December 7, 2023

Enjoying traditional video video games from the ’80s, ’90s, and even the 2000s is way harder than it needs to be. If the video games aren’t accessible on any digital storefronts, you’ll doubtless be on the mercy of GameStop, eBay, or an area retro sport retailer. Even then, you’d nonetheless want a console to play them on. However up to now few years, reasonably priced retro handhelds have taken the gaming world by storm, permitting avid gamers to play a whole lot and even 1000’s of titles throughout a number of platforms, all on one system. Beneath, we’ll share a few of our favorites.

Selecting the correct retro handheld could be a problem. They arrive in all totally different sizes and styles, and the costs can vary from lower than the value of a brand new online game to some hundred {dollars}. There are many methods to separate them up, however we’ve determined to separate our high picks into worth ranges whereas together with a couple of honorable mentions in every vary.

Finances retro handhelds: $0-$70

Anbernic RG35XX retro handheld. Picture supply: Anbernic
  • Winner: Anbernic RG35XX
  • Specs: Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9, quad-core PowerVR SGX544MP GPU, 256M DDR3 RAM, 3.5-inch IPS show (640×480), 64GB TF storage, Linux dual-boot OS (official + GarlicOS), 2600mAh battery, 5V/1.5A charging, HDMI output
  • The place to purchase:

Whereas there are some first rate handhelds within the $30-40 vary, you’ll be hard-pressed to discover a higher worth proposition than the Anbernic RG35XX. In the event you’re nostalgic for the shape issue of the Nintendo Sport Boy, however you need to play NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, and as much as GBA and PS1 video games, few different consoles will be capable of compete with the RG35XX.

Honorable mentions: Miyoo Mini Plus, TRIMUI Good

Inexpensive retro handhelds: $70-$100

Retroid Pocket 2S retro handheld.
Retroid Pocket 2S retro handheld. Picture supply: Retroid
  • Winner: Retroid Pocket 2S
  • Specs: Unisoc Tiger T610 processor, 3GB/4GB LPDDRx4 RAM, 32GB/128GB eMMC storage, 3.5-inch show (640×480), Android 11, 4000mAh battery, 480p HDMI port, analogue L2/R2 buttons, 3D Corridor impact sticks
  • The place to purchase:

In the event you’re prepared to spend a couple of {dollars} extra, you will get a significant improve with out breaking the financial institution. There are a number of worthy rivals, however the Retroid Pocket 2S is the hand-held to beat for underneath $100. In the event you can put up with the tiny display, you’ll get an ergonomic design, stacked shoulder buttons, and assist for N64, PSP, Dreamcast, and even some GameCube.

Honorable mentions: Powkiddy X55, Powkiddy RK2023, Anbernic RG353VS

Customary retro handhelds: $100-$170

Retroid Pocket 3+ can play PS2 and GameCube games.
Retroid Pocket 3+ can play PS2 and GameCube video games. Picture supply: Retroid
  • Winner: Retroid Pocket 3+
  • Specs: Unisoc Tiger T618 processor, 4GB LPDDR4x RAM, 128GB eMMC 5.1 storage, 4.7 inch show (750×1334), Android 11, 4500mAh battery, 720p Micro HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack, USB Sort-C charging port
  • The place to purchase:

This may increasingly simply be probably the most aggressive worth vary for retro handhelds presently. In the event you’re paying over $100 for a handheld, you’d need it to be succesful, snug, and smooth. Of all of the units that match the invoice, the Retroid Pocket 3+ is the one that’s most incessantly really useful. It’s one of the crucial highly effective retro handhelds underneath $200, with assist for GameCube and PS2 video games along with each possible console launched earlier than 2000.

Honorable mentions: Anbernic RG405M, Anbernic RG405V, Powkiddy RGB10MAX3 Professional

Premium retro handhelds: $170-$260

Ayn Odin Pro can play PS2 and Wii games.
Ayn Odin Professional can play PS2 and Wii video games. Picture supply: AYN
  • Winner: Ayn Odin Professional
  • Specs: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, Adreno 630 GPU, 4GB/8GB LPDDR4x RAM, 64GB/128GB/256GB storage, Full HD 5.98-inch IPS show (1920×1080), 6600mAh battery, Android 10, USB Sort-C charging, Micro HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack
  • The place to purchase:

As you method the $250 vary, it’s good to begin asking your self if a handheld retro console is definitely the precise selection for you. In any case, you should purchase a Nintendo Swap Lite for simply $199, and for those who’re prepared to shell out one other $100 or so, you will get a Steam Deck when it goes on sale. But when retro gaming is your #1 precedence, and also you need a top-of-the-line handheld, your finest wager is the Ayn Odin Professional. This highly effective Android system is older than lots of the units on this checklist, and the (dearer) Ayn Odin 2 is one other leap ahead, but when your funds is round $250, and also you need to play PS2, Wii, 3DS, and even some Swap video games, take a look at the Odin Professional.

Honorable mentions: Analogue Pocket