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Ayaneo 2 overview: A extra premium (and pricier) tackle the Steam Deck

Handheld PCs have been round for years, however the arrival of the Steam Deck introduced renewed curiosity and demand to the class — very similar to what the Nintendo Change did for consoles again in 2017. And whereas the quantity of engineering and tech that went into the Steam Deck is actually spectacular, Valve’s mission to make a conveyable and reasonably priced PC for gaming on the go means there’s loads of room within the handheld area for one thing with a bit extra giddyup — which brings us to the Ayaneo 2.

Design: Like a Steam Deck, however fancier

Whereas the Ayaneo 2 doesn’t deviate an excessive amount of from the Steam Deck’s fundamental blueprint, proper from the get-go it is also obvious that this factor is not some low cost knock-off both. It contains a large 7-inch 1920 x 1200 LCD show with sturdy brightness (slightly below 400 nits in our testing) that is flanked by an Xbox-style controller structure. There are additionally useful buttons on both sides for opening menus or functioning as shortcuts, together with some extra customizable controls crammed in on high that by default function left and proper mouse clicks. Even the facility button has a built-in fingerprint sensor, which is a welcome bonus not accessible on the Steam Deck.

Ayaneo  Ayaneo 2


  • Nice efficiency
  • shiny 7-inch full HD+ show
  • corridor sensor joysticks
  • three USB-C ports
  • stable construct
  • plenty of bundled equipment


  • Expensive
  • software program may use somewhat extra polish
  • mediocre battery life
  • no touchpads

One of many issues that impresses me essentially the most is Ayaneo’s consideration to element. The entire setup feels well-built. The PC’s case is easy and durable and has a really reassuring heft. In entrance, there is a single sheet of glass that goes throughout the face of the system (with cutouts for the joysticks and buttons), which supplies it a slick, streamlined look. The corporate even went out of its method to make sure that there are not any seen screws. Although in the event you do wish to get inside, there’s an included choose you should utilize to pry off the little covers on both sides. Simply watch out so you do not mess up the end like I did.

Amongst different premium upgrades in comparison with the Steam Deck, the Ayaneo 2 sports activities magnetic corridor sensor joysticks and shoulder triggers that really feel crisp and snappy. There’s mainly no lifeless zone, in contrast to what you get with Valve’s handheld. However my favourite factor in regards to the Ayaneo 2’s design is that its touchscreen would not have any bezels, and virtually appears to be like elegant.

Lastly, whereas I do not suppose both machine is actually pocketable, the Ayaneo 2 is unquestionably the extra compact of the 2. The Steam Deck measures practically a foot throughout (11.7-inches) versus a extra manageable 10.4-inches for the Ayaneo 2.

Ports and equipment: So many choices

Unlike the Steam Deck, the Ayaneo 2 features a total of three USB-C ports, two of which can be used for charging.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

One other high quality that elevates the Ayaneo above its rivals is a wealth of ports. Not solely do you have got a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card slot for expandable storage, you additionally get three USB-C ports, two of which can be utilized for charging. That flexibility got here in useful extra typically than I anticipated, as a result of it gave me the liberty to plug in an influence cable to both the highest or backside, which makes it simpler to maintain the twine out of the way in which regardless of the way you’re holding the system.

On high of that, whereas Ayaneo makes a dock for its handhelds, as a result of there are three USB-C ports together with two USB-A adapters within the field, you do not actually need to purchase one in any respect. Even with none extra dongles or hubs, you continue to have sufficient connectivity to plug in a mouse, keyboard and an exterior show, so it is very easy to make use of this factor as a normal PC in a pinch. And if that wasn’t sufficient, Ayaneo even features a charging brick, a few worldwide energy adapters, a USB-C cable and an additional set of screw covers.

