The 7 Best Handheld Gaming Systems

REVIEWED AND RANKED IN CHESHIRE (UK) MAY 2018

We spoke to 10 hardcore gamers, visited 5 gaming arenas, read innumerable online reviews, and bought the 20 recommended handheld gaming to test them in our lab. In addition to checking their display, we compared their graphics, processor speed, internal storage, and supported games.



Consequently, after over 100 hours of testing and research, we compiled a list of the 7 best handheld gaming systems. Among these, the Nvidia Shield Portable Control Gaming System with Android Jelly Bean is undoubtedly the best. It features a superfast processor, is comfortable on your hands, and has breathtaking graphics.


However, that doesn’t mean that other products are simply trash. To know more about their qualities - and how they compare with each other - check the below mentioned comparison table and scroll further down for detailed reviews.

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Products Comparison

  • Core Detail
  • Technical Details
  • Pricing and Shipping
 Nvidia Shield Portable Console Gaming System
88%
£229
read more
 Sony PSP handheld Gaming System
70%
£199
read more
 Sony PSP Go Handheld Gaming System - Pearl White
82%
£490.49
read more
 Handheld 653 Classic Portable Game Console
82%
£42.99
read more
 XinXu 3inch portable handheld Retro Game Console
82%
£29.99
read more
 Blaze Gear Sega Master System
78%
£28.94
read more
 Nintendo 2DS Handheld Console
92%
£74.99
read more
.
Nvidia Shield Portable Console Gaming System Top rated
Sony PSP handheld Gaming System
Sony PSP Go Handheld Gaming System - Pearl White
Handheld 653 Classic Portable Game Console
XinXu 3inch portable handheld Retro Game Console
Blaze Gear Sega Master System Lowest price
Nintendo 2DS Handheld Console
Product Title Display (in) Dimensions Weight What we liked What we didn't like

Nvidia Shield Portable Console Gaming System

88%

5

15.7 x13.5 x5.7cm

578g

Sony PSP handheld Gaming System

70%

4.3

17x 2.3x 7.4cm

260g

Sony PSP Go Handheld Gaming System - Pearl White

82%

3.8

12.8x 1.7x 6.9cm

158g

Handheld 653 Classic Portable Game Console

82%

4.3

13x 19.1x 8.61cm

340g

XinXu 3inch portable handheld Retro Game Console

82%

3

16x 7x 1.9cm

222g

Blaze Gear Sega Master System

78%

2.4

22x19x 5.8cm

294g

Nintendo 2DS Handheld Console

92%

3

14.5x 2x 12.7cm

260g

x
£229 more
£199 more
£490.49 more
£47.99 more
£29.99 more
£24.73 more
£79.99 more
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Product Reviews

1

Nvidia Nvidia Shield Portable Console Gaming System

88%

The Nvidia Shield Portable Control Gamer runs on the latest Android Jelly Bean OS and boasts an ultra-large 5’’ tablet display. It also features a console-grade game controller and has a 4 quad-core mobile processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM in the form of flash storage.



It also has integrated stereo speakers with a built0in mic and supports the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi. Furthermore, to ensure effortless internet connections, it has a 2x2 MU-MIMO technology and it also lets you share files with Bluetooth 3.0 to your smartphone.



Moreover, gives you the freedom access Google Play and download Android games That said, we did notice a few shortcomings, the most important of which is that its console is large and bulky. Also, it takes an eternity to recharge.


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2

Sony PSP Sony PSP handheld Gaming System

70%

The Sony PSP is available in a black color with a widescreen 16:9 LCD screen centered on its ergonomic design. It measures 170mm x 74mm x 23mm and weighs just over 250g. It provides all the function of a portable player including exterior headphone connector, built-in stereo speakers, sound mode selection, and brightness control.



It is equipped with device I/O connectors including 802.11b Wi-Fi and USB 2.0, though it doesn’t support Bluetooth. And while it lets you connect to the internet to play online games, you could also form a wireless network with other friends who have PSP without connecting to the internet.



As for its storage, PSP lets you store up to 1.8 GB of data and its UMD (Universal Media Disc) enabling game software supports full-motion video, wide range of games, sports programs, and movies. Finally, all this stuff will be protected with the individual ID which PSP assigns to each of its users.


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3

Sony PSP Sony PSP Go Handheld Gaming System - Pearl White

82%

Sony PSP GO boasts an ergonomic design which makes it comfortable for you to hold it in your hands even after extended periods.



