12 Best Handheld Emulator Consoles Available in 2022

Find out what you need to know about the best retro handhelds out there.

Finding the best retro handheld isn’t quite as straightforward as it used to be. More companies than ever are putting out consoles, some good, some amazing, some not so great.

That’s why we’ve put together an in-depth guide to the best handheld emulator consoles out there so you can take the guesswork out of it and find a console that meets both your budget and your emulation needs.

AYANEO Air

The AYA NEO Air

AYANEO Air

The most affordable Windows handheld out there packs a punch with up to PS3, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch emulation. 

Pros
  • Up to PS3 emulation
  • Stunning OLED screen and design
  • Cheapest Windows handheld
Cons
  • Still pricey
  • Some minor bugs
  • Awful battery life

The AYANEO Air is the most affordable of the Windows-based handhelds coming in at $549 for the base model.

Emulation will differ from model-to-model, but in terms of hitting everything, the AYANEO Air can play up to PS3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Switch.

Now, PS3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Switch emulation isn’t 100 percent across the board, but what you’ll find is that there are enough of the classics to play to justify it.

It’s not worth buying the AYANEO Air primarily for those systems as not everything will run flawlessly, but if you’re after something that packs a punch and don’t mind fiddling with settings to get the most out of it, the AYANEO Air is definitely worth considering.

On top of the emulation options you’ve also got the capacity to play AAA games at a decent resolution. God of War runs in 720p at 30 frames per second; Elden Ring at 720p at around 40 frames per second; and Cyberpunk 2077 at 720p at 30 Frames per second.

It’s also worth noting, thanks to the stunning screen the AYANEO Air offers, 720p looks crisp. You won’t play this thing and think you’re missing out on anything.

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AYANEO Air Specs

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5560U Zen 2/AMD Ryzen 7 5826U Zen 3
  • GPU: Radeon Vega 7 Graphics/Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
  • Storage: Up to 2TB SSD
  • Screen: 5.5-inch – 1920 x 1080 OLED
  • RAM: 8GB to 32GB DDR4

What Can the AYANEO Air Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x, Dreamcast
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, 3DS, N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch
  • Sony: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3
  • Microsoft: Xbox, Xbox 360
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

Retroid Pocket 3

Retroid Pocket 3

Pros
  • Manages to mix power with affordability
  • Can play up to PSP games
  • Brilliant screen
Cons
  • GameCube and up will struggle to run
  • Too big for a pocket
  • Dome switches don't come installed

The Retroid Pocket 3 is a solid console with more power than the other devices in this price bracket. It’s also a great upgrade to the Retroid Pocket 2, though it does come with some pretty big caveats. 

For up to GameCube, the Retroid Pocket 3 is a high-powered device with a surprisingly low price tag.

Most of the specs still resemble those found in the Pocket 2 Plus, but the big changes – the introduction of Android 11 and more RAM – mean this handheld can hit highs the previous model couldn’t. It’s also faster than the Pocket 2 Plus, which is great. 

Not all GameCube titles will run flawlessly, but more are compatible thanks to the new upgrades. Not only that, the new 4.7-inch screen is a joy to play on. It’s not so big that the console feels oversized, but it’s also not the tiny 2.5-inch screen we see in the micro handhelds. It’s Vita-sized, and that helps to make the Pocket 3 stand out.

But those caveats? Strap in. Depending on which version you receive, you could have a problem-free experience or you could be pulling your hair out.

You could find issues with screen flickering at lower brightnesses, sections of the screen not responding, button and stick issues, and software crashes to name a few of the reported problems.

Of course, this could all be fixed in the future, so don’t write GoRetroid off completely, and there’s every chance you’ll get one of the good consoles. Still, it’s our job to report what’s happening so you have all the info you need to make a confident purchasing decision. At the moment, it’s harder to recommend than it should be.

