Handheld Gaming Devices

These days, many kids' favorite pastimes are virtual. If you've got a small gamer on your list this holiday season, chances are they want a portable video-game player.

Consumer Reports checked out the offerings from the two main game makers - Sony and Nintendo.

Sony's handheld device is the $200 PlayStation Vita. It has better graphics than Nintendo and is a good choice for someone who already has a PlayStation gaming system.

Matt Ferretti with Consumer Reports found, "It kind of works as a sidekick to those consoles. So especially with the PlayStation 4, it's going to have remote capabilities, which means that you can play some of your PS 4 titles on your PlayStation Vita."

For the younger set, Nintendo has some real benefits.

Matt points out, "Nintendo's lineup is typically better for kids, because it offers more kid-friendly games."

That includes popular series like Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda.

There are three Nintendo devices available - the 2DS, the 3DS, and the 3DS XL, ranging in price from $150 to $200.

Matt points out, "The 3DS and 3DS XL do the exact same thing. They both play the same 3DS games in 3D. They're also backward compatible with Nintendo's previous generation DS games. The only difference is that the 3DS XL is larger than the 3DS."

The 2DS looks a little different but plays all the same games, though not in 3D. Consumer Reports says it's a great choice for any small gamers on your gift list and, at 150 dollars, is the least expensive.

Games for these devices cost about $50 apiece. It's possible to get used games for less. Check online at Amazon and eBay. You can also try stores such as GameStop and Best Buy, both of which offer used video games at a discount.

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