Efficiency: Zen3 makes a giant distinction

The Ayaneo 2 features a handy QuickTool that makes it easy to adjust things like performance and fan settings, but it could use a little more quality control, as certain options like the one for resolution can be a bit hit-or-miss.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The opposite main benefit the Ayaneo 2 holds over the Steam Deck is uncooked efficiency. Whereas Valve labored with AMD to create a customized chip primarily based on the corporate’s Zen2 structure, the Ayaneo 2 sports activities a more moderen Ryzen 7 6800U chip constructed on the Zen3+ platform. That is a soar in processing energy that you could actually really feel.

In benchmarks, the Ayaneo 2 scored 4,282 on 3DMark’s Wild Life Excessive take a look at, which is comparable or barely higher than what we have seen from similarly-priced laptops just like the Floor Laptop computer 5 (3,848) or the XPS 13 Plus (3,505). And when gaming, the Ayaneo 2 is between 25% to 40% sooner than the Steam Deck relying on the title. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider on excessive settings at 800p, the Ayaneo 2 averaged 54 fps versus 40 fps for the Steam Deck. And after I elevated the sport’s decision to make the most of the Ayaneo 2’s full HD+ display, it nonetheless managed to pump out a playable 35 fps at 1920 x 1200 ( in SotTR), regardless of pushing practically twice as many pixels. It is a related story in Elden Ring, the place the Ayaneo 2 hovered round 55 fps in 800p at medium settings, in comparison with 48 fps for the Steam Deck, or at 40 fps at 1200p.

In use: A extra luxurious solution to recreation on the go

Thanks to its Ryzen 7 6800U chip, the Ayaneo 2 can deliver strong framerates even at 1920 x 1200.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Okay okay, sufficient in regards to the design and specs, what is that this factor truly like to make use of? Properly, in brief, the Ayaneo 2 addresses a few of my greatest complaints in regards to the Steam Deck, however in a smaller, extra compact and better-performing chassis. Its display is method brighter, extra colourful and higher-res making every thing look sharper too. And because of its Ryzen 7 6800U CPU, you may get related framerates with the Ayaneo 2 at 1920 x 1200 versus 800p for the Steam Deck. I must also point out that, whereas the Valve’s moveable PC tops out with simply 512GB of onboard storage, the Ayaneo 2 will be specced with as much as a 2TB SSD, whereas nonetheless having a microsD card slot (with a neat protecting cowl) for further room if you would like it.

The Ayaneo 2’s management setup is great too. That is as a result of even with out built-in touchpads, such as you get on the Steam Deck, you may nonetheless simply navigate Home windows 11 utilizing the left stick, which doubles as a solution to transfer your mouse cursor. Positive, which means you are in all probability not going to wish to play Civilization 6 or an RTS on the Ayaneo 2, however even with extra optimized controls, these video games nonetheless really feel clunky on the Steam Deck. Ayaneo’s magnetic corridor sensors within the analog sticks and shoulder triggers additionally ship an extremely responsive expertise. And whereas I would not name it a quiet system, when its followers spin up the whir is not practically as loud or annoying as what I get from my Steam Deck. (Observe: For what it is value, my Deck has the marginally whinier sounding Huaying fan.)

The really emphasize its streamlined design, the Ayaneo 2 has little faceplates that cover up its external screws.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

That stated, there are nonetheless quite a lot of awkward elements in regards to the Ayaneo 2. The primary is that Home windows 11 is form of annoying to make use of with contact controls, although merely booting into Steam’s Huge Image mode enables you to sidestep a lot of that. Second, whereas I recognize the included Ayaspace app, which serves as the corporate’s consolidated recreation launcher and efficiency monitoring instrument, the consumer expertise feels a bit unpolished.

Altering the system’s decision from the AyaQuickTool window was typically hit-or-miss. On high of that, after I put in an replace to the AyaSpace app, its language setting reverted again to Chinese language. That’s not an enormous ache to repair, however I would reasonably be enjoying video games than diving via menus repairing one thing that should not have modified. Then there are different little quirks like its weak rumble motors and never understanding what makes the lights beneath the joysticks change colours. That’s as a result of apart from a few quick quick-start manuals, Ayaneo doesn’t present a lot documentation for the system, so that you’re form of by yourself on the subject of determining the system’s extra hidden options. (There’s a hyperlink to a FAQ doc within the AyaSpace app, however the entire thing is in Chinese language, so it is not a lot assist for many people within the west.)

