Portable Consoles: Advantages And Disadvantages
Portable consoles are devices that allow us to enjoy our favourite video games at any time and anywhere.
The first devices that allowed portable gaming emerged during the 70s and 80s of the last century.
From the first electronic devices that allowed you to enjoy straightforward games, there has been a significant evolution to the present day.
Now, portable video games have graphics and gameplay almost comparable in some cases to what we can enjoy on desktop consoles and computers.
We will review some of the most essential portable consoles in history and analyze their main advantages and disadvantages when playing.
Table of Contents
Main portable consoles in history
The Game & Watch machines were born in the 80s, allowing you to play a single game.
Many different ones came out over the years and evolved (at first, they had one screen; later, two screens appeared…).
Later, Nintendo launched other portable consoles, such as the victorious Game Boy (with several models such as Pocket, Color, Advance…), Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS (with several models each).
For now, the last Nintendo console that allows portable gaming is the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid console since it acts both as a desktop console and as a laptop.
The launch of the successor to Nintendo Switch is expected in 2024, although there is no official announcement yet.
In addition to its desktop consoles (Megadrive, Dreamcast, etc.), the Japanese company Sega also marketed some portable consoles.
Game Gear was the best known and was Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s Game Boy.
The Sega Nomad was released years later, but only in the North American market. It was a portable Megadrive.
Sony’s first portable console was the PSP (PlayStation Portable), which had a large widescreen screen.
Then, the PSP Slim came out lighter and thinner than the first model, and the PSP Go changed the design and only allowed digital games.
PlayStation Vita was launched in 2012 and was characterized by its 5-inch OLED touch screen. It received only some of the support it deserved, and the lack of exclusive titles prevented it from having a more significant run.
Although it is not a laptop, Sony has just marketed the PlayStation Portal, which allows you to play your PlayStation 5 games on its 8-inch screen via Wi-Fi.
It would be best to use PlayStation Portal; it does not work as a standalone console.
Other brands linked to video games, such as Atari or Bandai, also launched their portable consoles.
We can mention the Atari Lynx or the Bandai Wonderswan, although other companies have their portable console models.
To finish this section, in recent years, portable consoles that allow you to play PC games have appeared on the market.
Some run Windows and function as miniature computers, as with the Steam Deck, which has just received a new model with an OLED screen.
Other examples of the latter type are the powerful Asus ROG Ally and the Lenovo Legion Go.
Advantages of portable consoles
They are ideal to take anywhere and play wherever we want.
If you travel a lot by public transport or want to leave the television accessible in your home, they are a highly recommended option.
2. Exclusive games
Some games or sagas can only be played from specific portable console models.
Three/ Unique functions
Although less and less, portable consoles can include exclusive functions, such as a double screen, 3D effect as in its day with Nintendo 3DS, touch screen…
Disadvantages of portable consoles
1. Battery life
The battery will last more or less time depending on its size, the type of screen, the brightness and volume at which we play, or even the video game we are playing.
We must remember to charge it before taking it anywhere to enjoy it.
2. Screen size
The small screen size can be problematic with some games, especially those with too much text to read.
3. Limited power
Logically, and due to their small size, portable consoles will have less power than desktop consoles.
The games’ graphics will not be at the same level, and their overall performance will not be as fluid, although if they are well-optimized, it should be fine.
In any case, portable consoles are not incompatible with desktop consoles or computers. You can have both, and you will enjoy twice as much.
The important thing is that you can play whenever you feel like it, regardless of where you are or what device you use.