Anbernic is a Chinese company that makes handheld gaming devices, most of which are retro gaming devices powered by ARM processors and designed to run Android or Linux software. But now the company has launched its first handheld gaming PC with an x86 processor.
The Anbernic Win600 is a full-fledged computer that ships with Windows 10 Home pre-installed, but which also supports the Linux-based Steam OS. First announced in January, the Win600 is now available for purchase from Anbernic.com or the company’s AliExpress store. Prices ranging from $300 for an entry-level model to $375 for a top-tier configurations. Just keep in mind that Anbernic’s top model is substantially less powerful than a similarly-priced Steam Deck, although there may still be a few reasons to consider the Win600.
The first is that the Anbernic Win600 is substantially smaller than a Steam Deck, measuring 236 x 103 x 22mm and weighing 490 grams to the Steam Deck’s 298 x 117 x 49mm and 669 grams.
A second advantage is that both the memory and storage of the Win600 are user upgradeable, while only the SSD in the Steam Deck can be replaced. And the third is that it ships with Windows, while the Steam Deck comes with Valve’s custom Linux distribution pre-installed (meaning you need a Windows license if you plan to install Microsoft’s operating system).
That said, the Win600 still looks like a pretty tough sell. Early reviews suggest its AMD Athlon Silver 3050e processor with Radeon Vega 3 graphics offers just one sixth the graphics performance of the Steam Deck, which makes it an okay choice for indie games, some retro titles, and maybe a handful of modern games. But it’s hardly a speed demon.
When Anbernic first announced plans to enter the PC gaming space, it was easy to imagine that the company would do so with a competitively priced device. But while the Win600 is technically cheaper than a Steam Deck, it’s not much more affordable. And in recent weeks several other companies have announced cheaper products with similar or better specs, including the AYN Loki Zero (AMD Athlon 3050e for $199 and up), AYA Neo Air Plus (Intel or AMD options for $249 to $299), and AYN Loki Mini and Mini Pro (Intel and AMD options for $260 to $299).
But there is a fourth reason to consider the Win600: it’s available for purchase now and expected to ship this month. The AYN and AYA products aren’t expected to ship until later this year, and while Valve has already begun shipping Steam Decks to customers, there’s still a long wait time. If you place an order for a Steam Deck today it won’t arrive until October 2022 or later.
Here’s a run-down of key specs for the Anbernic Win600:
|Anbernic Win600 (3020e)||Anbernic Win600 (3050e)|
1280 x 720 pixels
|Processor||AMD Athlon Silver 3020e|
2-cores / 2-threads
Up to 2.6 GHz
|AMD Athlon Silver 3050e|
2-cores / 4-threads
Up to 2.8 GHz
|Graphics||AMD Radeon Vega 3|
Up to 1GHz
|Ports||1 x USB Type-C|
1 x USB 3.0 Type-A
1 x 3.5mm audio
|OS||Windows 10 Home (pre-installed)|
Steam OS (supported)
|Dimensions||236 x 103 x 22mm|
In terms of physical design, the the Anbernic Win600 has a small screen surrounded by game controllers including a D-Pad, two analog stick, action, start, and select buttons, and shoulder keys. The system also features dual vibration motors.
There’s a vent on the back, indicating that the device is actively cooled, And USB Type-A and Type-C ports on the top of the system. There’s also a home key on one side, and a Windows key on the other, which will likely function as a Start Key. Other features are expected to include stereo speakers, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microphone.
On the left side of the device there’s also a switch that lets you toggle between game controller and mouse modes, a feature we’ve seen on some other Windows-powered handhelds, which makes Windows a little easier to navigate on devices without a mouse or physical keyboard.
While support for user-upgradeable storage is common in modern handheld gaming PCs, the ability to replace or upgrade the memory helps set the Win600 apart. Unfortunately so does the fact that this model only supports single-channel RAM.
With Windows 10 Home software pre-installed, it should be easy to install popular game clients from Steam, Epic, or GOG, among others. But if you’d prefer an OS built from the ground up for gaming, Anbernic has also released software an instructions for installing Steam OS, the Linux-based operating system that Valve designed for its Steam Deck handheld PC (which also has an AMD processor with Radeon graphics).
Opting for AMD Athlon Silver 3000 series chips may have been a decision made to help keep the price low, but it means that the Win600 won’t offer the same level of performance that you’d find from higher-end handhelds with higher-performance CPU and GPU hardware.
That said, the chips should be capable of handling retro gaming, some indie games, and maybe even a few recent AAA titles at low graphics settings. Third-party reviews suggest it’s not a bad device… it may just not be very competitively priced.
The Win600 joins an increasingly crowded space that’s currently populated by small Chinese companies like GPD, One Netbook, and AYA as well as the Valve’s Steam Deck (which will ship with the Linux-based Steam OS, but which has all the hardware necessary for Windows gaming if anyone feels the urge to replace the operating system).
Here’s how the Anbernic Win600 stacks up against the competition:
This article was originally published January 17, 2022 and most recently updated July 5, 2022.