The AYA Neo is a handheld gaming computer with a 7 inch touchscreen display wedged between a set of game controllers and an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor with Radeon Vega 6 graphics powering the system.
It went up for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, and the developers have shipped more than 500 units to backers and other customers. But according to a recent update to the AYA Neo Indiegogo page, some of those customers have encountered hardware problems. So the folks at AYA are working to ensure that the next batch to roll of the production line is more reliable. On July 7th, the company also announced that it would offer free upgrade kits for the first 500 backers of the crowdfunding campaign who had already received the original hardware.
In a nutshell, AYA says that some users have noticed issues including:
- Visible glue at the corners of the display (this appears gradually over time)
- Backlight bleed around the edges of the display
- Screen color calibration issues
- Speakers that are too quiet
- Friction between fan blades causing the back of the Neo to get hot
- Rough seams around the case
- Poor printing of the labels on buttons
AYA has plans to address all of those issues with the next batch of Neo hardware through improvements to the design of the frame, case mold, and buttons, as well as color calibration profile for the display.
The new design involves a more uniform seam between the top and bottom portions of the case, buttons that incorporate the labels directly in the mold rather than having it painted on, and the company is retooling the D-Pad and controller buttons with new ones that will be more durable, include an improved feel, and have labels that shouldn’t fade.
The company is also adding analog shoulder buttons, updating the vibration motor, and improving the audio experience with a new speaker and a larger sound chamber inside the case.
Aya says it’s also replacing the Intel AX200 wireless card with a MediaTek module, not because one is necessarily better than the other, but because the AX200 was out of stock. Other changes include updates to the aluminum frame and heat dissipation.
This all sounds like good news for customers who are waiting for new AYA Neo devices to ship (it’s available for purchase from the AYA website for $925 and up, but the new hardware won’t ship until August at the earliest). But what about the 500+ folks who already have the original AYA Neo?
The company says it will offer upgrade kits including a new screen, frame, buttons, speakers, cooling module, and printed circuit board for the joysticks. Users will have a choice of having the upgrade kit shipped to them or shipping their devices back to AYA so that the company can perform the upgrade and send the upgraded units back to customers.
You’ll have to pay for shipping to and from China if you want AYA to do the upgrade, but it’s nice to have the option if you’re not comfortable following the company’s instructions for performing surgery on your own hardware.
Upgrades will be available after AYA prepares its second-gen hardware, probably sometime in September.
In a separate update, AYA notes that it’s working on a docking station for the Neo that will likely take 2-3 months to complete. But an early sample with a 3D-printed case gives a rough idea of what it will look like and what kind of functionality the dock will bring.
It supports HDMI output to a 4K 60Hz monitor, has a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB Type-C ports, and two USB Type-A ports for connecting speakers, storage, keyboards, mice, or other peripherals.
There are also SD and microSD card readers on the side that you can use for removable storage. And since the dock is designed to connect to the bottom of the computer, the USB-C ports and headphone jack on top of the Neo are still accessible when the computer is docked.
You can find more details in the updates posted to the AYA Neo Indiegogo campaign page.
This article was originally published June 30, 2021 and last updated July 7, 2021.