The Best Handheld Gaming Console in 2022

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.

Emulation Handheld Gaming Consoles

Best Retro Android Handheld Gaming Console: 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

Runner Up Best Retro Android Handheld Gaming Console: ANBERNIC RG552

The RG552 is the latest handheld from ANBERNIC, and 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 ANBERNIC 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 ANBERNIC 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: 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!

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 Retroid Pocket 2+

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

Best Price vs Performance Handheld Gaming Console: 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 Metal Handheld Gaming Console: 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: 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 – 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

Windows Handheld Gaming Consoles

A High-End Powerhouse: GPD WIN 3 Handheld Gaming PC

For a truly premium option, one might consider a Windows gaming handheld. At this point in time, there’s none other than the GPD Win 3 that fill out the high-end spectrum of best gaming handheld consoles.

The GPD comes in two configurations. One with an 11th generation Intel i7 processor and one with an 11th generation Intel i5 processor. At the time of writing, these are cutting edge CPUs, and along with the built-in NVMe SSD and 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM, mean the GPD Win 3 is a handheld that is capable of playing AAA PC games.

In terms of features, the GPD Win 3 also comes loaded. With a fingerprint sensor, configurable rear buttons, and a touch keyboard (which the screen slides up with a satisfying “click” to reveal), there is a lot on offer here.

There are also a few peripherals present for the RG351P. Namely the official GPD Win 3 dock, which adds a few extra ports to the system and allows it to connect to an external monitor via HDMI.

Want a truly premium gaming handheld, perhaps similar to the recently announced Steam Deck? You can buy a GPD Win 3 in the UK here (we also ship worldwide!), and don’t forget to check out our GPD Win 3 review if you’re undecided!

What we like about the GPD WIN 3

  • It is basically a gaming laptop in the form of a gaming handheld.
  • Touchscreen is smooth and responsive.
  • Can be connected to docking stations and external GPUs for improved performance.
  • Can emulate the vast majority of platforms smoothly.
  • Feature-rich design.

What we don’t like about the GPD WIN 3

  • Pricey (understandably so)/
  • Touch-keyboard is not very satisfying to use.
  • Screen is a bit on the small side for such a powerful device.

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: 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.

benjamin
Mild-mannered support agent by daylight; even milder-mannered tech blogger under cover of night. Fond of gaming, virtual reality, and sleeping; not necessarily in that order.
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