In our Steam Deck review we have mentioned how Valve’s console is the obvious choice among handheld gaming PC offerings; it’s powerful, has a killer price, and offers one of the best software experiences on the market. However, all of the mentioned pros don’t make the Deck a perfect handheld by any means, and the console has plenty limitations, especially if you’re into competitive gaming.
Luckily, the list of Steam Deck competitors has been expanding throughout the past few years, from affordable emulation engines such as the Retroid Pocket, streaming only devices like the Logitech G, up to proper handheld behemoths like the ROG Ally. So, if you’re looking for a worthy Steam Deck alternative, you don’t need to search wide and far – especially not with our list.
Let’s start off with a platform overview, and then we’ll move on to our picks.
Who’s Behind The Most Popular Steam Deck Alternatives?
Less than half a decade ago, handheld gaming PCs were a niche market dominated by Chinese boutique brands such as GPD. In recent years, however, the handheld gaming PC market has seen some big players enter the field, including Valve and ASUS. And if we expand our view to encompass handhelds focusing on game streaming, the big-hitter list expands to Logitech, Razer, and even Sony.
And while Valve and Asus are definitely the two biggest names of the bunch, some of those small Chinese brands aren’t that small anymore. GPD and AYANEO have evolved into recognizable brands in the handheld space, with the two companies’ lineups including a slew of capable handhelds, from the budget-oriented AYANEO Air to proper powerhouses in the form of the GPD Win 4 and the AYANEO 2S.
Regarding the hardware powering the modern handheld consoles, AMD chips are by far the most popular. You’ve got the semi-custom Van Gogh APU inside the Deck, the Z1 and Z1 Extreme APUs made for handheld PCs powering the ASUS ROG Ally, as well as off-the-shelf solutions in the form of the quite popular Ryzen 7 6800U, the Ryzen 7 7840U, and other, weaker, AMD APUs.
Intel solutions are usually found in more budget-oriented devices, such as the Intel version of the AYANEO Air Plus and AYN Loki Mini Pro, as well as older handheld gaming PC models. But if Intel manages to up the ante regarding iGPU performance in future mobile solutions, we might soon see more handhelds rocking Intel hardware. For now though, let’s asume that this will not happen soon.
Lastly, streaming and handhelds targeting the emulation crowd usually rock mobile ARM chipsets made by Qualcomm, MediaTek, Rockchip, Broadcom, etc.
As you can see, the handheld console market, including handheld PCs that can compete with Steam Deck, is thriving like never before. This made picking the best handheld alternatives to the Steam Deck a formidable, but not impossible, task. But what should a great Steam Deck competitor have? Let’s go over our list.
What Should a Great Steam Deck Alternative Have?
If you’re in the market for a handheld to mainly play esports titles on but the Steam Deck is not in your crosshairs, the said Steam Deck alternative must offer adequate gaming performance and access to the most popular multiplayer titles.
Concerning the price, the budget choice had to be priced about the same as the Deck, but we didn’t limit other picks in terms of their pricing. We also tried to include devices with high overall build quality that can be relatively easily bought, made by manufacturers with prior experience creating gaming hardware.
Other focus points included the presence of a video out via USB or as a standalone video port allowing you to hook the device to an external display and a gyroscope for motion aiming in games that support it. Finally, we also considered the presence of online communities such as subreddits and Discord servers, and community-made resources – guides, support, long-term reviews, etc.
- The availability of esports titles – Even though it runs Linux and doesn’t support a number of multiplayer titles that use some form of anti-cheat software, Steam Deck’s esports games library is more than decent. CS: GO, Dota 2, Apex Legends, Street Fighter VI, and Halo MCC are just some of the heavy hitters playable on Valve’s handheld gaming PC. A worthy Steam Deck competitor should support at least some of the biggest multiplayer titles.
- Adequate in-game performance – Our budget choice should run the most popular multiplayer games at 30fps, while other picks have to reach 60fps with low settings and in 720p resolution.
