The AYN Odin is a handheld game console with a 6 inch display, built-in game controllers, and an ARM-based processor. It ships with Android software, but we’ve already seen that it’s possible to load other operating systems like Windows on some models.
Now you can do that without wiping Android first. Project Valhalla is a community-built set of tools that allows you to turn an AYN Odin into a dual-boot device capable of running Android, Windows, or maybe even Linux (although Linux support is still a work in progress).
A guide for dual booting Windows and Android was released this week. It requires an AYN Odin Base or Pro model (with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, as Windows doesn’t currently support the MediaTek Dimensity 900 chip used in the AYN Odin Lite).
But as long as you’ve got the right processor, it doesn’t matter if you’re using an AYN Odin Base (with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage) or a Odin Pro (with 8GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB storage). That said, I’m not sure I’d recommend using Project Valhalla on an AYN Odin Base model. Not only will Windows run better on systems with 8GB of RAM, but the installer divides your device’s storage into two equally-sized partitions, so if you’re using an Odin Base, you’ll have just 32GB for Android and 32GB for Windows.
Anyway, the install process looks pretty straightforward. You can find instructions at GitHub, or if you’re a more visual learner, you can check out the Retro Games Corps video walkthrough of the process on YouTube.
In a nutshell, you’ll need to put your Odin into fastboot mode, connect it to a computer with Google’s Android USB drivers installed, and run a command to flash a custom bootloader to the Odin. This will re-partition the device, giving you two bootable partitions. That allows you to use a specially configured USB flash drive to install Windows to the second partition.
Note that the instructions assume you’re using a Windows PC to install Windows to the Odin, but it should be possible for advanced users to modify the instructions and tools so they work from a Mac or Linux computer as well.
After Windows is installed, you can choose which operating system to run when starting up the Odin:
- Press the power button and the Odin will boot into Android.
- Hold the volume up button while pressing power and it will boot into Windows.
Keep in mind that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 isn’t a super-speedy processor by Windows PC standards, but it’s very similar to the Snapdragon 850 processor that powered some of the first Windows on ARM devices.
Not all Windows games and applications are going to work perfectly on an AYN Odin running Windows. Only 32-bit apps and games are supported, and while some are playable, others run with slow frame rates or other problems. You can get a sense of some of the Windows games that do and do not run well on the AYN Odin in a community-made spreadsheet or Join the Odin 845-Windows channel on Taki Udon’s discord server to further discuss Windows on the Odin.
Of course, you don’t need to install on an Android device if you want a Windows handheld gaming PC. There are plenty of other options available at the moment, although most tend to be substantially more expensive than the Odin (which sells for $239 and up), and all feature x86 processors. But that could change later this year when new models like the AYA Neo Air Plus and AYN Loki go on sale with expected starting prices below $300.