The vacation period for a gamer is flour. The melancholy of the airport terminal, the boring life in the train car — time without games flows unbearably long. Smartphones solve the problem only partially. Portable consoles with a larger battery, control buttons and dozens of games on board will captivate for hours. We chose three interesting models for gamers-holidays.
Valve Steam Deck
GPD Win 2
The Nintendo Switch portable console is 5 years old, but it does not give up its positions. 1868 games released for the device! The choice is huge: from exclusive Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and hundreds of fun arcade games to major titles in the gaming industry. The cult shooter DOOM 2016, the canonical open-world RPG Skyrim, and the furious Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus have already been transferred to Switch.
The Switch is technically a small tablet with attachable Joy-Con joysticks. The controller has responsive controls and rounded edges for a comfortable grip. Two Joy-Con elements are inserted into the grooves of the display — and you’re done.
An alternative way is to connect the Joy-Con to a branded holder. Get a classic two-handed joystick. In this format, the Switch screen can be placed on a surface or mounted on a stand.
The hybrid form factor wins over competitors with variability. When your vacation is over, you can easily connect the Switch to your home TV or monitor with an HDMI cable. Resolution will increase from 720p to 1080p — you can play comfortably on the big screen.
The model has three USB ports for connecting accessories, including a USB Type‑C port. To charge the device on the road, Nintendo recommends a proprietary charger. In practice, there are no problems with a USB Type‑C cable and any charger with a voltage of 1.5 V and a current of 1.2 to 2.6 A.
- average battery life — 9 hours;
- screen size — 6.2 inches. At a resolution of 1280 x 720, the picture is displayed with good detail, the game interface is recognized without eye strain;
- with Joy-Con attached, the size of the device is 102 x 239 x 13.9 mm, and the weight does not exceed 400 g. The Switch will fit in any travel bag (hand luggage, briefcase, etc.);
- built-in memory — 32 GB. This volume is enough for dozens of arcade and branded games from Nintendo. To download resource-intensive, high-profile game titles, you can install a microSD card: the console supports models up to 2 TB.
Nintendo also released an updated version of the Switch — Switch OLED. The amount of built-in memory has grown to 64 GB, the screen size is up to 7 inches. Otherwise, the OLED model does not differ from the basic version.
Valve Steam Deck
Steam Deck is a portable gaming station (computer) from Valve with its own operating system Steam OS. The meaning is in the name: games from the well-known online service Steam are launched on the console. Steam Deck — the ability to play popular titles on the go. Conditional Mario and simple arcade games will also be launched, but the concept of the device is a game of resource-intensive and high-budget projects.
The station from Valve has enough power and performance for such an ambitious task. The console is equipped with a Zen 2 processor from AMD, RDNA 2 graphics. The amount of RAM is 16 GB. Thanks to the filling, Steam Deck launches games at a resolution of 1280x800 without brakes even at 60 FPS. The picture is smooth and pleasing to the eye.
Structurally, the Valve Steam Deck is similar to a large gamepad that divides a 7‑inch LCD display into two parts. Sticks and buttons are placed in the upper areas of each “half”. People with tiny hands will have to get used to the ergonomics.
Valve Steam Deck is a powerful and productive device, but not 100% adapted to all games of the online service. As of June 2022, approximately 25% of the games in the Steam Library are console-optimized, with another 25% in Playable condition. The remaining 50% are labeled with “No Support” or “Not Tested” hints. But the situation is changing. Valve has officially challenged programmers to bring the level of optimized games to 100%.
You can connect a mouse, USB hub, or keyboard to your laptop using the USB Type‑C port. After the release of the proprietary docking station, the list of peripherals will expand. The device has three variations: with 64, 256 and 512 GB of memory. The 512 GB SSD version speeds up the operating system and applications.
- open platform. You can reinstall the OS (replace Steam OS with Windows). This requires skill and experience, but solves the problem of game compatibility;
- device size — 298 x 117 x 49 mm, weight — 669 g. Portable, but heavy and large design. Teenagers and fragile girls may experience discomfort;
- average battery life — from 2 to 8 hours depending on the load (resource consumption of the game);
- the device heats up during operation, removes warm air from the radiator;
- stereo speakers for immersion in the atmosphere of the game;
- run any adapted game on high settings.
The Valve Steam Deck is available for pre-order in limited quantities. The price of a portable gaming computer depends on the country of residence, version (the amount of built-in memory), stock balances.
GPD Win 2
The GPD Win 2 combines the features of a handheld console with the form factor of a mini laptop. The device runs on Windows 10 and surprises with the filling. 8 GB of RAM, integrated graphics and a 128 GB SSD are enough to play shooters, races, strategies without brakes. The Witcher, GTA V, Fallout 4 and other iconic releases of the gaming world are launched on GPD Win 2.
Fans of old games will be able to play their favorite console titles (PS1, PS2) through the emulator. The 6‑inch, 1280 x 720 resolution IPS display doesn’t need to strain your eyes. Windows shell, browser, applications, game interface — everything is displayed clearly and readably.
There are several controls in GPD Win 2:
- QWERTY keyboard;
- classic D‑pad;
- analog sticks with vibration motors;
Variability gives freedom of choice in games. Gamers customize the controls for themselves, depending on the genre or habits.
On the body of the device there are USB 3.0 Type‑C and USB 3.0 Type‑A ports for connecting peripherals and drives. You can increase the amount of internal memory with compatible SSDs (Transcend’s models have shown themselves well). Headphones are connected via a 3.5 mm jack to the GPD Win 2.
- game console and mini-computer with Windows — two-in-one format;
- weight — only 460 g, size — 166 x 99 x 25 mm. Fits in a jacket pocket.
- built-in Wi-Fi module for connecting to the Internet;
- smart cooling system. The console will not overheat even when working with heavy applications;
- you can charge your smartphone or other device from the GPD Win 2 battery;
- the average battery life in games is up to 5–6 hours. When surfing the Internet, the indicator will increase at least 1.5–2 times.
The choice of a portable game console depends on the vacation format and expectations from the device. Lightweight and compact, the Nintendo Switch will keep you entertained at the airport or hotel without complicated setups. Valve Steam Deck — for those who like to immerse themselves in the passage of top titles (and at the same time skip a couple of excursions). GPD Win 2 will not let you forget about the cult games of recent years and will delight you with the familiar Windows shell. The main thing is that the console complements the rest, and does not interfere with it.