Tired of waiting for the Steam Deck in Australia? These Ayaneo alternatives are worth a look

Ayaneo handheld gaming PC
(Image credit: Ayaneo)

Gamers in Australia have got the rough end of the stick when it comes to being able to buy a Steam Deck, but Valve's little portable gaming PC isn't the only one on the market. While Australians keep waiting, other companies have an opportunity to step in. Ayaneo is gearing up to release its own gaming handheld, and while it's expensive, it packs in some serious hardware and adds flexibility the Steam Deck lacks.

There are two Ayaneo consoles coming to the Australian market, and both are available for pre-order from a variety of popular retailers, including Amazon, JB Hi-Fi, and others. The Ayaneo Next Handheld PC is up for pre-order for an eye-watering AU$2,089, while the cheaper Ayaneo Air Pro Handheld PC is listed for AU$1,249. The more expensive Next is due to be released on August 31 while the Air Pro is set to follow later in the year, on November 10.

Two grand is definitely a lot to pay for a handheld, but it does come with some impressive hardware. A powerful 8C/16T AMD Ryzen 7 5825U CPU with 8 Radeon Vega 8 graphics cores, 16GB of ram and a 1TB SSD goes a way to justifying the cost. A 7-inch 1280×800 touch screen IPS display should look good too.

Probably the biggest strength of the Ayaneo Next is that it runs Windows by default. Which means it will not only run all of your Steam games, but also those from GOG, Epic, Xbox Game Pass, Ubisoft, Origin, or any other launcher. Not to mention it will run Windows apps too.

Steam in your hands

Steam Deck with an image from Elden Ring overlayed on the screen

(Image credit: Future, FromSoftware)

Steam Deck review: Our verdict on Valve's handheld PC.
Steam Deck availability: How to get one.
Steam Deck battery life: What's the real battery life of the new device?
How loud is the Steam Deck? And will it pass the Significant Other test?
Steam Deck - The emulation dream machine: Using Valve's handheld hardware as the ultimate emulator.

With its powerful hardware, The Ayaneo Next is actually a pretty decent PC in its own right. It's got two Type-C USB ports with DisplayPort 1.4 support which means you could plug it into a 4K monitor and use the other with a hub to add a keyboard, mouse or other peripherals.

The Ayaneo Air Pro is still a few months away from appearing and its specs could be subject to change. It includes an AMD Ryzen 5 5560U with 6 Vega graphics cores and a 5.5in OLED screen. At AU$1,249 its price is a lot more palatable, though a 5.5in screen is on the small side.

While the Ayaneo Next ticks a lot of boxes, it could struggle against the Steam Deck not only on price, but also against the Steam ecosystem. Valve can afford to subsidise the price of its consoles much like Sony or Microsoft does. Any other handheld manufacturer will face the same competitive headwinds.

But the added flexibility and more powerful hardware of the Ayaneo next will win over some buyers. Plus, there's the fact it will actually be available! The Steam Deck's Australian release is nowhere in sight, so if you're after a powerful handheld console that doubles as a decent PC, the Ayaneo Next is definitely worth a look.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.