Home > Console

Playstation Portal alternatives – our top non-Sony picks

What other handheld consoles outshine the PlayStation Portal?
Last Updated on November 20, 2023
Playstation Portal alternatives: Explore alternative gaming platforms similar to Playstation.
You can trust PC Guide: Our team of experts use a combination of independent consumer research, in-depth testing where appropriate - which will be flagged as such, and market analysis when recommending products, software and services. Find out how we test here.

Sony’s latest PS5 accessory has been making somewhat of a stir in the world of handhelds, so today we’re running you through some of the best PlayStation Portal alternatives. If you’re involved in the gaming sphere, you likely would have heard of the PlayStation Portal by now. However, the handheld draws attention to itself partly because of all the things it’s not: its 8-inch LCD screen is a delight, but the hybrid DualSense controller is limited to streaming from your PS5 console. While it’s good at what it does, the audience for the PS Portal is limited to PS5 owners.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the best PlayStation Portal alternatives, each offering unique and more versatile features to enhance your handheld gaming experience. Whether you’re seeking affordability, high-end performance, or something tailored for retro gaming, we should have an option for you listed here. So if the PlayStation Portal doesn’t quite meet your gaming needs, worry not, as there are a plethora of exciting alternatives available in today’s market.

Now, before we jump into the heart of our list, let’s consider what makes these alternatives stand out. Each option we’ve selected caters to different preferences and gaming styles. From devices optimized for cloud gaming to those designed for connecting with your smartphone, the diversity is remarkable. We also explore options for avid fans of retro gaming, ensuring that everyone finds a suitable match. So, let’s gear up to explore these versatile gaming companions that promise to bring your favorite games to life, anywhere and anytime.

Playstation Portal Alternatives

Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch Lite is the perfect blend of affordability and versatility. Its compact design and dedicated handheld mode make it an ideal choice for gamers who enjoy taking their console about with them. Unlike the Playstation Portal, the Switch Lite doesn’t rely on streaming from a console, offering a vast library of native games that don’t require that constant internet connection.

The Nintendo Switch Lite not only offers an affordable gaming experience but also boasts a solid build quality and an impressive battery life of up to 7 hours. Its integrated controls are perfectly optimized for handheld play, making it a great device for long gaming sessions on the move. The Switch Lite supports the vast majority of games from the Nintendo Switch library, ensuring that users have access to a wide variety of titles.

Priced competitively at $199, gamers seeking a cost-effective, standalone handheld console will find the Switch Lite an excellent choice. It’s available in a range of vibrant colors that show the playful nature of the device. It might not match up to the versatility and power of its Nintendo Switch sibling, but as an entry-level handheld, the adorable Switch Lite is the perfect console for gamers of all ages and abilities.

Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld

Tailored for cloud gaming enthusiasts, the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld takes streaming to the next level. It’s designed to optimize cloud gaming experiences with platforms like Xbox Cloud Gaming and NVIDIA GeForce NOW. Gamers who prefer streaming AAA titles from the cloud rather than relying on console-based games will appreciate the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld. Its focus on cloud gaming services makes it a great alternative for those with reliable internet connectivity. Similar to the PS Portal, the Logitech G Cloud can stream games via Remote Play; essentially, it can do what the Portal can do – and more.

With its focus on cloud gaming, the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld provides a seamless and high-quality gaming experience without the need for powerful internal hardware. The device features a comfortable ergonomic design, making it easy to play for extended periods. Its emphasis on cloud gaming also means that users can access and play their favorite games without worrying about storage space or hardware limitations. However, this does mean that it has the same limitations as the Portal, in that in order to jump into gameplay you will need a stable internet connection.

✓ Marla’s thoughts

What exactly is an emulator, and why should I bother with them?

For those unfamiliar with the term, an ’emulator’ is basically a piece of software that imitates a piece of hardware. Think of it like an app which disguises your handheld console as something that it’s not, like a Game Cube. This enables it to launch older games or device interfaces that it may not usually have been able to.
An emulator essentially allows your current computer system (known as “the host” system) to imitate the functions of a different device (or “the guest” system). With the help of an emulator, a host system can run games, programs, and software that were originally designed for the guest system. With a bit of downloading and patience, you can play your favorite games, such as the original Ocarina of Time, on a device other than an N64. How about that!

Retroid Pocket 3+

The Retroid Pocket 3+ is a haven for retro gaming fans. It supports a wide range of classic game emulations, bringing back the nostalgia of old-school gaming with the boost of modern hardware. In its physical design, it kind of looks like if the Switch Lite was designed as a retro emulator that runs on Android software. This device is perfect for those who cherish retro games and want to relive their gaming memories. Its ability to emulate a variety of older gaming systems makes it a standout choice for retro enthusiasts or those invested in trying out some of the earlier gaming experiences.