- Docking solution for extra connectivity – The Steam Deck has a single USB-C port with DP Alt mode, allowing owners to hook the device to an external monitor for a full-fledged PC gaming experience. And the best way to connect a handheld console to an external TV/monitor is by using a dock so you can keep the handheld hooked to a charger. As explained in our list of the best Steam Deck Dock alternatives, a docking solution also includes extra USB ports, needed when using the device in docked mode unless you have a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard combo.
- Product and accessory availability – The crazy part is that many Chinese-made handheld gaming PCs are easier to buy than the Steam Deck, since most of those manufacturers, unlike Valve, offer worldwide shipping. But the best overall pick should be even easier to get your hands on. You should be able to buy it locally, in a brick-and-mortar store, together with all the needed accessories like the dock, extra chargers, and so on.
- The community around the project – Having great gaming performance and great build quality means nothing if you can’t find tutorials on how to do the basic and more advanced stuff on your handheld console. Further, an active online community –such as an active subreddit or a Discord server– also played a major role during our selection process.
- Price – The budget option should be priced at or below the most affordable Deck variant; it should cost $400 or less, if possible. As for the other picks, we didn’t want to limit them price-wise, but the best overall pick should offer a similar amount of bang for the buck as the Deck.
- Warranty and replacement parts – Steam Deck has a pretty good hardware warranty, and Valve’s track record with regard to repairs and replacements is spotless. The company even opened multiple Steam Deck repair centers last year, confirming its intent to support the Deck for the long haul. And there’s also the iFixit partnership that includes tons of guides and replacement parts readily available on the iFixit store. Considering all this, every worthy Steam Deck alternative should offer a hardware warranty and allow owners a relatively easy way to get their hands on the most critical replacement parts, such as analog sticks, buttons, replacement shells, etc.
- Bottom paddle buttons – The four paddle buttons on the bottom of the Steam Deck are a bit too stiff for our liking, but despite this, they can be super handy in many games. Four extra buttons you can remap any control to is a great extra feature, but sadly, only a few Steam Deck alternatives pack paddles. This is why we decided for paddles to be a “nice to have” but not a mandatory feature.
- Gyroscope – While the presence of a gyroscope that allows using motion-assisted aiming where supported isn’t a must-have, it was quite high on our feature list. While many gamers, including us, don’t like aiming with a gyro, motion-assisted aiming can be quite effective after you learn to use analog sticks for broad movements and the gyro for precise finishing touches.
- Trackpads – If having trackpads is a must-have for you, get a Steam Deck. At the time of writing, exactly zero Steam Deck alternatives come with full-fledged trackpads. The GPD Win 4 does feature a single, tiny optical trackpad on the right-hand side. The trackpad’s not usable for gaming, but it does make a massive difference when navigating around Windows.
Fully nailing all of the requirements listed above was a tall order, with the ASUS ROG Ally being the highest-rated device in most of the categories, earning it the title of the best handheld alternative to the Steam Deck.
The Best Handheld Alternative to Steam Deck: ASUS ROG Ally
The newest member of the handheld gaming PC family launched on June 13, 2023. Concerning gaming performance, you can run most esports titles at 60fps or higher since the Ally comes with a 7-inch, 120Hz, 1080p screen with 100% RGB coverage; perfect for a proper, high refresh rate multiplayer experience we’ve gotten used to having on our PCs. Excellent gaming performance is due to the inclusion of the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme APU, which features an eight-core Zen 4 CPU and a 12-core RDNA 3 iGPU. The ROG Ally also packs 512GB of storage space and 16GB of LPDDR5 6400 MT/s memory, included is plenty for any esports title. You’ve also got a USB-C port with DP 1.4 support, a 40Wh battery, a UHS-II card reader, two bottom paddle buttons, stereo speakers, Wi-Fi 6E, hall effect triggers, and more than decent haptics. Last but not least, the ROG XG Mobile port allows you to connect one of ASUS’ ROG XG Mobile external GPU docks. Granted, these docks are expensive as hell and only offer mobile GPUs, but still, this is a handy feature to have for users who prefer a docked experience and have a lot of cash to burn.
