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Handheld gaming PCs have been round for longer than their latest increase would possibly point out, even when the Steam Deck blew the doorways off of the market by making a mannequin that the typical particular person might truly afford. Whereas Valve might lay declare to being the “greatest worth” transportable PC with its loss-leadingly low value, for those who’re available in the market for consolation, sheer efficiency, or the performance of getting Home windows proper out of the field, there are many extra succesful Steam Deck alternate options accessible to these with greater budgets. It’s on this area the place Ayaneo has historically operated, providing full-fledged Home windows gaming PCs with high-performance elements and on the spot compatibility throughout Steam and each different launcher’s full library.

Premium is sort of the route you must go in for those who don’t additionally personal some sort of retailer that allows you to subsidize low value merchandise for the mass market. To fanatics, Ayaneo’s typically 4 determine units have been mouthwatering, however even a boutique producer can’t ignore the Steam Deck ceaselessly. Valve is now the elephant within the nook of each handheld PC producer’s room.

Launching alongside the flagship Ayaneo 2, the Ayaneo Geek (accessible on IndieGoGo) maintains a premium standing however is the primary of the corporate’s full energy handhelds to not less than get inside spitting distance of the Steam Deck’s value (there’s the Ayaneo Air, nevertheless it’s meant for much less demanding video games than the Deck). It options extra in widespread with the Ayaneo 2 than it doesn’t, together with its wonderful Corridor Impact joysticks and a strong AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor. Nevertheless it begins $150 cheaper than the Ayaneo 2, at $849. That may nonetheless set you again greater than even the costliest Steam Deck ($640). However for those who’re simply seeking to spend lower than $1,000 for a real Home windows gaming PC that’s extra highly effective than the Deck and isn’t a lot greater than a Nintendo Change OLED, it’s an excellent selection, particularly in comparison with gaming laptops. Lastly, we have now a “funds” boutique Steam Deck competitor. Or, if it helps to think about it this manner, a considerably inexpensive “Steam Deck Professional.”

Ayaneo Geek

The Ayaneo Geek provides spectacular gaming efficiency for much less, however will nonetheless set you again greater than a Steam Deck.

Ayaneo Geek

The Ayaneo Geek provides spectacular gaming efficiency for much less, however will nonetheless set you again greater than a Steam Deck.

What’s it?

Essentially the most inexpensive full-size Ayaneo with a Ryzen 7 6800U so far


Begins at $849, Reviewed at $1,199


Nice gaming efficiency, extremely customizable, wonderful joysticks and triggers


Battery life varies wildly, tapping the display screen will be tough, software program will be complicated

A succesful AMD Ryzen 6800U handheld gaming PC

Regardless of its Nintendo Change-like design, the Ayaneo Geek is a full-fledged gaming PC and has the specs to match. Essentially the most inexpensive mannequin comes with 16GB of DDR5 reminiscence clocked to a fast 6,400MHz and features a 512GB NVME SSD. The SSD will be upgraded to 1TB or 2TB for one more $150 and $250, respectively. The highest tier mannequin is at present priced at $1,199 and consists of 32GB of reminiscence and a 2TB SSD, but when all you want is storage, the Geek additionally helps MicroSD playing cards for a less expensive various (albeit at a slower 300 MB/s velocity). The Geek can also be accessible with 800p or 1200p screens, even when that is barely unclear on the present IndieGoGo marketing campaign.

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Because the funds counterpart to the pricier Ayaneo 2, the Geek is remarkably comparable and actually simply seems like a barely pared down model of the flagship mannequin. You’re getting the identical quick Ryzen 7 6800U processor, so gaming efficiency is similar between each fashions. It makes use of the identical excellent Corridor Impact triggers and joysticks, which really feel nice and are proof against joystick drift. Each models have vibrant 7-inch touchscreen shows. Their layouts and management schemes are the identical, although the Ayaneo 2 provides extra customization choices for the buttons and triggers. They’re practically an identical in form, measurement, and weight. Each provide a 50.25 wHr battery.

