The Best Handheld Gaming Console in 2023

Picking the best so you don't have to!

Welcome! We at DroiX are a specialist supplier of all manner of gaming handhelds. From android gaming handhelds to retro gaming handhelds, we’re here to bring to you the best gaming handheld consoles that we’ve been able to get our hands on.

Best Handheld Gaming Consoles 2023

Best Retro Android Handheld Gaming Console 2023: Retroid Pocket Flip

The Retroid Pocket Flip is a highly portable handheld gaming console, available in various colors. With its compact dimensions of 5.4 x 3.2 x 0.98 inches and lightweight design, it is perfect for on-the-go gaming. The clamshell structure offers great protection and easy portability.

Powered by an eight-core ARM Cortex CPU and Mali G52 MC2 graphics processing, the Pocket Flip portable gaming console delivers exceptional performance and fast graphics processing. It features 4GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB of eMMC storage, expandable via a micro SD card slot. This ensures ample storage space for games and a smoother gaming experience.

The handheld gaming console boasts precise controls, including dual hall effect sliders and a responsive D-pad, along with double-injected molded buttons that are durable and long-lasting. It also features a high-quality 4.7-inch touchscreen display with 450 nits backlighting. With high-speed WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, and mini-HDMI output, the Retroid Pocket Flip offers versatile connectivity options. Running on Android 11, it grants full access to the Play Store, allowing users to enjoy a wide range of retro and modern games and apps.

Retroid Pocket Flip
Retroid Pocket Flip

What makes it stand out is the overall standard of the Retroid Pocket Flip. The Android operating system runs great, it has a startup wizard that guides you through setting up the system. It continues with the easy to use slide out overlay where you can configure the screen mapping, commonly used functions and more. It’s a slick setup which along with the runner up Retroid Pocket 3+, deserve the top spots.

You can read our full Retroid Pocket Flip review here.

Runner Up Retro Android Handheld Gaming Console 2023: Retroid Pocket 3+

The Retroid Pocket 3+ narrowly misses out on the top spot mainly due to some differences. The clamshell design on the Flip really stood out for us and was the only handheld gaming console to feature it this year. It also had the hall effect sticks which the Pocket 3+ sadly lacks.

The technical specifications are otherwise the same for the Retroid Pocket 3+. Again we liked the ease of use of getting started with the startup wizard. We like the very useful emulator game launcher which does take a little setting up, but the end results are great.

Ultimately it does come down to preference. If you want a clamshell design with the Flip or a standard handheld gaming console with the Retroid Pocket 3+.

You can read our in-depth Retroid Pocket 3+ review here.

Best Budget Handheld Gaming Console 2023: MIYOO MINI PLUS+

The Miyoo Mini Plus+ is the ultimate budget handheld gaming console that brings back the thrill of nostalgia. With its impressive technical specifications, sleek design, and extensive library of classic games, it is a must-have for gaming enthusiasts.

Powered by an ARM Cortex-A7 dual-core processor and 128MB of RAM, it delivers smooth and lag-free performance, ensuring a seamless gaming experience. With the Miyoo Mini Plus+, storage is never an issue with the included 64GB microSD card, supporting up to 128GB. The 3.5″ IPS display with a resolution of 640×480 brings retro games to life with vivid visuals. Wi-Fi 5 connectivity allows online gaming and data transfer, while the 3000mAh battery provides up to 8 hours of gaming pleasure.

With its compact and lightweight design, the Miyoo Mini Plus+ fits comfortably in your hands or pocket, making it perfect for gaming on the go. It offers customization options with support for multiple emulation platforms, allowing you to create a personalized collection of games across different console generations. The device also offers versatile connectivity options, such as USB and headphone ports, as well as online multiplayer modes.

Miyoo Mini Plus Onion OS Emulators
Miyoo Mini Plus Onion OS Emulators

The Miyoo Mini Plus+ takes the top spot as best budget handheld gaming console largely thanks to the amazing Onion OS custom firmware. Onion OS transforms the handheld, with excellent presentation, and many new emulators for consoles and computers not supported in the original firmware. It also has some great new features such as Game Switching which improve the overall useability of the handheld gaming console.

