10 Best PC Gaming Handhelds in 2024

Written by Ananda Ganesha M

Over the years, gaming handhelds have steadily reduced in size, making them convenient for travel. The Nintendo Switch entered the market as a trailblazer, offering a gaming experience comparable to leading consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at that time.

By 2018, the Nintendo Switch had distinguished itself as the sole device capable of running top-tier AAA games similar to those on PCs and consoles. It was an unprecedented convenience for gamers to enjoy titles like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim, whether queuing at a café or nestled in bed.

However, the Nintendo Switch tends to favor proprietary titles like Pokemon and Zelda over the broader range of AAA titles commonly associated with PCs. Although some AAA titles have been adapted for the Switch, they are relatively few.

This limitation sparked interest in developing PC gaming options in a portable format. Consequently, gamers now have the ability to enjoy graphically intensive AAA titles on handheld devices, moving beyond the offerings limited to the Switch.

Companies such as ASUS, Lenovo, and Steam recognized the growing demand for portable gaming and began launching their top handheld gaming devices. Below, you will find a list of the finest PC gaming handhelds available globally.

1. ASUS ROG Ally (2023)

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Ideal for those prioritizing portability, the ASUS ROG Ally stands out as a dependable companion. This model is both smaller and lighter, weighing just 608 grams, and includes traditional macro keys on the back for enhanced gaming comfort.

Despite its compact 7-inch screen, the display supports a 120 Hz refresh rate for smooth visual transitions, boasting a 7-millisecond response time and the capability to render the full sRGB color spectrum.

In terms of audio, the device features two front-facing speakers, each powered by 2 watts. Enhanced with Dolby Atmos technology, the audio output is both voluminous and intricately detailed.

While the ASUS ROG Ally (2023) is equipped with robust hardware for intensive gaming, it also offers the flexibility to boost its performance. An optional accessory, the XG Mobile Dock, allows the device to support external GPUs, including the NVIDIA RTX 4000 series, ideal for optimal game settings.

The primary limitation is its 40 Whr battery, which supports up to 2.5 hours of intense gaming. Although not the most enduring for gaming sessions, the device performs reliably for video streaming, as noted by reviewer Izzi Boye on YouTube.

An additional strategy to extend battery life involves reducing the power settings to 15 or 10 watts, though this significantly lowers the game performance, with some AAA games dropping below 30 FPS.

If you’re seeking a powerful, ergonomically designed handheld gaming device capable of running the latest AAA games, the ASUS ROG Ally (2023) is a top choice. For extended play, coupling it with a high-capacity power bank is advisable.

2. Lenovo Legion Go

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The Lenovo Legion Go is the perfect gaming handheld for those who value flexibility and a superior display. Its screen, boasting a 144 Hz refresh rate and sharp resolution, exceeds the 120 Hz found on the ASUS ROG Ally, making it ideal for eSport enthusiasts.

With an 8.8-inch display, players will enjoy immersive environments in visually stunning games like Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3. However, unlike the ASUS ROG Ally, the Lenovo Legion Go does not support a variable refresh rate, which may result in occasional screen tearing.

A distinctive feature of the Lenovo Legion Go is its detachable controllers, reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch's design. To counteract common drifting problems associated with the Switch, this device employs hall-effect joysticks. These joysticks use magnetic fields to detect movement, enhancing the controller's accuracy and durability.

Moreover, the right controller doubles as a mouse when detached, enhancing gameplay in genres that benefit from precise cursor control, such as point-and-click and FPS games. For enthusiasts of these genres, the 'FPS Mode' is a standout feature worth exploring.

The Lenovo Legion Go also offers additional connectivity with two USB-C ports—twice as many as some of its competitors—which simplifies charging in various positions.

Despite having a larger battery than the ASUS ROG Ally, its battery life is similarly limited, according to Digital Trends. Nonetheless, for gamers who prefer larger screens and higher refresh rates, the Lenovo Legion Go is an excellent choice.

It's heavier at 865 grams but compensates with a versatile tabletop mode, allowing for detached joystick play, which is a relief during extended gaming sessions.

3. MSI Claw - A1M

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The MSI Claw sets itself apart by focusing on ergonomic comfort, making it suitable for prolonged gaming. Many reviewers have highlighted its user-friendly design and comfort. At 675 grams, it is manageable for lengthy sessions without causing discomfort.

Its button layout mirrors that of an Xbox controller with additional features such as macro buttons on the back and two user-facing speakers, enhancing the auditory experience.

Like the Lenovo Legion Go, the MSI Claw incorporates hall effect technology in its shoulder and analogue buttons to prevent drift over time.

The device ohas various power modes, including a Super Saver Mode for enhanced power efficiency and a mode for increased wattage, providing flexible power management options.

A unique feature of the MSI Claw is its AI mode, which auto-adjusts settings based on user behavior, optimizing the gaming experience.

