Ayaneo Air Evaluation – IGN


It’s an thrilling time to be a PC gamer, and never simply because the greatest graphics playing cards are at the moment extra reasonably priced than they’ve been since launch. Handheld gaming PCs have lastly come into their very own, making moveable PC gaming a way more handy and interesting chance. To this point, we’ve seemed on the Steam Deck and Ayaneo Subsequent, however whereas each provide spectacular gaming efficiency, they’re cumbersome and may be tougher to journey with than Nintendo’s smaller Swap handheld.

That every one modifications with the Ayaneo Air, which is all about portability. With a design that’s solely a hair bigger than the Nintendo Swap Lite, it’s in a position to slide right into a bag with ease, protecting you game-ready wherever you might go. Beginning at $499, it’s additionally the most cost effective Ayaneo thus far. We have been despatched the usual Ayaneo Air and higher-powered Air Professional, and although their small dimension limits efficiency considerably, they’re completely price a better look.

Ayaneo Air – Design and Options

Coming from the boxy type of the authentic Ayaneo or the “Swap on Steroids” that was the Ayaneo Subsequent, the Air is altogether extra refined. The design is all about being skinny and light-weight, light contours as a substitute of laborious angles, and a glance that takes greater than a bit of inspiration from the Swap Lite.

It’s a gaming PC you may carry in your pocket, and that’s not one thing you may say about most of its rivals. Relative to its small dimension, it packs some spectacular specs.

  • Show: 5.5-inch AMOLED touchscreen
  • Decision: 1920×1080
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5560U (6C/12T) to Ryzen 7 5825U (8C/12T)
  • Reminiscence: 8GB to 32GB DDR4X-4266
  • Storage: 128GB to 2TB NVMe (expandable through MicroSD)
  • Battery: 28 to 38 Whr 60W PD Charging
  • Connectivity: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
  • I/O: x2 USB Kind-C (prime and backside), audio combo jack
  • Safety: Fingerprint Scanner
  • Dimensions (LxWxD): 8.8” x 3.5” x 0.7” inches (Air), 8.8” x 3.5” x 0.9” inches (Air Professional)
  • Weight: 398g (Air), 450g (Air Professional)

The Air is out there in three totally different variations that scale up in value and efficiency. The entry degree Air Lite options probably the most primary configuration with a Ryzen 5 5560 processor (6 cores/12 threads), 8GB of DDR4 reminiscence, and 128GB of built-in NVMe storage for $499. The Customary version bumps the reminiscence as much as 16GB and offers you extra choices for built-in storage as much as 512GB for $599. Cranking all of it the way in which as much as the Professional mannequin nets you much more choices, together with as much as 32GB of reminiscence and 2TB quick SSD storage, in addition to 10 additional watt-hours on the battery, as much as 38mWh. The Professional mannequin additionally gives you the choice of upgrading to the quicker Ryzen 7 5825U processor for improved gaming efficiency and a lift to eight cores and 16 threads. Totally speccing out the Air Professional doesn’t come low-cost, nevertheless, and can set you again $1,249 – or roughly two 512GB Steam Decks.

What is particularly shocking about this array of choices is that, even totally kitted out, the Air Professional is almost an identical in dimension to the Air and Air Lite. In truth, the one distinction is that the Professional is 3.6mm thicker to accommodate its extra highly effective CPU. Examine that to the Ayaneo Subsequent, which dwarfs the Air Professional, regardless of having much less highly effective {hardware} and solely being just a few months older. That small dimension has just a few vital trade-offs, although, which I’ll get to quickly.

However being tiny isn’t the one factor the Air has going for it. The display screen has additionally acquired a facelift, shrinking to five.5 inches to suit the brand new design and bumping the variety of pixels to 1080p, versus the Subsequent’s 800p decision. Aya has additionally upgraded the panel from the standard IPS to a beautiful, color-rich AMOLED show. Blacks are darker than they’ve ever been, which makes the display screen’s vivid colours and enhanced dynamic vary pop. The display screen additionally helps five-point contact, so you may faucet, click on, and drag in video games and when utilizing it as a traditional PC. In the event you’ve seen the Nintendo Swap OLED, you already understand how good this kind of display screen may be, and the Air lacks nothing subsequent to its console counterpart.

The structure is essentially the identical as final time, which is a plus in case you’re already conversant in gaming on a controller, however with a pair vital modifications. It nonetheless options all the conventional gamepad inputs, in addition to a pair of shortcut buttons beneath the left joystick to point out the desktop and launch the configuration software program. There at the moment are two customizable shoulder buttons alongside the bumpers that bear in mind faucet and maintain instructions. By default, these are mapped to displaying the on-screen keyboard, launching the Home windows Job Supervisor, urgent Escape, and triggering Job View to rapidly change apps. Aya has additionally introduced again velocity gestures, which add 4 instructions to the D-pad for issues like taking a screenshot.

