What are the best handheld emulators?

While monster PC rigs and gaming consoles are great for some real serious gameplay and fun, sometimes, you just want something that is simple and portable. Here are some handheld emulators to try out.

57 contributors
8 solutions
  1. 16

    #1PAWACA Handheld Game Console

    PAWACA Handheld Game Console

    PAWACA Handheld Game Console is a portable emulator that features 3000 built-in classic retro games. It is also compatible with GBA (Game Boy Advance) ROMs that you can install via MicroSD card slot.

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    Eugene Freeman
    Written on April 3, 2019
    "Its clear black casing is really nice and attention-grabbing. There are 3000 classic games to choose from and some of them are really fun to play. Its 3-inch screen can get a little tiring after long but thankfully you can hook it up to a TV and play on a bigger screen."
  2. 15

    #2GPD XD Plus Portable Gaming Handheld (2018)

    GPD XD Plus Portable Gaming Handheld (2018)

    GPD XD Plus Portable Gaming Handheld features a 5” Touchscreen, two analog joysticks, a D-Pad and ten gaming buttons. It sports dual-band Wi-FI, Bluetooth 4.1, and the new Vulkan Engine for improved performance in supported games and ROMs.

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    Nick Ma
    Written on April 3, 2019
    "This is one serious piece for hardware considering its main purpose is for emulators. It's quite a powerful device that you can use with other things like music, videos, and even some AAA games on the Google Play Store. Definitely one of the best handheld emulators available in the market today."
  3. 6

    #3ODROID-GO Open Source Gaming Console

    ODROID-GO Open Source Gaming Console

    The ODROID-GO Open Source Gaming Console is a gaming kit that you can assemble yourself. It supports multiple emulators from the Sega Master System to the Nintendo Entertainment System, and even the Game Boy Advance.

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    Arthur Nelson
    Written on April 3, 2019
    "This is one of the more unique handheld emulators currently in the market. This is an adruino-based kit that you can build yourself and learn a little coding in the process. Being an open source hardware means that it supports a lot of ROMs and emulators. Being that it also looks like a game boy makes it one of the best handheld emulators in my book."

DID YOU KNOW?

The Nintendo Game Boy sold out within its first two-week run? When it came to the United States, it sold 40,000 units that very same day. It wasn't long after the gaming industry moved to 3D consoles. Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's Xbox, and Nintendo's Game Cube were these consoles. The Game Boy fell into obscurity. That is until emulation arrived and became popular. “Emulation” is a dirty word in the game development industry. This is because of is piracy-adjacent nature. Emulators mimic proprietary hardware. If you have a game’s code, you can play the games on any computer. This is without making any hardware modifications.

There is a deeper and cultural significance at play here. Game emulation is a form of preservation. Copies of games that are out of print, for one reason or another, circulate on ROM sites. Emulator software have also risen in popularity. Portable emulators pre-loaded with ROMs of retro games also became popular. Anyone can buy these devices and enjoy playing with tinkering or hassle. This is due in large part to the ever-growing power of smartphones. Another good example of this is the Classic Editions of retro game consoles. Consoles like the Super Nintendo Classic or the PlayStation Classic use emulation software. This was the best workaround to address piracy issues while also legitimizing emulation. In the end, it's a win-win for console makers and games both.

  1. 4

    #4PSFS Handheld Game Console

    PSFS Handheld Game Console

    The PSFS Handheld Game Console sports a 4.3" screen and has 500 built-in classic games based on Sega and Nintendo consoles. it can also be used as a media player that support today's most popular audio and video formats.

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    Nancy Mitchell
    Written on April 3, 2019
    "This device definitely took a lot design cues from the PlayStation Portable and that is not a bad thing. The overall shape and size and comfortable to hold. The 500 built-in games features the classics from the NES and the GBA era."
  2. 3

    #5Nidoum Handheld Game Console

    Nidoum Handheld Game Console

    Nidoum Handheld Game Console sports a 3-inch display and 169 built-in games. It comes with a joystick controller for multiplayer gameplay on TVs. It features a 700 mAh battery that is rated for up to 5 hours of continuous gameplay.

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    Betty Su
    Written on April 3, 2019
    "I got this for my kid mainly because of how it looked as it closely resembles the Nintendo Game Boy of my childhood. He is having a lot of fun with it so far and I sometimes play with him using the included controller. "
  3. 3

    #6IQ Toys Game Zone Handheld Game Player

    IQ Toys Game Zone Handheld Game Player

    The IQ Toys Game Zone Handheld Game Player features a 2.7" 960x 240 resolution display. It comes with 200 built-in games of different types. It's powered by 3 AAA batteries or via mini USB power cable.

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    John Carter
    Written on April 3, 2019
    "The overall shape and feel of the unit is comfortable. I got this for my kid so she can have something to do in the car during the drive to her school. I wouldn't recommend using it for extended periods during to its small screen but it's good for quick games every now and then."
  4. 1

    #7BORNKID Handheld Gaming Console & TV Game Controller

    BORNKID Handheld Gaming Console & TV Game Controller

    The BORNKID Handheld Gaming Console & TV Game Controller features a 2.5-inch LCD screen and comes with 360 built-in classic games. It can also be attached to your TV and serve as a controller while you play on a bigger screen.

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    Sharon Gomez
    Written on April 3, 2019
    "I have always been a fan of retro games and I wanted to share that with my kids. This was a decent option costs very little. I connected it to our TV so we could play on a larger screen. This was a good way to bond with the kids on weekends."
  5. 1

    #8BORNKID Kids Handheld Game Player

    BORNKID Kids Handheld Game Player

    The BORNKID Kids Handheld Game Player features a 3-inch display and comes with 100 built-in classic games from the 80s and 90s game consoles. It powered by a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged via micro USB cable.

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    Peter Zhu
    Written on April 3, 2019
    "I didn't want to get my kid a switch as it was too expensive and she is still quite young but I wanted something that she could play with sometimes so I got this instead. The games are nice and child-friendly so I didn't have to worry about her being exposed to things she's not supposed to."

Summary

Best What are the best handheld emulators
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1PAWACA Handheld Game ConsoleElectronics 16 Paid
2GPD XD Plus Portable Gaming Handheld (2018)Electronics 15 Paid
3ODROID-GO Open Source Gaming ConsoleElectronics 6 Paid
4PSFS Handheld Game ConsoleElectronics 4 Paid
5Nidoum Handheld Game ConsoleElectronics 3 Paid
6IQ Toys Game Zone Handheld Game PlayerElectronics 3 Paid
7BORNKID Handheld Gaming Console & TV Game ControllerElectronics 1 Paid
8BORNKID Kids Handheld Game PlayerElectronics 1 Paid
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