Just a few days after announcing plans to launch an affordable handheld gaming PC called the AYA Neo Air Plus with an AMD Mendocino processor and a price tag of less than $300, AYA has updated those plans.
Now the AYA Neo Air Plus will actually be available in at least three configurations. There are two models with Intel Alder Lake-U processors, and one with an AMD Mendocino chip. And prices will start as low as $249 (or less for existing AYA customers who score an early bird discount).
Why the change? When AYA first unveiled the AYA Neo Air Plus, it looked like it would be the most affordable handheld gaming computer with a current-gen x86 processor. But then rival device maker AYN revealed the specs and pricing for its AYN Loki handheld,
which starts at $250 and comes with a choice of Intel and AMD processor options.
Update: Presumably in response to AYA’s announcement, AYN made a last-minute adjustment to its Loki handheld lineup, giving the entry-level Loki Mini and Mini Pro models with Intel chips small spec bumps and price jumps. The AYN Loki is now up for pre-order for $239 and up.
As for the AYA Neo Air Plus, it’s now expected to come in three configurations:
|AYA Neo Air Plus||AYA Neo Air Plus||AYA Neo Air Plus|
|Processor||Intel Pentium Gold 8505|
1 P-core / 4 E-cores
4.4 GHz max freq
|Intel Core i3-1215U|
2 P-cores / 4 E-cores
4.4 GHz max freq
|Graphics||Intel UHD for 12th-gen|
1.1 GHz max freq
48 execution units
|Intel UHD for 12th-gen|
1.1 GHz max
64 execution units
1920 x 1080 pixels
|Storage||M.2 2280 SSD|
AYA Neo OS (Linux)
Steam OS (Linux)
In case there was any question that AYA is trying to one-up AYN, there was no evidence that the Intel models existed when the company first unveiled the budget handheld a few days ago, and AYA seems to have selected Intel chips specifically designed to be a little better than the ones AYN is offering in its Loki Mini and Mini Plus.
The Loki Mini has an Intel Celeron 7300 processor, which is a 9-watt chip with 1 Performance core, 4 Efficiency cores and 48eu Intel UHD graphics that tops out at 800 MHz, while the Loki Mini Pro has a 9-watt Pentium Gold 8500 chip with 1 Performance Core, four Efficiency Cores, and the same GPU as the Celeron 7300.
AYA says Neo Air Plus models with Intel chips should begin shipping by late December, 2022 while the model with an AMD Mendocino processor should ship by the end of February, 2023.
Meanwhile if you’re looking for something with a bit more horsepower, AYA has more than got you covered. The company has announced a whole bunch of other new handhelds set to ship in the coming months including the AYA Neo Air and Air Pro with AMD Ryzen 5000U series chips, the AYA Neo 2 with a Ryzen 7 6800U processor, and the AYA Neo Slide with Ryzen 7 6800U and a built-in keyboard (hidden below a slide-up display).
My only concern is Windows’ performance on these devices. The Steamdeck runs a much lighter Linux Distro. I would hate to see solid hardware (at this price point) crippled by the OS.
Yeah if it’s not coming to stores I don’t give a f***. The worthless online only purchasing model has only served to prove one thing that it’s completely and utterly useless. I bought my classic NES Mini my classic super NES Mini and my nintendo switch day one at Target with no problem. Online only purchases are ****ing ruining gaming. If I can’t walk into a store and buy it, I don’t care.
I just (finally) ordered my Steam Deck, just as all these new models are being announced. I don’t think anybody is going to deliver the bang for buck that Valve is offering, though, just because I think they’re losing money on every sale.