It’s been over a year since handheld gaming PC maker AYA announced plans to launch its first model with a QWERTY keyboard. While AYA has been sharing details about the upcoming handheld for much of that time, it wasn’t clear when you’d actually be able to buy one. Now we have something like an answer: soon.
AYA says it will launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the AYA Neo Slide on September 22nd, 2023. Backers will be able to reserve a handheld with an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor and a 6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display that slides upward to reveal a QWERTY keyboard with RGB backlit keys.
AYA say the crowdfunding campaign will begin at 3:30PM Japanese Standard Time, which is 2:30AM Eastern Standard Time. But the decision makes sense given that the company will be showing off the AYA Neo Slide at the Tokyo Game Show.
The handheld’s other features include two “full-feature” USB4 ports, a microSD card reader, an M.2 2280 slot for PCIe 4.0 storage, a 46.2 Wh battery, stereo speakers, a 6-axis gyroscope for motion detection and X-axis motor for rumble effects.
The display is an IPS LCD screen with 368 pixels per inch, up to 400 nits brightness, 85% DCI-P3 color gamut, and 120% sRGB color gamut.
Under the hood there’s a cooling system that includes 3 copper heat tubes and a “PC-grade” fan for heat dissipation. And the system features joysticks and trigger buttons with hall sensors. There’s also support for RGB lighting effects beneath the joysticks.
But what really makes the AYA Neo Slide stand out from the many other models in the AYA Neo lineup, is the fact that you can push the display upward to reveal a hidden keyboard. It’s a design we’ve seen before: the GPD Win 3 and Win 4 also have keyboards hidden by slide-up displays. And all of these devices take some level of inspiration from older handhelds like the Sony Vaio UX and OQO ultra mobile PCs.
AYA says that it’s take on this design stands out in a few ways. It’s the first to have an adjustable screen angle (after you slide the screen upward you can tilt it forward). And it’s the first with RGB backlighting, allowing you to further customize the look and feel of the handheld computer.
As for why you’d want a keyboard in a device like this, it opens the possibility of using in-game chat or other tasks that work best with a keyboard. For example, one common complaint about Windows gaming handhelds that don’t have keyboards is that you often need to hit an Esc key to exit games… but without a keyboard there isn’t an Esc key to hit. On the GPD Win 3/4 or AYA Neo Slide, you can just push the screen upward, hit Esc, and then slide it back in place.
A keyboard also opens the door to using the AYA Neo Slide for purposes other than gaming. You could tap out a quick email, view and edit documents, or perform other activities without plugging in an external input device.
But odds are that those features will come at a price. AYA’s existing devices are already more expensive than a Valve Steam Deck or Asus ROG Ally. Adding more hardware and moving parts probably isn’t going to reduce the price.
This article was first published July 24, 2023 and most recently updated September 18, 2023.