Whether we look at the ever-growing innovations in terms of gameplay or the lifelike graphics – it’s undeniable that gaming has come a long way from the days of blocky Atari games. However, no matter how much modern-day gaming evolves, it will never replace the generations of video games that have shaped the industry for decades.
So many of the biggest franchises today started out as retro games in the past. And even if we look at the standalone titles, there is an endless number of gems in every genre that we can enjoy. And it would be a shame to never experience all those adventures at least once in your life.
Unfortunately, it can take a lot of time and effort to find the ideal way to play retro video games. Older game consoles are difficult to find and need outdated televisions to work on. And if you go towards emulation, then you have to spend a long time setting up different software on your computer and tweak their settings to make things work.
This predicament is now solved by the existence of handheld retro game consoles. They come pre-loaded with support for a long list of game consoles, such as the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Game Boy, Nintendo 64, PS1, PSP, and even some Arcade systems. And you can play them conveniently on a couch, a bed, and even outside the house.
And the best part is that they are simple enough to be used by even children, but still offer customization for those who like to be a bit on the technical side. So, there’s something here for every kind of gamer.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 best handheld retro game consoles that you can buy right now!
The Best Handheld Retro Game Consoles
When it comes to what makes a retro handheld game console great – there is no rocket science required. All that you need is support for a lot of games, satisfying buttons, and a nice screen. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our best picks.
When it comes to design, features, and price – finding the perfect combination of all three in a handheld retro game console can be a challenge. Fortunately, the RG405M is here to save the day.
It features a Unisoc T618 2ghz CPU, a MaliG52 GPU, 4GB RAM, and IPS display, a great battery of 4500mAh, and it can run a very long list of games. For example, we have support for the PSP, SEGA Dreamcast, Game Boy, NES/SNES, Nintendo DS, PS1, PS2, and even the Nintendo Wii.
Everything up to the PSP runs perfectly with smooth framerate. And as for the PS2 and Wii – it depends on the game that you’re playing. Not every single game will run perfectly, but a lot of the classics do, which even includes God of War.
Normally, if you want a device that runs PS2 games they end up costing a lot. But the RG405M is only $167.99 if you catch it in a sale, and only $10 dollars more if you buy it normally. Which is a beautiful price for a device that looks, plays, and runs this well.
If you’re looking for a budget option that lets you comfortably play retro games, then look no further than the GameGrip console. At only $44.99 dollars, it comes with a decent 3.0-inch TFT color screen, a long-lasting 1020mAh battery, and an AV output that lets you connect it to your TV too.
What makes it especially convenient is that it comes pre-loaded with 500 unique games, which saves you the hassle of obtaining ROMs yourself and then placing them in the device. Instead, you just have to turn the device on and enjoy everything with up to 6 hours of continuous battery life.
It comes in many different colors, so everyone can find something that suits their preference. So, if you want something simple to relive the old days – you won’t find a better handheld retro game console.
3. Retroid Pocket 3+
If you compare the Retroid Pocket 3+ with the RG405M, the former is a bit less powerful and runs less PlayStation 2 games in comparison. But it makes up for its lack of power by delivering a premium experience that is lacking in the RG405M – which feels rougher around the edges.
The Retroid Pocket 3+ has a beautiful design that feels similar to the Nintendo Switch, and its screen is far better too. The controls are great, and it offers an interactive interface which is much better than the usual apps section we get in generic handheld retro game consoles.
Not only can this run everything from the NES up to the GameCube, but you can perfectly play a lot of Xbox games on it too using their Cloud service if you’re subscribed to it. And that opens the door to so many modern games, not just retro ones.
All of this is complemented by a reasonable $149 price tag – so there’s really no reason not to get it. Unless you want to run more PS2 games with more consistency.
4. AYN Odin Pro
The AYN Odin Pro is arguably the best mid-ranged handheld retro game console that you can get your hands on. So far, we were only talking about the affordable devices that run retro games and just lightly tap into the sixth generation of gaming. But the Odin Pro directly allows you to run PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Nintendo Wii games at very playable framerates. And some of them even run extremely smoothly.
On top of that, its 7GB ram and the Snapdragon SD845 allows you to even upscale some of the games and play them at 2x resolution and more. Which is something that none of the previous options offered for fully 3D games.
The buttons and build are very comfortable, and it looks sleek visually too. And I personally really love its screen, which displays beautiful colors and it’s wide enough to not feel stretched or shrunk for sixth generation games. Last but not least, it does run all of the older games that you can think of too – so the retro handheld game console aspect is still applicable. All of this for $287 is a great deal that any fan of older games should benefit from.
5. Retroid Pocket Flip
The Retroid Pocket Flip is one of my personal favorite handheld retro game consoles because of its flip design. You can easily fit it in your pocket without having to worry about scratching the screen. And it also makes it great for gripping and pressing the shoulder buttons, like you would with something like the Nintendo DS/3DS.
It runs everything from the NES, up to the PSP perfectly – which includes the likes of Sega Dreamcast too. And you can run select PlayStation 2 and GameCube games too, though the list of that is pretty small. It’s more of a novelty than something you can rely on.
What does compensate for it though, however, is the Android 11 support. It lets you run a very large library of Android games, which even includes Call of Duty Mobile which runs surprisingly well. Having a built-in gamepad certainly helps for a lot of modern-day mobile games.
Everything looks great on its 4.7 touchscreen display, and the 5000mAh battery provides long hours of consistent gameplay. And the price? Only $164. So, if you love flip designs and want to catch up on everything from the first generation of gaming all the way to the fifth one – this is your new favorite device.
That’s it for our list of the top 5 best handheld retro game consoles that you should buy right now. Whether you only want to play very old games, or something from the PS2 era as well – these options have you covered.
We hope you found the device that you’re looking for. And if you have any recommendations that we missed, then let us know of that too!