The launch price for the Z1 Extreme version is set at $700/799 EUR, with the “weaker version” equipped with the regular Z1 APU (six-core Zen 4 CPU and a 4-core RDNA 3 iGPU) slated to launch later in 2023 for $599. You can buy it in Best Buy in North America as well as regular brick-and-mortar shops in other markets.
Why is the ROG Ally a Worthy Steam Deck Competitor?
ASUS jumped on the handheld gaming PC ship at just the right time, right when the mainstream gaming audience started paying attention to handheld gaming PCs. Better yet, ASUS has managed to stuff powerful hardware inside the Ally, equip the console with a plethora of features, and show gamers it cares about the Ally with a stream of firmware updates that resolved performance issues at 15W TDP and squashed lots of Armory Crate-related bugs. Overall, the ROG Ally is a fantastic Steam Deck alternative, and here’s why:
- Availability of Esports Titles – The ROG Ally runs Windows 11 and, naturally, can run more esports games than Steam Deck. You can play virtually every single competitive multiplayer title on it, notwithstanding console exclusives.
- Excellent Gaming Performance – The ROG Ally has a much better overall gaming performance than the Steam Deck because the Z1 Extreme chipset tops out at 30W, with 25W being the optimal TPD value. At 25W, the Ally can be up to two times faster than Steam Deck at 720p resolution, with an average advantage being about 40-50%. If we drop to 15W TDP ( max TDP on the Deck), you can expect anywhere from 25% to 40% better performance.
- Latest Hardware Specs – The Z1 Extreme is a much more powerful APU than the Van Gogh found on the Steam Deck. Next, the Ally also features a superb screen. While Deck’s screen is decent, it’s far from the quality of the panel seen on the Ally. And it’s not because of the lower resolution but because Ally’s display has 100% sRGB coverage (the one on the Deck covers only 67% of the sRGB color gamut), 120Hz refresh rate, and better contrast.
- Much Easier to Purchase – One of the biggest downsides of the Steam Deck is limited availability. If the Deck isn’t available in your country, you’re limited to either procuring one on the gray market or at a third-party seller. In both cases, you’ll pay more cash and will have lots of hurdles to jump over if you want to get Valve to repair the device in case your Deck malfunctions. On the other hand, the Ally is available in Best Buy and regular brick-and-mortar stores, which is a huge plus.
- Wi-Fi 6E Chip Works Flawlessly – One of the worst things about the Deck is its atrocious wireless performance. Constant slowdowns when downloading games and issues with connecting to Steam servers are regular occurrences for many Deck owners. The Ally, on the other hand, comes with an excellent Wi-Fi 6E chip that runs miles around the Steam Deck.
- Much Better Haptics – While not great, haptics on the Ally are noticeably better than on Deck.
- Better Cooling Setup – Dual fans inside the Ally are whisper-quiet while keeping the device cool. And while the Deck’s fan is doing a good job cooling the device, it can get pretty loud.
Emulation fans should also be aware of ROG Ally’s fantastic emulation potential, including the ability to run some of the notoriously demanding titles, such as God of War 3, which is too big a challenge for the Deck. Of course, there’s no perfect product out there, and the ROG Ally does come with its share of shortcomings. They aren’t serious enough to be dealbreakers, unless you’ve got battery life at the top of your priorities.
In Which Areas Does the ROG Ally Fail?
Poor battery life is ROG Ally’s most critical flaw but it isn’t the only one. The software experience, while not flat-out bad, is noticeably behind Steam Deck’s. There’s also the uncertainty about long-term support for the device since ASUS is a hardware manufacturer that refreshes its products on a yearly basis, unlike Valve. Finally, gaming performance at 9W TPD and below is disappointing.
- Poor Software Experience – While ASUS is constantly updating its Armory Crate software, it’s still leagues behind the Deck’s Game Mode. There’s also the fact that you have to use Windows UI for installing games and other stuff, which is very cumbersome to do when you’re limited to analog sticks and a small touchscreen that you can’t use freely as you’d on a smartphone or a tablet because of Ally’s form factor.