Display screen: Full Display screen 1200p

Display screen: Slim Bezel 800P or 1200P

Dealing with: Full glass entrance

Dealing with: Glass solely over show

Vibration: “Identical as Change” HD vibration motor

Vibration: X-axis linear motor

Fingerprint module: Contact S3 sleep fingerprint module

Fingerprint module: Customary fingerprint module

“SoundTapMagic sound vibration” included

Dimension: 264.5 x 105.5 x 21.55 mm

There are a handful of variations, however they’re total small and really feel like honest scale-backs for the lower cost. The largest distinction is that the Ayaneo 2 options an edge-to-edge show whereas the Geek has skinny bezels on all sides. There are different smaller variations, too. The Geek has a single gyroscope for movement aiming whereas the Ayaneo 2 has two. The Geek has a linear vibration motor as an alternative of the two’s HD motor, which Ayaneo says is an identical to the one within the Nintendo Change. The Geek additionally ships with a PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD as an alternative of the newer PCIe 4.0 drive that comes with the Ayaneo 2, although the affect on load occasions is sufficiently small that you could be not even discover. The flagship mannequin additionally comes with a full glass entrance whereas the Geek simply has a glass display screen.

There are clear high quality of life enhancements that include the dearer mannequin, however the Geek actually doesn’t really feel like a lot of a step down in any respect, particularly for those who’re evaluating it to the Steam Deck. I’ve used each extensively and essentially the most noticeable distinction is the display screen, which you rapidly get used to and gained’t discover in any respect for those who don’t have each fashions facet by facet. You probably have the cash for the Ayaneo 2, it delivers the higher expertise over all, however the Geek is the uncommon tech buy that doesn’t really feel such as you’re making a giant sacrifice by choosing the cheaper mannequin.

Just like the Nintendo Change and a gaming laptop computer had a child

The Ayaneo Geek is what would occur if the Nintendo Change and a gaming laptop computer had a child. The Geek is a contact bigger than the Change OLED however has a really comparable structure. The Geek adopts a way more curved design than Nintendo’s console, nonetheless. It has an ovular face and deep, curved grips that Ayaneo says are based mostly on a child’s sleeping place. The controllers are additionally non-removable, so that you’ll want to carry the Geek in your fingers except you plug in peripherals and a docking station.

Regardless of the similarities to a Change with default joycons, the Geek is much nicer to really use. The grips are thick and contoured, tapering towards the highest to information your fingers towards the triggers. The sticks are greater, smoother, and have extra throw. The triggers have a deep, controller-like pull. The buttons are snappy and extra crisp than the Steam Deck’s. Like all handheld, every thing nonetheless feels barely compressed: the correct joystick specifically feels only a hair too low for even my medium-sized fingers. Even so, I might take the Ayaneo Geek over both the Change or Steam Deck any day of the week relating to consolation and ease of use. Even when the Geek is ever so barely heavier than the Steam Deck, at 680 grams vs the Deck’s 669.

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Ayaneo has outfitted the Geek with an array of additional buttons to navigate Home windows and entry its completely different choices. There are View and Menu buttons beneath the D-pad on the left (mimicking an Xbox controller, and usually fulfilling the identical position as Begin and Choose on extra old-school units). Two extra additional buttons are positioned beneath the correct joystick. One will be mapped to a customized command whereas the opposite, the Aya button, will be clicked to entry a fast settings adjustment menu or held to attract up the complete AYASpace settings software program suite. There are bumpers and triggers on the highest, in addition to a pair of shoulder buttons that may be tied to customized instructions, like elevating the on-screen keyboard or Activity Supervisor.

This isn’t a full laptop computer, so I/O is proscribed. There are three USB Kind-C ports whole right here: two on high and one on backside, and every can be utilized for energy or knowledge. There are two USB Kind-C to Kind-A adapters within the field for connecting peripherals, however you’ll want a docking station to attach the Geek to an exterior monitor for those who plan to make use of it as a full PC. There’s additionally an influence button with an built-in fingerprint reader for biometric login, a quantity rocker, headphone jack, and a MicroSD card slot for expandable storage.

