Last year we learned that the company behind the Orange Pi line of single-board computers planned to branch out into the handheld gaming PC market. This week at FOSDEM in Belgium, developers from the Manjaro Linux team are showing off the first Orange Pi handheld running their GNU/Linux-based operating system.

The Orange Pi Neo has a 7 inch FHD+ 120 Hz display, an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor, and Steam Deck-style touchpads in addition to game controllers. You can also find more pictures and detailed specs at the Manjaro website, and on social media.

@ManjaroLinux

In terms of specs, the Orange Pi Neo looks a lot like many other handheld gaming PCs launched in the past year or two. But there are two key differences: the Orange Pi Neo’s touchpads make it one of a relatively small number of recent handhelds with this feature, and it’s one of an even smaller number of models intended to run Linux-based software rather than Windows.

With Radeon 780M integrated graphics, the Orange Pi Neo should be able to handle many recent games, and with eight AMD Zen 4 CPU cores, support for up to 32GB of LPDDR5-7500 memory, and an M.2 2280 slot for PCIe NVMe solid state storage, it should be pretty decent as a general purpose computer as well.

It also features two USB4 Type-C ports, a microSD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack, 50 Wh battery, 65W wall charger, and support for WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. It has an active cooling system with a fan and dual copper heat pipes.

But the built-in controllers with hall sensors and RGB backlit analog sticks, motion sensors, and overall design make it clear that this computer is designed first and foremost for gaming.

We’re getting our first proper look at the handheld thanks to the Manjaro team, but I suspect that users will be able to pick their own operating system. Orange Pi is a company that’s best known for making single-board computers that can be used as development boards and flashed with a variety of operating systems, usually Linux-based.

The Orange Pi Neo can probably run Windows software reasonably well, as its has hardware that’s quite similar to many existing Windows handhelds. But support for free and open source GNU/Linux distributions like Manjaro help set it apart from the competition.

So far the only significant Linux handheld gaming PC with an x86 processor and support for mainstream games has been the Steam Deck, which ships with Valve’s SteamOS Linux distro, which is based on Arch Linux and adds Valve’s Proton software for compatibility with Windows games, as well as the Steam Game Client.

But since you can also run Proton and Steam on other Linux distributions, you could theoretically make a decent Linux gaming PC using other operating systems. We just haven’t really seen any other handheld gaming PC makers take this route yet. AYANEO had planned to use a third-party version of SteamOS called HoloISO for their new AYANEO Next Lite budget handheld, but the company reversed course and the handheld is now expected to ship with Windows instead of a SteamOS fork that’s not officially supported by Valve.

It’s unclear what kind of gaming experience users will be able to expect from the Orange Pi Neo, but it’s probably a safe bet that a lot will depend on your choice of an operating system.

Here’s a run-down of known specs for the upcoming handheld:

Orange Pi Neo specs
Display7 inches
1920 x 1200 pixels
120 Hz
500 nits
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 7840U
8 Zen 4 CPU cores / 16 threads
3.3 GHz – 5.1 GHz
15 – 30W TDP
GraphicsAMD Radeon 780M
12 RDNA 3 GPU cores
Up to 2.7 GHz
RAM16GB or 32GB
LPDDR5-7500
Dual channel
Storage512GB – 2TB
PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
M.2 2280
OSManjaro Linux
(Other operating systems TBD?)
Ports2 x USB4
1 x 3.5mm audio
1 x microSD
WirelessWiFi 6E
BT 5.3
InputDual Touchpads
Dual Analog Sticks (RGB backlit)
D-Pad
X, Y, A, B buttons
Shoulder triggers
Hall sensors
Dual 6-axis gyroscope
AudioStereo 1W speakers
3.5mm audio jack
Battery50 Wh
Charging65W USB-C GaN power adapter
CoolingTurbo fan
Dual copper heat pipes
MaterialsMagnesium Alloy, plastic, and glass
ColorsBlack, white
Dimensions259 x 107 x 19.9mm

Orange Pi hasn’t announced pricing or a release date for the Neo yet, but given the hardware I suspect “more than a Steam Deck” is a safe bet. As of last summer, Orange Pi was also working on a cheaper handheld with a Rockchip R3588S ARM-based processor though. It’s unclear if or when that model will hit the streets though.

via /r/linux_gaming, @OKestGamer, VideoCardz, and NotebookCheck

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign

or...

Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,536 other subscribers

Join the Conversation

19 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Ill-fated device IMNSHO. Even if it has a really good price, the market is already saturated with these 7840u/Z1 based handhelds. Still an horrendous gpu bottleneck, but this is AMD’s fault. They should release a 4c/8t or 6c/12t SoC with a much better GPU, 3D cache and built-in GDDR6 memory. THAT would killer for a handheld.

  2. 50Wh battery so between 100minutes full power and 180minutes idling.

    Judging the price of minipc with that sort of hardware and adding a screen and a battery will be costly.

    1. The battery in the SD is 40Wh and 50Wh in the OLED model…why should people expect such significantly worse battery life from the Orange Pi Neo than from the SD?

      1. Because the Aerith APU has half the TDP of the 7840U (4-15W on the SD compared to 15-30 on the Neo). Also at sub 15W, the Aerith performs better than the 7840U.

  3. I was expecting the ARM thing, but wow, this actually seems almost perfect. A little smaller than SD, more ports, performant display, even Manjaro, which is my fav Arch flavour. I wish all the best to Orange Pi.

    1. That was my first experience Linux unfortunately with Arch, using the awful Manjaro it sucked so badly… then used ArcoLinux only to find it was also using a lot of Manjaro’s junk at the time such that it also sucked. Aside from Garuda or Endeavor the best bet is to read the fucking arch manual and build it yourself or do LFS.

      1. Manjaro brings many noobs to learn some things and Pacman in UI, on the way to switching to Arch or LFS later.

        If without Manjaro, they give up an do not support Arch or LFS in the future.
        I am sure many of Ex-Manjaro members did. Dude.

        1. I agree, many former Manjaro members are EOS, Garuda or Arch users. It looks like Manjaro has been helping them learn simple basics of Arch materials.

  4. Nice specs! And neat to see a genuine challenger to the SD (in particular with the track pads) plus Linux preinstalled, although after the experience people had with Manjaro on Pine64 products, I suspect many people will be reflashing it with the next iteration of HoloISO, or ChimeraOS, or similar.

  5. Oh no…from the majaro page, under the specs:

    Craftsmanship
    No exposed screws

    Another “ayaneo” experience? it just makes opening the system more challenging, since doing so could dent or scratch the finish more easily,,,