thinks smaller.

Handheld PC gaming gadgets mix the energy and adaptability of a full-fledged laptop with the convenience and comfort of a tool simply sufficiently small to slide right into a bag or cargo pants pocket. This isn’t a brand new class, however the Steam Deck helped usher it into the mainstream in 2022. If you wish to discover this increasing {hardware} sort, try our prime transportable gaming PC picks.


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Deeper Dive: Our High Examined Picks

Valve Steam Deck OLED

Finest Total

Why We Picked It

The Steam Deck remains to be the hand held gaming PC to beat, and Valve has made it much more engaging with a refreshed mannequin. Video games look their finest due to a blinding 720p OLED show (7.4 inches) that makes colours pop. Different stealth enhancements embody enhanced battery life that delivers one to 4 further hours of juice in contrast with the unique mannequin, and two to a few occasions sooner downloads due to Wi-Fi 6E.

Who It is For

Anybody trying to dabble in PC gaming. The Linux-based SteamOS is a splendidly approachable interface that pushes the Steam retailer and its wealthy library to the forefront. Get Valve’s official Steam Deck Dock for extra perks akin to simpler firmware updates and the flexibility to output to a display and not using a energy provide.

PROS

  • Improbable OLED display
  • Improved battery
  • Quicker downloads
  • Runs quietly
  • Glorious emulation assist

CONS

  • Can barely deal with the newest AAA releases
  • Anti-glare display solely accessible for highest tier mannequin

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Valve Steam Deck OLED Evaluate

Valve Steam Deck

Valve Steam Deck

Finest Entry-Stage Steam Deck

Why We Picked It

The unique Steam Deck remains to be a formidable machine, with specs just about equivalent to the newer OLED mannequin. The 7-inch LCD display has the identical 1,280-by-800 pixel decision because the OLED, although you lose Wi-Fi 6E obtain speeds and anyplace from one to 4 hours of battery life, relying on the sport. The true hook is the value, which is considerably lower than the OLED model.

Who It is For

The unique Steam Deck is now solely accessible as a base-level mannequin, so it is appropriate for anybody trying to dabble on this class. And it now provides 256GB of inner storage (up from 64GB earlier than the OLED mannequin’s introduction), supplying you with extra bang for the buck.

PROS

  • Highly effective for its measurement
  • Steam video games run constantly nicely
  • Terrific retro recreation emulation
  • Dock compatibility provides TV and monitor assist
  • Full Linux desktop setting
  • Cool LAN file transfers

CONS

  • Single USB-C port limits connection choices
  • Unwieldy for a conveyable gaming system
  • Recreation mods require a lot of tinkering

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Valve Steam Deck Evaluate

Steam Deck and Beyond: The Best Handheld Gaming Devices for 2024

Asus ROG Ally

Finest for Home windows-Based mostly Gaming

Why We Picked It

The Asus ROG Ally is a premium Home windows 11-powered transportable that options a stupendous 7-inch, 1080p/120Hz display and beefy specs designed to deal with that top decision. That energy comes with a value, although, to the tune of only one hour of Cyberpunk 2077 gaming when unplugged.

Who It is For

Individuals conversant in Home windows gaming. Nonetheless, a full desktop interface is not at all times the simplest to navigate whereas on the go. In consequence, Asus contains the elective Armoury Crate interface that consolidates your video games in a single, tight menu. No matter your most popular interface, the Ally provides transportable, full HD entry to the broadest array of PC gaming marketplaces.

PROS

  • Engaging 1080p 120Hz show
  • Slick design and durable construct
  • Regular efficiency in most gaming eventualities
  • Runs full Home windows 11
  • Respectable battery life outdoors of gaming
  • Asus software program adjustments modes and remaps controls on the fly

CONS

  • Many video games require decrease graphics settings for clean efficiency
  • Tremendous quick battery life whereas gaming
  • Some finicky controls, notably for navigating Home windows

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Asus ROG Ally Evaluate

Asus ROG Ally (Z1)

Asus ROG Ally (Z1)

Finest Entry-Stage ROG Ally

Why We Picked It

The Asus ROG Ally Z1 is a much less highly effective (and cheaper) model of the Ally that’ll prevent fairly a bit of cash. This mannequin has the chops to run pretty demanding video games, and it retains interesting options like a 7-inch, 1080p display and the complete Home windows 11 working system. PC players are used to having a number of {hardware} tiers at completely different value factors to go well with their distinctive wants, so it is good to see that within the handheld area.