All of these additional inputs might sound extreme, however with the ability to navigate Home windows with out a mouse and keyboard isn’t any small activity. These shortcuts and the touchscreen are requirements that make utilizing the Air as an precise PC doable. This allows you to management a mouse pointer with the joysticks and kind utilizing the on-screen keyboard, so all the fundamentals are lined. That mentioned, in case you plan to make use of it for any form of precise productiveness or to interchange a laptop computer it is best to undoubtedly spend money on a dock and full-size peripherals. Touchscreen typing is sluggish.

The opposite massive addition is that each mannequin of the Ayaneo Air now features a MicroSD card slot for expandable storage. This characteristic was reserved for the official dock on earlier fashions and is a protracted overdue however welcome addition to the Air lineup. I put in a 512GB microSD to double the reminiscence for under $60 and had no hassle putting in or launching video games as soon as it was formatted. Load time variations have been noticeable, however all inside 5 seconds of the built-in SSD.

Aya didn’t reduce corners with the normal inputs, both. The joysticks and triggers each use the corporate’s improved Corridor Impact sensors, which use magnetism as a substitute of mechanical dials to trace your inputs. The inputs really feel implausible to make use of — clear and easy — and as a facet bonus, the restricted mechanical contact makes the normal causes of joystick drift inconceivable. The journey on each is sweet, however the triggers are particularly spectacular. They’ve an surprisingly deep vary of movement for the console’s dimension and are impeccably easy.

The opposite face buttons use membrane switches like different controllers, however they’re tactile and nicely performed. The D-Pad specifically is exceptional in its crispness and accuracy. I might have most popular break up directionals, however I didn’t have any hassle with missed inputs or mushiness.

There’s a little bit of a studying curve in case you’re not used to gaming on a tool this dimension. The sticks have an excellent quantity of journey, nevertheless it’s lower than a full-size gaming controller. The Air would dramatically profit from practical gyro controls, which it has, however as of this evaluation they don’t work by default in Steam.

Across the again, you’ll discover your grips and a big vent to exhaust the warmth out of your CPU. The Air will get sizzling throughout regular use, so in case you block it efficiency will undergo. Fortunately, these excessive temps keep largely centered and don’t switch into the grips very a lot. That implies that holding the Air is extra snug than both the Steam Deck or Ayaneo Subsequent, even with its hotter again.

After I first unboxed them, I used to be truly anxious the handhelds is likely to be too compact, however Aya has nailed the ergonomics. The sticks and buttons are well-placed and the grips are completely contoured for its dimension. Holding it naturally strains your fingers up with the triggers and controls. Customers with greater arms could discover it to be too compact, however the design match my arms like a glove.

Once you’re gaming with it, it feels pure in the identical means the Swap Lite does. Laying in mattress or reclining on the sofa, I didn’t discover myself needing to vary positions to offer my arms a relaxation. You sacrifice some efficiency to realize this small kind issue, however its nicely price it for usability in additional conditions.

The audio system, alternatively, aren’t nice. The sound is skinny and tinny, and it doesn’t get very loud. They’ll work in a pinch, however you’ll undoubtedly wish to join a pair of headphones or earbuds for any gaming or film watching you propose on doing.

Like most handhelds, connectivity isn’t the Air’s robust swimsuit. It includes a single USB Kind-C port on the highest and backside, each of which can be utilized for charging utilizing the included 65W PD adapter. Aya features a pair of USB Kind-C to Kind-A adapters within the field for connecting peripherals in a pinch, however I discovered Bluetooth 5.2 to be far more handy for connecting a mouse and keyboard. For wi-fi networking, the Ayaneo Air helps WiFi 6E for the quickest wi-fi connections at the moment doable. Despite the fact that it lacks an ethernet adapter, the Air is ready to ship persistently speedy connections for downloads and streaming.

Aya can also be releasing a set of equipment to accompany this launch. It’s partnered with TomToc on a zippered carry case that’s fairly good. It makes use of a stitched exterior over its protecting semi-hardback shell. Inside, the Air is cradled in a smooth, velvety cloth to maintain it secure from scratches. For slightly below $30, it’s a stable purchase to guard your sizable funding into the machine. There’s additionally a GaN charger that provides some extra outputs for powering a number of units, and a customized model of the Nuphy Air75, which is without doubt one of the greatest low-profile mechanical keyboards out there right now. (I used to be solely in a position to check the case for this evaluation, however personal an Air75 of my very own and may attest to its reliability over Bluetooth.)