Learn more about the handheld and Onion OS in our full Miyoo Mini Plus+ review here.

Runner Up Budget Handheld Gaming Console 2023: Anbernic RG35XX

The Anbernic RG35XX just misses out on our top spot for best budget handheld gaming console. It features the Actions ATM7039S quad-core processor and quad-core PowerVR SGX544MP GPU. With 256MB DDR3 RAM, it provides sufficient performance for 4th generation gaming consoles and newer ones. The 3.5″ IPS display with a resolution of 640×480 and 4:3 aspect ratio delivers vibrant visuals, and the Mini HDMI port allows for HDMI output to a monitor or TV with 720P upscaling.

The handheld gaming console comes with a 64GB Micro SD card for the Linux-based operating system and game storage, and additional game storage can be added using a second Micro SD card of up to 512GB. The Anbernic RG35XX supports sixteen classic gaming systems, including Arcade and PS1, and features a classic-style D-Pad, standard gaming buttons, and four additional buttons on the back.

RG35XX handheld gaming console
RG35XX handheld gaming console

The compact gaming device only measures 3.18 x 4.6 x 0.7 inches and has a lightweight design, it is highly portable, fitting easily into a pocket or small bag. The 2100mAh rechargeable battery offers up to 5 hours of gameplay, depending on the emulator being used.

The Anbernic RG35XX is a great alternative to the Miyoo Mini Plus+. It is slightly larger in physiclal size if the Miyoo was too small. It has a slightly higher performance but the standard OS and menus are a bit poor in comparison, but there is the Garlic OS custom firmware that brings it up to scratch.

You can read more about Garlic OS on our full Anbernic RG35XX review here.

Best Retro Android Handheld Gaming Console 2023: Anbernic RG505

The Anbernic RG505 handheld gaming console offers a portable gaming experience with its small and lightweight design, available in three colors. Powered by the Unisoc Tiger T618 octa-core processor and Mali G52 graphics, it provides high-performance for demanding consoles. With 4GB LPDDR4X RAM, 128GB internal storage, and support for micro SD cards, there is ample space for games and media.

The 4.95-inch OLED touch screen with a 960×544 resolution delivers stunning visuals, and the hall effect sensor analog controls offer accuracy and durability. Running on Android 12, the RG505 mobile gaming console supports firmware and Play Store updates for optimal performance.

With WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0, online gaming with friends is seamless. Supporting over 25 classic gaming consoles, computers, and handhelds, and featuring a 5000mAh rechargeable battery with up to 8 hours of usage, the Anbernic RG505 is the ideal choice for gamers seeking high-performance, portability, and extended battery life.

As an alternative the the Retroid Pocket Flip and 3+ the Anbernic RG505 misses out on the top spots by a small margin. The emulator frontend is fairly basic in comparison to the Retroid handhelds, but the overlay software is very good.

Learn more in our in-depth Anbernic RG505 review here.

Best Metal Handheld Gaming Console 2023: Anbernic RG353M

The Anbernic RG353M handheld gaming console offers high performance and reliability in a stylish aluminum alloy case. Powered by the RK3566 quad-core Cortex-A55 CPU running up to 1.8GHz, it features 2GB LPDDR4 RAM and 32GB internal eMMC 5.1 storage for Android 11 OS, with an additional 16GB card for the Linux OS and a 64GB card for game file storage. Despite its aluminum alloy case, the RG353M remains lightweight and portable, measuring only 5.07 x 2.7 x 0.62 inches and weighing 232 grams.

Everything you want in a modern portable gaming system can be found on the handheld. With its 3.5″ IPS multi-touch screen and 640×480 resolution, the RG353M provides an ideal display for retro gaming. Equipped with dual analog sticks, gaming buttons, and a function button, it offers precise controls and functionality. Running on either the Linux OS with Emulation Station and RetroArch or the Android OS, the RG353M supports a wide range of classic gaming consoles and computers.