- And Even Poorer Battery Life – The good news is that Ally’s battery life isn’t atrocious at 15W. One and a half hours of juice is pretty solid and in line with the Steam Deck. On the other hand, when you set TPD at 25W, you can expect just one hour of battery life, which is far from ideal. And since the Z1 Extreme chipset isn’t optimized for TDP values lower than 15W, you can’t prolong the battery life in less demanding games by going below 10W, as you can do on the Steam Deck.
- Questionable Long-Term Support – On the one hand, ASUS has official repair services all over the globe. On the other hand, the company’s recent series of blunders regarding issues with AM5 motherboards has thrown a massive shade over ASUS and the company’s hardware warranty. On top of that, ASUS is primarily a hardware manufacturer making long-term software support a huge question mark at the moment.
- Performance @9W TDP and Lower – While the Ally smokes the Deck at 15W and more, its performance at 9W and lower TPD values is worse than on the Deck.
- The Online Community is Fresh – Since the ROG Ally is still fresh from the oven, the device doesn’t garner a large online community nor a ton of guides on how to do stuff on it. However, considering its popularity, we’re certain you’ll be able to find guides and get answers from Ally owners relatively easily since the ROG Ally subreddit is already larger than Ayaneo’s.
The ROG Ally isn’t the only Steam Deck alternative we recommend. If you don’t mind ordering your next handheld PC from China and having to deal with a convoluted warranty process in case something goes wrong, the Chinese handheld gaming PC brands offer a number of great-looking devices. The best of the bunch is the GPD Win 4.
Direct Competitor and a Great Steam Deck Alternative: GPD Win 4
The GPD Win 4 launched in April 2023 and is one of many handheld gaming PCs featuring the Ryzen 6800U APU that includes an eight-core Zen 3+ CPU and the Radeon 680m iGPU. The 6800U offers 20-30% higher performance than you’d get on the Steam Deck, allowing you to comfortably play virtually every esports title at 60fps. Hardware specs continue with 16GB or 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, a base storage option set at 1TB, Wi-Fi 6 coupled with an optional 4G LTE module for multiplayer gaming on the go, a 46Wh battery, stereo speakers, and a first-party dock solution sold by GPD. Other features include a slide-out keyboard, a microSD card reader, a compact design, a tiny optical mouse pad that’s perfect for navigating Windows, and a fingerprint sensor. You can also find one USB-A and two USB-C ports, one of which is a USB4 type C port with DP Alt mode and 40Gbps bandwidth. The control setup is the usual dual analog design with two bottom paddle buttons and no trackpads.
You can get the base version (16GB RAM, 1TB storage) for about $840 on GPD’s official Aliexpress store, but the device is much pricier if you decide to get it from a third-party seller.
What Does GPD Win 4 Do Better When Compared With the Steam Deck?
There’s a ton of stuff the GPD Win 4 does right. Some of the most notable include excellent gaming performance, the ability to play virtually every competitive multiplayer title at 60fps and decent visuals (read: medium or higher settings), compact form factor, a standout display, and a keyboard and optical trackpad combo that’s a godsend for navigating around Windows and using the Win 4 for anything else than gaming.
- Availability of Esports Titles – Similar to the ROG Ally above, GPD Win 4 is yet another Windows 11 Steam Deck competitor, meaning it supports virtually every esports title available.
- Much More Comfortable to Hold – The compact form factor that GPD decided to implement with their Win 4 makes it one of the most ergonomic Steam Deck alternative on the market. Definitely something to consider if you have smaller to medium-sized hands.
- Better Gaming performance – The Ryzen 6800U found in the GPD Win 4 isn’t as powerful as the Z1 Extreme in the ROG Ally, but still, it can give you about 20-30% better performance on average than what you would get on the Steam Deck.
