The Ayaneo 2S Gaming Handheld Could Replace Your PC

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Handheld gaming PCs have step by step inched towards the mainstream over the previous few years. Sure, transportable PCs are nonetheless comparatively area of interest, however there are indicators of extra widespread curiosity and adoption within the close to future. The success of Valve’s Linux-powered Steam Deck, after all, is the prime instance of this. On the Home windows entrance, Asus, a serious participant within the PC {hardware} market, just lately dipped its toes into the transportable PC scene with the ROG Ally. Influential producer assist is vital in popularizing new tech, however maybe much more vital is practicality.

Excessive-end transportable PCs routinely retail for $1,000 or extra, but they’re comparatively weak (in lots of instances) to desktop PCs. With that in thoughts, it is comprehensible why client curiosity might be restricted.

When high-end, but comparatively weak to laptops/desktops, portables routinely retail for north of $1,000, broad client curiosity is, fairly understandably, troublesome to garner. However when that dear transportable may realistically change your dear gaming laptop computer and even desktop PC? Properly, then you definately’re onto one thing. An argument might be made that Ayaneo, the prolific Chinese language producer of well-built Home windows handhelds, releases too many handhelds, however as one of many pioneers of this rising and thrilling nook of the gaming trade, Ayaneo is demonstrating {that a} future the place your primary PC is roughly the scale of a Nintendo Change is in attain.

That is by no means been extra clear to me than once I began testing the Ayaneo 2S, one of many producer’s latest Home windows portables. Over the previous two years, Ayaneo has developed a formidable observe file for iteratively bettering on the design and efficiency of its handhelds. With the assistance of AMD’s highly effective new Ryzen 7 7840U cellular chipset, the Ayaneo 2S provides one more leap ahead for the model. For the common consumer, the 2S might fairly simply double as an ordinary dwelling PC–using both the official Ayaneo docking station or a USB-C hub.

Ayaneo 2S
Ayaneo 2S

I discovered myself evaluating the Ayaneo 2S to the Lenovo laptop computer I bought across the identical time, and there wasn’t an entire lot to scrutinize. The Ayaneo 2S supplied comparable efficiency, with comparable default settings and body charges in the identical video games. Like its predecessors, the Ayaneo 2S is available in a number of configurations, beginning at 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. I examined the mannequin with 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD. The RAM is overkill, as only a few video games are energy hungry sufficient to make the most of greater than 16GB.

In the meantime, my laptop computer is the Lenovo Slim 7 AMD Benefit Version, which launched final yr for a retail worth of $1,950 (I paid $1,350 for it earlier this yr). The Ayaneo 2S begins at $1,140 ($950 for early chook pricing) and scales as much as $1,850 ($1,430 for early birds). It is price noting the high-end quantity is for a mannequin with an obscene (and impractical) 64GB of RAM and a 4TB SSD.

Excessive-end Ayaneo costs might sound gaudy in comparison with Steam Deck (they’re), however I believe it is greater than affordable to check the Ayaneo and different Home windows handhelds to the machines we use each day–our laptops and desktops–instead of the Steam Deck, which, let’s be trustworthy, just isn’t an appropriate PC substitute. If you happen to purely need to play your Steam library on a handheld, sure, the Steam Deck is your greatest guess, no query about it. However most individuals use Home windows PCs, and the Steam Deck, although technically able to operating Home windows, just isn’t optimized for it. When weighing prices and efficiency of a tool just like the Ayaneo 2S to gaming laptops, we have gotten to some extent the place handhelds can supply comparable outcomes for a comparable value–and that is enormous.

I break up my time nearly evenly between utilizing the Ayaneo 2S as a devoted gaming handheld and as a makeshift desktop PC. As a handheld, I wasn’t stunned to search out the Ayaneo 2S is essentially the most highly effective and spectacular transportable I’ve used. This has been the case with every subsequent Ayaneo iteration. From a construct perspective, the Ayaneo 2S is beautiful. The shell has a premium feel and appear, and the contoured handles supply ergonomics that greatest all prior Ayaneo fashions (and the Steam Deck/Change). Ayaneo’s units have all the time been well-made, and the 2S is not any completely different. Maintaining with the norm for Ayaneo, the controller inputs are very good. The Corridor impact analog sticks and triggers are buttery clean, the D-pad is responsive and exact, and the face buttons are each bit nearly as good as first-party choices from PlayStation and Xbox. The 2S additionally has rumble and gyro controls, every of which is adjustable together with stick and set off sensitivity.