It features impressive graphics graphics and the 16GB internal storage allows you to download and store videos, music, and games. And apart from supporting Wi-Fi, PSP GO is the first of Sony Handheld platforms which support Bluetooth. Also, while you could download its games from the PlayStation Store as well, all PSP GO games are also available on UMD, too.



That said, the screen is not very big. Also, in comparison to the abovementioned PSP, games for PSP GO are expensive. Compared to the Nvidia shield - which provides multiple joysticks, the Sony PSP Go comes with a single joystick which. It also doesn’t provide a Bluetooth wireless headset in the package.


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4

Anbernic Handheld 653 Classic Portable Game Console

82%

Similar to the XinXu retro game console, the Anbernic 653 classic supports plenty of games. For instance, it supports 653 games in total. In addition to playing videos, it could also play MP3 songs and is comfortable to hold in your hands.



What’s more, it is compatible with Windows 10. This compatibility allows you to connect it to your Windows desktop and download games via this console’s USB2 port. And if you feel its built-in storage isn’t enough, it gives the option to insert a memory card for increasing its storage.



On the flip side, the graphics of the Anbernic weren’t the best in business and since it is extremely lightweight, question marks have been raised about its sturdiness.


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£47.99 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £39.99

5

XinXu XinXu 3inch portable handheld Retro Game Console

82%

Being the most affordable handheld gaming system in our review, Xinxu also supports the most number of games; 566, to be precise. Just like the previous Anbernic, Xinxu could play both videos as well as MP3 songs.



Its size is compact enough to fit comfortably inside your pocket. Its graphics were also impressive - though the 3’’ screen on which they were visible is on the smaller side. Also, for some unknown reason, most games which come built-in inside Xinxu are in Chinese language.


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6

Blaze Blaze Gear Sega Master System

78%

The Blaze Gear Sega System comes with 30 built-in classic retro games, has a compact design to fit comfortably inside your pockets, and its design is ergonomic enough to hold in your hands for extended periods without any pain.



On the flipside, we didn’t like the size of the LCD screen. At only 2.4 inches it is a bit too small. This handheld gaming system also lacks a slot for SD card which means that the only games you can play are the ones that come built-in in the system.


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£24.73 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £27.93

7

Nintendo UK Nintendo 2DS Handheld Console

92%

The Nintendo 2DS offers a sturdy build which, surprisingly, is also compact and simple to carry. This model is backward compatible - which means it can play games of its predecessor, the 3DS. It also supports some of the classic retro games such as Mario, Pokémon and The Legend of Zelda.



On the downside, Nintendo has decided to forego the stereo speaker in favor of a mono speaker for this model. Also, since it doesn’t support 3D, we feel that the 3D camera of this model is pointless.


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£79.99 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £74.99

last update June 13th 2018

We want our reviews to be the most up to date on the web. The most recent update to this page on June 13th 2018

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Side By Side Comparison

  • by Nvidia

    Nvidia Shield Portable Console Gaming System

    Nvidia Shield Portable Console Gaming System

    check pricing
  • by Sony PSP

    Sony PSP handheld Gaming System

    Sony PSP handheld Gaming System

    check pricing
  • by Sony PSP

    Sony PSP Go Handheld Gaming System - Pearl White

    Sony PSP Go Handheld Gaming System - Pearl White

    check pricing
  • by Anbernic

    Handheld 653 Classic Portable Game Console

    Handheld 653 Classic Portable Game Console

    check pricing
  • by XinXu

    XinXu 3inch portable handheld Retro Game Console

    XinXu 3inch portable handheld Retro Game Console

    check pricing
  • by Blaze

    Blaze Gear Sega Master System

    Blaze Gear Sega Master System

    check pricing
  • by Nintendo UK

    Nintendo 2DS Handheld Console

    Nintendo 2DS Handheld Console

    check pricing

Frequently Asked Question

What Is Handheld Gaming System?

Handheld Gaming Systems are portable game consoles that you can carry around with ease. They do not need an external monitor as they come with their own LCD screen. They also come with built in speakers, controls, storage, and RAM. 

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Handheld Gaming Systems?

  • Advantages


The first and most obvious advantage is the size. Since they are small, they are ultra-portable, which means you can take them virtually anywhere you go.


Turning on handheld gaming systems is also fast and easy. You won’t have to wait for lengthy boot times. Some models even come with a ‘’sleep mode’’ button which allows you to continue the game from where you left off. You don’t have to wait for the console to start all over again.


