No matter what the season is, many of us enjoy spending time outdoors, enjoying all that nature has to offer. What better way to unwind after a day of hiking, fishing, or lounging around the campfire than by indulging in some gaming? Portable gaming consoles provide a fantastic way to enjoy the elements outside while still being able to get your gaming fix. Whether you’re camping in the wilderness or simply relaxing in your own backyard, the best portable gaming console can enhance your outdoor experience and provide you with hours of entertainment under the sun or stars.
Let’s go over some of the best portable gaming consoles for gaming on the go.
5 Best Portable Gaming Consoles
When it first hit the market in 2017, the Nintendo Switch revolutionized the gaming industry by offering a hybrid console that worked equally well as a handheld machine and a home console. Today, the Switch continues to impress with its portability and fantastic game library.
The switch’s portability is one of its standout features, with detachable controllers and a compact design that makes it easy to take on the go. Whether you’re commuting to work, traveling, or camping, the switch is the perfect companion for any adventure. Additionally, the console’s impressive battery life ensures you can enjoy long gaming sessions without worrying about running out of juice. The Switch also comes with a dock, which allows you to play on your TV or monitor.
|Size||Approximately 4 inches high, 9.4 inches long, and 0.55 inches deep (with Joy-Con attached)|
|Screen Size||Touch screen / 6.2 inch LCD screen / 1280×720|
|Weight||0.88 lbs when Joy-Con controllers are attached|
|Storage||32 GB. Can be expanded up to 2 TB via Micro SD card|
|Battery Life||4.5 – 9 hours|
Another one of the Switch’s standout features is its ability to let you play games with others on the same console. With two Joy-Con controllers included in the package, you and a friend can jump right into multiplayer games, with no additional accessories required.
This feature makes the Switch an excellent choice for camping or hiking trips, where you can easily share the console with friends or family and play games together while enjoying the great outdoors. The ability to play games with others also adds to the console’s versatility and makes it a great option for social gatherings or parties. Whether you’re playing solo or with friends, the Switch offers a fantastic portable gaming experience.
Take a look at some of the different ways you can play the Switch:
The Switch has a fantastic game library. From exploring Hyrule as Link in Breath of the Wild to slaying enemies as the Ironclad in Slay the Spire, there’s no shortage of great games to play. And with new titles being added all the time, the Switch’s library just keeps getting better and better.
While the new OLED model might be the latest and greatest, the original Switch remains an excellent portable gaming console. If you’re on a budget or just prefer the smaller form factor, we still suggest you snap up the original Switch. It’s portability and game library make it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a versatile and exciting gaming experience.
Nintendo Switch OLED
The Nintendo Switch OLED model, released in 2021, is the latest addition to the Switch family and boasts several impressive upgrades over the original model. The most notable improvement is the console’s gorgeous OLED screen, which offers vibrant colors, deeper blacks, better contrast, and a MUCH brighter screen than the original Switch. This makes it an excellent choice for gaming on the go, whether you’re commuting or camping.
Take a look at the difference between the Switch OLED and the original Switch:
|Size||Approximately 4 inches high, 9.5 inches long, and 0.55 inches deep (with Joy-Con attached)|
|Screen Size||Touch screen / 7.0 inch OLED screen / 1280×720|
|Weight||0.88 lbs when Joy-Con controllers are attached|
|Storage||64 GB. Can be expanded up to 2 TB via Micro SD card|
|Battery Life||4.5 – 9 hours|
The OLED model also features a new, adjustable stand that makes it easier to play in tabletop mode, as well as an enhanced audio system that provides more immersive sound. Additionally, the OLED model comes with 64GB of internal storage, twice the amount of the original Switch, providing more space for your favorite games.
Of course, like its predecessor, the OLED model also features the ability to play games with others on the same console, with two Joy-Con controllers included in the package. This feature makes it an excellent choice for camping or hiking trips, where you can easily share the console with friends or family and play games together while enjoying the great outdoors.
