I’m a known mini-console-liker around here for a few personal logistic reasons and a few philosophical reasons.
Let’s assume that we agree on a few statements about emulation. The emulation on the embedded consoles is “pretty great” but not what a technical expert will be able to get out of a PC emulation setup for myriad reasons. Additionally, assume that you’ve added whatever canonical games you think that your mini-console is missing. (There are only a very few games I’ve been interested in playing that the Nintendo or Sega/M2 emulators haven’t been able to run.)
Personally, I like that I can have something hooked up to the TV that I can leave there and it’s ready to go. They are also incredibly accessible to my kids and I really don’t want kids crowded around the family PC that runs our household. Additionally, COVID has landed the PC in our bedroom and anytime kids are in that room, it devolves to them wrestling on the bed which drives me insane.
Philosophically, I also argue that they are great. They help re-contextualize these games back into a shared space in front of a TV which is often a more relaxing posture and mood than being at a PC. The presentation of the games themselves and the emulator functionality is absolutely better and more accessible than what you get on a PC without being an emulator power user. Save states, rewinds, a few filters and boarders; everything just works out of the box.
Finally, playing say a retro console game with a purpose-built original controller that is effectively new-in-box as opposed to 20-30 years old is a really cool experience. I generally use an X-Box One controller for PC emulation, but having the specific 3-button layout with those huge Genesis buttons that are much much bigger than you remember is fun in a way that is difficult to value.