Streets of Rage on Genesis
Streets of Rage on Genesis

The Anbernic RG353M also supports online connectivity through WiFi for multiplayer gaming and offers mini-HDMI output for connecting to a TV or larger screen. Additionally, the console allows for the installation of third-party custom firmware, expanding the available selection of over 90 classic systems.

You can read more in our full Anbernic RG353M review here.

Best Handheld Gaming Consoles 2022

Best Retro Android Handheld Gaming Console 2022: GPD XP Plus

The GPD XP Plus is the updated model originally released in 2021. The 2022 model ‘Plus’ features a newer faster MediaTek Dimensity 1200, 8 Core CPU. It has a ARM Mali-G77 MC9 GPU with 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB internal storage, you can add more via a Micro SD Card. It supports WiFi 6, Bluetooth and dual SIM card for wireless data transfer. It has a 7,000mAh battery which lasts over 13 hours depending on usage.

It is capable of supporting the more modern consoles and handhelds to an extent, not every game will be 100% though. Where it excels is up to the 2000’s era with near faultless performance on PlayStation, Dreamcast and PSP. It also has built in screen mapping to simulate screen presses with the controller, it makes playing Android games a breeze. It also has output to an external display via a compatible USB Type-C to HDMI adaptor.

Read our GPD XP Plus review for a more in-depth look at this great handheld. You can learn more and buy the GPD XP Plus here.

What we like about the GPD XP Plus

  • Up 40% faster performance than the original model
  • HDMI Output via compatible adaptor
  • Newer fast eMMC storage
  • Great performance up to the more modern consoles

What we don’t like about the GPD XP Plus

  • The modular controller design is really not needed
  • The front facing camera is a bit pointless

Best Price vs Performance Retro Android Handheld Gaming Console 2022: Retroid Pocket 3

The Retroid Pocket 3 recently earnt itself our choice for the best price vs performance in our Best Android handheld gaming console for 2022 article. While the performance is not up there with the GPD XP+, it is half the price and still has great performance.

The Retroid Pocket 3 feature’s the ARM Unisoc Cortex A75 & A55 CPUs running up to 2.0 and 1.8GHz respectively. For graphics it has the PowerVR GE8300 which is a very capable GPU in this price range. There is a choice of 2GB or 3GB LPDDR4x RAM and the retro Android handheld gaming console comes with 32GB eMMC storage and a micro SD card slot for further storage expansion.

The Retroid Pocket 3 is very comfortable and lightweight to hold. We however did not like the location of the SELECT and START buttons on the top of the handheld. To be able to press them requires moving your hand away from the natural position to hold it. Other than that we really couldn’t find fault with this great retro Android handheld gaming console.

Running Android 11 provides access to the latest optimised apps and games. There is a built in frontend where you can scan your emulator ROM files and have them in an easy to browse menu system. By sliding the screen from the right side, there is a overlay which gives access to commonly used settings as well as screen mapping setup.

You can read our in-depth review of the Retroid Pocket 3 here. You can learn more and buy the Retroid Pocket 3 here.

What we like about the Retroid Pocket 3

  • Great price vs performance
  • Very comfortable to hold for long gaming sessions
  • Large 4.7″ touchscreen display
  • Easy to use frontend and built in software such as screen mapper.

What we don’t like about the Retroid Pocket 3

  • SELECT and START buttons are awkward to press.

Worthy Mention for Retro Android Handheld Gaming Console 2022: ANBERNIC RG552

The RG552 is the first member of what can can be considered the fourth generation of ANBERNIC handhelds.

Visually, the RG552 does not do much different from its predecessors, adopting the same familiar “bar”-shamed design, and featuring the same kind of buttons as used on older models. The most immediate difference can be seen in the scale of the device, with a 5-inch touch-display that provides an astounding image quality for a device of this type – it’s better than some mobile phones, in fact.

