What is the Best Handheld Game Console?

What is the Best Handheld Game Console?

September 23, 2019 15 By Marvin

Handheld game consoles used to be all the rage in the 90s. As a kid, I remember getting my first Game Boy and being completely enamored with it. It was the original chunky gray Game Boy and my first game was Pokemon Yellow, I loved it. Just writing this and thinking about it fills me with nostalgia and makes me want to buy another handheld. Over the years there have been some pretty good handhelds, and in 2018 – 2019 we saw the dawn of “Gaming Mobile Phones”. The question I’m aiming to answer today is, What is the Best Handheld Game Console?.

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As a kid, I couldn’t afford anything I wanted, but as an adult, I sure can. This one is for all the Adult sized children that want to get back to their happy place and reminisce. Handheld game consoles have the benefit of being fairly inexpensive when you compare them to the price of PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. They are great additions to any commute, bus, train, plane, a handheld console is never out of place.

Nintendo Switch

Current Gen Handheld Game Console


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I can’t write this article without mentioning the current king of handheld/console gaming, the Nintendo Switch. The switch is a hybrid when it comes to portability and fully-fledged console. This thing is the king of couch co-op and the games reflect this, the detachable controls also encourage party play. It’s not going to win any awards for the best graphics or having the best exclusive games, but the switch has the advantage over the Xbox and PS4 when it comes to handheld gaming. You can seamlessly switch from playing on the TV to playing in handheld mode instantly. As far as portability goes it’s not the most pocketable device, but it is just small enough that it doesn’t stand out in a crowd.

If you already own a Nintendo Switch and love Fortnite, feel free to check out my article on the best accessories for Nintendo Switch

Nintendo just released the Switch Lite as well, which is a Nintendo Switch that can’t connect to a TV, has fixed controllers, and is slightly smaller. It also plays all the same games as the normal switch, which is a massive plus. Think of the Lite as a modern 3DS. Keep an eye out for my upcoming Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite review.

See the end of the article for up to date pricing

PlayStation Vita

Forgotten Handheld Game Console


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The PlayStation Vita is the successor to the PlayStation Portable. It was released in Japan in December 2011, its main competition was the Nintendo 3DS. When released, the PS Vita had some beastly specifications, it had an OLED touch display, 2 analog joysticks, front and shoulder buttons, Bluetooth, WiFi, and 3G. I mean, this thing was years ahead of anything Nintendo was doing. The only thing I hated was Sony developing a proprietary SD Card for the Vita that was, and still is crazy-expensive. It launched strong and slowed down dramatically thereafter, the Vita was then discontinued in 2019.

Even though it’s discontinued the PS Vita is still a great pick up in 2019. Some limited-edition models are still selling in the high $300 USD, and it seems like their value is only going to continue to rise. This handheld had a pretty rough time, but Sony still pushed out a fair few games. Wikipedia says “There are currently 1561 games for PlayStation Vita “, and PlayStation sold an estimated 16 million, which is not a lot, but there should be enough in circulation.

See the end of the article for up to date pricing

Nintendo 3DS XL

Bargain Handheld Game Console


When I was a kid I would have never imagined that the Game Boy would evolve into the 3DS XL. I have owned multiple DS and 3DS models, by far the 3DS XL is my all-time favorite. The XL was released on April 2013, and since then it dominated Handheld Gaming until the Switch was released. The dual-screen combination is a winner and one of those being a touchscreen adds another level to what is possible in a game. Its party trick was the ability for the top screen to show 3D content without the need for 3D glasses, the first time you use this feature is a trip. There is also a stylus that you can use for the touch functions if you choose.

There are about 1300 games for the 3DS and it also backward compatible with the DS line of games. The Nintendo 3DS XL is still pretty pocketable as well. I’m pretty biased towards the XL, but it really is a great handheld. Nintendo has always understood handheld gaming, and the 3DS XL is the best they have ever implemented it.

See the end of the article for up to date pricing

Summary – Best Handheld Game Console

In 2019 there are a couple of Handheld Game Consoles to choose from. The list above contains three of the best in my opinion. The best out of the bunch is the Nintendo 3DS XL. For me personally, being able to pocket this device and have access to over 2000+ games is a massive plus. The Nintendo Switch will is an amazing handheld but it’s too cumbersome for me and the Vita is awesome but it shows its age in 2019. What is the best handheld Game Console? The Nintendo 3DS XL at $200 – $300 USD on Amazon.


Thanks for reading this article. If you have any questions about the Handheld Game Consoles I mentioned, feel free to comment below.