With a 53 WHr battery, the MSI Claw supports extended gaming periods or increased performance through higher wattage settings.

Another notable feature is the support for Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, allowing for eGPU connections with third-party enclosures, significantly enhancing graphics performance.

4. Ayaneo Geek

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While brands like Lenovo, MSI, and ASUS are more familiar to many, the Ayaneo Geek is as a testament to quality in lesser-known brands. This Windows 11-based handheld is packed with robust specifications that cater to intensive gaming needs.

The design of the Ayaneo Geek is compact, ensuring it sits comfortably in your hands. The layout of the buttons and joystick is intuitive, similar to other devices on the market.

However, a notable difference is the placement of the two macro buttons, which are situated next to the shoulder buttons L and R, rather than on the back.

This arrangement might require some adaptation, but it can be just as comfortable once you are accustomed to it. For those familiar with rear macro buttons like those on the ASUS ROG Ally and MSI Claw, this might seem less ideal.

The device also features a mature software environment provided by an application named 'Aya Space.' This app serves as a central hub, linking users to their installed games from various platforms like Steam and Xbox, all accessible through the Aya Space library.

Aya Space not only organizes games but also allows users to monitor their device’s specifications and temperatures, and it offers optimization tools that enhance overall game performance.

In terms of battery life, the Ayaneo Geek excels with a 50.25 WHr battery, outperforming the ASUS ROG Ally. It supports up to 3 hours of gaming or 6-7 hours of video playback on a single charge, and it can be fully recharged in less than two hours.

The device delivers strong performance with AAA games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Hogwarts Legacy, maintaining frame rates between 30-40 FPS, and notably, performance remains consistent whether the device is charging or not.

Despite its impressive features and performance, the Ayaneo Geek is priced steeply at IDR 20 million in Indonesia, which may be considered excessive without unique features like the Lenovo Legion Go’s mouse mode. Without such differentiators, its high cost could hinder its competitiveness.

5. Steam Deck OLED

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The Steam Deck OLED distinguishes itself with several unique features. Its HDR OLED panel enhances visual quality with deeper blacks and more vibrant colors.

Furthermore, this model has seen a significant improvement in battery life, increasing by 30-50% over the original Steam Deck. The device’s thermal module has been thickened to dissipate heat more effectively.

The display has grown to 7.4 inches from 7.0 inches and now boasts a refresh rate of 90 Hz, up from 60 Hz. While this rate falls short of the 120 Hz and 144 Hz offered by competitors like the ASUS ROG Ally and Lenovo Legion Go, it strikes a better balance with battery conservation. Additionally, the battery capacity has been upgraded from 40 WHr to 50 WHr.

Although its controllers are not detachable like those on the Lenovo Legion Go, the Steam Deck OLED includes trackpads on both sides, providing mouse-like precision that enhances gameplay in FPS and RTS genres.

It also features four additional rear buttons that can be customized for various in-game actions, making it particularly suited for complex games like MMORPGs.

Unlike many of its rivals, the Steam Deck OLED runs on SteamOS, which offers a smoother experience in booting up and navigating than the ASUS ROG Ally’s Windows 11. However, users can also install Windows 11 if they prefer.

Pricewise, the Steam Deck OLED is the most affordable among its peers. For those seeking an even more budget-friendly option, the standard (non-OLED) Steam Deck starts at US$349, making it the least expensive option among its competitors.

6. OneXPlayer 2 Pro

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At a glance, the OneXPlayer 2 Pro might be mistaken for a tablet, especially with its removable joysticks attached on either side. This handheld truly resembles a tablet when the joysticks are detached, and it can even be paired with a magnetic keyboard via POGO pins, enhancing its productivity capabilities.

However, the lack of customizable macro buttons places the OneXPlayer 2 Pro at a disadvantage compared to its peers, especially for certain PC-exclusive games that require extensive button mapping.

For its 2024 iteration, the device boasts a powerful AMD Ryzen 7 8840 processor, the latest of its generation. It is equipped with an AMD Radeon 780M GPU, offering performance on par with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, ensuring smooth gameplay for current AAA titles.

Running on Windows 11, the OneXPlayer 2 Pro not only excels in gaming but also doubles as both a laptop and tablet, thanks to its versatility. One of its standout features is its large 65.6 WHr battery, accompanied by a 100-watt GaN charger, which enables rapid recharging.

The 2024 version of the OneXPlayer 2 Pro is initially released in the Chinese market, with a launch price of 6,999 yuan for the 32 GB/1 TB RAM model and 7,999 yuan for the 32 GB/2 TB RAM model.

7. GPD Win 4

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Among handhelds, which are inherently smaller than PCs or laptops, the GPD Win 4 stands out for its compactness. This device features a built-in keyboard that becomes accessible by sliding up the screen, reminiscent of the PlayStation Vita but with far superior hardware.

