Past the Alphabet
Past the Alphabet is a weekly column that focuses on the tech world each in and out of the confines of Mountain View.
With the rise in reputation of gaming handhelds, you is likely to be questioning as to which is best between your Android cellphone vs. handheld gaming consoles. There are undoubtedly execs and cons to each, with various issues and concessions to make.
As somebody who has been diving headfirst into the world of gaming handhelds, I’ve typically questioned this query. Should you’re on the fence, I will do my finest to try to break it all the way down to make your choice just a bit bit simpler.
Causes to stay along with your Android cellphone
The obvious purpose why you may wish to use an Android cellphone for cellular gaming is that, chances are high, you are studying this on one. The Play Retailer is filled with totally different retro emulators, to not point out being able to obtain remakes of authentic classics. Frankly, it is good having the ability to have a single system for all the things you want, particularly when you’ve got a Samsung cellphone, full with DeX.
This must also, a minimum of generally, take away considerations about efficiency. There is a fairly good likelihood that the cellphone you’ve gotten is already extra performant than any of the Android-based handheld consoles on the market. The one exception is the AYN Odin 2 and its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, as the newest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is barely now turning into extra extensively out there.
It additionally helps that there are a plethora of the way to skip utilizing the touchscreen, due to the bevy of accessible recreation controllers. You’ll be able to both pair it with one thing just like the 8BitDo Professional 2 or flip your cellphone right into a Nintendo Change with the likes of the GameSir X3. With this, you are not restricted to no matter kind issue the devoted handheld has.
Lastly, along with your cellphone in tow, controller or not, you possibly can play just about no matter recreation you need from wherever. Have a couple of minutes and wish to hearth up some Xbox Recreation Go? Or perhaps you are away from dwelling and wish to play some Cyberpunk with the assistance of GeForce Now.
You technically may do that with a handheld, offered that you just’re prepared to make use of your cellphone as a cellular hotspot. However that can simply find yourself draining your cellphone’s battery, together with the hand-held, and you will want a beefy transportable charger to maintain them each from working out of juice.
Why you should not use your cellphone
There are two huge causes that I feel you need to keep away from utilizing your cellphone, the primary being that lots of the finest Android telephones do not have expandable storage. It is nonetheless irritating realizing that you just’re caught with no matter storage choice you decide whenever you purchase the cellphone. Thus, you will have to plan accordingly if you wish to have your cellphone pull double-duty as a conveyable gaming handheld.
The opposite purpose comes all the way down to utilizing the touchscreen, because it’s effective doing so in a pinch, however not that nice in the case of longer gaming periods. Some Android gaming telephones, just like the RedMagic 9 Professional, attempt to alleviate this with the assistance of digital shoulder triggers. Nevertheless, that is extra of an exception to the rule and never a function you are more likely to discover on many different telephones.
Plus, whereas it is nice having the ability to throw a controller in your bag, it is simply one thing else that you might want to bear in mind to seize. And, when you go for a Bluetooth controller, you will have to be sure to bear in mind to cost it after your final gaming session away from dwelling.
Causes to go along with a devoted gaming Android handheld console
One thing I’ve come to like about having a devoted handheld console is that it lets me disconnect. Certain, I may set up all the identical Android apps from my cellphone, and in some circumstances, I do. However I haven’t got to fret about notifications getting in my means, individuals calling me, or the rest that I must cope with on my cellphone. Sure, I perceive that Do Not Disturb is a factor, however at that time, there is a fairly good likelihood that I am going to miss one thing essential.
One other factor that these gaming handhelds have of their favor is the inclusion of a microSD card slot. It is not like these gadgets ship with 8GB of storage, however having the ability to put my whole library of ROMs onto a microSD card after which slap it in no matter handheld I am utilizing presents a degree of comfort you simply will not discover with most Android telephones.
Then there’s the story of ergonomics, and whereas it might sound higher to have your decide of what controller to make use of, it is simply not a necessity right here. As the recognition of those handhelds has risen, so has the help from the group. So, when you have been to seize the AYN Odin 2 or Retroid Pocket, you will get a grip attachment, whether or not it is direct or via Etsy. Or, you might 3D print one your self when you’re so inclined.
As for comfort, utilizing your cellphone may seem to be the higher selection, as you possibly can simply take it out and play a recreation when you’re in line. However having a devoted handheld implies that you will not have to fret about saving or dropping your progress when it is your flip in line or if you might want to shortly swap over to a distinct app.
In the identical vein as comfort and ergonomics, a devoted handheld removes the necessity to fear about mapping controls. Lots of the finest Android video games already function controller help, and a handheld supplies one natively. In lots of circumstances, you can also map on-screen controls to a bodily button without having to modify forwards and backwards between totally different apps.
Final however actually not least, there is a nostalgia issue to contemplate. Think about having the ability to re-live your childhood with a contemporary Recreation Boy just like the RG353V, with a vibrant display screen and twin thumb sticks. And when you go outdoors the world of Android handhelds, there is a flourishing market of Linux-based choices which are even smaller and extra pocketable. So, whereas it is superior having the ability to have a lot energy in a tool like our cellphone, typically, the nostalgia is simply too good to cross up.
Why you should not seize a handheld console
As I alluded to earlier than, with a couple of exceptions, you are not more likely to discover a handheld with as a lot energy as your cellphone. Even the AYN Odin 2 has since been usurped by the Galaxy S24 Extremely and OnePlus 12 now that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is accessible. The overwhelming majority of Android handhelds both run processors which are vastly outdated or do not have sufficient “oomph” to play what you need.
One other consideration to make is the software program, even when it is working Android. One instance of a possible frustration is what we noticed with the Pimax Portal, because it’s working a customized model of Android 10. Due to this, paired with the restrictions of the Yuzu emulator, I could not play Change video games till a modified model of the app was launched.
Even when you wished to make a journey down reminiscence lane with the RG353V, the Play Retailer is not instantly accessible out of the field. As a substitute, you will have to take a while to tinker with the software program to get all the things working. Is it value it in the long term? Undoubtedly. However it sort of takes away from the attract of a “decide up and play” system.
Is there a “proper” or “flawed” selection?
I am not going to take a seat right here and let you know that you just want a devoted handheld console for gaming. It won’t be within the price range, or there is likely to be too many compromises that you just’re not prepared to concede.
So, no, there is no flawed choice right here, as the ability of Android offers us the pliability to remodel just about any system right into a handheld console. It is only a matter of working inside the confines of the cellphone you’ve gotten, whether or not it isn’t highly effective sufficient or ensuring you retain your storage good and tidy.