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Retroid Pocket 3 Specs

  • CPU: ARM Cortex-A75 at 2.0Ghz/ARM Cortex-A55 at 1.8Ghz
  • GPU: PowerVR GE8300 at 800MHz
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Screen: 4.7-inch touchscreen at 750 by 1334, up to 60hz
  • RAM: 2GB/3GB

What Can the Retroid Pocket 3 Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x, Dreamcast
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, 3DS, N64, some GameCube
  • Sony: PlayStation, most PlayStation Portable
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

 

Ayn Odin

The AYN Odin console

Ayn Odin

Arguably the most sought-after console out there, the AYN Odin delivers the best bang for your buck any way you slice it. 

Pros
  • Most powerful console in the mid-range price point
  • Great compatibility
  • Killer 16:9 screen
Cons
  • Takes ages to ship

The Ayn Odin Lite and Odin Pro are the ones to beat. Whenever any discussion about the best handheld emulator console comes up, chances are it won’t be long before someone mentions the Ayn Odin.

That’s because the Ayn Odin is the best value going. Coming in at below $200, able to play up to PS2, and with a stunning 5.98-inch 16:9 screen, the Ayn Odin is simply unparalleled.

Up to PS2 is where the Ayn Odin taps out, and not all PS2 games will run flawlessly, but for a sub-$200 device, that kind of compatibility is unheard of. The Anbernic RG353P or Retroid Pocket 2 Plus simply can’t compete with that.

This isn’t a cheap console with a bunch of tech stuffed inside either. People love the design and praise how comfortable it is to play. It’s also the kind of device that makes our job as critics all the more difficult.

The biggest problem with the Odin is the fact shipping times are inconsistent. It could be two weeks, or it could be two months, or it could be much longer. Ayn isn’t able to keep up with demand, which is a good problem for a company to have, but a pain for those looking to purchase the device.

Ayn Odin Lite Specs

  • CPU: Mediatek Dimensity D900 | Dual-core A78
  • GPU: Mali-G68 MC4
  • RAM: 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Screen: 5.98-inch IPS LCD dragonglass touchscreen
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Resolution: Up to 1080p at 1080×1920
  • Video Output: HDMI
  • Connectivity: Wi-fi 6 (a/b/g/n/ac/ax), Bluetooth 5.2
  • Operating System: Android 11.0
  • Size: 224 by 95 by 15

Ayn Odin Pro Specs

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon SD845 |  Quad-core Kyo Gold
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR4
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Screen: 5.98-inch IPS LCD dragontrail touchscreen
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Resolution: Up to 1080p at 1080×1920
  • Video Output: HDMI, display port
  • Connectivity: 2.4G, 5G, Wi-fi 802.11 (a/b/g/n/ac/), Bluetooth 5.0
  • Operating System: Android 10.0
  • Size: 224 by 95 by 15
  • Battery: 6000mA

What Can the Ayn Odin Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x, Dreamcast
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, some 3DS, N64, GameCube, some Wii, some Wii U
  • Sony: PlayStation, some PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

Valve Steam Deck

The Steam Deck by Valve

Steam Deck

The current King of emulation, the Steam Deck offers up unrivaled performance alongisde an achievable price tag. 

Pros
  • Massive screen size
  • Outstanding performance
  • Can play AAA and retro
  • Over 4000 games verified
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Really, really big
  • Not all games are compatible
  • Getting used to the ins and outs of Steam OS takes time

The Steam Deck remains the go-to device for emulation. If it’s pure, raw power you’re after, the Steam Deck is where it’s at.

Although the Steam Deck is the chonkiest of the bunch, that’s because it features some of the best cooling solutions out there, and that seven-inch screen is a behemoth. It’s a massive console that’s sure to put some people off. If that won’t be an issue for you, read on.

In terms of what it can emulate, what it can’t emulate is most likely easier to run through.

Up to PS3 is the upper end of emulation here, and the Steam Deck offers up better compatibility than the Ayn Odin when it comes to the harder-to-emulate systems.

Not only that, it’s a handheld designed first for PC games. If you’ve got a Steam account, integration is simple and the operating system is surprisingly nice once you adapt to it. You are free to chuck Windows onto the device if you want to, though.

Going back to the AYN Odin comparison, the biggest issue here is shipping times. Buying a Steam Deck has become a lottery of sorts. You can’t just decide on one and then buy it. You need to log in with a Steam account online and register your interest. Then, if you’re lucky, you’ll eventually be offered one. It’s long and drawn out, but the end result is worth it.