Who It is For

Players occupied with a extra inexpensive Ally and who do not thoughts sacrificing energy to get one. In our exams, Murderer’s Creed Valhalla ran at 29 frames per second on the ROG Ally Z1 (1080p, medium settings) in contrast with 43fps (identical settings) on the extra highly effective mannequin. That is not a nasty trade-off if you wish to lower your expenses.

PROS

  • Cheaper than Z1 Excessive mannequin
  • Engaging 1080p 120Hz show
  • Slick design and light-weight construct
  • Runs full Home windows 11
  • Asus software program improves recreation library navigation
  • Lengthy battery life (outdoors of gaming)

CONS

  • $100 financial savings powerful to justify
  • Battery life stays quick whereas gaming
  • Finicky controls, notably for navigating Home windows

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Asus ROG Ally (Z1) Evaluate

Lenovo Legion Go

Lenovo Legion Go

Finest Design

Why We Picked It

The Lenovo Legion Go stands out from the pack with its supersized kind issue that options an 8.8-inch QHD display. It additionally options removable Nintendo Change-style controllers and an FPS mode that turns the correct controller into an ergonomic mouse.

Who It is For

Players who worth innovation. The hefty Lenovo Legion Go has extra creativity than we have seen from different handheld gaming PCs. All of its flashy options do not at all times gel in observe, however experimentation is how innovation occurs.

PROS

  • Beautiful 8.8-inch QHD display
  • Regular efficiency with many AAA video games
  • Runs full Home windows 11
  • Two USB-C ports
  • Included carrying case

CONS

  • Buggy Legion Area software program
  • Gaming at QHD hardly ever value it
  • FPS mode is clunky
  • Detaching controllers is awkward
  • Heavy

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Lenovo Legion Go Evaluate

Shopping for Information: Steam Deck and Past: The Finest Handheld Gaming Units for 2024


What Is a Handheld PC Gaming System?

A handheld PC gaming system is a pc designed for enjoying video video games on the go. We’re not speaking about laptops or tablets. As a substitute, they’re totally purposeful computer systems in a Nintendo Change-like physique. Nonetheless, whereas the Change is a locked-down console, a handheld gaming PC is a pc that does nearly the whole lot you anticipate a PC to do.

That is as a result of they sometimes run the Home windows working system or, within the Steam Deck’s case, Linux. You may set up mods, experiment with equipment and peripherals, or faucet the varied gaming marketplaces, such because the Epic Video games Retailer or Xbox Recreation Cross. Many handheld gaming PCs even have customized interfaces that make it simpler to buy and launch video games. Assume SteamOS’ panel-driven entrance finish, for instance. With it, you’ll be able to shortly entry titles and menus tailor-made for the smaller display.

That mentioned, handheld gaming PCs additionally provide a conventional full desktop. Nonetheless, navigating them on a small display makes for a well-recognized however considerably awkward person expertise. These choices fulfill newcomers migrating from consoles in addition to hard-core PC gaming veterans.


How Highly effective Are Handheld PC Gaming Units?

Let’s be frank: A handheld PC gaming system cannot compete with a top-of-the-line gaming desktop. In actual fact, it is typically higher for a producer to deliberately restrict a handheld’s energy to increase its battery life. Nonetheless, these portables can run many present, graphically beautiful video games in numerous visible settings. Valve verifies Steam video games to let you understand which of them are Steam Deck appropriate. The verified checklist contains prime releases akin to Baldur’s Gate 3 and Road Fighter 6.

With this a lot energy, handheld gaming PCs are additionally spectacular retro gaming handhelds. In addition they shine as higher distant play gadgets than, say, a cell phone with a paired controller. Keep in mind, these are simply computer systems as open as some other, so let your tech-tinkering creativeness run wild. No matter you assume you are able to do, you’ll be able to at the very least try it with these transportable PCs.

Advisable by Our Editors

Steam Deck Anniversary: One Year With Valve’s Powerful Handheld
Steam Deck Anniversary: One 12 months With Valve’s Highly effective Handheld

As extra handheld PC gaming gadgets make their means onto retailer cabinets, we anticipate extra innovation on this area. Have you ever scored one and wish a suggestion on what to play? Try our picks for the finest PC video games.

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