Handheld Gaming Consoles

Handheld Gaming Consoles

Handheld gaming consoles are booming right now, it seems every manufacturer is looking to release their own handheld gaming device.  We've pulled together the most popular handheld consoles available to buy now including the Steam Deck, ASUS' ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion Go and most recently the MSI Claw A1M.

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A range of handheld consoles are now readily available

Ever since the Steam Deck hit the market in 2022 it feels like handheld devices have become more popular giving the Nintendo Switch some stiff competition. There are now a good few on the market at different price points with their strengths, weaknesses and use cases. From the PlayStation Portal which allows you to play your PS5 on the move on some network to the MSI Claw which is an all-in-one system with some serious power under the hood. There's likely a handheld that suits you, so let's have a quick overview of the ones on the market so you can decide if a handheld console is a worthwhile addition to your gaming set-up.

Steam Deck

Available only from Steam the Steam Deck felt ahead of the curve when it was released, this device is a fully functioning gaming portable as well as can effectively be used as a computer when plugged into a monitor. It uses SteamOS to play games and many games on Steam are optimised to work with this device specifically. The fact it's backed by Steam which is where a large majority of games on PC are playable means that support and optimisation for this device are the best on the market.

Steam Deck is available in 3 different SKUs which are as follows:

  • 256GB LCD Display - £349.00
  • 512GB OLED Display - £479.00
  • 1TB OLED Display - £569.00

Across these SKUs as you can tell the more expensive options have a larger SSD and better OLED display which is a gorgeous screen to enjoy games on. The 2 more expensive SKUs also have a slightly larger battery and Wifi-connectivity. To be honest, you can't go wrong with a Steam Deck as a handheld, the prices are really solid and you're getting a lot for your money, the support for games is second to none. The Steam Deck is exclusively available direct from Steam.

PlayStation Portal

A handheld for those of you who already own a PlayStation 5 but want to be able to play your games on a portable device. This one is a bit different to other handhelds available as it effectively acts as a remote player, you still need to use your PS5 and need to be on the same Wi-Fi network to access your games. What the PlayStation Portal remote does is take away the requirement for playing on a TV, so if you're sharing a TV and your housemate or partner wants to watch some TV you can still play your PS5 games via the handheld. It feels like a very specific niche this device is fitting but it has constantly been out of stock since launch so clearly a lot of people want to play their PS5 games portably at home.

Some quick info on the PlayStation Portal:

  • RRP is £199.00
  • All PS5/PS4 games on your device will be compatible as long as they don't require a peripheral like a PSVR2 or PlayStation Camera
  • Requires a PS5 console to function, and cannot run games on its own
  • 60fps Capable at 1080p Resolution on an 8" LCD Screen
  • Need at least 5Mbps internet speed but 15Mbps is recommended
  • Does not require a PlayStation Plus subscription

Logitech G Cloud

The Logitech G Cloud is another device that uses the internet to play games and does not have an onboard GPU or anything like that. Logitech's offering in the world of handheld gaming devices is most well suited to being paired with subscription services like NVIDIA GeForce Now or Xbox Game Pass. These services work flawlessly with the devices allowing you to play games directly over the internet that are available on said services. It also works with Steam Link so you can access your Steam library so there are plenty of games available to play on the Logitech G Cloud as long as you have Wi-Fi. 

Some key information about the Logitech G Cloud:

  • Requires an online connection to play games, recommended to have at least 15Mbps download speed.
  • Compatible with Xbox Game Pass, Nvidia GeForce, Shadow PC and Steam Link
  • Weighs only 463 grams, the lightest handheld on the market right now which makes it more suited to longer gaming sessions
  • Does not require a PC or console to use
  • 7" 60Hz 1080p IPS LCD Display

ASUS ROG Ally

This is where things heat up a bit, ASUS is directly competing with the Steam Deck here this is another gaming handheld which can fully function as a computer and comes with Windows 11. The ROG Ally is a premium product with impressive graphical capabilities thanks to its Z1 series processor and RDNA 3 graphics which leads to slightly better performance than the Steam Deck. This improved performance is also paired with a 120Hz display meaning it's buttery smooth with games that can hit higher framerates.

What sets the ASUS ROG Ally apart?

  • Often comes with 3 months of Game Pass Ultimate for free
  • More powerful than the Steam Deck
  • 120Hz high refresh 1080p display
  • Has a game library which will combine all games into an easy-access library regardless of what launcher they're from
  • Compatible with Xbox Game Pass, Steam, Epic, GOG and more launchers, mot many games you can't play here
  • Priced at £549.00 right now following some discounts since release means it is very competitive with the other premium handheld options

 

Lenovo Legion Go

Lenovo's offering in the market is the Legion Go which is another high-end handheld that can do it all, doubling up as a handheld and a mini desktop when paired with a monitor. The Lenovo Legion Go has similar power to the ROG Ally but does have faster RAM and also has the largest screen currently available in this market with an 8.8-inch display which has a 2560 x 1600 resolution and 144Hz refresh rate. It is a Windows 11 device that comes with 512GB SSD storage as standard but can be upgraded if necessary. The Lenovo Legion Go is priced at £649.00 right now so a bit more than the ASUS ROG Ally but this makes sense considering the larger display and faster RAM.

What you need to know about the Lenovo Legion Go

  • Runs on Windows 11
  • 144Hz 8.8-inch display with 2560x1600 resolution
  • 512GB SSD Storage
  • Works with Xbox Game Pass, Steam and other PC launchers
  • Detachable controllers that work similarly to Nintendo Joy-Cons
  • Legion Space library brings all games into one easily accessible launcher
  • The price is £649.00 and there is only one model currently available

MSI Claw A1M

The latest entry on the market that is available for pre-order is the MSI Claw A1M. This one also can be used as a Windows 11 PC or handheld gaming console. The MSI Claw A1M will be taking advantage of an 8 Intel Arc 8-core GPU which is compatible with some great AI features like Intel XeSS to help aid in getting the best performance possible in games. The MSI Claw won't be released until March 20th so until the review devices go out it's going to be hard to weigh up exactly how it performs against other handhelds in the market but it should be up there considering the tech and price. There are 2 models available on launch which are:

  • MSI Claw A1M Handheld Gaming Console - Intel® Core™ Ultra 5, 512 GB SSD - £699
  • MSI Claw A1M Handheld Gaming Console - Intel® Core™ Ultra 7, 1 TB SSD - £799

The key differences between these models are that the more expensive one has a larger 1TB SSD drive and a slightly faster processor for £100 more.

Some more key details about the MSI Claw A1M are:

  • Has a fingerprint scanner
  • Largest battery on the market with a 53 Whr battery which should allow for around 2 hours of gaming
  • Supports Wi-Fi 7
  • 7" IPS 1080p 120Hz Display
  • Has the largest library of all devices thanks to being able to also play android games on top of the usual Steam / Epic / Game Pass launchers/libraries
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