Corridor Impact analog sticks and snappy buttons

Just like the Ayaneo 2, the Ayaneo Subsequent, and the Ayaneo Air earlier than it, the Ayaneo Geek makes use of Corridor Impact triggers and joysticks. Because the axiom goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t repair it, and this design is something however damaged. Somewhat than utilizing mechanical potentiometers for its triggers and joysticks, the Geek makes use of magnetic sensors to detect motion. The dearth of mechanical put on and tear all however eliminates the prospect for joystick drift and makes these inputs a few of the smoothest you’ll discover on any gaming controller. With the correct software program tuning, you may even customise your deadzones (the elements of a joystick that your controller doesn’t learn, in order to keep away from small random actions).

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Whereas the entire Geek’s inputs are smaller than what you’ll discover on a standard controller, they nonetheless really feel nearer than you would possibly count on. The added throw on the triggers and joysticks, whereas not as deep as on an Xbox or PlayStation controller, really feel a lot nearer than you would possibly count on and are noticeably deeper than on the Steam Deck. The triggers particularly really feel at house in my console-acquainted fingers, but all the higher for his or her added smoothness. The sticks have a bit extra of a studying curve attributable to their decreased peak and are much less correct than a full-size controller due to it. Utilizing the built-in gyro helps to fine-tune aiming; nonetheless, the Geek requires putting in an applet to allow movement controls whereas the Ayaneo 2 has them in-built from the beginning.

The face buttons are snappy and tactile. There’s no mushiness to them in any respect, which is nice for button heavy video games like platformers. The D-pad is a bit much less crisp, with a slight wiggle to the cross, nevertheless it labored for an informal like me, even in preventing video games. Every is a giant enchancment from the Steam Deck’s considerably mushy inputs, nonetheless, and all in all, make the Ayaneo Geek surprisingly nice to sport on.

A vibrant and colourful display screen that begs for OLED

The Geek’s 7-inch display screen is vibrant and colourful. Though it lacks the edge-to-edge protection of the Ayaneo 2, it nonetheless feels pretty giant because of its 16:10 side ratio. Ayaneo quotes a peak brightness of 400 nits, and I’ve found a number of occasions that it’s vibrant sufficient to play in direct daylight. It doesn’t assist superior options like HDR assist or gaming at 120Hz, however for many video games, these are non-issues. And actually, would you count on both from a handheld designed to be value pleasant?

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

No, and neither would you count on an OLED display screen, however the Geek begs for it. The colours are wealthy and blacks are nice, however after seeing how a lot better OLED can look on the Ayaneo Air, the Geek isn’t fairly as spectacular with out it. Distinction ranges are typical for an LCD display screen, with blacks being extra of a deep grey, however the wealthy distinction and inky blacks of the Air would have pushed this to a different stage.

The display screen helps contact enter, and it total works nicely. The display screen is responsive and registers presses reliably. The largest problem is tapping on-screen parts that may simply be, nicely, tiny. The Geek packs a full, desktop model of Home windows 11. Even with Home windows scaling turned on, selecting gadgets in drop down menus or navigating settings inside purposes will be tough. AYASpace, the Geek’s configuration software program, solves this by permitting you to regulate a digital mouse cursor utilizing the joysticks. It doesn’t substitute utilizing an precise mouse, however works surprisingly nicely when contact doesn’t lower it.

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

The display screen is obtainable in 800p or 1200p choices, nevertheless it’s not price paying additional for the 1200p display screen, even when 800p will web you a similar decision because the more cost effective Steam Deck. Whereas the added decision would possibly sound nice on paper, it has a big affect on gaming efficiency and doesn’t provide a significant benefit in visible high quality. In reality, that decision bump is especially solely seen in nonetheless photographs–bear in mind, the display screen right here is simply 7 inches. Until you’re enjoying older video games or indies, it’s higher to depart the display screen at 800p and luxuriate in a better FPS with extra responsive gameplay.