The Switch OLED model also benefits from the fantastic game library that the Switch is known for. From Mario and Zelda to indie gems like Stardew Valley and Hollow Knight, the Switch has a game for everyone. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a casual player, you’re sure to find something you love on the OLED model.
While the OLED model is an improvement over the original Switch in many ways, it’s also more expensive. If you’re on a budget or prefer the smaller form factor of the original Switch, that is a better choice for portable gaming. But if you want the best possible gaming experience on the go, the OLED Switch is definitely worth the investment.
The Steam Deck, also released in 2021, is an excellent addition to the world of portable gaming consoles. This portable PC gaming console offers a unique experience that separates it from other consoles on the market. Yes, this is actually a portable PC gaming console.
Take a look at some of the console features:
With the Steam Deck Docking Station (sold separately), you can plug your mouse and keyboard into it and use it as a PC. The Steam Deck runs on a custom version of the Linux operating system, called Arch Linux. With its powerful AMD APU and up to 16GB of RAM, the Steam Deck is a true portable gaming powerhouse that can run even the most demanding PC games (yes, including Cyberpunk 2077).
It should be noted that the Steam Deck cannot run every game on Steam. You can see a game’s compatibility on Steam Deck by looking for the “Steam Deck Verification Status” on the game’s store page. However, new games are being verified every day, and the “Steam Deck Verified” library is growing as we speak.
The Steam Deck also offers a large 7-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1280×800, making it easy to immerse yourself in your favorite games.
|Size||4.1 inches high, 10.6 inches long, and 1.9 inches deep|
|Screen Size||Touch screen / 7.0-inch LCD screen / 1280×800|
|Storage||64 GB, 256 GB SDD, or 512 GB SSD depending on model. Can be expanded up to 2 TB via Micro SD card|
|Battery Life||2 – 8 hours|
One of the most impressive features of the Steam Deck is its ability to allow you to play your entire Steam library on the go. This means you can take your PC gaming experience with you wherever you go, from camping trips to long plane rides. This portable gaming console is ideal for those who already play games on PC, and even better for those with a collection of games on Steam.
Unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck does not have detachable controllers. This makes the device unideal for those who want an immersive co-op experience with their portable gaming console. If you want a portable gaming console ideal for families or kids, you should consider getting the Nintendo Switch instead.
While the Steam Deck is a bit bulkier than other portable gaming consoles, it offers a unique experience that sets it apart from the rest. Its ability to play your Steam library on the go makes it the best portable gaming console for those who want a full PC gaming experience in a portable form factor. And with the power and versatility of a portable PC gaming console, the Steam Deck is sure to provide gamers with endless hours of entertainment on the go.
The Analogue Pocket is a modern portable gaming console designed for retro gaming enthusiasts. It’s a beautifully crafted device that can play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games, making it an ideal choice for anyone who still owns old copies of these classic games.
The Pocket features a high-quality, 3.5-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1600×1440 pixels, which is significantly higher than the original Game Boy’s resolution. This allows for stunning graphics and crisp visuals, making your old favorites look better than ever. It is the best way to play Game Boy games.
Take a look at the difference between the Analogue Pocket and the original Game Boy consoles:
|Size||5.9 inches high, 3.4 inches long, and 0.9 inches deep|
|Screen Size||3.5-inch LCD screen / 1600×1440|
|Storage||N/A, but a micro SD can be used to update firmware and other features|
|Battery Life||6 – 10 hours|
|Cartridge Compatibility||Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games|
The console also features a rechargeable battery that can last for up to 10 hours on a single charge, so you can enjoy extended gaming sessions on the go. The Pocket also has a built-in sleep mode, allowing you to pause your game and resume playing at a later time without losing your progress.
One unique feature of the Pocket is its FPGA-based hardware, which allows for near-perfect emulation of the original Game Boy hardware. This means that games are played as they were originally intended, without any lag or slowdown. This is something that can’t be achieved with software-based emulation, making the Pocket an excellent choice for purists who want the most authentic retro gaming experience.