Ayaneo Air – Software program

The Air is custom-made utilizing the Aya House app. It comes pre-installed and configured so you may start utilizing the machine instantly, however you’ll wish to spend a while studying its ins and outs. For gaming alone, you would simply use it as your fundamental launcher and never fear about tapping applications designed for mouse and keyboard. It’s not as polished as SteamOS nevertheless it does offer you entry to all your video games and system configuration choices, and is noticeably improved from even just a few months in the past once we examined it with the Ayaneo Subsequent. Aya House runs smoother than ever earlier than, acknowledges video games extra rapidly, and gives extra customization choices for mapping controls — massive jumps for just a few months of improvement time.

Aya House can be utilized in two varieties: the full-fledged launcher or as a pop-up panel to make fast settings modifications. The settings panel may be known as up at any time by tapping the Aya button. There you may alter the console’s TDP and fan modes, change the decision, brightness and quantity, and entry a set of customizable fast instructions for features like enabling FSR, mentioning the on-screen keyboard, or backing out of menus with the Escape key.

By holding the Aya button, you may carry up the complete software program suite. From the House and Video games tabs, you may one-tap launch any video games or apps put in in your system. The Assistant tab lets you customise button shortcuts and calibrate the controls. It really works very nicely general, however there’s a degree of quirkiness right here that reveals there’s nonetheless room to develop.

For instance, Aya has developed a brand new Grasp Controller module that gives you superior management over the console’s inputs. You possibly can alter joystick lifeless zones, set off sensitivities, haptic suggestions, and Gyro controls, all with a 360-degree 3D mannequin of the console. All of that is hidden by a menu you entry by merely tapping an arrow. The issue? That arrow doesn’t work persistently. To entry it on my Ayaneo Professional evaluation unit, I’ve to first swipe left to carry up the notification panel and then faucet the button. On the Customary evaluation unit, it labored with a traditional faucet. The Grasp Controller module additionally doesn’t mean you can customise any of the Air’s extra inputs, which is an odd omission given how in-depth it’s for the opposite controls. That performance is in a separate configuration menu.

Regardless of its quirks, Aya House will get the job performed. After you have it configured, you’ll hardly ever must revisit any of the customization screens, so any friction by its in-development standing is fairly minimal. As a substitute, you’ll spend most of your time with the launcher and the pop-up panel to vary TDP, each of which work nicely.

Ayaneo Air – Efficiency

Portability and customization don’t imply a lot if the machine you’ve carried round and tailor-made to your liking struggles to ship playable body charges whenever you go to really play one thing on it. And contemplating that even the most cost effective Ayaneo Air prices as a lot as a PlayStation 5 and $100 greater than the lowest-tier Steam Deck, it’s affordable to have excessive expectations.

As anybody who has used a Steam Deck or different handheld gaming PC already is aware of, describing anticipated efficiency may be difficult. There are many methods to tweak efficiency and visible constancy that should be balanced with battery life. For the formal benchmarks, I used the best preset TDP for each machines (12 watts), however each may be manually adjusted greater to extend body charges on the expense of battery life (15 watts for the Air and 18 watts for the Air Professional, equal to the Ayaneo Subsequent). It’s greatest to view efficiency as a sliding scale with our outcomes being one notch beneath the battery-slaying most.

Because the Air includes a 1080p display screen the place most competing handhelds nonetheless use 720p or 800p decision, we’ll start by exhibiting the decrease decision outcomes. Keep in mind that our normal check practices use max settings for straightforward comparisons, however in actual life you’ll most certainly be taking part in on low to medium and obtain a lot greater FPS.

When it comes to sheer horsepower, each Ayaneo Air fashions lag behind the Ayaneo Subsequent and Steam Deck. That is no shock, as their slim dimension limits the utmost energy out there to the CPU. Efficiency expectations on a tool this a lot smaller are expectedly much less.

Let’s see how every carried out in our assessments at 1080p vs 720p, after which we’ll get into what efficiency is like on the settings you’ll truly be taking part in at.

Making the soar to 1080p brings each fashions of the Ayaneo Air to their knees. Whereas the Extremely settings used for our comparisons are greater than what you’ll truly be taking part in at, they display the form of efficiency hit you’ll expertise in case you truly attempt to sport at native decision. In the event you’re taking part in main video games with demanding graphics, 720p will ship a significantly better gaming expertise. For video games with much less demanding graphics it may be an possibility, however that’s largely older video games and indies.