- Excellent Display Quality – The GPD Win 4 features a 6-inch 1080p IPS display that’s on par with the unit found on the ROG Ally, aside from the lack of a 120Hz refresh rate. In other words, it’s much better than Deck’s display.
- Built-in keyboard and trackpad – The slide-out keyboard on the Win 4 is a godsend, as well as the small trackpad at the right thumb. Both of them make navigating through Win 11 and certain games much more enjoyable. Something unique to the GPD Win 4 that no one else bothered to implement.
- Wireless Performance – It’s not that hard to beat Steam Deck’s wireless performance, and GPD Win 4’s Wi-Fi 6 setup doesn’t disappoint.
- Connectivity – The GPD Win features two USB-C ports, one of which is a USB 4 port, and one USB-A port. A massive improvement over Steam Deck’s single USB-C port.
The GPD Win 4 also features excellent emulation potential, albeit not as great as the Ally’s. And while Win 4’s compact form factor and impressive ergonomics are one of its biggest strengths, it’s a double edged sword because of the lack of surface area for heat to dissipate off when playing demanding games.
Where Does the GPD Win 4 Fail?
The biggest pain with every single handheld gaming PC made by a Chinese brand is less than ideal customer service experience along with a wearisome warranty process. There’s also the aforementioned heating issue and some other flaws, listed below.
- Painful Warranty Process– Since GPD is a Chinese company without international presence, any malfunction covered by warranty means sending your device back to China for repairs, paying for shipment and going through customs again if needed.
- Questionable Long-term Support – GPD, as well as most other Chinese firms in the handheld gaming PC market, are known for regularly releasing new models of their handhelds, which means that long-term support for older devices isn’t that great.
- Screen Issues – The GPD Win 4 comes with a portrait screen connected to an IC chip, which takes the signal from the display and makes the system think the screen is a landscape unit. This leads to jittering frames in games, which some users can notice when playing 2D titles. Luckily, the issue isn’t easily noticeable, especially in 3D titles. There’s a fix, but it includes opening the device and using a hardware programmer to flash the IC chip with new firmware.
- Valve’s Software Experience is Still Better – Windows 11, in combination with Steam Big Picture, is a fine method for browsing your game library, especially since you can add games from other launchers as non-Steam titles. Still, you’ll often have to navigate through Windows to perform most tasks unrelated to browsing and playing games. The keyboard and the optical trackpad do help, but the user experience is not on par with what you got on the Deck.
- Low TDP Performance – As with any other high-end gaming handheld, gaming performance at low TDP values (9W and below) is worse than on the Deck.
- Heat dissipation – Compact design is cool, but it also means that when above 20W TPD, the device can get noticeably hot.
- Online community – While GPD has an active Discord server and a respectably large subreddit, the online community is still far smaller than the one around the Deck. Still, we have to mention that you have a number of video tutorials for the device available on GPD’s official YouTube channel, which is nice.
The ASUS ROG Ally and the GPD Win 4 are premium devices that cost a pretty penny. If you’re on a budget, though, or just don’t want to spend that much on a handheld, we’ve got something a bit more affordable down below.
The Budget Option: Nintendo Switch OLED
There aren’t any handheld gaming PCs you can get new for less than $400, at least not a device that can run modern multiplayer games, making the Switch the only choice on the budget market. The Switch OLED version packs a 7-inch 720p OLED screen, a bit dated custom Tegra SoC made by Nvidia, 64GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi 5 support, a microSD card reader, detachable Joy-Con controllers, and a single USB-C port. The Switch and the Deck are about the same height, but the Nintendo console is slimmer and weighs only half as much as the Steam Deck. Nintendo’s game library is brimming with quality titles, especially indie games, but the console also features a number of competitive multiplayer games such as Apex Legends, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Kart 8, Diablo 3, and Splatoon 3.
You can get the Nintendo Switch OLED on Amazon for $350. The regular Switch can be yours for $300, also on Amazon. Finally, the Nintendo Switch Lite is set at $200 and, again, available on Amazon. Note that you can also get any of the three versions in brick-and-mortar stores all around the world.