The Retroid Pocket 3+ stands out with its support for a multitude of classic games, bringing the golden era of gaming into the palm of your hand. The device features customizable software, including remappable buttons, and a vibrant screen that breathes new life into old classics. It’s an ideal pick for gamers who wish to explore a vast library of retro games without the hassle of multiple emulators or old consoles. However, while the Retroid may offer a way more versatile gaming experience than the PlayStation Portal, it is a lot harder to get the device up and running. For those unfamiliar, navigating the Android file directory and finding the files you need can be a confusing process.

Steam Deck

As a more powerful Playstation Portal alternatives, the Steam Deck offers robust hardware capable of running the latest PC games natively. Its versatility in handling both AAA titles and indie games makes it a superior choice for the more demanding needs of those after a portable gaming PC experience.

The Steam Deck is a powerhouse in portable gaming, offering a PC-like experience with its robust hardware and ability to play a wide range of Steam games natively. Its high-resolution touchscreen and customizable controls provide a comfortable and immersive gaming experience. The Steam Deck is particularly appealing for its open platform, allowing users to install third-party software and operating systems for an even more versatile gaming experience. Drawing on its high-end AMD AMD Zen 2 w processor, the Steam Deck is one of the consoles at the forefront of the new portable gaming PC genre of handhelds, alongside other competitors such as the popular ASUS ROG Ally.

Gamers looking for a handheld that can handle high-performance gaming natively will find Valve’s Steam Deck to be an excellent upgrade. If you want to explore a more in-depth analysis of the console, we’ve done a full review of the Steam Deck LCD to get to grips with how the original console runs following the release of its successor, the Steam Deck OLED.

AYN Odin

The AYN Odin is a great choice for emulation, boasting compatibility with a range of game systems. It strikes a balance between performance and price, offering a seamless emulation experience. Gamers who enjoy playing titles across various consoles and platforms will appreciate the AYN Odin’s versatility and surprisingly powerful performance. Its focus on emulation makes it a great choice for gamers who value diversity in their gaming library, and in its compact form is the hardware to achieve this with ease.

Launched in 2022, the AYN Odin is specifically designed for emulation lovers, offering great performance and compatibility with a wide range of game consoles from 2D to early 3D. Its user-friendly interface and ample storage options make it a convenient choice for gamers looking to play a variety of titles, while its crisp 5.8″ LCD display and responsive controls further enhance the gaming experience, making it a favorite among emulation enthusiasts. Packing a punch, the Base and Pro models have Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processors. Overall, it might be a newcomer to the Android-based handheld scene, but it seems the AYN Odin could be one to keep an eye on.

Backbone One

Also making use of mobile apps such as Remote Play, the Backbone One transforms your smartphone into a gaming console. It’s an innovative way to enjoy mobile gaming with console-like controls, making it a practical and portable gaming solution.

Backbone One’s intuitive design and easy connectivity to smartphones make it an ideal choice for enhancing mobile gaming. With USB-C port and lightning cable variants available, you can get a Backbone that will connect to both Android and older iPhone devices. The controller is lightweight yet sturdy, offering a comfortable grip and precise control. Its integration with popular gaming services like Xbox Game Pass and Apple Arcade further extends its versatility, making it a top choice for gamers who want to enhance gaming on their smartphones. With its support for the official PlayStation Remote Play App, you can enjoy most of the features offered by the Portal straight from your phone.

Mobile gamers who want to enhance their gaming experience on their smartphones will find the Backbone One an ideal choice. It’s perfect for those who prefer mobile gaming but crave the tactile feel of traditional game controllers. Priced at just $99, the Backbone is a perfect PlayStation Portal alternative for those seeking a similar experience but for a smaller investment.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch stands out with its unique ability to switch between handheld and docked modes. This versatility allows gamers to enjoy a more traditional console experience or take their games on the go, and positions it as one of the most popular PlayStation Portal alternatives. The Switch comes in a variety of models, including the original Switch, the Switch Lite, and the recently released Switch OLED. The standard Nintendo Switch features a 6.2-inch LCD screen, while the Switch Lite has a slightly smaller 5.5-inch LCD screen. The OLED model, however, matches the PlayStation Portal with a 7-inch OLED screen.

The Nintendo Switch’s hybrid design is its biggest selling point, allowing for a seamless transition from a home console to a portable device. It offers multiplayer gaming right out of the box with detachable Joy-Cons, making it a great option for social gaming, unlike the one-dimensional playstyle of the Portal. The Switch’s expansive game library, which includes many exclusive Nintendo titles, provides endless entertainment for all types of gamers.

PC Guide’s view

So, there are seven versatile PlayStation Portal alternatives, giving you a swooping overview of both handheld market favorites and lesser-known emulator consoles that can give you a similar (or even better) gaming experience to the PS Portal. However, it’s worth noting that the order of this list does not descend from best to worst: the right choice will come down to your specific gaming preference and budget, and what you’re after from your handheld. The one thing that they have in common is that unlike Sony’s Portal, there’s no pre-requisite of owning a $500 console to start your gaming.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.