Unlike the games you play on your mobile phone, consoles come with buttons and joysticks. This creates more dexterity which means that you can play with both hands for extended periods.


Compared to your smartphones, handheld devices have a much longer battery life. Charging is also efficient and they also charge quickly.


Some handheld devices even allow you to sync them with the computer for an enhanced gaming experience. Apart from playing your favorite games, you can also use handheld gaming systems to play videos and MP3 songs.


More advanced models such as the Sony PSP handheld Gaming System feature wireless connectivity which allows other players who have the same model to compete against each other as long as they are within a range of 100 meters.


  • Disadvantages


The screen is susceptible to damage and scratches. The screen will get affected by the sun and you do need to find a shady spot to enjoy your game.


 It is not easy to upgrade the operating system especially if you do not have a flashable ROM and downloading data also takes more time.


What Should You Look for When Choosing Handheld Gaming Systems?

Comfort


The first thing to look out for in a handheld gaming system is how comfortable it feels in your hands. You don’t want something that causes pain to your fingers and hands after extended gaming sessions.



Weight


Weight of the gaming console will go hand-in-hand with how comfortable the unit feels. When it is too heavy, you will likely tire from holding it in your hands for a long time. Conversely, too lightweight models are more likely to drop and get damaged.



Sturdy


Speaking of damage, the handheld gaming system should come with a sturdy and robust build. These consoles are susceptible to getting dropped. They should therefore come with a strong outer cover that protects the inner parts well in case of a fall.



Size of the screen


The size of the screen is worth considering. Normally the larger the better. Gaming consoles that come with an LCD screen that is between 3.8 inches and 5 inches can be considered a worthy selection.



Graphics


Graphics are an important consideration as well. Good graphics will enhance your gaming experience and make playing more fun and engaging.



Extra Features


You may want to use the gaming console for more than just playing games. Extra features are a good choice. Some consoles come with a built-in camera. They can also play MP3 as well as videos.


What Is the Approximate Price Range of Handheld Gaming Systems?

Handheld gaming systems cost anywhere from £20 to over £500

What’s the Best Handheld Gaming Systems? Why Is It the Best?

The Nintendo handheld console is the best handheld gaming system. It is backward compatible - which means you could play both 2DS and 3DS games. Also, its two screens produce sharp and crisp images. Overall, the unit has a sturdy build.


What’s the Best Portable Game Console? Why Is It the Best?

The Anbernic Handheld 653 Classic Portable Game Console is the best portable game console. It is comfortable to hold in the hands and comes with over 600 in-built retro games. It also allows you to play MP3 as well as videos on its 4.3-inch screen. 

What are Handheld Consoles?

These are self-contained portable consoles that contain a screen, speakers and controls for playing games.


What’s the Best Handheld Gaming System for Kids? Why Is It the Best?

The Anbernic 650 Classic Handheld Game Console is the best gaming system for kids. It has a 4.3-inch screen , 650 inbuilt retro games, and it is also comfortable to hold.


What Is Retro Game?

A retro game is an older version of a video game that is discontinued and is no longer being produced and sold. They are also referred to as classic games.

What Is Handheld Emulator?

It is a console that allows you to play retro games. It has controls, an LCD screen and built-in speakers.


What Is the Best Handheld Emulator for the Retro Game? Why Is It the Best?

The Anbernic 800 classic is the best handheld emulator for retro games. It has a 3-inch LCD screen with an HD display, contains 800 built-in retro games, and also features a built-in camera.


What’s the Best Gaming System for 3Ds Game? Why Is It the Best?

The Sony PSP handheld Gaming System is the best gaming systemfor 3Ds Game. It features a 4.3-inch screen that displays excellent graphics. It has an ergonomic design which makes the console comfortable to hold. It is also has a sturdy build.

What’s the Best Handheld Gaming System for Adults? Why Is It the Best?

The Sony PSP Go Handheld Gaming System is the best handheld gaming system for adults. It has a sturdy build with an ergonomic design making it comfortable to hold in your hands. It also features decent battery life and its 3.8-inch LCD displays good graphics.

What’s the Best Handheld Gaming System for Kids? Why Is It the Best?

The XinXu 3inch portable handheld retro game console is the best handheld gaming system for kids. Apart from being inexpensive, it comes with lots of built-in games and its ergonomic design allows you to hold it comfortably in your hands.