For performance, the RG552 runs a Rockchip RK3399 SoC. Featuring a hexa-core (6 cores) processor that runs at up to 1.8Ghz. This runs in tandem with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which is a nice upgrade from the 1GB seen in the third generation.

Other great features in this handheld gaming console include the return of the HDMI port – which was absent from the entirety of the third generation. And the ability to switch between Android (present on the internal eMMC) and a Linux-based operating system (insert the included microSD card into the left-hand port).

To learn more about the RG552, we wholeheartedly encourage you to check out our RG552 review. Or buy one now from DroiX – shipping in the UK and Worldwide!

What we like about the RG552

  • Much more reliable PSP, Dreamcast and N64 Emulation – Sega Saturn now playable too.
  • Screen is extremely high quality, and is touch-sensitive too.
  • The HDMI output returns after being absent for the entire third generation.
  • Can switch between Android and Linux-based operating systems.

What we don’t like about the RG552

  • Power jump isn’t as big as we’d hoped.
  • ANBERNIC’s signature design doesn’t scale as well to the larger size.
  • No bluetooth, and built-in Wi-Fi is only 2.4Ghz

Best Budget Handheld Gaming Console 2022: Anbernic RG353V and RG353VS

The RG353V and RG353VS are two new handheld gaming consoles from Anbernic with some differences depending mainly if you want Linux only or dual boot Android and Linux OS.

Both models feature the RK3566 Quad-Core 64-bit Cortex-A55 processor running up to 1.8GHz. The RG353V supports dual boot and has 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMC storage for Android and a touchscreen display. The RG353VS runs Linux OS only, has 1GB RAM and no touchscreen display. Both models come with a 16GB micro SD card containing Linux OS and a 64GB card for game storage.

The RG353V and RG353VS perform exactly the same under Linux and you can find a small increase in performance with the RG353V on Android OS. However we did find that the Android OS was not very well set up, requiring you to spend some time setting up the included emulators.

A large negative for us was the lack of Google Play Store which means you will need to manually install any additional apps on the handheld gaming console. What we did like was that the ArkOS custom firmware is supported on both models and it transforms them into a much higher quality product.

You can read our in-depth RG353V and RG353VS review here. You can learn more and buy both the RG353V and RG353VS here.

What we like about the Anbernic RG353V and RG353VS

  • Vertical orientation handheld
  • Good processor performance for the price.
  • Choice of Linux only or dual boot Android and Linux OS
  • ArkOS custom firmware is supported

What we don’t like about the Anbernic RG353V and RG353VS

  • Android takes some time to set up nicely.

Runner Up Best Budget Handheld Gaming Console 2022: Miyoo Mini

What immediately stands out about the Miyoo Mini handheld gaming console is the price. It costs around less than half the price of other retro handhelds, its a real bargain! Why is it only a runner up? They are near impossible to buy anywhere and there doesn’t seem to be any more being made.

The size of the Miyoo Mini is 2.55 x 3.68 x 0.70 inches (6.5 x 9.35 x 1.8 cm) and weighing 110 grams. It puts the gaming console into the very portable category as its small enough to fit inside any jacket pocket or bag and very light.

An ARM Cortex-A7 dual core with a frequency up to 1.2GHz powers the Miyoo Mini budget retro handheld. There’s 128MB RAM which is plenty for the operating system and the console emulators it supports. The 2.8″ IPS display looks excellent and has a 640×480 resolution, it’s perfect for retro gaming!

The default OS is fine for newcomers or those that just want to play 8 and 16-bit classics. It does struggle a bit with PlayStation emulation, however the Onion OS CFW (Custom Firmware) is an excellent replacement. It allows for full speed PlayStation emulation. It is one of the best retro handheld gaming consoles out there right now!

To learn more about the Miyoo Mini, you can read our full Miyoo Mini review.

