AYANEO NEXT Lite Comes With 4 Year-Old Zen 2 Cores and a Clone of SteamOS, Starts at $299

Poised to be a competitor to the Valve Steam Deck and priced around $100 less than the Deck’s cheapest $399 256GB LCD variant, the AYANEO NEXT Lite was revealed via a blog post on the official site and is open for orders, or “subscriptions”, as the site puts it.

Utilizing either the Ryzen 5 4500U or the Ryzen 7 4800U based on the configuration chosen and consequently an RX Vega 8 graphics integration instead of the more modern RDNA 2 architecture used in the Steam Deck, the performance will not be its strong suit in this competition. Both of those APUs are based on the Renoir architecture from almost 4 years ago and feature Zen 2 cores, the former offering no multi-threading with 6 threads on its 6 cores with a 4.0 GHz boost clock and the latter offering 16 threads on its 8 cores with a 4.2 GHz boost.

Additionally, in a confusing turn of events, the originally advertised preloaded SteamOS has now been confirmed to be a clone instead, utilizing a community-managed offering called HoloISO with support for more hardware. As per AYANEO, the HoloISO used here has been “optimized and made compatible” by the AYANEO team, and users can also install the Windows operating system on their own if they so choose. Windows drivers will also be provided from the AYANEO official website. There’s no confirmation on the duration of updates or support for the software once you buy it, so buyer beware.

Both variants come with a LPDD4x-4266 MHz 16GB memory, paired with either 128GB of PCIe 3.0 M.2 2280 storage for the 4500U variant only or 512GB of storage with a price bump to $349. It climbs to $399 for a 4800U variant with the 512GB storage option. The targeted prices are supposed to deal blows with the aforementioned Steam Deck, and the trade-off with the processing power being lower but at a cheaper price point will be a personal preference.

Hand-helds are not all about the compute power of course and the AYANEO makes up for it with its other features. Featuring a 7-inch 800P IPS “True Color Screen” with 500 nits, 47Wh battery, dual copper pipe cooling system, hall sensing joysticks, hall triggers, x-axis linear motor, six-axis gyroscope, WiFi 6 + BT 5.2, 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C ports, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and finally wrapped in a neat 720g package of 267 x 112 x 22mm dimensions. It also comes in three different color variants: Pastel Blue, Bright White, Jet Black with a sleek-looking design called the “explore” design language according to AYANEO.

Check out the official site and the listing here.

With MSI’s entry into the hand-held market with the “Claw” priced at $699, AYANEO’s own existing NEXT 2, the well-performing ROG Ally, and a rumored Switch 2 in the works, the hand-held market has been heating up with options available and is no longer just limited to the Steam Deck or the Switch. It’ll be interesting to see how the landscape of hand-helds pan out in the coming years.

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