If you’re an avid PC gamer, then the chances are you might have been following the news on the Aya Neo very closely.
There has been a lot of speculation throughout 2020 so far as to when, or even if this console will drop into our eager hands any time soon.
Recent news from the founder of the company has stated that the first batches of the Aya Neo console, named the ‘Founder edition’ (catchy), will be available in October. We’re looking forward to getting a hold of one and putting it through its paces!
Hold up; I’m getting ahead of myself.
Some of you won’t even know what the Aya Neo is, especially if you’re new to the world of PC Gaming.
Let’s take a look at what this console is, what it does, and check out what makes it tick.
First Look At The Aya Neo Founder
AYA NEO UPDATE 11/11/20
Like every console or game that we’ve been looking forward to recently, the Covid-19 pandemic pushed back the release of the Aya Neo back to November 7th, 2020. It’s only been pushed back by a month from the original release date, which isn’t as bad as the delayed Analogue Pocket release announcement.
The bad news, however, is that for the time being, this console will only be for sale on the Chinese market. This decision has been made purely because of the high demand for PC gaming consoles of this standard, and also to stop scalpers from ramping up the price on International markets.
AYA is currently available for a limited time at a special price in China, with each machine having its own unique code. To prevent scalpers from raising the price, shipping overseas is not supported at this time. For overseas users, we may take a crowdfunding sale on IGG.
— Aya Neo
The rest of the world is waiting with bated breath for information on an Indiegogo campaign, or whether international orders will be accepted either now or in the near future.
In the meantime, you can always take a trip to the WePlay gaming exhibition in Shanghai to test one out in person on November 14th (if the pandemic rules allow).
Here it is folks; the Aya Neo Founder edition. In terms of build, screen size, and button layout, it bears some strong similarities to the Nintendo Switch.
But then again, every handheld seems to be following in its footsteps these days.
The console itself is designed to cope with games that you might play on your souped up gaming PCs or laptops. It’srunning on an AMD Ryszen 5 4500U processor and utilises Radeon Vega 6 graphics.
In other words, it’s a tasty piece of kit.
The Aya Neo also boasts a touchscreen display which we’ve seen in action, allowing users to zoom in and out of menu screens when finding files etc.
What’ more, the Joycon-style controllers on the side look as though they will be removable in the new Founder edition dropping this October which could lead to on-the-go multiplayer-action.
What Are The Aya Neo’s Specs?
Here’s everything that we know about the new Aya Neo PC gaming handheld underneath the hood…or the casing in this case (see what I did there).
I know that the Nintendo Switch isn’t a PC gaming handheld, but I’ve compared the two consoles below so that you can get an idea of how the Aya differs.
The results are pretty impressive!
|Aya Neo||Nintendo Switch|
|Display||7 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS LCD||6.2-inch, 1280 × 720 pixel LCD|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 4500U 6-core/6-thread||ARM 4 Cortex-A57 + ARM 4 Cortex-A53 |
|GPU||AMD Radeon Vega 6||256 Maxwell-based CUDA cores|
|RAM||16GB DDR4-4266 LPDDR4X||4 GB LPDDR4|
|Storage||500GB PCIe NVMe||32GB internal / up to 2TB external|
|Battery||47 Whr||15.95 Wh|
|Wifi||Wifi 6||WiFi 5|
|Multitouch||10-point multitouch||Multi touch capacative|
Update 11/11/20 – We’ve updated the information above with the latest specs garnered from Aya HQ.
Most of the information has stayed the same, which shows that the company have been upfront and honest about what this machine can do. In addition, the projected default GPU clock of this handheld is 1.5GHz, which means that users will be able to harness 1.1 Teraflops of performance.
That’s 1.1 trillion floating-point calculations every second, for those of you that might be thinking a Teraflop is an angry sandal.
While the Aya Neo might look like it’s copied it’s style from the Switch, it blows it out of the water in terms of CPU, GPU, and pretty much everything else.
Though, to play games like Horizon Zero Dawn, it needs to be able to work like a house elf on steroids!
(N.B – If you’re a member of S.P.E.W, then please don’t sue us for that last comment).
How Does It Cope Under Pressure?
I don’t mean ‘can it survive a job interview with Lord Sugar; I’m talking about how it copes running massive games.
I have watched a couple of videos of the Aya Neo in action so far. Some show glorious landscapes flying past as though you were actually there in real life, and others show jerky characters and parts of the scenery flicking into existence a fraction of a second too late.
Granted, I have been following progress of the device over the last few months, and with the processing power advertised, it should be able cope with anything you throw at it.
One review I did come across states that when the Aya Neo is feeling the strain (playing a heavy-duty game like Zero Dawn) the CPU racked up a whopping 74℃/165℉.
At least if you get stuck on your game, you could always cook an egg on the screen!
The Founder edition has a large cooling fan and a copper heat sink designed to stop the console from overheating. I would call 74℃ pretty hot, so it will be interesting to see how this copes when we get hold of the real thing to test ourselves.
Game tests have brought varying results over the past few months. FFXV has been shown to be running at 30-fps on the Aya Neo, while less complicated games such as Forza Horizon 4 have managed to hit the sweet spot at 60-fps.
And Battery Life?
Like any handheld console, the more strain you put it under, the quicker the battery will die. I tend to have my first gen Switch on about 3% light just so it can last longer (I really should buy a new one).
Bigger games jam packed full of intricate content that require lots of processing power are going to drain the battery faster too.
Yet another video we’ve clocked on our travels through the internet shows the Aya Neo performing at 30-fps while playing Horizon Zero Dawn, with the CPU gobbling up 18-watts of power.
A quick nerdy calculation on the amount of power that all of the components need to run provides an estimated battery life of about 80-90 minutes depending on screen brightness.
Obviously, that number will increase if you’re just browsing the web or completing less intense tasks, but that is a good ball-park figure to keep in mind when purchasing the console. If your journey is longer than 90-minutes, then it might be worth taking a power pack along for the ride.
How Much Does The Aya Neo Cost?
Back when we first heard about the Aya Neo, we predicted a cost of $490. And it turns out that we weren’t that far off the mark!
Aya have recently posted a video about their new handheld now that mass production is just around the corner. The Founder edition will cost 3999 Yuans, which is about 605 USD, and it comes with 500GB of storage.
If 500GB isn’t enough, then you can pay up to 4599 Yuan, around 756 USD, for 1TB version.
Obviously, these prices may go up as the months go on and demand for the Aya Neo grows, especially if we see a Western release on Indiegogo.
On paper, the Aya Neo looks as though it’s going to be a gaming tour de force. With enough processing power to send the Retro Dodo offices into orbit, it looks set to be a big player in the handheld gaming world.
We’re a bit concerned by those temperatures recorded while playing, but hopefully our minds will be put at ease when we get out hands one.
We’ll have our oven mitts at the ready.
Keep an eye out for more updates as and when they arrive!