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.
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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.