AYASpace is the Ayaneo Geek’s spine

AYASpace is the Geek’s primary configuration app and the spine to utilizing it as an precise pc. The software program, referred to as up utilizing the devoted AYA button beneath the correct joystick, acts as a central hub for all your configuration choices, and you can even use it as a sport launcher. Inside, you may set your TDP (the ability restrict for the system’s processor), fan velocity, button shortcuts, and extra. It’s additionally the place you’ll go to obtain and apply firmware updates as they’re launched over time.

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Tapping the AYA button additionally brings up a fast menu for while you wish to make quick modifications or ship widespread instructions. It permits you to change the efficiency settings, brightness, and quantity. You’ll be able to assign 9 completely different shortcuts for issues like placing the system to sleep, enabling system-wide FSR upscaling, or pressure closing video games. It’s quick and dependable, and for those who occur to give up AYASpace accidentally, you’ll instantly miss it.

AYASpace continues to be in beta and it exhibits. It’s improved by leaps and bounds during the last 12 months, however there are nonetheless tough edges, with situations of damaged English, Chinese language solely descriptions in lots of applets, and a propensity to reset itself to Chinese language with software program updates. Regardless of that, it total works nicely. If you happen to ought to occur to seek out your self caught in Chinese language, you may change your language by clicking in your profile within the high proper nook, then clicking on the hexagon with a splash icon by it within the subsequent menu. The subsequent display screen has language settings within the left-most choice of the center row.

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

If you happen to shut AYASpace down, the Geek simply doesn’t work proper. Key features just like the mouse cursor or button shorts for the on-screen keyboard cease working, and people shortcuts are the important thing to the hand-held’s skill to perform as a pc. With out a mouse and keyboard, they permit you carry out fundamental duties like urgent the Escape key to again out of menus. Whereas it’s technically potential to run the Ayaneo with out AYASpace, I wouldn’t advocate it. It’s painful.

Overlook your work laptop computer? The Ayaneo Geek has you lined.

One of many superb issues in regards to the Ayaneo Geek is considered one of its most blatant: this can be a real Home windows gaming PC in a handheld kind issue. There’s no Linux. No compatibility layer just like the Steam Deck’s Proton. You should use the entire apps and instruments you’ll usually use in your desktop or laptop computer with a fraction of the footprint.

And regardless that it’s small, The Geek is mighty. The Ryzen 7 6800U is a really quick, very succesful processor, and it’s backed by 16GB of high-speed reminiscence. The Geek has sufficient horsepower to run absolutely anything an fanatic PC person might need: productiveness apps, artistic apps, web sites and streaming companies: the works. It’s a high-performing little pc.

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

To really use it on this manner requires some add-ons, except you wish to hunt and peck your manner by its onscreen keyboard and small display screen. You’ll want to purchase peripherals, in addition to a monitor for those who don’t have already got one. Then you definitely’ll want a docking station to attach every thing and energy the gadget. Nevertheless it’s potential. With the Geek, I wrote a number of articles throughout Google Docs and Microsoft Phrase, edited pictures and movies with Adobe, and even plugged in a USB mic to document some tune concepts in Reaper, my digital audio workstation.

I additionally put it to the take a look at with our suite of benchmarks. It scored 5,126 in PCMark 10, which is a strong 500 factors larger than the HP Dragonfly Folio Elite we reviewed in January. In Geekbench 5, it scored 1,341 for single-core efficiency and 6,483 for multi-core, which falls wanting most of the gaming laptops we’ve reviewed during the last 12 months, and is center of the pack for productiveness PCs. However given its considerably extra inexpensive value than lots of these notebooks, the Geek’s efficiency actually is somewhat spectacular.