What we like about the Miyoo Mini

  • Perfect for traveling to school, work, holiday etc.
  • The 2.8″ display looks great
  • Great price, half the price of other devices.
  • Easy to use and operate

What we don’t like about the Miyoo Mini

  • To take full advantage of the Miyoo Mini capability requires a custom firmware to be installed.

Runner Up Best Price vs Performance Handheld Gaming Console 2022: Retroid Pocket 2+

If you are looking for a handheld gaming console that won’t break the bank but still have great performance, then the Retroid Pocket 2+ is the winner.

The Retroid Pocket 2+ handheld gaming console features the Tiger T310 quad core processor with PowerVR GE8300 GPU. It has 2GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage. It runs Android 9 and can be updated if you wish to.

Despite its lower price it has similar performance to higher end models. You can run up to PlayStation and Dreamcast levels with very little issues. It is possible to even play some PlayStation 2 titles which is extremely impressive for a handheld of this price!

You can read our in-depth Retroid Pocket 2+ review here. You can learn more and buy the Retroid Pocket 2+ here.

What we like about the Retroid Pocket 2+

  • Amazing performance vs price!
  • Good quality feeling handheld
  • Screen looks good

What we don’t like about the Retroid Pocket 2+

  • It does take some setting up for emulators initially

Best Mid Range Handheld Gaming Console 2022: ANBERNIC RG503

The RG503 was the first Anbernic handheld to feature the RK3566 CPU which has increased performance on the older generation but still not quite as fast as the processor used in the RG552 model.

It features the mentioned RK3566 quad-core processor with 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 16GB for the OS and up to 512GB for the game storage. It runs Linux and a custom build of Emulation Station frontend with dozens of emulators.

The main draw point of this handheld is the display it uses a 4.95″ OLED with a 960×544 resolution and is actually the same screen used on the Sony Vita. It looks amazing quality and the games are bright and vibrant to play!

You can find more in-depth information on the RG503 review here. You can learn more and buy the RG503 here.

What we like about the RG503

  • Great looking 4.95″ OLED which is bright and vibrant colours
  • Available in three colours
  • Built in WiFi for multiplayer gaming
  • HDMI output to TV or monitor

What we don’t like about the RG503

  • The lowered screen fitting may be off-putting to those that prefer a flat finish to the handheld.
  • Still not 100% on Dreamcast emulation

Best Metal Handheld Gaming Console 2022: ANBERNIC RG351MP

The ANBERNIC RG351MP is the culmination of ANBERNIC’s “third generation” of handhelds. Released in early October, it stands to combine all the loved aspects about older models in the line into one complete package.

As one of the best handheld gaming consoles of its generation, the ANBERNIC RG351MP combines the crisp, clear 4:3 display of the popular RG351V with the premium, weighty metal shell of the RG351M. The result is an incredible handheld that we would highly recommend as both a beginners retro gaming handheld and a veteran’s retro gaming handheld alike.

The only caveat of the device is the lack of internal wi-fi. Given that wi-fi has had a shaky presence throughout the whole generation of handhelds, it seems as though ANBERNIC simply gave up on trying to make it work. You can still use an external dongle.

Interested? Buy an RG351MP from DroiX right now! Or check out our RG351MP review if you want to learn more about one of the best handheld gaming consoles on the market right now, check out our RG351MP review.

What we like about the RG351MP

  • The twin-SD card design is retained, allowing for easy management of firmware and games.
  • The metal shell provides a weighty, premium feel in the hand.
  • The colour choices this time around are particularly cool. With vibrant Mint Green and Ocean Blue as options.
  • ANBERNIC’s signature high-quality buttons and sticks are still present.

What we don’t like about the RG351MP

  • It’s a little late to the party!
  • No built-in Wi-Fi is a let-down.
  • The D-Pad needs a bit of breaking in before it becomes comfortable.

Best Retro Handheld Gaming Console 2022: ANBERNIC RG351V

The RG351V is the same internally as the RG351M, the RG351V is set apart by it’s unique shape. Featuring a vertical design more reminiscent of the game boy, and a 4:3 screen instead of the usual 3:2. This 4:3 display means it is capable of handling different retro platforms with less overhead, allowing for slightly better performance.

