How Handheld Consoles Have Transformed Gaming

How Handheld Consoles Have Transformed Gaming

Do you remember the Game Boy? Since those days, handheld gaming consoles have come a long way and changed so much that is mind-blowing to see. These portable gaming devices have not only evolved in terms of hardware and performance but have also transformed the gaming industry as a whole. Some of the favorite games these days are more on how they perform on tiny screens than when hooked to the TV or computer, but this one is about the consoles, not the games on PS Vita or Switch.

We’ll explore the impact of handheld consoles on gaming and compare some of the popular options available today, including the Nintendo Switch, AyaNeo, PS Vita, and Steam Deck.

Evolution of Handheld Consoles

Handheld consoles have undergone a remarkable evolution, offering gamers an immersive gaming experience on the go. Here’s a brief overview of their transformation:

  • Early Days: The Game Boy, released in 1989, was a pioneering handheld console, offering simple yet addictive games like Tetris and Super Mario Land.
  • Color and Multimedia: The Game Boy Color added color to games, while devices like the Sony PSP introduced multimedia capabilities like movies and music.
  • Touchscreens and Motion Controls: The Nintendo DS brought touchscreen controls, and the PlayStation Portable (PSP) featured motion controls, enhancing gameplay options.
  • High-Resolution Displays: Modern handheld consoles now boast high-resolution displays, rivaling the graphics of home consoles.

What are some Handheld Console Options and Prices?

Today, there’s a wide range of handheld consoles available, catering to different gaming preferences and budgets. Here’s a breakdown of the prices for some popular options:

1. Nintendo Switch:

The standard Nintendo Switch costs around $299, while the Nintendo Switch Lite, a more compact version, is priced at approximately $199.

2. PS Vita:

Although discontinued, you can still find new or used PS Vita consoles ranging from $100 to $300, depending on the condition and included accessories.

3. AyaNeo:

This powerful handheld gaming PC comes in various configurations, with prices starting around $800 and going up to $1,300 for higher-end models.

4. Steam Deck:

Valve’s Steam Deck, with its PC-like capabilities, starts at approximately $399 for the base model and can go up to $649 for the top-tier variant.

How do they compare?

Let’s dive into the specifics of the PS Vita, Nintendo Switch, AyaNeo, and Steam Deck to understand their unique features and capabilities.

PS Vita

  • Released in 2011 by Sony.
  • 5-inch OLED touchscreen.
  • Offers a diverse library of games.
  • Features remote play with the PS4.
  • Excellent build quality and dual analog sticks.
  • Can play retro classics via PS One classics.
  • However, limited support and no longer in production.

Nintendo Switch

  • Launched in 2017 by Nintendo.
  • Versatile design with a detachable controller.
  • Docking capability for TV gaming.
  • Strong first-party game library.
  • Supports local and online multiplayer.
  • Access to the eShop for downloadable games.
  • Family-friendly and great for portable gaming.


  • A handheld gaming PC.
  • Runs on Windows 10.
  • Offers powerful hardware, including Ryzen processors.
  • Customizable and upgradable.
  • Capable of running a wide range of PC games.
  • High-resolution display for crisp visuals.
  • Suitable for gamers who want PC gaming on the go.

Steam Deck

  • Developed by Valve.
  • Runs on SteamOS with a customized Steam interface.
  • Powerful hardware similar to gaming PCs.
  • Features a trackpad and thumbsticks.
  • Designed for seamless integration with Steam’s extensive game library.
  • Open to third-party software installations.
  • Offers a versatile and highly customizable gaming experience.

What’s your favorite one? Handheld consoles have undoubtedly transformed gaming by providing gamers with unprecedented mobility and flexibility. From the nostalgic Game Boy to the powerhouse that is the Steam Deck, these devices continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in portable gaming. Whether you prefer Nintendo’s family-friendly titles, Sony’s classic library, or the versatility of PC gaming, there’s a handheld console out there to suit your gaming style and budget. So, pick your favorite, and game on!

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About the author



Tom is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and 2 cats. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on phones, tablets, wearables and more. You won’t see Tom anywhere without his ANC headphones and the latest smartphone. Oh, and he happens to be an Android guy, who also has a deep appreciation for iOS.