As fast as you can buy them, AyaNeo is making PC handhelds. It seems like we just looked at the beautiful AyaNeo 2, another great handheld gaming PC, a few weeks ago. And yet, here we are with the brand-new AyaNeo Air Plus device, which comes in not one but several very exciting ways. The top-of-the-line model we have been testing has the same AMD Ryzen 7 6800U chipset as the more expensive AyaNeo 2, but it’s smaller, which makes it a much better device for portable gaming. So, for my money, this is the best handheld gaming PC you can buy right now.
Ayaneo Air Plus: Description
It has the same AAA performance as the AyaNeo 2 at a price closer to that of the Steam Deck. However, because it is smaller and has a 6-inch 1080p display, it is more comfortable to play for longer periods of time. The Ayaneo Air, a handheld gaming PC the size of a Nintendo Switch Lite, came out less than a year ago. But Ayaneo is quick as lightning. we have been using its replacement, the Ayaneo Air Plus, for most of the last month.
It gets rid of the OLED screen in exchange for more options at lower prices and a top-of-the-line configuration that boosts fps in games a lot. It has an entry-level configuration that starts at $549 and a Ryzen 7 6800U version that we reviewed here that costs $779. It’s more of a refresh than a re-invention, but if size is important to you, it’s a good choice.
Ayaneo Air Plus: Pros and Cons
- Powerful internal specs for AAA games
- Ergonomic size and controls
- Full access to Windows 11.
- Isn’t as easy to use as consoles
- Battery life is limited
- The front end of Aya Space still needs to be tweaked.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 6800U|
|RAM||32GB LPDDR5 6400|
|Size||237mm X 91.4mm x 23.1mm|
|OS||Windows 11 Home|
|Official Link||Visit Website|
Ayaneo Air Plus: Design
At this point, AyaNeo has made a few handheld PCs, and the improvements it has made along the way are really starting to pay off. Even though this is not as fancy as the AyaNeo 2 and was made to be cheaper, argue that it’s the better machine for portable play in many ways. This is due in large part to the size of the screen. The AyaNeo Air Plus has a 6-inch touch screen, while the AyaNeo 2 has a 7-inch screen. Both screens are beautiful, with rich IPS displays that have contrast ratios and color depth that can compete with an OLED screen.
But the Air Plus has a smaller and lighter design because its screen is smaller. This makes it much easier to play and hold for longer periods of time. In this way, it makes the big Steam Deck look bad. The brightness steps on the AyaNeo Air Plus are interesting, but they feel a little off? After about 30% brightness, you’re so close to the maximum visible brightness that I rarely went above that value because it didn’t seem worth the potential battery loss to go any higher. No matter what, it has a sharper and brighter screen than a Steam Deck, even before you reach the halfway point.
Not all of the design differences from the more expensive AyaNeo 2 are for the better. There are only two USB-C ports (one on the top edge and one on the bottom) instead of three on the AyaNeo 2, and the sticks are cheap Joy-Con copies instead of Xbox-style sticks. But again, they are smart choices that make the device as a whole smaller. The sticks still have the drift-free Hall sensors that make them easy to control. Each one also has an RGB light underneath that can be changed.
Ayaneo Air Plus: Features
The new Ayaneo Air Plus is similar to its predecessor in that it is more like the Nintendo Switch Lite than the Steam Deck. A 6-inch IPS touch display is the main thing to look at here. It’s not as clear or bright as the OLED screen on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it’s still a nice addition. The action on screen is much easier to follow and more interesting than it was in the first Ayaneo Air.
The layout of the buttons is the same as on the last model, but Ayaneo has switched the buttons for the heat vent and the power button. The new handheld is not only bigger, but also a little bit thicker and heavier. At 525g, it’s still easy to hold and use, but there’s no way to mistake this for a Nintendo Switch Lite. Even when this device is at its best, it’s hard to forget that it’s just a graphics card with a screen attached to it.
The Ayaneo Air Plus has a USB Type-C port, a MicroSD cards slot, and a headphone jack on the bottom edge. The fingerprint sensor, which is also the power button, the volume controls, and a second USB Type-C port are all on the top edge. Even though this new handheld has a lot in common with its predecessor, Ayaneo has added a few smart touches that make the good things it already has even better. These changes are small, but they are important. For example, the design of the materials here is just a little bit better, and there are a lot of silver accents.
Ayaneo Air Plus: Software
The AyaSpace software suite is used to set up all of the options on the Ayaneo Air Plus and even to start games. Since our first review of the Ayaneo Next, the company has been using the same suite. However, there have been a few updates, and the software is now more stable and easy to understand than it was even during our last visit. There are three main parts to AyaSpace. The first has to do with setting up the top level. It has more options than the quick launch menu, but it has all of the same settings. It’s where you choose which shortcuts go in the quick launch menu and where you can also set custom TDPs.
Your game library is on the second screen. You’ll need to scan the system for new installations, but once you do, you can start games right from this screen. If you want to use Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR) in games that don’t support it by default, you’ll need to use it. This might seem counterintuitive if you’re already using something like Steam Big Picture mode, but it’s the only way to get the most out of games that don’t support it by default. If you don’t need FSR, you don’t have to use this screen at all.
Ayaneo Air Plus: Performance
Last year, when we reviewed the Aya Neo Air and Air Pro, we said that they were great systems for both new and old games. The same can be said about the Air Plus. Even though there are problems with Windows and Aya Space, there’s not much to complain about when you get this system to play games. It can handle almost anything you throw at it, though there are some obvious exceptions.
Modern games that are very demanding will never run as smoothly as they would on a high-end desktop PC, but with some time and effort, you can get things moving well enough that the experience is almost the same. You have to be ready to put in some work, though, because many AAA games require you to play around with different settings to find the right balance. The Aya Quick Tool makes it easy to change these settings while you’re playing. From this pop-up menu, you can change things like the system’s power consumption, resolution, and fan speed.
Price and Availability
For its lower-powered models, the AyaNeo Air Plus starts at a reasonable $599, but if you want it to beat Steam Deck, you’ll have to pay for the high-end AMD Ryzen 7 6800U model. At that point, you should have a machine that works better than Valve’s, but it will cost you a lot more. This is fair, since Valve helps pay for the Steam Deck by selling games through the Steam store. In terms of value, a gaming laptop of the same price will probably give you more pure gaming time and more functionality with its keys and trackpad.
But along the way, you will lose the magic of it being a real hand-held machine. And this is still cheaper than the high-end AyaNeo 2, even though it has almost the same internal specs and plays AAA PC games just as well. AyaNeo also has less powerful versions of the Air Plus, such as Intel Alder Lake Core i3 1215U builds that start at $649 and AMD Ryzen 3 7320U and Ryzen 5 7520U builds that start at $599. Each has 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR5 storage and either 128GB or 512GB of SSD storage. Everything else stays the same.
The Ayaneo Air Plus is a great gaming device, but since the Air Pro came out, the market has become more competitive. With the ROG Ally available for pre-order at $699, $779 doesn’t seem as cheap as it used to, especially since it doesn’t have an OLED screen. What makes it stand out, and may be reason enough to choose it over the competition, are its portability and the fact that its joysticks and triggers are reassuring and pleasing. It could be great for gamers who want something small without giving up performance, but for most gamers, its higher price and lower performance are big downsides.
The Ayaneo Air Plus is a high-tech electric car (EV) made for commuting in cities. It is a small, electric car that is good for the environment.
Depending on how you drive and other factors, the Ayaneo Air Plus can go about 200 miles (320 kilometers) on a single charge.