Like all handheld gaming PCs, it’s vital to essentially take into account what they’re designed for and able to. All through its marketing campaign and advertising and marketing, Aya has actually emphasised that the {hardware} inside the usual Air is greatest suited to indie video games. Certain, you’ll have the ability to play main video games at 30fps utilizing low settings more often than not, nevertheless it’s in these much less demanding indies the place you’ll actually discover its worth.

And so they’re proper. At 720p, was in a position to run Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered at 30 FPS on low settings and Doom Everlasting a bit greater, however Ori and the Will of the Wisps stayed locked at 60. I misplaced hours to Rogue Legacy 2 and replaying Tremendous Meat Boy, Exhausting West, and Hotline Miami. In the event you don’t wish to spend additional for the higher-powered chip within the Air Professional, you may bump the TDP all the way in which to fifteen watts and activate AMD’s FSR upscaling and push these extra demanding video games inside attain. It’s a stretch getting these to run far more than 40 FPS, however they’re definitely playable – and that’s a feat on a tool as skinny and light-weight as this.

The Air Professional is far more highly effective. Our evaluation pattern included the Ryzen 7 chip and 32GB of DDR4 reminiscence, making heavyweight video games far more playable. Not at Extremely settings, after all, however dropping to low or medium and 720p decision turns that on its head. Doom Everlasting held regular at 45-50 FPS; Crimson Useless Redemption 2, God of Warfare, and Spider-Man Remastered have been all playable at 30-40 FPS. I used to be even in a position to push Spider-Man as much as Medium settings and lock it to a steady 30 FPS with the assistance of FSR 2.0.

Full HD 1080p is greatest left for indies, older video games, and flicks. The bump in decision has a huge impact on efficiency, and with such a small display screen, you don’t see the form of enchancment you’d on a traditional gaming monitor. For video games proper on the sting, FSR may be an efficient center floor, however 720p is nearly at all times the higher possibility and you might not even see the distinction in precise gameplay.

Given its slim dimension, warmth is a matter. In a pre-review word, Aya really useful not pushing the TDP greater than 15 watts to keep away from thermal throttling, however even at 12 watts the console turns into fairly heat. Faucet the touchscreen and also you’ll be stunned at how toasty it turns into after simply half-hour of sport time. I didn’t discover thermal throttling all through my evaluation testing, however I might be cautious of any mud making its means into the system to forestall it sooner or later.

On the plus facet, the machine actually doesn’t get very loud. It’s a lot quieter than the Steam Deck and places the common gaming laptop computer to disgrace. At their highest setting, the followers are audible however not distracting. I want to see Aya present the choice for a customized fan curve, permitting customers to steadiness warmth with noise on their very own phrases, however like the remainder of the design, the default curve is all about portability.

The Achilles’ heel for each variations is battery life. The usual Air includes a 28 wHr battery whereas the Professional model bumps that to 38 wHrs. In actual world phrases, on the Balanced TDP setting, the Air will final about two hours whereas the Air Professional will internet you three.. Naturally, the precise battery life relies upon solely on the way you’re utilizing it and the video games you’re taking part in. Extra demanding video games eat up the battery extra rapidly, as does taking part in at full brightness and utilizing the audio system. For being so moveable in each different means, it’s disappointing to have to hold a charger or cumbersome battery pack with you, however is a part of the trade-off for such a skinny and light-weight design.

The massive query, in a post-Steam Deck world, is whether or not the Ayaneo Air is price paying additional for. For sheer efficiency, the reply isn’t any. The Steam Deck holds the crown on efficiency per greenback and isn’t prone to lose it anytime quickly. However as a day one-buyer of the Steam Deck, I’m right here to inform you: there are causes you may wish to select the Air over the Deck that vary past its extra pocktable dimension.

For starters, compatibility simply isn’t a difficulty right here. If a sport runs on Home windows, it would run on the Air. There isn’t any compatibility layer to translate a Home windows sport right into a Linux/SteamOS sport. It simply works. That very same high quality additionally makes Ayaneo a viable possibility to make use of as your every day laptop for every thing else. A easy docking station will permit it to connect with a traditional monitor and peripherals, and it could utterly exchange a laptop computer or low-powered PC after which be thrown in your bag whenever you’re performed.

Just like the Ayaneo Subsequent, the highest-performance Air continues to be costly sufficient to make your eyes water at $1,249. But when all you need is the best frames-per-second quantity the Air Professional can obtain, the primary mannequin with the Ryzen 7 5825U is just $899 and can rack up practically an identical outcomes with 16GB of reminiscence and a 512GB SSD. Or, you would save a whole lot extra by dropping settings and benefiting from FSR on suitable video games and go for the Ryzen 5 mannequin (although you will be extra restricted on greater video games).



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