Best Steam Deck Alternative 2024: Top-Rated Handheld Consoles

What are the best substitutes for Valve’s Steam Deck?

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There has arguably never been a better time for handheld game consoles: computational capabilities are pushed further and further every day, with the option to play the latest console releases from wherever you are. Though the Steam Deck is the de facto household name, the best Steam Deck alternative consoles are just as good – if not better- options for handheld gameplay.

We’ve put together some of the best Steam substitutes on the market, factoring in budget alternatives and a variety of brands, to ensure that you find a suitable handheld console no matter your console-war allegiance!

Is the Steam Deck Worth It?

With that said, it’s important to note that we think the Steam Deck is hardly past its prime. Valve’s flagship handheld console is still one of the best offerings in the market, especially with the latest models boasting improved storage and OLED screens. The advantage of being based on Steam – and therefore PC – games libraries allows the Steam Deck to load your entire PC game library with the Steam workshop library of mods into a convenient handheld package.

However, that’s no longer exclusive to the Steam Deck: many of our best Steam Deck alternatives today possess Steam compatibility, along with improved specifications over even the best Steam Deck models. Likewise, the Steam Deck isn’t the most stable of consoles and is prone to crashes and game-breaking failures. This is common across any device trying to emulate a full-fledged PC, but it’s worth noting that being a Valve product does not guarantee stability.

Best Steam Deck Alternative: ASUS ROG Ally

ASUS ROG Ally 7″ 120Hz FHD IPS 1080p Gaming Handheld

Screen Size

7 Inches

Ram Memory Installed Size

16 GB



Graphics Coprocessor

AMD Radeon RDNA 3

  • Powerful computation capabilities
  • Fast charging
  • High-resolution screen
  • Similar software issues
  • High price point

The most well-known competitor to the Steam Deck is the ASUS ROG Ally, and the two are close rivals. Boasting faster and more powerful processing power, the ROG Ally puts a lot of gaming power in the literal palm of your hand.

Play the latest releases with ease, as the ROG Ally runs on the latest DDR5 memory architecture and RDNA 3.0 graphics processing. Like with the Steam Deck, you can load your Steam Library onto the Ally for PC gaming on the go, or Xbox’s Game Pass for formerly console-exclusive titles. With a better heatsink and quick-charging battery, this handheld easily surpasses the original-release Steam Deck.

However, it also carries over several of the Steam Deck’s flaws. The Windows 11 operating system isn’t much more stable than the Linux-based SteamOS, and crashes just as frequently. For double the price of the original Steam Deck, we’d hoped for a more premium experience. Bug-fixing is an ongoing process, however, and we’re still happy to name the ASUS ROG Ally the best Steam Deck alternative on the market!

Best Value Steam Deck Alternative: Lenovo Legion Go

Lenovo Legion Go

Screen Size






  • High framerates
  • Customizable button inputs
  • Large storage capacity
  • Unintuitive UI
  • Poor battery life

All of the different Steam Deck models are fairly reasonably priced, so a “budget” option isn’t as viable as you may think. However, the Lenovo Legion Go adds a huge amount of value for a slightly higher markup, offering immersive visuals and pocket-sized processing power.

Like with the ROG Ally, you have freedom and versatility for custom button inputs, for greater gaming freedom. With a larger and higher-resolution screen utilizing an AMD Z1 series GPU, graphics are rendered in stunning clarity. The Legion Go also comes with the option to add a keyboard or mouse for extra versatility, effectively turning this console into a portable PC.

However, it’s worth noting that the battery life isn’t as reliable as on the ROG Ally or Steam Deck, so be sure to take the charger with you when on the move. We also had issues navigating through the Legion Go’s interface: Lenovo’s Legion Space overlay is a little cumbersome and unintuitive, which puts a barrier between you and immersive handheld gameplay. Still, for versatility and graphical fidelity, the Lenovo Legion Go serves as a suitable substitute for the Steam Deck!

Best Small Steam Deck Alternative: AYANEO Air Pro


Ayaneo Air Pro

Screen Size






  • Compact and lightweight
  • Great for offline play
  • Poor heatsink
  • Short battery life

We previously considered the AYANEO Geek a premium alternative to the Steam Deck, and the AYANEO Air Pro serves as a lightweight and portable substitute to the Steam Deck – with a tiny build and impressive internal specifications.

