Gaming has undergone a tremendous transformation, and thanks to technology, PC games took the world by storm and gained a loyal following. Years later, the launch of portable PC gaming devices like Stem Deck instigated like new industry changes. These devices made playing portable PC games a reality. Avid gamers could continue enjoying their games on the go. Because handheld gaming devices have rechargeable batteries and ample storage, you won’t need a power source or Internet to play your favorite games.
If you’re in the market for a portable PC gaming console, but don’t want to buy Steam Deck, you still have options. And the options are pretty good. We spent a week sleuthing, and strongly recommend these eight best Steam Deck alternatives for a memorable gaming experience.
- Best Overall: AYA Neo 2021 (Black Star)
- Best Runner’s Up: GPD Win 4
- Best for Performance: ONEXPLAYER Mini Pro
- Best for Portability: AYANEO GEEK Handheld Game Console
- Best Value: GPD Win Max 2
- Best for Explosive Gaming: XAMMUE OneXPlayer Mini
- Best Android: Retroid Pocket 3 Handheld Console
- Best Budget Option: AYANEO Air PRO (AMD R5-5560U)
Best Overall: AYA Neo 2021 (Black Star)
- Powered by a six-core AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor.
- Delivers smooth performance in various games
- Ergonomic, handheld PC gaming device with superior ALPS joysticks
- 7-inch multitouch screen with an 800p native landscape
- Ultralight weight and portable
While it comes at a premium, AYA Neo 2021 (Black Star) is Steam Deck’s serious contender and takes the best overall position in this list because of its exemplary performance.
This portable gaming device runs on an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Processor, has 16GB LPDDR4x 4266 RAM, impressive clockspeeds, and a 1TB M.2 SSD. The other major highlights are the 7-Inch touch-sensitive display with a 1920×1200 screen resolution and the joystick with a hall sensor. AYA NEO 2021 uses the Windows 10 system, unlike most peers, which use Windows 11. You get around 1-3 hours of serious gameplay with a fully charged battery.
Check out the AYA Neo 2021 (Black Star) on Amazon.
Best Runner’s Up: GPD Win 4
- 6-inch landscape screen (1920x1080 resolution)
- Supports a range of networks
- Powerful, large-capacity battery
- QWERTY full keyboard layout
- USB4 Type-C charging, smart docking stand
Inspired by Nintendo Switch and Sony’s Vita, GPD Win 4 is a step up over its predecessor in form, function, and performance.
This gaming device is powered by AMD Ryzen 7 6800U chip and provides a thrilling experience as it runs on Windows 11. The GPD Win 4 has an in-built sliding QWERTY keyboard, and has sufficient 1TB internal storage and 32GB RAM. It also comes with 4G LTE support and a 1920×1080 resolution screen. Some GDP Win 4 devices have SteamOS, while others run on Windows.
Check out the GPD Win 4 on Amazon.
Best for Performance: ONEXPLAYER Mini Pro
An impeccable performer, the ONEXPLAYER Mini Pro boast a faster processor and higher-performance graphics as well as sharp display.
This portable console has a 7-inch 2K IPS screen and Windows 11 OS. The power behind it is the AMD R7-6800U CPU. The device has 16GB RAM and 512GB internal storage. With a full charge, you get roughly 2.5-hour battery life for gaming and 10 hours for video. Although it appears smaller and easily portable, it carries as much power as a laptop. It can run any heavy-duty game thrown at it seamlessly. The feel and movement of its control buttons are great for supporting long gaming sessions. Additionally, it perfectly fits gamers’ hands despite its big size.
Check out the ONEXPLAYER Mini Pro on Amazon.
Best for Portability: AYANEO GEEK Handheld Game Console
- 7-inch touch-sensitive screen (1280 x 800)
- AMD Ryzen 7 6800U Processor
- 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage
- USB4, USB3.2 ports, and Micro SD card slot
For those who love gaming on the go, AYANEO GEEK Handheld Game Console is another powerful handheld console that is highly portable compared to its rivals.
The well-endowed AMD Ryzen 7 6800U chip powers this gadget. It also has 512GB internal storage and 16GB RAM. Despite offering these impressive specs, it’s not that cheap. A brand new console will set you back over a thousand dollars/ However, unlike the best overall AYA NEO 2021, it has a 1280×800 resolution and one gyroscope. AYANEO Geek uses the Windows 11 OS platform.
Check out the AYANEO GEEK Handheld Game Console on Amazon.
Best Value: GPD Win Max 2
- 10.1-inch screen with bezel-less display
- High-efficient cooling solution
- Hall Sensor sticks with no dead zone
- High-speed SD & MicroSD slots
- Between 6-8 hours of battery life
If you need a handheld gaming console that gives value for money, get the GPD Win Max 2 .
