10 Best Budget Game Handhelds Today

 Top 10 "Budget" Game Handhelds Today - November 2022

There has never been a time like today with so many game handhelds available. For the purpose of this subjective list,  I am considering "budget handhelds" to be $199.98 (USD) and below (below the price of a Nintendo Switch Lite). While I do game on a Steam Deck and other premium devices too, my primary focus is on budget game handhelds.  Nothing on my Top 10 predates 2020, so that's a strong indication of how great competition has become recently. If you are looking for a device that can REALLY run PS2/GameCube level emulation well,  you'll need to jump up into premium pricing realm. For now,  the Steam Deck is the best $ for $ buy in that premium realm. This list is fairly Anbernic heavy as they still are the King of budget game handhelds but I'd like to see some more competition from the other companies. Feel free to comment below with your favorite budget handhelds!

*This post does include a few affilate links [where noted] that I may benefit from if purchases made. All opinions here are my own and any potential benefit does not influence that. Support is definitely appreciated!

It should be noted that the Odin Lite from AYN would be #1 on my budget list if they were easier to get. Supposedly ordering the Odin Lite is supposed to open up more soon... The upcoming devices I expect to crash into my Top Ten budget picks soon are the Retro Pixel Pocket, Anbernic RG353M, KT-R1, Anbernic Mini, Evercade EXP, Anbernic RG505 (If They Somehow Keep It Under $200) & possibly the AYN Loki Zero if it's not delayed too much longer. The GKD Mini Plus & Mini Plus Classic have the potential to crash the list but widespread production on those sounds like it's up in the air right now. The Miyoo P60 and Miyoo Mini Horizontal also had potential but both projects are very delayed at this point. There's also talk of a TRIMUI Model M that's more similar to the Model S than the Smart. 

When looking for a device,  I highly suggest checking out the spreadsheet from timeisart to compare existing and upcoming to devices to see which ones check off the boxes of what you are looking for (everyone's needs and personal tastes are different):



The Top 10 With Light Notes

●Miyoo Mini V2 ⬆️ (2022)

Miyoo Mini V2

I wasn't the biggest fan of the Miyoo Mini (V1 2021) but Miyoo made a few modifications making the V2's rapid popularity rise possible. What makes the Miyoo Mini a Top Ten device is the price, design, highly involved community and custom options like MiniUI and OnionOS. Unfortunately Miyoo can't keep up with demand and eventually the regular restocks may stop happening. I would suggest only buying the Miyoo Mini V2 (V3 is the same device) from the official Miyoo store on AliExpress. If you have any interest in the Miyoo Mini, feel free to join us on reddit.com/r/miyoomini (9,000+ members)! The Mini's performance tops out at around PS1 and is by far the best micro sized handheld out there. The only drawback is that it is on the fragile side and not built to withstand drops or extreme rough handling. Under $60, this device is still a great buy! It should be noted that there has been more reports of screen issues with the newer made Minis (V3) and screen roulette does present some quality risk. 

Anbernic RG351V ⬆️ (2021)

RG351V

Despite being less powerful, I'd still take a RG351V over the slightly more powerful RG353V due to ergonomics and overall design. I don't see much added value in having two low placed thumb-sticks on a small vertical handheld. The 351V is considerably larger than the 353V/VS and still a viable option. Despite the age,  the RG351V is one device I still use often. Under $90 is currently a good price point for this device. 

The 351V is currently part of the Anbernic "BIG" Sale through 11/12 and is worth a look:

Anbernic.com [Affiliate Link]

Anbernic RG351MP🔻 (2021)

RG351MP

The RG353M is about to make the RG351MP (Metal Pro) almost pointless the purchase at this point. About the only benefit of the 351MP over the 353M would be that it has more custom (CFW) options. The 351MP will be off the Top Ten within a few weeks! At this point,  I don't think the 351MP is a good buy considering the alternative. 

●Anbernic RG353V/VS ⬆️ (2022)

RG353V & RG353VS

The 353V is a slightly more powerful (and smaller) alternative to Anbernic's RG351V. The benefit of going with a 353V over the 351V primarily is pocketability, the option to use Android (which is better for things like DS), touch-screen and improved performance all-around. The cheaper VS model does not have touch-screen or Android (Linux only). To me, the face of this device is too crowded to be comfortable, but if that's not a deal breaker for you,  it's not a bad option and is at a good price point. I have seen some QA concerns with the 351V/VS (screens not seated straight and possibly some d-pad input issues) but I'm not sure how widespread these issues are. Most people with these devices seem to be satisfied. 

