After announcing its processor, storage, and memory upgrade, Aya Neo’s AYANEO NEXT handheld gaming console line looks well-positioned to take on the Steam Deck. The only catch is its daunting price from the base model to the top-of-line handheld experience.
Aya Neo’s first outing garnered a fair amount of attention when it launched in February 2021, but the company is already working on updating the formula to offer higher performance. The two biggest bumps in performance come in the form of the processor and memory. The original models used an AMD 4500U APU to shoulder the processing power and graphics. Now, instead of waiting on AMD’s 6000 series—as stated in the official release—Aya Neo is updating its Windows-based handheld platform with AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800U APUs and beyond. Likewise, memory is getting a jolt, with up to 32GB of LPDDR4x at 4,266MHz. Another large update to grace the Aya Neo is found in its move from a maximum of 1TB of storage to a 2TB SSD storage solution.
There are three models of the AYANEO NEXT. Aya Neo calls these models the AYANEO NEXT Advance, AYANEO NEXT, and the AYANEO NEXT Pro. The lineup features varying APUs and memory, with the AYANEO NEXT Advance shipping with the Ryzen 7 5800U and 16GB LPDDR4x. AYANEO NEXT uses a Ryzen 7 5825U and the same memory as the previous model. Rounding out the line, the AYANEO Pro uses a Ryzen 7 5825U but is packed with 32GB LPDDR4x memory. The Ryzen 7 5800U is clocked at 1.9GHz base and 4.4GHz boost. Conversely, the Ryzen 7 5825U clocks in at 2.0GHz base and 4.5GHz boost.
Aside from the core updates, the Aya Neo loads the NEXT platform with a generous suite of functional features. Modern connectivity like two USB Type-C ports, Wi-Fi6E, and Bluetooth 5.2 keep this handheld lineup up to date. Each model also features a seven-inch IPS display, vibration, speakers, and replaceable joystick caps. In terms of battery, Aya Neo indicates its handheld consoles as being able to last between two to six hours depending on the graphical intensity of a game.
Compared to the Steam Deck’s paltry amount of storage, lack of base model SSD storage, and slightly lower clock speed, the AYANEO NEXT lineup looks like a superior machine with greater functionality than its Linux-based competitor. Still, the price of the AYANEO NEXT handhelds is astronomical in comparison and can’t be overlooked. Pricing is easily the biggest hurdle Aya Neo’s products have to overcome.
Aya Neo’s AYANEO NEXT Advance has an estimated launch window of February 2022 and is priced at $1,345 for a launch special. The AYAYNEO NEXT or AYANEO NEXT Pro will run crowdfunding campaigns throughout February and ship by the end of March. AYANEO NEXT will retail for $1,315 for 1TB of storage or $1,465 for 2TB. At the higher end, AYANEO NEXT Pro will cost $1,565.