What Does the Nintendo Switch do Better Than the Steam Deck?
The Switch is a classic gaming console, not a handheld gaming PC running Windows and being able to play PC games or run a ton of different emulators. Still, even with these reins, Nintendo Switch has some advantages over Steam Deck.
- Portability – The Switch OLED weighs only about 320g (0.71lbs) and is a much more portable device than the Deck.
- Pricing – You can get the Switch OLED for $400, while the Lite can be yours for $200, which is a phenomenal price for a handheld with such a large and diverse game library.
- Display – The 720p OLED display on the Switch is gorgeous and light years better than the unit found on the Steam Deck. The regular and the Lite models also have decent screens, in line with the Deck.
- Included dock – The regular Switch comes with a dock, allowing you to game on a large TV screen, which is definitely a plus. The dock includes an RJ-45 (LAN) port, three USB 2.0 ports, and an HDMI port. While it isn’t as packed and has a lower build quality than the official Steam Deck dock, it’s more than decent.
The availability of first-party Nintendo exclusives is another advantage, especially because the Deck has issues emulating some Nintendo heavy-hitters. On the other hand, the Switch does come with its share of wrinkles.
Where Does the Nintendo Switch Fail When Compared to Valve’s Solution?
In a market where you can get 2TB of SSD storage for ~$100, limiting your gaming console to 32GB/64GB of built-in storage is ridiculous. Nintendo is also worthy of scorn for the way the company handled the infamous Joy-Con drift saga and for the atrocious quality of analog sticks on both the regular Switch and the Lite. But there are also other issues, which we listed below.
- Built-in storage amount – Only 64GB of built-in storage is too limited for anyone planning to have more than a few games installed simultaneously, so getting an extra SD card is pretty much mandatory. Additionally, unlike the Steam Deck SSD experience, Nintendo’s console doesn’t support external hard drives.
- Gaming performance – Most third-party esports titles, such as Apex Legends and Fortnite, run at 30fps, which isn’t ideal. The good news is that first-party multiplayer games run great.
- Analog sticks – The analog sticks on the Joycons and the Switch Lite are trash tier; we recommend getting the regular Switch along with a Pro Controller for the best experience. There’s also the infamous stick drift issue affecting literally every pair of Joy-Cons out there.
- No paddle buttons – Sadly, the Switch doesn’t feature bottom paddle buttons.
- Software – Closed source software on the Switch lacks many features found on other gaming handhelds, and you also can’t tweak the system to enable new options, like on most other gaming handhelds.
- Availability of esports titles – The Nintendo Switch supports games such as Apex Legends, Fortnite, Overwatch 2, and Rocket League. Not great, but not exactly terrible. On the plus side, the Switch also features a couple of excellent eSports exclusives, including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Splatoon 3, and Tetris 99.
After the budget pick, it’s time for the underdog, the dark horse of the handheld gaming console race. Introducing the AYANEO 2S, a high-end piece of hardware packing the latest and greatest APU from AMD, the Ryzen 7 7480U that features the RDNA 3-based Radeon 780M iGPU.
The Underdog: AYAONEO 2
While not as known as GPD and their handhelds, AYANEO has slowly built its presence over the last few years with the AYANEO 2 making waves in the handheld PC community thanks to great gaming performance, excellent screen, and slick, bezel-less design. The AYANEO 2S is an upgraded version of the AYANEO 2 that features the latest Ryzen 7 7480U APU, up to 64GB of memory, up to 4TB of storage , a 50Wh battery, a microSD card slot, and an upgraded cooling setup compared to the AYANEO 2. You’ve also got a 7-inch 1200p IPS screen and dual USB-C ports, with the device weighing 600 grams. The specs are great, the performance is also great and in line with the ROG Ally, but the long-term support and build quality are questionable at the moment. Users have had issues with the plastic shell of the AYANEO 2 and Geek, which tends to crack after only a few months of use. Additionally, while the company has responded regarding the shell cracking issue, AYANEO isn’t known for providing extended software updates to their devices.
