I’m a huge handheld nerd - here are the Steam Deck alternatives I’ll be watching this Prime Day

Steam Deck with Nintendo Switch, Razer Edge, Ayn Odin 2, Lenovo Legion Go and Super Pocket on screen with cardboard box in the middle with Prime Day on front
(Image credit: Future / Phil Hayton)

The Steam Deck has no doubt changed handheld PC gaming as we know it, but with Prime Day creeping up, many of you are no doubt considering alternatives. With so many different options on the battlefield right now, Amazon’s sale could be the perfect chance to grab something that’s better for your playstyle. So, to save you from being overwhelmed by a sea of different specs, price points, and game store options, I’ve whipped together a shortlist of devices worth checking on July 17.

Before we get started, there’s no guarantee that all the best gaming handheld options will show up on Amazon’s sale. Sure, we’re bound to see Prime Day Steam Deck deals pop up in some form, whether they apply to accessories or discounts direct at Valve, but actual device discounts aren’t a given. At the same time, sometimes unexpected record-low prices can pop up on even the latest gadgets, meaning it’s well worth consistently checking in on any desirables regardless.

My intention behind this roundup isn’t just a handheld deals watchlist – I also want to get players thinking about the kind of portable that’d benefit them the most. That’s not to say I’d hold back on shouting about the Steam Deck OLED if it drops to a record low, but I think it’s crucial to weigh up potential discounts alongside what the device will offer you specifically. For some, being able to reach higher frame rates will matter most, while many of you out there will prefer having access to the right library of games. Keep that in mind when perusing my list down below and we’ll be on track to getting you an excellent portable pal for less that’s an exact fit for your preferences. 

1. Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch with Super Mario Wonder on screen next to Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom box

(Image credit: Future/ Phil Hayton)

I’m starting off vanilla, but if I’m being honest, I think a majority of you out there will get more from the Switch than any other handheld. Nintendo’s legendary handheld hybrid has been around since 2017, and it’s starting to show its age a little performance-wise. Still, we’re talking about a system that’ll run the latest Mario romps, provide access to the expanse of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and serve as the perfect party prop for some summer Mario Kart tournaments.  


Nintendo Switch

MSRP: $299 / £259

Expected Price: $299 / £259 with free game

Buy it if: 

✅ You will mostly play in docked mode
✅ You want detachable Joy-Con
✅ You don't want to spend on a screen upgrade

Don't buy it if: 

❌ You will mostly play in handheld mode

View at Amazon

As for which Prime Day Nintendo Switch deals to look for specifically, I’d keep an eye out for the OG version first and foremost. Chances are it’ll still come in at $299 / £259, but sale events normally create free game bundles that’ll help you save around $50 in total. If you’ve switched your main living room screen to one of the best gaming TVs, then you might also want to consider the Nintendo Switch OLED, as it’ll meet your newfound contrast and color standards in handheld mode and potentially dip below $300.  

2.  Asus ROG Ally 

Asus ROG Ally with Cyberpunk 2077 on screen

(Image credit: Future)

One of the first premium Steam Deck rivals to enter the scene, the Asus ROG Ally adds spice to Valve’s handheld PC formula. At a glance, both portables offer an extremely similar experience, especially if you primarily use Steam to access the latest games. However, Asus’ beefy alternative boasts a faster 120Hz 1080p display and a higher-spec AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme APU that can reach much higher frame rates without compromising on settings. Simply put, if you always try to boost fps in the latest games, it’s well worth considering the Ally, even if SteamOS feels much more refined than shoehorned Windows 11. 


Asus ROG Ally (Z1 Extreme)

MSRP: $699.99 / £699.99

Expected price: $549.99 / £499.99

Buy it if:
You want great portable performance
You need the versatility of Windows 11
You want speedy 120Hz visuals

Don't buy it if:
You only play Steam games
You’d rather use a bespoke OS

View at Amazon 

Amusingly, the Prime Day Asus ROG Ally deals worth considering will most likely be at Best Buy, as the big box store is an official retail partner. At the moment, there are two models available over there; the top-spec Ryzen Z1 Extreme edition and the watered-down Ryzen Z1 variant. Based on previous discounts and sales, I reckon the former will drop to around $549.99, while the cheaper tier is already down at $399 thanks to a $100 discount. 

