AYANEO has released a lot of handheld gaming PCs over the last few years, but most have prioritized performance over affordability. The new AYANEO Next Lite takes a different approach: it’s expected to sell for $299 and up during crowdfunding, making it one of the most affordable options available. Update: AYANEO is skipping crowdfunding: the AYANEO Next Lite is available directly from the company’s website

When the company first announced the AYANEO Next Lite earlier this month, it explained that one way it had planned to keep the price low was by shipping the system with a Linux-based operating system rather than Windows. But now AYANEO has changed course and announced that the AYANEO Next Lite will ship with Windows 11 Home Edition pre-installed, although the company will offer a Linux image for users who would prefer a different OS.

According to AYANEO, the only thing that’s changing is the operating system that comes pre-installed. The handheld is still expected to feature a 7 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS LCD display, an AMD Ryzen 4000U processor with Radeon Vega graphics, 16GB of RAM, support for up to 512GB of storage, a 47 Wh battery, and support for WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 as well as three USB-C ports and a 3.5mm audio jack.

But the company had initially said that the Next Lite would ship with SteamOS… and then clarified that it wasn’t running an official build of the Linux-based operating system developed for the Steam Deck, but rather an unofficial build based on the open source HoloISO project.

That… was an interesting choice, to say the least. HoloISO hasn’t been updated in months, and may be abandoned, which led many observers to wonder why AYANEO didn’t at least opt for a more actively maintained project like ChimeraOS.

But more importantly, installing a third-party version of SteamOS is one thing if you’re an end user. It’s quite another for a hardware company to tap an unofficial build of Valve’s operating system to be the default OS for a consumer product. While AYANEO says it’s “adapted” HoloISO to ensure compatibility with the AYANEO Next Lite, it’s unclear what kind of long term software support the company was prepared to offer, or whether users would get the rapid bug fixes, feature updates, and game compatibility improvements that Valve regularly rolls out for the Steam Deck.

So moving to Windows is probably a good move. Windows isn’t exactly optimized for handheld gaming PCs that typically lack physical keyboards, but at least users are less likely to run into game compatibility issues.

But it also makes the AYANEO Next Lite less distinctive from the competition. The only thing really setting it apart at this point are its low price tag and its 4-year-old processor that will probably offer worse-than-Steam Deck level gaming performance.

AYA Neo Next Lite specs
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 4500U
6 Zen 2 cores / 12 threads
2.3 GHz base / 4 GHz max boost
11MB cache
Radeon Vega 6 graphics @ up to 1.5 GHz
10 – 25W TDP
7nm FinFET
AMD Ryzen 7 4800U
8 Zen 2 cores / 16 threads
1.8 GHz base / 4.2 GHz max boost
12MB cache
Radeon Vega 8 graphics @ up to 1.75 GHz
10 – 25W TDP
7nm FinFET
Storage128GB / 512GB
M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 SSD
512GB
M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 SSD
Price128GB: $299
512GB: $349
$399
RAM16GB
LPDDR4x-4266
Display7 inches
1280 x 800 pixels
IPS LCD
Ports2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (full function)
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (data only)
1 x 3.5mm audio
WirelessIntel AX200
WiFi 6
BT 5.2
Battery47 Wh
CoolingDual copper heat pipes
“PC grade” fan
Controllers, sensors & motorsHall sensor joysticks
Hall sensor triggers
6-axis gyroscope
Dual X-axis linear motor
OSWindows 11 64-bit Home Edition
HoloISO image available for download (3rd-party, open source SteamOS build optimized by AYA Neo for the Next Lite)
Size267 x 112 x 22-30mm
Weight720 grams

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  1. ChimeraOS unfortunately uses Gnome which is a terrible user interface for people familiar with windows, the exact people who buy these handhelds and why Valve went with KDE.

    Also likely why AYA just went back to windows for the product.

  2. Yeah, I had doubts about choosing HoloISO and skeptical Ayaneo can actually provide good Linux support.

    Hopefully Valve actually puts where their mouth is and officially support SteamOS on other handhelds even if it’s a per-handheld collaboration thing. I also assume they’d need the handheld vendor to have good Linux development abilities too. I recall the talks between GPD and Valve fell through because GPD just expected Valve to do everything.

  3. This thing would have been awesome if it had launched 3-4 years ago with that price and specs.

    I am glad to see some competition in the lower end of the price range even if this isn’t the device I’m looking for.

    1. You cant get a new one 64gb SteamDeck now, it seems. It seems that everithing new from SD begining from 400 usd now. And Ayaneo here makes a deal.
      Also, 64 model is just useless. You need at least 256 in your console.