The Steam Deck isn’t the only big-screen, wide-body gaming handheld that can handle modern graphics.

Valve’s Steam Deck (beginning at $399) appears to be a powerful and potentially revolutionary mobile gaming computer. However, good luck obtaining one! Preorders are months in advance, so if you haven’t already done so, you’ll have to wait a little longer.

Fortunately, when it comes to holding video games in your hands, the Steam Deck isn’t your only option. I’m not referring to Game Boys or even Nintendo 3DSes (though the Analogue Pocket is a fantastic retro gaming handheld). Several firms already provide portable gaming PCs that fit the Steam Deck/Nintendo Switch size factor, and there are a few additional mobile gaming solutions to consider as well.

A device must be capable of moderately high-quality 3D gaming and have at least a six-inch screen to be considered a Steam Deck alternative. As a result, our favorite retro gaming handhelds, as entertaining as they are, aren’t applicable here.

1. Nintendo Switch

The most obvious and widely available Steam Deck option is the Nintendo Switch. It’s about the same size and form as the Steam Deck when the controllers are attached in portable mode, though it’s half a pound lighter. It’s also less expensive than the Steam Deck, with the high-end OLED variant costing $350 and the handheld-only Switch Lite costing only $200.

Apart from Nintendo’s first-party titles, the Switch’s main selling point is its ability to function as both a handheld and a home console, due to the detachable, wireless Joy-Con controllers and the HDMI-outputting dock. The Steam Deck, on the other hand, can output over HDMI and even supports DisplayPort on top of that, but it lacks the Switch’s convenient dock (yet).

2. Ayn Odin

The second gadget on this list is not a PC, but it is nonetheless a gaming portable with the same general form factor as the Steam Deck. The Ayn Odin is an Android smartphone with a lot of promise and inexpensive prices across the board. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with eight cores, 4GB of LDDP4 RAM (8GB on the Pro variant), and 64GB of internal storage (128GB on the Pro model). Although it uses less power than the Steam Deck, the 6-inch touch screen has a greater resolution of 1,920-by-1,080 pixels (the Steam Deck’s screen has a resolution of 1280-by-800 pixels).

With the optional Super Dock adapter, you can connect the Odin to your TV, giving it a Switch-like feel. The Super Dock also has five USB-A connections, an Ethernet port, a USB-C input, and four GameCube controller ports (to name a few). GameCube, to be precise. For further storage, the dock can also contain its own 2.5-inch SATA hard drive.

3. Ayaneo Next Advance

We’ll start looking at the “genuine” Steam Deck options at this point. That is, entire Windows gaming PCs in portable form factors. They’re powerful, and their hardware is far more clearly defined than the specialized AMD CPUs on the Steam Deck. They’re also significantly more costly than the Steam Deck. The Ayaneo Next Advance, for example, costs a whopping $1,345.

4. GPD Win 3

Do you recall the days of slider phones? GPD is aware of this, which is why it has chosen that form factor for its handheld gaming PC. The GPD Win 3 takes the basic layout of the Steam Deck and Switch and adds a complete Blackberry-style QWERTY keyboard that allows you to type with your thumbs.

With a 5.5-inch, 1,280-by-720 touch screen with an Intel Core i7-1195G7 CPU, 16GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and a 1TB SSDR, it’s a little smaller than the Steam Deck. It has Intel Iris 12 integrated graphics, which may be less powerful than the RDNA 2 GPU found in the Steam Deck (we must run performance tests to know for certain). It also has a docking station, which is always a plus.

5. OneXPlayer

The advantage of OneXPlayer is that it boasts the largest and highest-resolution displays of all of these devices. Three of the four OneXPlayer models have 8.4-inch, 2,560-by-1,600 touch screens, with the OneXPlayer Mini having a 7-inch, 1,920-by-1,200 touch screen. As a result, most OneXPlayer models are broader than the Steam Deck, but strangely, they’re also shorter and flatter (though heavier by almost seven ounces).

6. PlayStation Vita (PS Vita)

Okay, this one is primarily for my benefit. Yes, the Vita is no longer available. It will not be receiving any new games. Last year, Sony attempted to shut down its online store. But, putting that aside, the Vita was a fantastic device.

The PlayStation Vita was the first gaming portable to feature the wide, dual-analog-control architecture that the Steam Deck does. It was also fairly strong at the time, rivaling the PlayStation 2. It could also play original PlayStation games and was backwards compatible with a few of PlayStation Portable games (if they were available digitally). That’s a sizable collection, with several respectable Vita games thrown in for good measure.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here