If you do stick with the $400 ROG Ally, you’ll end up with a handheld that’s slightly less impressive than the Steam Deck but makes up for it through Windows 11 versatility and nicer screen specs. Using Microsoft’s OS is a double-edged sword since its UI isn’t really portable-friendly, but it’s a cheaper option for those of you with a Game Pass subscription or chonky Epic Game Store collection. Of course, some of you might also want to go grab an Asus ROG Ally X pre-order instead, as the upcoming version promises greater battery life and various improvements. 

3. Super Pocket 

Hand holding Super Pocket next to green plant

(Image credit: Future / Phil Hayton)

I have a habit of finding ways to chat retro, and some of you will argue that the Super Pocket isn’t a Steam Deck rival. However, I firmly believe it’s a handheld that’ll appeal to almost everyone, and it might sway players who only want to play the classics. At $59 / £49, it’s already incredibly cheap, especially since it’s a Game Boy-shaped portable that runs Evercade cartridges and comes with games built in. That means you’ll have access to over 500 classics across various retro consoles, and you’ll soon even be able to play 3D capers like Tomb Raider thanks to fancy new Giga Carts. 


Super Pocket

MSRP: $59 / £49

Expected price: $40 / £40

Buy it if: 

✅ You love arcade classics
✅ You like to collect physical games
✅ You prefer low-key retro and indie games

Don't buy it if: 

❌ You'd prefer a bigger screen
❌ You want something that connects to the TV

View at Amazon

So, how cheap can a cheap console cheap? After saying that five times fast and having a look at previous discounts, I believe that if the handheld does drop, it’ll likely reach the $40 mark. It managed to drop to $42 earlier this year, so there’s every chance that price tag will return, but I’m hopeful for a new record low. There is a limited edition Atari woodgrain version of the Super Pocket on the way alongside a Technos Edition, and that release might be a nice time to cut the existing Capcom and Taito versions to entice new players. 

4. Ayn Odin 2 

Ayn Odin 2 with Street Fighter 2 title screen on display

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re into the idea of emulating classic consoles on something Steam Deck-shaped, then the Ayn Odin 2 should be top of your list. Armed with Android and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU, this beast is going to make short work of even those problematic retro romps that made flagship gaming phones struggle just a few years ago. You’ll even be able to mess with other Play Store releases if you desire, and PC gaming isn’t completely off the cards thanks to Steam Link and other streaming services. 


Ayn Odin 2

MSRP: From $399 / £410

Expected Price: $299 / £300 

Buy it if: 

✅ You want an Android powerhouse
✅ You'd like to emulate newer consoles
✅ You prefer 1080p visuals

Don't buy it if: 

❌ You'd rather run PC games

View at Amazon

As for what Prime Day can do for the Odin 2, I’m hoping the sale will spark off its first discount. At full price, you’re looking at $399, and based on similar device discounts in the past, we could see that drop to $299 or even lower. Ideally, I’d like to see it reach $249, as it is admittedly a hard sell when up against the Steam Deck, even though you’re actually gaining excellent features like anti-drift hall sensor thumbsticks, a 1080p screen, and plenty of other premium perks.

5. Lenovo Legion Go 

Lenovo Legion GO with Robocop: Rogue City on screen and TrueStrike controller detached

(Image credit: Future / Phil Hayton)

I have pretty mixed feelings about the Lenovo Legion Go, and I stand by the idea that it feels like a handheld by laptop makers. Still, it wields the same Ryzen Z1 Extreme APU as the ROG Ally and has a larger 144Hz QHD display on its side – something some of you are going to take full advantage of playing older releases and indie games. Plus, it is technically offering something a bit different with its TrueStrike removable gamepads, even if they do feel pretty rotten compared to PC controllers and other portables. 


Lenovo Legion Go

MSRP: $699.99 / £699.99

Expected price: $579.98 / £599.99

Buy it if: 

✅ You want on-the-go QHD visuals
✅ You prefer a faster refresh rate
✅ You're looking for full PC compatibility

Don't buy it if: 

❌ You're only going to play Steam games
❌ You aren't fussed about resolution
❌ You'd prioritize controls 

View at Amazon 

I’d be pretty surprised if the Lenovo Legion Go doesn’t return to its lowest price during Prime Day, as we’ve got more Windows 11 handhelds waiting in the wings. Just last month, the portable PC dropped from $699.99 to $579.98 at Amazon, and in my opinion, that price puts it back in the running against the Legion Go. Just keep in mind that big specs and flamboyant features don’t always lead to the best gaming experience, and your $600 could get you either something more refined or a cheaper solution that doesn’t arguably feel like a prototype. 