The Steam Deck isn’t affordable, but neither is it overly expensive. For what you’re getting in terms of power, there’s definitely value there.

Steam Deck Specs

  • Processor: AMD APU
  • CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 gigaFLOPS FP32)
  • GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 teraFLOPS FP32)
  • RAM: 16 GB LPDDR5 onboard RAM (5500 MT/s quad 32-bit channels)
  • Storage Options: 64 GB eMMC/256 GB NVMe SSD/512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD
  • Display: 1280 x 800 pixels (16:9)
  • Type: Optically bonded IPS LCD for enhanced readability
  • Screen size: Seven-inches
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Touchscreen: Yes

What Can the Steam Deck Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x, Dreamcast
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, 3DS, N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch
  • Sony: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3
  • Microsoft: Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Game Streaming
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

Anbernic RG353P

The RG353P handheld by Anbernic

RG353P

As a solid upgrade to the RG351P, the RG353P puts comfort at the forefront while also upgrading the system's RAM and chipset to allow for N64 and Dreamcast gameplay in addition to the host of earlier systems this beast can emulate.

Pros
  • Still affordable
  • Plays up to N64 and Dreamcast
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • N64 and Dreamcast aren't perfect
  • Pricier than the RG351
  • Screen could be clearer

The Anbernic RG353 is how upgrades should be done. While it is a price increase over the RG351P, the extra power here lets owners play up to Dreamcast.

Up to Dreamcast is where the RG353P hits its limit and it’s worth mentioning Dreamcast and N64 performance isn’t perfect. Some games will run with few issues, but the harder-to-emulate titles will perform worse.

This isn’t really a deal-breaker, though. The RG353P still falls into the affordable price category, and given it’s a clear upgrade over the RG351P, the extra RAM and faster chipset are pleasant surprises, even if coverage for the newer systems isn’t 100 percent.

It’s the rounded design of the RG353P that really sells it as well. The RG351P is great, but those angled corners weren’t fun. The RG353P, meanwhile, takes its cues from the PocketGo S30, and the end result is a retro handheld that’s comfortable to play on.

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Anbernic RG353P Specs

  • Chipset: RK3566 – Quad-core 64-bit Cortex-A55 at 1.8GHz
  • RAM: 2GB LPDDR4x
  • Storage: 32GB eMMC, 16GB microSD card
  • Connectivity: 2.4/5G, Bluetooth, HMDI-out
  • Screen: 3.5-inch IPS with OCA full-tilt, 640×480
  • Battery: Li-polymer 3500 mAH (around six hours)

What Can the RG353P Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x, Dreamcast
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, N64
  • Sony: PlayStation
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

Miyoo Mini

The Miyoo Mini

Miyoo Mini V2

The Miyoo Mini and Miyoo Mini V2 are super affordable pocket consoles that make up for what they lack in power with a serious amount of style. 

Pros
  • Portable and pocket-sized
  • Emulation is good
  • Surprisingly playable
Cons
  • It's all that powerful
  • Easily lost
  • Screen is okay

The Miyoo Mini came out of nowhere and became a smash hit with retro enthusiasts. It’s one of the smallest consoles out there and that form factor resonated with owners.

In terms of power, the Miyoo Mini is the weakest on this guide by a clear mile. That’s okay, though, because the Miyoo Mini is more of a novelty console. It’s all about the aesthetic rather than playing retro games with modern options like resolution or speed boosts.

Screen quality is fine and emulation performance is passable. The systems it can emulate will work, just don’t expect anything groundbreaking. I’d also argue even though PS1 is possible, the size of the console hinders enjoyment.

Still, if you’re after something that’s pure nostalgia, the Miyoo Mini’s low cost makes it easy to recommend as a display console. Just remember if you’re serious about gaming on the go, the Anbernic and Retroid offerings are better choices in the long run.

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Miyoo Mini Specs

  • Screen Size: 2.8-inch IPS screen
  • Resolution: 640×480
  • Operating System: Linux
  • CPU: ARM Cortex-A7 dual-core 1.2Ghz
  • RAM: 128MB
  • Size: 93.5mm by 65mm by 18mm
  • Battery: 2000mAH (around three to four hours)
  • Charging: USB-C

What Can the Miyoo Mini Emulate?