The RG351V also features a dual-SD-card design not seen since the RG350 family of devices, allowing you to keep your operating system and games on separate cards.

The lack of stick may seem to be a bummer, but when you consider how few consoles (that the device can emulate) mandate the use of a second stick, it becomes a negligible loss.

Overall however, the RG351V is a true competitor to the title of “best handheld gaming console” thanks to the number of things the design got right.

You can buy an RG351V in the UK here. Additionally, please feel free to check out our RG351V review for more information.

What we like about the RG351V

  • The twin microSD card design makes it easier to manage your games and emulators.
  • Functional built-in Wi-Fi! No external dongle needed!
  • Crisp & clear 4:3 display allows native aspect ratio on a variety of classic emulators
  • Custom firmware is available, and it really improves the experience.
  • Great performance in pretty much every device up to (and including) the PS1.

What we don’t like about the RG351V

  • The lack of a second analogue stick is a shame. Thankfully very few games (that the system can comfortably emulator)
  • Mono speaker inconveniently located under the palm of your right hand.
  • Larger, brighter screen can affect battery life somewhat negatively.

Best Retro Style Gaming Handheld 2022: RG353P

The RG353P is an oddball among more recent releases. Released among the third generation ANBERNIC handhelds, the ANBERNIC RG353P features the same processor seen in the newer generation ANBERNIC handhelds.

Aesthetically, the ANBERNIC RG353P very clearly evokes the appearance of the classic Super Nintendo Japanese & European and North American controller designs and colours. It has a dual operating system with Android 11 and Linux with an emulation station style menu.

If you’re in the market for a more retro-styled experience, the RG353P is definitely the best all round handheld gaming console you can grab right now.

For more on the RG353P, you can check out our RG353P review. If you’re interested in buying one of your own, you can buy an ANBERNIC RG353P here.

What we like about the RG353P

  • Android & Linux Dual OS
  • Handles most things up to PS1 very smoothly.
  • Vibrant, colourful display.
  • Unique and nostalgic design.
  • HDMI output for TV connectivity.

What we don’t like about the RG353P

  • Processor is faster than previous generation but still a little slow for some Dreamcast.
  • No Google Play Store but you can install alternatives

Honourable Mentions

Inevitably a gaming handheld will be superseded by a better model. This section in our buying guide is for those older handhelds that have since been dethroned (but are still worth a look at!)

Best Metal Handheld Gaming Console 2022: ANBERNIC RG351M

One of the best retro gaming handheld consoles currently is ANBERNIC’s pride and joy, the RG351M.

This bar-shaped retro gaming handheld features a Rockchip RK3266 CPU. Combined with 1GB of RAM, it is capable of emulating many different retro gaming platforms, including Dreamcast and Nintendo 64. It is even capable of playing PlayStation Portable games!

This is all wrapped up in a premium feeling metal shell, and unlike it’s predecessor, the RG351M features built-in Wi-Fi allowing for additional features such as netplay and metadata scraping!

You can buy an RG351M in the UK here (we also ship worldwide!), you can also check out our RG351M review if you’d like to know more about this amazing little device. All-in-all, we’d consider it to be the best all-around handheld gaming console.

What we like about the RG351M

  • The metal shell is really premium feeling.
  • Functional built-in Wi-Fi! No external dongle needed!
  • Great performance in pretty much every device up to (and including) the PS1.
  • Custom firmware is available, and it really improves the experience.

What we don’t like about the RG351M

  • The single microSD card design is cumbersome until you settle on a game and OS selection you really like.
  • The D-Pad is a bit stiffer than the plastic models. Needs some time to be “broken-in”.
  • 3:2 aspect ratio is perfect for Game Boy Advance titles, but not so great for most other platforms.

Bringer of videos, text and images! AKA the social media guy at DroiX. Massive retro gaming fan and collector, with a far too large collection of consoles and computers from 1970's to modern.