With increased power and incredibly cheap production, handheld computers are now fully capable of playing top-end games, sometimes from only a few generations ago. Emulators, which themselves are always legal, have gotten incredibly good, and there’s a whole new crop of handheld gaming systems that can run shockingly high-end versions of your favorite games from decades—or mere years—ago.
With a clamshell design, this gadget also allows for modern Android games and lasts up to 8 hours.
There are a few different types of handheld portable emulators. One of those is, essentially, an Android phone designed as a video game system—imagine an Android phone but with joysticks, buttons, and all the rest. Android is an extremely capable platform for this use: emulators are widely available, it’s flexible enough to support powerful mobile graphics chips and you can also use the controls to play Android games.
With an extra little controller, multiple people can play on this system at once. It comes with hundreds of games installed, ready to play as soon as you get it.
Other emulator systems specifically run a pre-loaded set of games, with no option to add more. These systems usually lean towards games from the 1980s; they require less in the way of internal power, and can usually be very affordable. Be sure to read the reviews to find out whether a system has the games you want.
With the latest, fastest, best chips, this system is great for gaming, but can also work as a phone. It can pair with other accessories and even a second device to play with friends.
There are other features you might want to consider before buying a portable emulator. Does it support Bluetooth for connecting other controllers, for multiplayer games? Is there any way to connect it to a TV, in case you want that big-screen feel? Many portable gaming systems are capable of some or all of these, and of combining to make a perfect retro gaming experience.