The Analogue Pocket also has a range of customization options, allowing you to adjust the screen settings, remap the controls, and even add scanlines to give your games a more authentic look and feel.
While the Analogue Pocket is an excellent portable gaming console, it’s important to note that you need to own old copies of Game Boy games in order to play them. So, if you’re a retro gaming enthusiast with a collection of classic Game Boy games, the Analogue Pocket is undoubtedly the best portable gaming console for you.
iPhone/Android (w/ Backbone One)
Why buy a new portable gaming console, when you can just use the one in your pocket? The Backbone One smartphone attachment turns your phone into a portable gaming console and is best for those who want to experience console-level gaming on their phones. With this attachment, you don’t need a new console to play games – simply plug in your phone and enjoy your favorite titles with the comfort of a traditional controller.
The Backbone One features a responsive analog stick, precision D-pad, and tactile buttons for an immersive gaming experience. Depending on whether you buy the iOS or Android model, it also has a built-in Lightning/USB-C port for charging your phone while you play, and a headphone jack for private listening. Depending on your phone model, the battery drainage may vary, so make sure you bring a portable charger!
|Size||3.7 inches high, 6.9 – 10.1 inches long, and 1.3 inches deep|
The Backbone One also benefits from the extensive game library available on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Minecraft or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas are both excellent mobile ports to try out with this. Another excellent feature of the Backbone One is that it supports popular game streaming services like Xbox Game Pass, Steam Link, and PlayStation Remote Play. With thousands of highly-rated games to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
It’s worth noting, however, that you will need a strong and stable internet connection to use the Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam services, so this might not be the best choice if you’re going to be somewhere with no signal. This doesn’t mean you have to have super fast fiber Wi-Fi, but at least 4G LTE is recommended to play without disconnecting frequently. Additionally, for PlayStation Remote Play, you’ll need a PS4 or PS5 console to play.
However, for iOS and Android games, you can use the Backbone One for any games that are compatible, regardless of if you are online or off-the-grid.
Overall, the Backbone One is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality portable gaming console without breaking the bank. It provides a comfortable and familiar gaming experience on your phone, and the ability to stream games from your PC or console makes it an even more versatile option for gaming on the go. Just keep in mind you will need a stable internet connection to get the most out of it.
Additional Accessories For Your Portable Gaming Console
In addition to the gaming console, there are some accessories that you definitely want to consider.
If you own any gaming console (or any expensive gadget), then you know how important it is to keep it well-protected when not in use. We recommend getting a high-quality, hard-shell case. The Steam Deck is the only portable gaming console we mentioned that comes with a case.
Headphones / Earbuds
Sometimes it’s important to become truly immersed in a game. Listening to a game with headphones or earbuds is the best way to enjoy the music and audio cues. All of the portable gaming consoles we mentioned can wirelessly connect to Bluetooth headphones, such as AirPods, as well as traditional wired headphones via the 3.5mm headphone jack.
A Portable Charger
We use electronic devices for everything, and most of them have rechargeable batteries. Make sure you pick up a portable charger to give your portable gaming console the extra juice to last all day. Not to mention you can charge your other devices with a portable charger.
If you’re in the market for the best portable gaming consoles, you have plenty of great options to choose from. The Nintendo Switch OLED is the latest and greatest, offering a vibrant OLED screen, enhanced audio, and an upgraded dock. It’s a fantastic choice for anyone looking for the ultimate portable gaming experience. Other excellent options include the original Nintendo Switch, which is a more affordable and slightly-more compact version of the Switch OLED, and the Steam Deck, which has impressive hardware and the ability to play some games from your Steam library. No matter which portable console you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy gaming on the go and enhance your outdoor experiences in new and exciting ways.
Ethan is a tech enthusiast with a passion for video games and a deep understanding of SEO. He spends most of his time exploring virtual worlds, but he also knows the importance of taking breaks from screens and enjoying nature. When he’s not gaming, Ethan is busy creating online content that is both engaging and optimized for search engines.