The 7-inch touchscreen is bezel-less glass and has a 1920×1200 decision. It boasts a excessive distinction ratio and 130% sRGB. Being over 100% within the coloration vary can generally trigger shows to seem too vibrant to the purpose of being oversaturated, however the small show truly works in its favor right here. Display high quality falls between the Steam Deck and Nintendo Change OLED. It is brighter and extra vibrant than the Deck, however it’s not fairly as good as Nintendo’s OLED panel.

At its default 15W TDP setting, the Ayaneo 2S dealt with the whole lot I threw at it. The 2S ran a variety of trendy video games at excessive presets with body charges north of 30. With a bit tinkering–which generally contains bumping the TDP as much as 22W–it’s simple to get 60fps or greater with many video games. I noticed virtually no distinction between Diablo 4 on the 2S and the Lenovo Legion. The identical might be stated for Grand Theft Auto V, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, Forza Horizon 5, and the just lately launched System Shock remake. If you happen to will need to have uncapped body charges, one of the best decision, and extremely presets throughout the board, you may have to attend a number of years for Home windows handhelds to catch up or go for a desktop. However for the common PC gamer who merely desires their video games to look and run properly, what’s right here ought to already be sufficient.

Ayaneo 2S running Aya Space 2.0
Ayaneo 2S operating Aya Area 2.0


Battery life stays a priority for these workhorse handhelds, however the 2S has made some strong strides. When enjoying indie video games on decrease TDP settings, I managed to get about 4.5 hours out of a full cost, which is completely respectable. At excessive TDP settings with demanding video games, I might nonetheless go from 100 to zero in about an hour–less than best. However contemplating the 2S, greater than any Ayaneo earlier than it, has the specs to be a reasonably strong gaming rig when related to an exterior show, the energy-consuming video games really feel extra at dwelling there anyway. In spite of everything, I would fairly play Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on a giant display for the spectacle. And when hooked as much as a hub or docked, the battery is of no concern. That stated, all Home windows handheld patrons ought to spend money on an excellent laptop-grade transportable charger, particularly for journey.

If you happen to do play demanding video games and push the 2S to its restrict, it is price noting the followers can get loud, and the machine can run a bit hot–though the 2S has one of the best warmth dispersion within the Ayaneo line but. The audio system are strong and get loud sufficient to chop via a few of that noise, although you are still going to have a greater audio expertise with a pair of Bluetooth headphones. One neat audio characteristic is Ayaneo’s “SoundTapMagic,” which dynamically provides rumble to video games that would not usually supply it. Your mileage will fluctuate relying on the sport, however it’s one of many cool little particulars that demonstrates Ayaneo’s consideration to element.

As talked about already, Ayaneo releases new handhelds incessantly, so potential patrons might really feel like their new machine is already outdated inside a number of months. What’s neat concerning the 2S is that Ayaneo included a equipment that allows you to simply pop open the shell and improve your SSD, although different core elements cannot be upgraded.

Every time I speak about these handheld PCs, I all the time inform people who navigating Home windows 11 is a ache with the comparatively small touchscreen and button controls. Home windows merely is not designed for this way issue. Aya Area, the corporate’s proprietary software program that acts as a hub in your sport purchasers, has lengthy been a fairly first rate answer for this difficulty. And the software program just lately bought higher with the introduction of Aya Area 2.0. Although nonetheless in beta, Aya Area now has a cleaner, easier-to-navigate UI that appears and feels far nearer to the console-like expertise these types of units want to supply a pick-up-and-play expertise.

The Ayaneo 2S triggered my brand-new gaming laptop computer to gather mud, and I believe that is a part of the rationale why these highly effective, dear Home windows units will succeed within the years to return. The Nintendo Change is extremely well-liked for a lot of causes, however the hybrid nature of it’s certainly one of its greatest promoting factors. Home windows handhelds just like the Ayaneo 2S have the potential to supply comparable attraction, solely with a a lot wider use case. Most everybody wants a pc, and gaming is just gaining popularity. Not everybody who recurrently performs video games will need to change their Home windows machine with a handheld, however the Ayaneo 2S makes a powerful case for why doing so is a way more viable possibility than some may anticipate.

Early chook pricing for the Ayaneo 2S remains to be accessible at Indiegogo. You may try Ayaneo’s full lineup of merchandise on the Ayaneo Retailer.

Ayaneo offered a pattern of the Ayaneo 2S for the aim of this evaluate.

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