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Top Handheld Gaming Consoles

by Joseph Mack

Gaming Handhelds: The Rise of Portable Gaming Devices

It feels like a distant memory by now, but right before the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, it seemed like portable gaming was on its last life. Mobile games had gobbled up huge portions of the market, and most modern games required a lot of power to run on devices like the Nintendo 3DS. Fast-forward to today, and there are more ways to take your games outside the living room than ever.

A New Wave of Portable Gaming Devices

This is a bit of an odd category because, to be quite frank, many of the devices currently on the market aren’t very good. Valve’s Steam Deck kicked off a wave of manufacturers looking to compete with the Nintendo Switch, but many of their offerings are rushed, buggy, or just not a great way to play games. A few have risen to the challenge, and there are finally some good options to choose from. I’ve spent dozens of hours testing as many gaming handhelds as I could get my grubby hands on—these are the best.

Options for Gamers

With the rise of portable gaming devices, there are now multiple options for gamers to choose from. From the Nintendo Switch to Valve’s Steam Deck, the market is expanding with quality choices for gamers who want to take their gaming experience on the go.

Be sure to check out our other gaming buying guides, including the Best Retro Gaming Consoles, Best Mobile Game Controllers, Best Steam Deck Accessories, and Best Switch Accessories.

Special Offer for Gear Readers

As the gaming handheld market continues to expand, WIRED is offering a special deal for Gear readers. For just $5, readers can get WIRED, which includes unlimited access to WIRED.com, full Gear coverage, and subscriber-only newsletters. Subscriptions help fund the work WIRED does every day, providing readers with the latest in gaming and technology news.


The portable gaming market has seen a resurgence in recent years, with the release of quality gaming handhelds that provide a great gaming experience on the go. From the success of the Nintendo Switch to the introduction of new devices like Valve’s Steam Deck, gamers now have more options than ever before for portable gaming. WIRED is at the forefront of providing the latest in gaming news and offers a special subscription deal for readers to stay up to date with the latest in gaming technology.

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