Like the Steam Deck and ONEXPlayer, this power-packed gadget uses an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U CPU, 32GB RAM, and a 10.1-Inch screen. Additionally, it has 1TB SSD storage for all your games. The display is big enough to give you a fantastic view of your games at 1920×1200 resolution. Despite it size, you can comfortably game with it for over 6 hours thanks to its large 67Wh batteries. Overall, this powerful device works perfectly and satisfy your gaming needs on the go.
Check out the GPD Win Max 2 on Amazon.
Best for Explosive Gaming: XAMMUE OneXPlayer Mini
If you need an explosive gaming performance, consider getting XAMMUE OneXPlayer Mini [AMD R7-5800U- 2TB M.2 SSD] 7 Inches Handheld PC Video Game Console One X Player Portable Win 11 OS Laptop 1920x1200 Mini Pocket Tablet PC 16GB RAM. This gadget runs on the Windows 11 platform and is powered by the AMD R7 5800U processor. It also has 16GB RAM and 2TB SSD storage. This 7-inch PC gaming console also has a 1920×1200 screen resolution that produces quality video output for impressive gameplay. Furthermore, it has an HDMI port for connecting external monitors or TVs.
Best Android: “Retroid Pocket 3 Handheld Console
- Supports Android and Retro Games
- 4.7-inch touchscreen
- Build-in game assistant APK
- Improved controls for a better gaming
- Lightweight and compact design
- Up to 6 hours of battery life
A fairly new entrant in the gaming console market, Retroid Pocket 3 Handheld Console runs on Android and delivers one of the best gaming experiences, running some older games and neer titles.
(Please note that as of July 17th, 2023, the Retroid Pocket 3 Retro Game Handheld Console, Retroid Pocket 3 Android Retro Game Console Multiple Emulators Console Handheld 4.7 Inch 16:9 Display 4000mAh Battery Classic Games (White, 2+32GB) is currently unavailable on Amazon. Please check back later.)
Retroid Pocket 3 has a 4.7-inch screen with a 16:9 display. This device also has 32 GB internal storage and 3GB RAM. Unlike other Steam Deck alternatives, POCKET 3 is a streaming handheld gaming device. Based on user experiences, it can also emulate Gamecube.
However, its imitation of PlayStation 3 has multiple lags. Its downside is the 4000 mAh battery that doesn’t last for long after intense gaming.
Check out the Retroid Pocket 3 Handheld Console on Amazon.
Best Budget Option: AYANEO Air PRO (AMD R5-5560U)
- 5.5-inch OLED screen (920x1080 resolution)
- Powered by a 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 5560U processor
- 16GB RAM and 512GB storage
- WiFi 6, Type-C port, dual channel speaker
If you need a budget-friendly alternative to Steam Deck, the AYANEO AIR PRO with a high color AMOLED display is worth considering.
Just 21 mm thin, AYANEO Air PRO (AMD R5-5560U) is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 5560U Processor and has 16GB RAM, and 512GB Storage. However, its portability also comes at a cost because its 5.5-inch screen size is small for immersive gaming. Moreover, its battery, reduced to 10050mAh, can only last slightly above 2 hours when playing demanding games. Despite these limitations, it still provides gamers with a powerful performance. Its crispy clear OLED display (720p resolution at 60fps) and lightweight give it an edge over its competitors.
Check out the AYANEO Air PRO (AMD R5-5560U) on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Steam Deck Alternative: Step-By-Step
Steam Deck has set an impeccable record for portable PC gaming consoles. So, finding a replacement or alternative for this device is quite challenging. However, some brands have comparable handheld PCs with the potential for exceptional gameplay. The only challenge is picking a suitable Steam Deck alternative. Keep these factors in mind when shopping for an alternative.
While playing your favorite video games, the action will occur right on the console’s screen. The device’s display quality and clarity will determine if the video games will be immersive. Available Steam Deck alternatives have different screen resolutions, which attest to the difference in picture and video quality. The best portable gaming consoles come with 1920×1200 or 1920×1080 screen resolution.
Storage space for games is also an essential need for gamers. Nothing hurts enthusiastic gamers like deleting games to make room for new ones. If the gaming device has enough internal storage, you won’t have to delete old games. Some great consoles provide two-terabyte storage, which is good enough for gamers. This space can accommodate many games and still have extra room for more.
Gaming consoles, including Steam Deck, use an operating system. So, gamers must pick the most suitable platform for their games. This decision depends entirely on the gamer’s preferences. Most portable PC gaming consoles use Windows, Linux, Android, Ubuntu, and SteamOS platforms. Always go for an OS that can perfectly run your favorite games.
The device’s RAM (Random Access Memory) affects the gameplay and the type of PC games you can play. Some video games require more RAM storage to run seamlessly. Fortunately, most gaming gadgets have more than 8GB RAM to run heavy-duty PC games. The best ones allow users to upgrade the RAM to up to 32GB for increased gameplay performance.