A major downside to many handheld console alternatives is a reliance on an internet connection, which the Air Pro doesn’t require. Download games, configure your controls, and you can game on the move with little hassle. Designed the hearken back to the Nintendo DS and GameBoy era of handheld consoles, this unit manages to run arcade games all the way through to previous-generation console releases – all within a highly compact design.

However, we wouldn’t have begrudged AYANEO a better battery for the Air Pro, as it only lasts a handful of hours. Similarly, don’t expect to be playing fully ray-traced triple-A titles on this console, as the console can overheat on overloading. Regardless of these faults, we still recommend the Air Pro as a lightweight Steam Deck substitute.

Premium Steam Deck Alternative: OneXPlayer 2

ONEXPLAYER 2 Handheld Game Console Portable

Memory Storage Capacity

16 GB

Model Name


Input Device


  • Detachable controller design
  • Can be used as a tablet
  • Premium price

For the best-in-class for Steam Deck alternatives, the OneXPlayer 2 is the ultimate option. Adaptable, reliable and powerful, this handheld is hard to top for peripheral power.

Boasting a modular detachable design similar to the Nintendo Switch, the OneXPlayer 2 offers numerous ways to play. Detach the side controllers to use separate from the screen, or link it to a TV for the classic console experience. With a range of accessories available including a stylus or keyboard, this handheld has an unmatched level of versatility. Audio and visuals are both bespoke and detailed, for a highly immersive gaming experience, and the unit is kept super-cooled with an advanced heatsink.

Unfortunately, you pay over the odds for this handheld console, with a premium price tag associated with even the lowest-tier model. However, for a performance powerhouse that practically blows the Steam Deck out of the water, the OneXPlayer 2 is a tremendous option and worth the cost!

Best Upcoming Steam Deck Alternatives

As we said, the handheld console market is blossoming in exciting ways at the moment, and there’s a few upcoming releases we think could be viable competitors to the Steam Deck. Be sure to keep an eye on these as-yet-unreleased Steam Deck substitutes:

MSI Claw

Announced at CES 2024, the MSI Claw and Steam Deck are closely linked consoles, with the former boasting some boosted components over the latter. In fact, the Claw ranks closer to our top spot in the ASUS ROG Ally. With AI-powered upscaling and an improved battery life, we think the higher-than-average MSI Claw price is justified by its benefits. Suffice to say, we’re eagerly awaiting the release date!

OneXPlayer X1

At time of writing, there’s not a concrete answer to where to buy the OneXPlayer X1. That said, this crowdfunded console is shaping up to be a notable update over the previously mentioned OneXPlayer 2. Boasting an intuitive 3-in-1 design, even the lowest OneXPlayer X1 specifications boast a whopping terabyte of storage and a high-resolution display. There are a number of different options available for play, making it one of the most versatile consoles to take on the go!

Nintendo Switch 2

The original Nintendo Switch is seven years old at time of writing, and rumors are circulating of a possible 2024 Nintendo Switch 2 release date. It’s easy to forget how popular this console was, boasting Nintendo-exclusive games that are counted among some of the best of the decade. As a household name in handheld consoles, the hope is that the Switch 2 is not only an update, but an innovation.


Can you use Steam Deck alternatives as PCs?

Yes: Even though they are designed for gaming, Steam Deck alternatives such as the ASUS ROG Ally and OneXPlayer 2 are effectively powerful tablets. They are capable of running the same software as a standard PC.

Can you play console games on handhelds?

Yes: Aside from a few exclusive titles, most studios release their games on both console and PC. If you buy the game on a PC platform such as Steam, you can import it to your Steam Deck or Steam Deck alternative. These consoles can still struggle with demanding games, however, so results may vary.

In Summary

That concludes our rankings of some top Steam Deck alternatives! Though it is difficult to match Valve’s prices for their flagship console system, if you want a more powerful handheld console, there are plenty of options to choose from.

For more on the latest handheld consoles, including the PlayStation Portal or Nintendo Switch, be sure to stay tuned with us here at Silent PC Review!

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