When it comes to x86-based handhelds, there’s plenty of them. Even before Valve’s announcement of the Steam Deck, companies like GPD, Aya Neo, and Onexplayer were making portable PC gaming a reality.
Up until this point, however, none of them could compete as far as price. They generally cost about $1,000, give or take, giving the Steam Deck a huge cost advantage. Gabe Newell has repeatedly mentioned that getting the cost of the Deck to what it currently is was “painful.” Building a Deck from scratch by purchasing parts on iFixit would cost almost double as the base model; Valve is clearly selling these units at a loss, much like console manufacturers.
Enter the Aya Neo Air Plus. It comes at a base price of $289. It’s still x86-based; it’s using AMD’s new Mendocino processor, which features Zen 2 CPU cores and RDNA 2 graphics. It’s likely that the GPU performance won’t be as strong in this new APU, however.
The Aya Neo Air Plus comes with a 6", 1080p screen, a MicroSD card slot, and will even support full-size M.2 NVMe drives (2280). That last part is a strong selling point; the Deck only supports 2230 drives and cost much more than their full-length counterparts.
I’m taking this with a grain of salt though. I strongly doubt the performance will be as decent as the APU found in the Deck. There’s also no mention of what type of RAM the Air Plus supports, though I’ve got a hunch it will be DDR4. If that’s the case, the lower class RAM means a performance hit (but probably not by much). What are you even getting with the base $289 price tag? Does that even include RAM and hard drive space? Is there a gyro? Back buttons? Doesn’t look like it has trackpads either. Probably not touchscreen-capable.
Still, I’m actually quite surprised to see a portable PC cost this low. I guess you could think of it as the “Steam Deck Lite.” No details yet as to when this will be available, but if I do manage to get my hands on one I’ll definitely write my impressions about it.
Cover image credit: Lilputing
WARNING: LGC will be shutting down March 7, 2024. See this post for more details.