  • Sega: Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, Game Gear
  • Nintendo: GBA, GBC,GB, SFC, FC,
  • Sony: PS1
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

AOKZOE A1 Handheld

The white AOKZOE A1 handheld

AOKZOE A1

Pricey but powerful sums up the forthcoming AOKZOE A1 console. If you're looking play up to PS3 along with the latest AAA games, this is one console to keep an eye on. 

Pros
  • Up to PS3 is possible
  • Plays the latest AAA games
  • Runs Windows
Cons
  • Very expensive 
  • Needs to get to more people before we pass judgment

The AOKZOE A1 is one of those consoles worth keeping an eye on. It’s from a new company, so it’s worth waiting until release before purchasing – let others see what it’s like first. But from a pure power point of view, the AOKZOE A1 is comparable with the Steam Deck.

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This is a Windows-based handheld. That means along with being able to emulate a massive amount of consoles, you’ve also got something powerful enough to run AAA PC games like Elden Ring and Cyberpunk 2077.

What’s got everyone so excited about the AOKZOE A1 is the console’s design. Normally with Windows handhelds companies have a tendency to just smash everything together and hope for the best. The AOKZOE A1 doesn’t fall into that trap, though. It’s a handheld that looks designed to be played by humans. Comfort and ease of use is at the forefront of the design.

The biggest drawback here is going to be the price. It costs more than the Steam Deck, and with prices starting at $1099/£925 for the base model, it’s simply going to be too expensive for many.

Still, if you’re after power and money isn’t an issue, the AOKZOE A1 is one of the best retro handhelds to keep an eye on.

AOKZOE A1 Specs

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
  • GPU: Radeon 680M
  • RAM: 16GB/32GB
  • Storage: 512GB/1TB /2TB
  • Screen: Eight-inch IPS display, sRGB
  • Operating System: Windows 11, Steam OS
  • Misc: RGB, Lighting, PD charge, gyroscope

What Can the AOKZOE A1 Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x, Dreamcast
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, 3DS, N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch
  • Sony: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3
  • Microsoft: Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Game Streaming
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

GPD Win Max 2

The Win Max 2 from GPD

GPD Win Max 2

The GPD Win Max 2 marries the portability of a laptop with the power of a high-end gaming device. It's pricey, that's for sure, but if it's pocket power you're after, the Win Max 2 is worth checking out. 

Pros
  • Powerful enough to run up to PS3
  • Doubles as a laptop
  • Flip top makes it harder to break
Cons
  • Price
  • Design won't be for everyone
  • Somewhat awkward to play on

Companies tend to play it safe. Horiztonal consoles rule the retro gaming space because they’re tried and tested. But GPD isn’t one to play it safe. The company has made a name for itself by taking risks.

Do the risks always pay off? Not always, no. They wouldn’t be risks if they always worked. But when the risk does pay off, you get something utterly unique, as is the case with the GPD Win Max 2.

Here is one of the best retro handhelds that doubles as a laptop. Having a Windows device with a dedicated keyboard is going to make using the device that much easier. And while the layout of the sticks may be somewhat awkward, they work surprisingly well once you’ve adjusted.

In terms of power, the Win Max 2 has enough to emulate up to PS3, though that will vary depending on which version of the console picked up.

As with the AOKZOE A1, price is the biggest barrier here. The specs and the design make the pricing justifiable, but there’s no getting around it’s still a lot.

The power here also makes this a device capable of playing the latest AAA games. God of War runs at around 45 frames per second, Elden Ring at a little over 30, and Halo Infinite at 50 – all of those will need to be on low to get the best performance.

The question to ask yourself here is do you want to drop the pocket portability in favor of something that’s a halfway house between a handheld and laptop? And whether you want to drop big money on it, too.