Powered by AMD's Ryzen 7 6800U APU, this petite powerhouse handles AAA PC games effortlessly. For those seeking enhanced performance, its Radeon 680M GPU supports an upgrade via an external GPU. Connect an eGPU enclosure to the Thunderbolt 4 port for a substantial boost in gaming prowess.

In addition to its compact keyboard, the GPD Win 4 integrates Optical Finger Navigation, which acts like a small trackpad for cursor movement. It also supports a docking station for projecting to external displays and includes an LTE module for internet access without Wi-Fi.

Priced at US$799 for the 16 GB RAM and 512 GB storage variant, the GPD Win 4 is an excellent choice for those needing the smallest, lightest device that can handle on-the-go tasks, especially during commutes. For more storage, a version with 32 GB of RAM and 2 TB storage is available for US$1,202, making it ideal for extensive software and data needs.

8. Ayaneo Air

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In addition to the Steam Deck OLED, the Ayaneo Air is another handheld that features an OLED screen. True to its name, the "Air" is remarkably lightweight, tipping the scales at just 398 grams, which is even lighter than the Nintendo Switch OLED's 420 grams.

The Ayaneo Air is equipped with hall effect buttons and joysticks, ensuring it remains free from common issues like drifting and dead zones. It has a 5.5-inch display that is not only easy to hold but also offers vibrant colors.

Despite its compact size, the screen boasts a 175-degree viewing angle, allowing the display to retain its quality from various perspectives.

Using Windows 11 on this device offers a smooth experience, though typing directly on the device's screen can be slow and cumbersome, as noted by For those who type a lot, purchasing a docking station and using an external keyboard might be a good solution.

In terms of gaming, the Ayaneo Air performs adequately, running the latest AAA games at 30 FPS on low settings. Thanks to its OLED panel, the visuals remain appealing, even with lower texture quality. Dropping the resolution to 720p could enhance the smoothness of the frame rate, and at 5.5 inches, this lower resolution doesn’t noticeably degrade image quality compared to 1080p.

While the Ayaneo Air excels with its ergonomic and lightweight design, making it comfortable to handle for extended periods, it does have a significant drawback: battery life. According to GameSpot, battery capacity is only 28 WHr, which means intense games like God of War may only last about an hour before needing a recharge.

Despite its limitations, the Ayaneo Air remains a solid choice for those seeking a portable and user-friendly gaming experience. It's priced starting at $549 on its official website, making it a competitive option for gamers on the go.

9. AYN Loki Zero

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The AYN Loki Zero is an excellent choice for those who love retro and indie games more than modern AAA titles. While its specifications are not strong enough to handle the latest games, its affordable price of $249 makes it a worthwhile investment.

It is powered by the AMD Athlon 3050e, a dual-core processor that falls short compared to other devices on this list. The Loki Zero performs well with lighter games such as Story of Seasons, Rune Factory 4, and Hades, which do not demand high graphics.

The device features solid buttons equipped with hall effect technology to minimize drifting, and it includes two additional buttons that can be customized for specific functions or shortcuts.

This Windows 10-based handheld also comes with the Loki Control Centre, a tool that allows users to adjust settings like CPU mode, screen resolution, fan control, and frame rate limits.

In terms of size and design, the AYN Loki Zero is larger than the Nintendo Switch Lite but smaller than the ASUS ROG Ally. Its button layout is user-friendly and similar to other devices, such as the Ayaneo Air, and the buttons are quiet and comfortable to use.

Battery life is decent, supporting up to four hours of gameplay on lighter titles such as Doom 2, as reported by Kei's Retro Gaming.

Overall, the AYN Loki Zero is not for everyone; it appeals mainly to fans of indie games. However, considering its price, the Loki Zero offers great value with its attractive screen, long battery life, portability, and comfortable handling.

10. Anbernic Win 600

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The Anbernic Win 600 is a budget-friendly gaming device that offers fairly reliable performance, though it doesn’t quite match up to its competitors. This handheld is more compact and lighter than devices like the Steam Deck OLED.

It comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed and also supports the installation of SteamOS. This flexibility contrasts with the Steam Deck, which primarily supports SteamOS, requiring a separate purchase of a Windows license for installation.

While the Anbernic Win 600 isn’t equipped to handle the latest AAA games due to its AMD Athlon 3020e and 3050e processors, it is capable of running well-optimized older AAA titles like GTA V, as well as various indie games, as noted by the Handheld Gaming! channel on YouTube. The basic version of the Anbernic Win 600 is priced at $300.

This list highlights the best PC gaming handhelds available, each with its own pros and cons in terms of button configuration, comfort, screen quality, performance, and battery life. Choose the one that best fits your budget and gaming needs. Happy shopping!

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