6. Razer Edge 

Razer Edge handheld with PS5 main menu on screen with Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy selected

(Image credit: Future / Phil Hayton)

I admittedly have a problem with the Razer Edge at MSRP, but it’s actually an incredibly versatile Android handheld for the right price. It might feel more like a phablet considering it uses a separate Kishi mobile controller, and it’s firmly a Steam Deck alternative rather than a fully-fledged rival. Nevertheless, the flexibility of its OS means it can serve as a powerful emulation device, a way to play Play Store favorites like Call of Duty mobile, and even double up as a makeshift PlayStation Portal

Mentioning the PS Portal is important, as I’m hoping the Edge will drop down to the same $199 price tag as Sony’s remote player. I don’t think that’s too unreasonable given that it dropped down to $249 back in May and stayed at that price until now, and I suspect the extra $50 will make all the difference to units shifted during Prime Day. 

Despite possessing an AMOLED screen and an impressive 144Hz refresh rate, you ideally don’t want to be paying anywhere near Steam Deck prices for the Edge. It really needs to drop to at least $250 before becoming a valid alternative in my books, and I genuinely think most players will love taking it on your travels for that price. 

Handy handheld pointers to consider 

Asus ROG Ally, Nintendo Switch OLED, and Game Boy Color on grey mouse mat

(Image credit: Future)

The handheld market is an everchanging monster, which makes keeping up with the on-the-go Joneses a pain. We’re on the cusp of finally getting a Nintendo Switch 2, not to mention more companies are entering the portable PC ring to throw punches at the Steam Deck. Therefore, I’d ask yourself the following questions before clicking buy on a handheld, regardless of the price during Prime Day: 

What games do you actually enjoy? - The Steam Deck might be impressive, but if you haven’t got a massive library tied to Valve’s storefront, you could technically start fresh using any vendor. The same goes for if you would rather do backflips in Mario Odyssey than marvel at the glorious visuals of big releases, as you might be better off building up your Switch library before its sequel arrives instead.

Do you care about performance? - No one likes choppy visuals, so this point is more targeted towards those of you who are used to PS5 or high-end PC gameplay. If sticking with 720p and lower frame rates gives you the ick, you’ll naturally want to select a handheld with a little extra horsepower. Otherwise, consoles like the Switch are probably going to look just fine even in 2024.

Do you use streaming services? - If you’re already paying for a bunch of cloud subscriptions and aren’t fussed about downloading games, picking up a lighter-weight handheld for streaming might be the right option. Portables like the Logitech G Cloud and Razer Edge benefit from a longer battery life and light form factor thanks to their mobile innards, which is possible since they don’t have to run games natively. 

How often will you actually use it? - This is a question no one asks enough, as I know a few friends who tend to pick up handhelds that end up gathering dust. If you really only need something to keep your hands busy when occasionally traveling, or you’d rather save big adventures for the living room, you may want to just pick up something small and cheap like the Super Pocket or the Anbernic RG35XX Plus. Both of these great value handhelds have a bunch of classic games and cost well under $100, providing a plethora of games for when you occasionally need them.

Looking for more summer offers? Check out Prime Day TV deals and Prime Day monitor deals for big screen savings. Alternatively, swing by Prime Day tablet deals for a bunch of great general-use devices. 

Phil Hayton
Hardware Editor

I’ve been messing around with PCs, video game consoles, and tech since before I could speak. Don’t get me wrong, I kickstarted my relationship with technology by jamming a Hot Wheels double-decker bus into my parent’s VCR, but we all have to start somewhere. I even somehow managed to become a walking, talking buyer’s guide at my teenage supermarket job, which helped me accept my career fate. So, rather than try to realise my musician dreams, or see out my University degree, I started running my own retro pop culture site and writing about video games and tech for the likes of TechRadar, The Daily Star, and the BBC before eventually ending up with a job covering graphics card shenanigans at PCGamesN. Now, I’m your friendly neighbourhood Hardware Editor at GamesRadar, and it’s my job to make sure you can kick butt in all your favourite games using the best gaming hardware, whether you’re a sucker for handhelds like the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch or a hardcore gaming PC enthusiast.