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GPD Win Max 2 Specs

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1260P/ AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
  • GPU:  Intel Iris Xe Graphics 96EU/AMD Radeon 680M
  • RAM: 16GB LPDDR5/32GB LPDDR5s
  • Storage: Up to 2TB High-Speed PCI-E NVMe SSD
  • Screen: 10.1-inch touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth: 5.2, Thunderbolt 4 (USB4)
  • Battery: 67Wh

What Can the GPD Win Max 2 Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x, Dreamcast
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, 3DS, N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch
  • Sony: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3
  • Microsoft: Xbox, Xbox 360
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus

Shot of the Retroid Pocket 2 console

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus

The Android-based Retroid Pocket 2 Plus excels at emulating up to PS1, and thanks to clever engineering, can handle light GameCube games as well as DS titles. 

Pros
  • Excellent compatibility
  • Great trigger system
  • Powerful
Cons
  • Stick slider isn't great
  • 480p resolution
  • Interface takes time to get used to

Even though the Retroid Pocket 3 is now out, the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus is still a powerful, Android-based console that ticks all the boxes.

Whereas Anbernic consoles use power to brute force their way through emulation, the Retroid Pocket 2 impresses because of how smart everything has been implemented.

In terms of power, it’s in the same ballpark as the RG351P, but that isn’t the whole story. Through clever engineering, the Retroid Pocket 2 is one of the best handheld emulator consoles due to its ability to punch above what it should be capable of.

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It’s not a GameCube player by any means, but then it’s capable of playing the lighter GameCube games like Luigi’s Mansion with minimal issues. How the team at Retroid somehow achieved this is enough to make your head explode. It shouldn’t be possible, but through clever coding, it is.

The big change here compared with the Anbernic devices is the switch to Android. Linux is a great operating system when used correctly, but Android offers up access to the Google Play store, which in turn grants access to a larger supply of different emulator apps, including the brilliant PS1 emulator ePSXe on Android.

It’s a little more expensive than the basic Anbernic devices, but given the power increase and aforementioned switch to Android, the price difference makes sense and is justified.

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Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Specs

  • Chipset: Unisoc Quad-core Tiger T310
  • RAM: 2GB LPDDR4
  • Storage: 32GB eMMc
  • Android 9
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 2.4G and 5G, Bluetooth 5
  • Battery 4000mAh
  • Screen Size: 3.5-inch touchscreen
  • Resolution: 480p

What Can the Retroid Pocket 2 Plus Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, DS, some N64, some GameCube
  • Sony: PlayStation
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

Powkiddy RGB10 Max 2

The RGB Max 2 from Powkiddy

Powkiddy RGB10 Max 2

One of the older consoles now, the Powkiddy RGB 10 Max 2 is an option for those who prioritize comfort above all else. 

Pros
  • Great up to PS1 emulation
  • Very, very comfortable
  • Larger screen
Cons
  • Shoulder buttons suck
  • Chipset is now dated

The Powkiddy RGB10 Max 2 often gets forgotten about when it comes to retro handheld guides and that’s a real shame. Sure, it looks like a toy, but that just makes it all the more endearing.

On the power front, the Powkiddy RGB 10 Max 2 matches the Anbernic RG351P. So that’s up to PS1 emulation without any issues.

It’s where things differ that the RGB 10 Max 2 comes to life. For a start, you’ve got a larger screen, and thanks to a user-friendly operating system everything looks great on this device.

Not only that, rounded grips on the back of the Powkiddy RGB 10 Max 2 really make this thing feel comfortable. The grips fit snuggly into the hand, meaning you can play this thing for hours without your hands cramping up.

RetroDodo also makes a really great point out of the smaller bezels. The screen really is at the forefront of the design and Powkiddy has done all it can to avoid wasted space.

Granted the RK3326 chipset is overused now, but if you’re after quality visuals and aren’t fussed about playing anything above PS1, the Powkiddy RGB 10 Max 2 comes easy to recommend.

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Powkiddy RGB10 Max 2 Specs

  • Chipset: RK3326
  • RAM: 1GB DDR3L
  • Screen: five-inch IPS OCA screen (854×480)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Storage: 64GB with microSD support
  • Operating System: Linux
  • Battery: Li-polymer 4200mAh

What Can the Powkiddy RGB10 Max 2 Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance
  • Sony: PlayStation
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

Evercade Exp

The white Evercade EXP handheld

Evercade Exp

Want to get back into buying carts? After a luscious screen to play them on? Then the Evercade Exp is for you. 