At the moment, you can get the AYANEO 2S on Indiegogo for an early bird price of $949. After the Indiegogo campaign ends, the device should be available on the AYANEO webstore for $1140.
The Casual Choice: Logitech G Cloud
The last entrant on our list is the G Cloud from Logitech, a gaming handheld made for game streaming, released in October 2022. It’s not the best choice for playing competitive multiplayer games, but if you’re looking for something that can scratch that online gaming itch and you don’t care about having the lowest possible lag, the G Cloud can suffice. Especially if you already have a gaming PC since you can locally stream your games via Moonlight, massively improving lag and offering much better image quality than using cloud gaming services such as Xbox Cloud Gaming or GeForce Now. The G Cloud features an excellent 7-inch 1080 screen, a pretty solid control setup, excellent ergonomics since the weight is kept at only 463 grams, and a 23Wh battery.
You can get the Logitech G Cloud on the Logitech webstore for $350.
Should I Buy a Steam Deck Alternative Now or Wait for Next Year?
If you want a gaming handheld now, get it, the market’s teeming with excellent choices. Waiting for a new, shiny thing is usually pointless in the world of PC hardware because there’s always a new and shiny thing on the horizon. The Ryzen 6800U, the Z1 Extreme, and the 7840U are all excellent APUs, each offering a great gaming experience.
On the other hand, the Steam Deck 2 or whatever Valve ends up calling it, won’t come out for at least a few years if you ask us. We reckon Valve is waiting for RDNA 4 or perhaps Intel’s Battlemage GPU architecture to pull the trigger on Steam Deck’s successor. Further, the ROG Ally will stay the flagship handheld choice at least until 2024. And even if another big-name brand comes up with their own device, chances are that device will also pack the Radeon 780M iGPU, and won’t offer any noticeable gaming performance bump compared to the Ally. So yeah, we recommend getting a handheld now instead of waiting.
How Does Razer Perform in the Handheld Market?
Razer’s gaming handheld, the Edge, is a peculiar device. It’s quite pricey at $400, is limited to game streaming, and it doesn’t offer the classic handheld form factor you get with the Logitech G Cloud. Instead of a handheld gaming console, Razer made a weird Android tablet, slapped a Razer Kishi mobile controller to it, and called it a streaming handheld console.
In other words, the Razer Edge presents a compelling choice for no one. If you’re looking for a handheld console, they’re much better choices out there. If you just want to casually stream some games on the couch, your smartphone combined with a mobile controller will set you back way less than getting an Edge while offering the same experience. And if you want a game streaming experience in the shape of a handheld gaming console, the Logitech G Cloud is a much better, and more affordable, choice than the Razer Edge. It looks to us that Razer released the Edge just so the company can say they have a handheld gaming console, and we hope Razer will come up with something we can recommend sometime in the future.
Will Sony Release a Steam Deck Competitor?
The Sony Project Q technically is a handheld gaming console. But it being limited to Remote Play, meaning only being able to locally stream your PS5 games, doesn’t make it a compelling Steam Deck competitor. Personally, we see the Project Q as a niche product for PS5 owners who want to play their PS5 games while at home, just not in front of a TV.
What Is the Lifespan of a Handheld Gaming Device?
As long as you can play your favorite games on your handheld gaming device and have fun, you’re golden. You shouldn’t think about getting a replacement as long as you’re satisfied with gaming performance in games you play. For example, if a new and more powerful handheld comes out, offering like 50% more performance in the latest AAA titles and you’re here enjoying the hell out of indies that work flawlessly on your handheld, why should you care about its lifespan?
What you should care about when in the market for a new handheld is build quality, availability of replacement parts such as buttons or analog sticks –those are the first to die in regular controllers and a handheld is a gaming device with a built-in controller– warranty, and long-term reliability since most of the regular owners (read: not handheld gaming fanatics with tons of cash to burn) plan to be with their current handheld gaming device for the long haul.