Handheld gaming consoles should enable users to play PC games without relying on other devices. Portability remains the greatest selling point when retailing these PC gaming devices. However, you might occasionally play these games in your home or office. During such times, your console should allow you to connect to external monitors or TV. If you are a fan of this, check if the console has connectivity options such as an HDMI port when purchasing your gaming gadget.
The cost factor cannot be ignored as it will guide your choices in finding a suitable Steam Deck alternative. Gaming consoles have different pricepoints depending on their features and capabilities. The best ones are costly, although they deliver impressive gameplay. They have more storage, expandable RAM, a powerful processor, higher screen resolutions, and appealing designs. If you can affordable the best quality portable PC gaming gadget, you’ll enjoy hours of immersive, interrupted gaming.
Do not assume every gaming console can play your favorite games. Different consoles have different specs, and this can determine the type of games you can play. Even powerful handheld gadgets have their deficiencies. So, when shopping try to get a device that is compatible with your favorite PC games to avoid disappointments.
The controls of the handheld gaming device will significantly affect your gameplay. When choosing any of these gadgets, check whether their controls are easy to move and readily accessible. Difficulty using the controls will be a distraction and may ruin your gaming experience. Always pick devices with reachable controls for better gaming.
It’s good to know what others think of a specific gaming device. Tech experts and users often share their perspectives and experiences gaming with portable consoles. You can get useful insights, and uncover the pros and cons of these devices. Of course, every manufacture claims their device is the industry’s best. That’s where user reviews come in handy. Whatever users and experts say about these devices holds more water as these individuals have tested or used these gadgets. Don’t ignore negative reviews as they are red flags.
What to Know Before Buying Steam Deck Alternatives
Getting a portable device that can go toe-to-toe with Steam Deck isn’t an easy task. The Steam Deck impressively plays high-end PC games, including technical AAA games. Fortunately, several brands have launched portable gaming PCs with the same efficiency and power to run heavy-duty PC games. Before buying any of these alternatives, here are some things you should first know.
The device’s graphics will affect your gameplay and experience. Due to the advanced gaming technology, most gamers yearn to play realistic games. Such graphic-intensive games always deliver an immersive experience. However, setting the graphics at maximum on some gadgets will minimize the CPU performance and ruin the gameplay experience. In others, it might reduce the battery life, shortening your gaming expedition. So, look for a handheld console that can run games at maximum frame rates without sacrificing performance and battery life.
Never allow emotions to sway your decisions into buying the first handheld console you see at the store. Let the device’s specs guide your buying decisions. Always check the gadgets’ processing power, GPU, RAM, and storage capacities. These vital aspects directly affect the console’s performance when running PC games. A powerful processor will seamlessly run heavy-duty games without a strain, and with more storage, you have more than enough space to keep your games. Remember, the most potent gaming devices have impressive specs,, making them quite expensive.
This device’s battery life will either make or break your gaming experience. So, prioritize the battery’s life when searching for good gaming console. Remember, these gadgets are supposed to enable portable gaming. How will that be possible if they cannot retain power for long? This factor is very vital, especially for enthusiastic gamers. So, always look for a portable PC console with a reputation for having a longer battery life.
Portable gaming gadgets also come with different screen sizes. The bigger the screen, the better the gameplay. Gamers using PC consoles with larger screens enjoy the gameplay better since the visibility is top-notch, especially at a high resolution. Even though some smaller screens have more graphic displays, for better gameplay, go for gaming gadgets with a big screen. Anything above 7 inches is adequate for impressive gameplay. Moreover, ensure the screen is well-protected from damage in case of a fall, as it will elongate the device’s durability.
Another safer way to make a good purchase is to consider the brand of the portable gaming PC. The rising interest in mobile gaming has instigated the production of numerous gaming consoles. In your search for an excellent portable gaming PC, you will find various brands with impressive adverts for their products. The safety net of buyers is banking on a renowned brand. Sometimes, making such choices is costlier because reputable brands take advantage of this leverage to retail their gadgets at a very high price. Despite that, they also provide quality gaming consoles and a warranty to protect buyers from unforeseeable issues and losses.
Using Steam Deck Alternative: What’s Like
The Steam Deck alternatives guarantee thrilling and immersive gameplay for enthusiastic gamers as they come equipped with essential resources for PC gaming. They have sufficient internal storage, high-powered processors, powerful GPUs, bigger RAM sizes, and high-resolution screens. Although they are portable, some have a similar power output to laptops. As a result, they can seamlessly run heavy-duty games at maximum graphic settings without limiting their performance. However, the battery life for these consoles isn’t something to smile about, though they’re still adequate. Besides their impressive performance, some of these devices offer an affordable option to Steam Deck, which is excellent news for gamers on a tight budget.
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Last update on 2024-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API