Pros
  • Legally own games
  • Stylish device
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Not out yet

Here’s where things take a different turn. The Evercade Exp isn’t an emulator console. Instead, it’s more comparable with a Game Boy Advance than an RG351P.

With the Evercade Exp, you buy cartridges that house several games. Think of them as collections. So far there’s everything from Worms to Sensible Soccer. Although there are no Nintendo or Sega games in sight, Evercade focuses on the lesser known but still beloved titles you can’t play unless you own the original hardware.

That’s what makes the Evercade Exp such a special device. It’s one for collectors and offers up a completely legal avenue for those who want to actually own the games they play.

Evercade Exp Specs

  • CPU: 1.5Ghz Processor
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Screen: 4.3-inch IPS display -800×480
  • Charging: USB-C
  • Output: 720p via mini-HDMI
  • Battery: 3000mA – around four to five hours

What Can the Evercade Exp Emulate?

  • Nothing, games come in cartridge form

Anbernic RG351

The RG351 by Anbernic

Anbernic RG353P

The RG353P is an affordable solution that excels at playing up to PS1 and low-spec indie titles. 

Pros
  • Affordable 
  • Up to PS1 runs without issues
  • Perfect for commuting
Cons
  • Won't run higher than PS1
  • Screen is good but not amazing
  • Outperformed by pricier systems

The Anbernic RG351P is one of the go-to consoles for many. It exists at a comparatively low price point and offers up stellar emulation.

If your main goal is to play Sega and Nintendo games on a device that fits in your pocket, the RG351P is perfect for that. Emulation speeds very rarely falter, resulting in clean gameplay that feels like the original hardware. Just keep in mind the specs here do limit what it’s capable of compared with the higher-end devices like the Ayn Odin. Up to PS1 is where this console hits its limits.

It’s also worth mentioning the RK3326 chipset is both over-used and fairly dated now. It does what it needs to and it does that well, but in terms of what else is available, it’s now falling into the lower end when it comes to power.

The RG353P, for example, uses a more recent chipset, and the speed difference is noticeable, although the RG353P does cost more as well. So if affordability is what matters, the RG351P is still going to come out on top.

Something else to consider, you can get the previous model the RG350 for cheaper than the RG351P but there are some drawbacks, mostly in the form of the operating system.

Both devices use the same chipset, but the RG351P features upgrades to the system to make it more intuitive and generally look nicer. The RG351P also boasts an ARM processor meaning it can run indie games that have been ported to the console. Neat!

If you can afford the difference, the RG351P is one of the best emulator consoles out there. It’s simply not worth going for the cheaper model that’s inferior in almost every way.

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RG351P Specs

  • Chipset: RK3326
  • GPU: Mali-G31 MP
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Screen: 3.5-inch IPS at 320 by 480 resolution
  • Operating System: Linux
  • Battery: 3500 mAH

What Can the RG351P Emulate?

  • Sega: Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, SegaCD, Sega32x
  • Nintendo: NES, SNES, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance
  • Sony: PlayStation
  • Misc: PC Engine, WonderSwan, Mame, FBNeo, Neo Geo

A Note About Battery Life

One thing any prospective buyers need to factor in is battery life. On lower-end consoles like the RG353P or Retroid Pocket 2 Plus, battery life is solid, and you can pull around four to six hours on average.

But with more power comes a massive hit to battery life, especially when it comes to running the latest AAA games and emulating the more powerful consoles.

This isn’t a problem any company has solved yet, and while the Steam Deck may offer better battery life than the AYANEO Air, neither consoles offer up what would be considered as good.

They are portable, but chances are you’re going to spend a lot of your time plugged in. It’s not a problem if you’re at home and need a second screen to game on, but if you’re looking at any of the high-end consoles as something for a commute, they won’t last.

On average, battery life for the AAA-capable consoles range anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple of hours. You can alter settings to get more out of it, but it’s worth factoring that battery life is, generally, abysmal across the board.

If you are after something for outside gaming, definitely consider going with the cheaper, smaller retro devices. That four to six hours of usage is exactly where it should be.


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Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming and tech journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.