●Evercade 🔻 (2020)

Evercade Premium Pack

The original Evercade is still an interesting option as it comes with 3 cartridges ($60 value) at $99.99 on sites like Amazon making the device itself only $40, but will pretty much be dead the moment the Evercade EXP releases next month. Official support for the original Evercade has already ended. The Evercade brings back the experience of collecting cartridges (with manuals) for handheld devices and is a pretty fun way to preserve video game history in a fully licensed way. The main drawback to Evercade is that it's completely single-player oriented with no connectivity. The Evercade EXP looks like it will be a huge leap in quality over this one. This device will be out of my Top Ten by December. I would suggest holding out for the Evercade EXP at this point unless you really like the 3 cartridges that come with the original. 

 [Amazon Associate Link]: Evercade EXP Pre-Order

Anbernic RG353P ⬆️ (2022)

Anbernic RG353P

The RG353P is an interesting choice mainly because it's an Anbernic device with stacked shoulders instead of the usual in-line shoulder buttons we see with most Anbernic builds. Personally, I'm fine with in-line shoulders with small devices for the most part but this is a good option for people who care about that. The 353P has the same SoC and similar performance as the RG503, 353V, 353VS and 353M. 

Retroid Pocket 3 🔻 (2022)

Retroid Pocket 3

My thoughts on the Retroid Pocket 3 are still somewhat mixed, but you are getting a lot of power for not a lot of money. With the RP3, you are paying more for power than quality. The best place to order one is still at GoRetroid.com or the official Moorechip Store on AliExpress. With the RP3+ just around the corner at $149 (just 3 months after the RP3 launch), I don't see much point in anyone buying the Retroid Pocket 3 now.  

QA concerns and some problems with the RP3 launch left me with mixed feelings on this device. I wasn't very impressed with the d-pad and face buttons but it is undeniable that this is three most powerful device in the budget realm. Having a wide touch-screen also makes this the only good all-around option for game  streaming in my list. You actually can get some PS2 and GameCube emulation of of the RP3 but results will be very mixed. I'd say maybe 15% of the PS2 library runs great on this device using AetherSX2. The RP3 is the largest device in my Top Ten but it's thin enough to almost still be Pocket friendly. I don't think I'd give this device my full blessing to anyone but it's a good device if you are ok with some shortcomings...

●Retroid Pocket 2 Plus 🔻 (2021)

Retroid Pocket 2 Plus

The Retroid Pocket 2 Plus while showing its age is still potentially a worthwhile pickup if you want something smaller than the RP3 and aren't interested in much beyond Dreamcast. I feel like the d-pad and face buttons on the RP2+ were better on the device than the RP3 but the touch-screen on the RP2+ is low quality. I'd like to see Moorechip drop the price of this one from $99.99 down to $74.99 which would keep it in a "good buy" range. Regardless, I think the RP2+ will be out of my Top Ten soon. 

●Anbernic RG350P 🔻(2020)

Anbernic RG350P

The 350P is "old" in this market at this point, but still a good buy if you can find it for under $70. Believe it or not, I still use mine. It has a real solid feel to it and great weight. This is still an option for anyone looking for PS1 and below level emulation (no N64). It's also not a particularly difficult mod to install a 350M screen on the 350P. The 350P is simply a solid device that feels good in the hands and is still a great buy for anyone not looking for a lot of power. 

●Anbernic RG351M 🔻(2021)

RG351M

What keeps the RG351M on my list simply is the 3:2 screen for GBA and build quality. Unfortunately it didn't have the best screen of the RK3326 era (the best screen was on the low build quality PowKiddy RGB20). The RG351M also lacked on board WiFi. If you want a device with a good GBA aspect (3:2), this is still the way to go for now...

●Anbernic RG300X ⬆️ (2021)

RG300X

I wasn't that big on the Anbernic RG300X when it first came out but if you can find it close to $50, all of a sudden it's a great buy. Recently, the device has been on sale under $60 and under $50 on Amazon and they go fast when the sub $50 price happens. The RG280M when on sale is also still a great pick up! The 300X and 280M are the same power as the other 350 series devices. 

*Devices above marked with ⬆️ are still holding their value with me and devices marked with 🔻 are slipping. 


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