For artistic apps, the Geek maintains its center of the street posture. In Cinebench, it scored 1,338 for single core rendering and eight,845 for multi-core, far exceeding the Dragonfly with all of its cores engaged however falling barely quick in single-core speeds. In Blender, the Geek rendered a BMW in 4 minutes and 29 seconds, placing it proper in between the Apple MacBook Professional 13 and MacBook Professional 14. With out a devoted graphics card like most gaming laptops have, its processor has to tug double-duty. It’s not the quickest, however can definitely get the job achieved if you wish to use it as a full-fledged PC.

Spectacular gaming efficiency because of the AMD Ryzen 6800U

The place it actually issues—gaming—the Ayaneo Geek excels. Just like the Steam Deck, efficiency will rely in your graphics settings, decision, and the present TDP setting for the CPU. It’s a balancing act between battery life and CPU energy, however as soon as it’s dialed in (or for those who’re enjoying plugged into wall energy), it’s greater than just a little spectacular.

Though it’s cheaper, the Ayaneo Geek sacrifices nothing in efficiency in comparison with the flagship Ayaneo 2. It makes use of the identical {hardware} to drive the expertise, so with an identical settings, in-game body charges must be nearly the identical. Any scalebacks Ayaneo utilized between the fashions are purely high quality of life and don’t affect gaming efficiency.

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

There are 4 completely different energy modes to select from: Energy Saving (11W), Steadiness (15W), Sport (22W), and Professional Mode (3W – 33W). Older video games and indies can usually be performed at 11 watts and typically a lot much less. Sport mode is the very best match for contemporary video games, although often drops battery life to lower than two hours in my testing. Steadiness mode strikes a center floor between the 2. With just a little tweaking, I discovered that a variety of indie video games, like Tremendous Meat Boy and Disco Elysium, could possibly be performed with as little as 5 to seven watts, which enormously enhances battery life. Curiously, cranking up energy settings to 33W doesn’t often provide the foremost efficiency enhance you would possibly count on. It often offers you lower than 10 additional FPS whole and drops battery life to lower than an hour, although for those who’re enjoying plugged right into a wall outlet, it’s undoubtedly the best way to go, for peak efficiency.

I examined all kinds of video games for this overview and left the console in its Sport preset to maintain issues standardized. I additionally set the video games to 800p for constant comparisons.

Forza 5 (Excessive) – 71 FPSGod of Struggle (Inventory Settings) – 39 FPSCyberpunk 2077 (Steam Deck Preset) – 63 FPSBorderlands 3 (Extremely) – 32 FPSA Plague Story (Low, FSR 2.0, Efficiency Mode) – 31 FPSRocket League (Excessive) – 133 FPSThe Witcher 3 (Excessive, FSR 2.0, Extremely Efficiency) – 43 FPSDirt 5 (Medium) – 56 FPSElden Ring (Low) – 51 FPS

Taking part in at 800p, the Ayaneo Geek permits you to flip up the settings on many new video games whereas nonetheless sustaining common body charges above 30 FPS. Some video games, like Elden Ring, are greatest locked to low settings for the improved responsiveness of upper body charges, however others, like Forza 5, have headroom to spare.

It’s tough to instantly evaluate the Steam Deck’s efficiency to the Ayaneo Geek’s, as Valve’s steady updates and loads of neighborhood assist means it’s at all times getting higher. However in our authentic Steam Deck overview, we “simply barely breached the 30 fps threshold” in God of Struggle. The AMD Ryzen 6800U is utilizing a more moderen processor technology than the Steam Deck’s customized AMD APU, so typically, you’re more likely to see barely improved efficiency throughout the board on the Geek.

Whereas PC gaming handhelds used to demand that video games be set to their lowest potential settings, that age is usually behind us. The vast majority of video games I examined have been in a position to be pushed to medium and even excessive settings. Even when you must flip issues down (it’s often greatest to customise your settings and go for a mixture that appears greatest to you), parts like decrease high quality textures are much less noticeable because of the smaller display screen. Options like FidelityFX Tremendous Decision (FSR), AMD’s methodology of upscaling photographs to enhance efficiency, are additionally changing into extra widespread and mean you can run much more graphically demanding video games whereas nonetheless hitting playable body charges. The Geek even has a built-in FSR choice that can be utilized on many video games that don’t assist it natively, although the outcomes can differ from nice to distractingly blurry.

