Hand-Hold My Handheld Experience
When you think handheld gaming do you think Nintendo? Would you be surprised to learn that since Mattel made the first handheld device in 1976 there have been over 40 major handheld releases from other manufacturers? Where does that leave us now? Come along to find the best gaming experience for the modern age!
There are lots of options these days for #gameplay on the go. The hard part is separating the good ones from the bad ones and the only way to really do that is to feel out which one works for you.
Everyone has different preferences and different expectations, so, it can be tough deciding which one(s) you are going to use and what kind of experience you want out of it. I am going to discuss two options that I highly recommend. While there are more out there, these two options offer the most variety and the greatest “bang for your buck.” These two are the Razer Kishi (combined with GeForce Now) and the Steam Deck.
Both of these options are not stand-alone solutions, because most handhelds have hidden costs (games, cartridges, subscriptions, etc.). Ultimately, YOU must decide what is best. So, if you see something else that sounds good to you, give it a shot. What is important to understand is that #handheld gaming is not the same experience as console or PC. It’s going to feel different. You cannot and will not get the same experience as the other platforms.
The Razer Kishi is a controller that fits around your phone. Its stretches apart and connects on either end of the phone to make the #phone the “system” you are using. With phones ever changing this means you must do a little research to make sure your phone is compatible. For mine, I have to slide my case off to plug in the Kishi (most phones won’t fit the Kishi with their protective case on), which usually takes about 30 seconds tops. Then there is a Kishi app you can run that looks for compatible games on your phone or download new ones to play. However, this hardware really shines when paired with a streaming service such as GeForce Now. GeForce Now is a game streaming service—think Netflix but for games. For a small monthly fee, you “rent” a remote pc and use it to play your games from your Steam, Epic, Ubisoft libraries, and more. The gameplay is then streamed directly to your device at around 15-25Mbps or upwards of 25GB per hour. So, you will want to turn on your WiFi to save your phone’s data!
The Kishi is between $50-100 (depending on the version) and then the subscription to GeForce now is between $10 and 20$ (but there is also a free trial).
The Steam Deck is the proprietary handheld from the software giant that is Steam. Steam is known for providing the best online marketplace for your online game purchases. Recently, they decided to make hardware so people could play they games that had been purchased anywhere. The Steam deck is their attempt at a gaming laptop smooshed down into a little over a foot long piece of equipment built around a #controller. This is much more powerful than any other handheld on the market! Obviously, it links to your Steam account, so if you don’t have that library already established, then you have to purchase each game individually. You can also go through a process to add libraries from other sources (like Obisoft and Epic), but this was by far my favorite handheld gaming experience. The system feels good. The joysticks are comfortable and responsive, and the way the buttons press feels satisfying. It does get a little hot, but it’s a whole computer in your hands, so you have to allow it airflow. Steam decks are hard to come by as of this article’s publish date, but you can still currently reserve one on their website.
Depending on the specs the Steam Deck is between $400 and $700. The low-end models don’t offer enough storage for games without purchasing external SD cards and they have different parts for screens.
As I said, these are just two of the many options for handheld gaming that I recommend to people. I have purchased others and have not been satisfied with any of them—with the exception of the Nintendo Switch, which is a wonderful system that I highly recommend as well (just not the lite model!!!). It’s just that the Switch is technically Nintendo’s “console,” while the Kishi and the Steam Deck are more #conventional handheld gaming options.
I use both the Kishi and the Steam Deck depending on where and what I am doing. The Kishi is usually short session when I am waiting for something in a public space. And the Steam Deck is for extended gaming sessions while sitting on the couch or at a buddy’s house. What is important is identifying your individual needs and figuring out which option fits your budget.
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