The bottom of the Ayaneo 2 features one USB-C port, a microSD card slot (with a small protective cover) and a pair of surprisingly decent stereo speakers.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Now I ought to observe that the corporate says it’s already engaged on a second model of the AyaSpace app, and within the month I’ve had the system, there have been a number of patches, so it is clear the corporate is dedicated to enhancing the scenario. Nonetheless, whereas the Ayaneo 2’s specs are top-notch, a few of its software program nonetheless seems like a piece in progress.

Nonetheless, a variety of the Ayaneo 2’s weak factors are made up for by the truth that it runs Home windows, which suggests virtually each recreation simply form of works. Do not get me fallacious, I’ve an enormous appreciation for what Valve is making an attempt to do with SteamOS and for Linux gaming as a complete, however even with 1000’s of video games which have been verified to run on the Steam Deck, there are 1000’s extra that are not (and in some instances, might by no means run proper). With the Ayaneo 2, you merely have much more confidence that the subsequent recreation you purchase will not have points while you boot it up.

And now let me flip issues over to my colleague James, who has been testing out the Ayaneo 2’s emulation capabilities.

James’ retro nook

For those who aren't a fan of the white model, the Ayaneo 2 is also available in black.

James Trew

It will be decadent to advocate shopping for one thing just like the Ayaneo 2 as an emulation-first system. However, it is value speaking about its efficiency right here because it actually does increase the potential library of video games. After all, if you wish to rip ROMs from video games you already personal, you will have to determine that facet out your self.

Clearly, with the facility to run some pretty demanding PC video games, the Ayaneo 2 might be greater than able to operating every thing as much as the fifth or sixth technology of consoles with out an excessive amount of bother. You can transcend this, however with blended outcomes. Skate 3 on the PS3, for instance, runs on the Ayaneo 2 at 60fps with virtually no particular configuration. The Final of Us, however, was solely in a position to muster between 13-23fps, with the odd flicker above and beneath that.

The Ayaneo 2 has lights behind its joysticks that change colors from blue to red depending on the situation, though due to a lack of documentation, it's not always clear why.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Theoretically, you may virtually come proper as much as the current day, with some industrious YouTubers getting Nintendo Change video games to run with various ranges of success. After all, for now not less than, that is the restrict however in the event you had a library of outdated video games and have been hoping they may have a second life on the Ayaneo 2, the reply is that, unsurprisingly, it is a very succesful emulator that advantages from built-in controls (which saves a stunning quantity of meddling round).

Battery life: May very well be higher

One of many few shortcomings of the Ayaneo 2 is its battery life. That is as a result of when in comparison with the Steam Deck which usually lasts three to 4 hours on a cost (relying on the title), the Ayaneo 2’s longevity is nearer to 2 or three. That stated, you may modify the facility draw of the system if you wish to enhance vitality effectivity, however ultimately, that is the value you pay for elevated efficiency.


The Ayaneo 2's much brighter, more colorful and higher-res screen is almost worth the added cost all on its own.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

As I look again, I nonetheless suppose the Steam Deck was probably the most necessary devices of 2022. Placing premium laptop computer specs with nice controls and surprisingly good battery life in a handheld PC that begins at simply $400 is an unbeatable deal. However for individuals who need one thing a bit extra premium, the Ayaneo 2 has so much to love. It is acquired a cleaner, extra compact design with a method higher display. Its joysticks and buttons additionally really feel tighter and extra luxurious. And on the within, it is acquired a considerably extra highly effective chip that not solely delivers stable efficiency at FHD+, [the decision to go] with Home windows as an alternative of Steam OS additionally means a lot wider recreation compatibility. Sadly, with the most cost effective model of the Ayaneo 2 beginning at round $850, you are additionally paying a premium for all these fancy upgrades. However in the event you’ve been trying to find one thing that’s basically a Steam Deck Professional, the Ayaneo 2 is it.

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