I’ve talked about it earlier than, nevertheless it bears repeating once more: the Geek is ready to assist any sport that’s at present accessible on Home windows. There’s no concern that video games will or gained’t work like there may be on the Steam Deck. There are few efficiency anomalies that pop up in the course of video games. The Darkish Photos Anthology: Man of Medan was unplayable on the Deck however good on the Geek. All of because of this you’ll have a large library of video games to select from on day one and on the spot compatibility for it sooner or later, so long as the Geek can bodily run it. No ready on Valve to certify video games are playable or for builders so as to add assist. It simply works.

The Ayaneo Geek has variable battery life, loud followers, disappointing audio system 

Whereas the Geek is clearly a really succesful gaming machine, its battery life is extraordinarily inconsistent. If you happen to’ve performed a conveyable gaming PC earlier than, you’re already conversant in simply how variable battery life will be. The 50.25 wHr battery might final 4 hours or 40 minutes relying in your present TDP setting and the way demanding the sport you’re enjoying is.

The fan also can get fairly loud. If you happen to play on the 22-watt gaming preset, the Geek’s fan will be distractingly noisy. It produces as a lot noise as a typical gaming laptop computer, although stops wanting “jet engine” standing. However because you maintain the Geek nearer to your face and ears, its noise is extra noticeable throughout use. Operating it in Steadiness or Energy Saving modes quiets it down, however at a noticeable lower in efficiency in demanding video games.

The fan may have you reaching for headphones, however you might be doing that anyway because of the Geek’s disappointing audio system. They get loud sufficient to listen to nicely, however motion pictures and sport audio lack physique and sound skinny. They’ll work in a pinch, however identical to a laptop computer, I wouldn’t advocate utilizing them when you’ve got a pair of headphones helpful.

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Must you purchase the Ayaneo Geek? 

The Ayaneo Geek is a formidable handheld gaming PC, particularly compared towards the Ayaneo 2 and the Steam Deck. Whereas Ayaneo has scaled again sure options to hit the Geek’s value, its gaming efficiency hasn’t suffered in any respect. It’s a top-tier handheld that appears certain to impress. If you happen to can afford it. And that’s the rub: regardless that the Ayaneo Geek has loads to supply for lots lower than most of Ayaneo’s units, for that very same $849, you possibly can purchase two Steam Decks and have cash left over for video games.

That doesn’t imply the Ayaneo Geek isn’t price contemplating. It’s smaller and extra snug to make use of. It’s extra highly effective and performs higher in video games. Most significantly, it runs on Home windows as an alternative of Linux, so any sport or app that runs on Home windows ought to work nice with none additional tweaks essential (you may run Home windows on the Steam Deck, nevertheless it takes a bit of labor and doesn’t at all times web nice outcomes). Join it to a docking station and monitor and it may possibly change into a real, full-featured pc. Due to that, it’s extra becoming to think about the Geek prefer it’s a uniquely designed gaming laptop computer somewhat than a easy sport console, and in that mild, $849 can truly begin to look somewhat affordable.

Whether or not the Ayaneo Geek is sensible for you relies upon completely on how you intend to make use of it and simply how a lot you worth its consolation, non-obligatory upsells like that 1200p display screen, and pure gaming horsepower. It additionally will depend on how a lot you’re keen to take care of some small firm jank, as AYAspace is extra more likely to break than SteamOS. Nevertheless it’s among the finest choices for getting only a bit greater than the best finish Steam Deck will get you whereas not spending greater than a pair hundred {dollars} additional.

Need extra of Gizmodo’s shopper electronics picks? Try our guides to the very best telephones, greatest laptops, greatest cameras, greatest televisions, and greatest tablets and eReaders. And if you wish to be taught in regards to the subsequent large factor, see our information to every thing we all know in regards to the iPhone 15.

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