When it comes to handheld gaming consoles, most of us think of the colourful Nintendo Switch series. Further down the timeline, some might recall vigorously tapping on their PSPs, a now-discontinued console by PlayStation. These have been popular for bringing together all the elements, from the screen and controls to speakers, into one compact unit.
The latest advancements in this niche market continue to surprise gamers year after year. With the likes of Steam Deck and Logitech G Cloud, it's now possible to enjoy your library of AAA (high-budget) titles on a portable screen. We're talking about running Diablo IV, Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin's Creed and other heavy role-playing games en route to work, in-flight or in a long car ride.
Excited to get your hands on one, this summer? We take you through a handful of sought-after models on Amazon by major manufacturers. Not all remote gaming consoles are built the same - some allow you to stream via cloud storage while others play offline locally. Evaluate how each would fit into your day-to-day the best.
Our selection also includes tactile controllers for mobile gamers who prefer sticking to a single device for work and play. Whether for travel or to save space, bring home a handheld gaming console to last you years. Become a Prime member to bag free delivery within the same day.
1. Best Overall: Nintendo Switch (OLED Model), White (UAE Version)
- Great video contrast with OLED screen
- 64GB storage
- Multiplayer is possible with Joy-Cons
- Plays in three modes, including TV and tabletop format
- Comes with parental controls for kids
- Resolution is 720p on the handheld screen and 1080p on TV
In 2021, Nintendo released a more streamlined version of its Switch series. The OLED (organic light-emitting diode) model has a bigger, vibrant screen (seven inches) and a resolution of up to 1080p. With better audio and crisp contrast, you will get the ultimate video gaming experience right in your hands. It even comes with 64GB internal storage for saving plenty of games. The detachable Joy-Con controllers let you go head-to-head with a friend in the Tabletop mode, so it’s not just a solo affair. You can even project the game onto the television. The Switch family offers fun child-friendly games from franchises like Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart and Animal Crossing. Bundle your purchase with the best-rated games on Amazon, from Splatoon 3 to Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, to trial your device right away. Kids as young as seven are able to navigate the Switch easily, say parents in the reviews. Don't worry, parental controls in the Switch make sure your child is playing safely.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh116.58 for 12 months with select banks.
2. Best Handheld PC Console: Valve Steam Deck Handheld Gaming Console, 256GB
- Portable gaming PC
- 256 storage with 16GB RAM
- Up to eight hours of play time
- Powered by AMD APU chip
- Seven-inch touchscreen
- Select PC games are not compatible with the SteamOS
If only you could pocket your gaming PC everywhere you went. The Steam Deck makes this dream a reality for PC gamers, who appreciate processors that can load heavy titles in an instant. It has a seven-inch touchscreen with 16GB onboard RAM and a solid-state drive memory of 256GB, all powered by AMD's APU (accelerated processing unit) chip. Since it runs on Linux's SteamOS, gamers can most of their PC titles, as long as they're accepted on the software. This powerhouse of a mini PC may have a shorter battery life than other portable consoles, lasting less than seven hours with heavy use. Some Deck-verified PC games you can enjoy are Street Fighter, Cyberpunk, Elden Ring and Stardew Valley. Unlike the Backbone One, the Steam Deck has two full-sized thumbsticks for more authentic gameplay. Reviewers call it the device the future of gaming and say it's pulled them back into PC gaming, as well, seeing as it runs AAA titles without a hitch.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh161.25 for 12 months with select banks.
3. Best for Young Gamers: Nintendo Switch Lite (Coral)
- Bright colour options
- Integrated controllers, so they're always with you
- Connect controllers wirelessly, if needed
- Doesn't come with Joy-Con controllers
Nintendo fans can still enjoy their favourite games on a budget-friendly, lighter device. The Lite version of the Switch comes with the Joy-Con controllers integrated into the hardware. This means you can’t play in multiplayer mode unless you’ve bought the controllers separately. There’s also the option to sync with another Switch Lite to play competitively. You don’t get the OLED screen, of course, but this version is more affordable and saves you the trouble of losing a controller. Pick from three colours: yellow, grey or turquoise. It's also a more popular choice for kids than the standard Switch, but works well for anyone who wants a console that's comfortable to handle and slips into the bag, say reviews.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh52 for 12 months with select banks.
4. Best Controller for Mobile: Backone One Mobile Gaming Controller for Android
- Converts mobile to handheld game console
- Comes with thumbsticks, buttons and triggers
- Records and shares gameplay
- Works with latest Android phones
- Buttons can be loud
- Phone has to be clicked in without a cover case
Mobile phones are not made for gaming, but Backbone One controllers can solve that problem. One of its two controllers has a Type-C head, to which you can connect your Android phone. Think Switch, except the screen is your smartphone. Now, you can navigate your mobile video game comfortably, without fingers scrambling to touch the screen, just like a handheld console. There's an extra USB-C input for charging your phone as you play, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack to plug in your headphones. Like most mobile controllers, this one allows you to record and share your gameplay instantly, with on-body shortcuts. Make sure the Backbone One is compatible with your gaming phone - this Android model accepts OS 8.0 and up, like Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4, Realme 7 Pro and more. Reviewers compare it to having their own Nintendo Switch and confirm that it improves functionality in games. Do keep in mind that the hardware might be less favourable to handsets with a prominent camera bump.
5. Best Streaming Console: Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld
- Plays a wide range of platform games - PC, console and cloud games
- Long 12-hour battery life
- 1080p HD resolution
- Android OS makes it similar to a tablet
- Plays PlayStation and Xbox remotely
- Reliant on an internet connection to play
Connect to the internet and find the best of cloud gaming at your fingertips, from Xbox Cloud Gaming to Nvidia GeForce Now (though, the latter is yet to launch in the UAE). Logitech G Cloud loads hundreds of AAA video game titles up to 1080p, 60fps (frames per second), without any need for downloads. It's the perfect on-the-go device for the gamer who primarily plays from a cloud gaming subscription. Another feature, unlike the Steam Deck, is its ability to remotely play games from your Xbox console and extend your Steam experience, so you're never tied to the wired rig in your room. It only weighs 463 grams and lasts longer than the Deck, over 12 hours. The Android OS is a win for everyone in the reviews, who use the device like a tablet to watch movies from Amazon Prime and Netflix sometimes. They love the ease of getting into bed and streaming PC games from anywhere at home. Reviewers note that games unplayable on the Deck, work perfectly fine here.
Bonus: Buy with 0 per cent instalments and pay Dh122.50 for 12 months with select banks.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.