AYANEO 2 Review – A True Steam Deck Competitor

ayaneo 2

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AYANEO 2

$1000+
9

The most powerful handheld on the planet, but that comes with sacrifice

9.0/10

Pros

  • Performance
  • Design
  • Beautiful Display

Cons

  • Pricing
  • Battery Life

The AYANEO 2 is a direct competitor to the Steam Deck, there’s no denying it.

AYANEO have been creating handhelds for a few years now, and have nailed it on the head every time, especially with the AYANEO Air. Now they have built a bigger, and more powerful device that can last longer, features a bigger screen, is far more comfortable and packs a serious punch.

Could this be one of the best handheld gaming PC’s of the year? Yep.

Though AYANEO are on a roll with product releases, it does make me hesitant to purchase one of their devices, because it’s typical for them to announce something bigger and better just a few weeks later, but in all honesty, that seems to be the trend in the handheld industry right now, they want to dominate every inch of the market as quickly as they can.

AYANEO 2 Specifications

ayaneo 2 specs
  • Ryzen 7 6800U CPU
  • Radeon 680M GPU
  • Up To 32GB DDR5 RAM
  • Up To 2TB Storage
  • 7″ LCD Touchscreen (1920 x 1200 @ 60hz)
  • Wifi/Bluetooth
  • USB-C Charging

The AYANEO 2 features a Ryzen 7 6800U CPU and a Radeon 680M GPU, partnered with up to 32GB’s or DDR5 RAM. It has up to 2TB of storage and a stunning 7” LCD touchscreen display that’s incredibly bright at 400 nits and is one of my favourite parts of the entire device, it has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 at 60hz and a high PPI of 332.

Honestly, it’s stunning, and it sits incredibly close to the lens with zero bezels making it far more immersive and looks that tiny bit more modern.

AYANEO 2 Design

ayaneo 2 abxy

The face shows off the unique design surrounding the entirety of the device. It’s rounded everywhere, making me wonder if they took design characteristics from Baymax from the movie Big Hero 6.

The face is surrounded by the rounded glass lens which moves around the buttons, something I haven’t ever seen before and it makes the device look incredibly futuristic.

The left and right buttons are on what I like to call an island, that isn’t covered in glass but instead a matte plastic. The analogue stick sits high out of the console giving you more control, with a strong grip and hall stick technology adding that extra hint of premium.

These sticks also have LED lights behind them allowing you to customise them to whatever colour you would like, and below that is a very strong performing D-PAD, it’s comfortable, and has distinct feedback in each direction, making it an all-round pleasure to play on.

ayaneo 2 shoulder buttons

Below that are small buttons that take you to menus, and other tabs.

On the right side, you also have the same island, this time with your action buttons that feel clicky, but soft, and feature minimum grey text to keep your attention where it matters… the screen.

Below that is your AYANEO button which takes you directly to the custom AYANEO menu that allows you to tweak your consoles settings, output, fan speed and more.

A look at the back of the handheld will gives you a sense of the design. It’s rounded on the back with large grips that fit my hands perfectly. My fingers curve up the sides of the device to be greeted by large, flared shoulder buttons that feel great.

Although I did notice that it cracks on to the back of the shell if pressed fully, I would have loved to see some kind of rubber padding here to remove the noise and add to the premium feel, but hey, this is a very minor flaw that is easily overlooked.

ayaneo 2 ergonomics

Around the sides you’ll find all of your ports and buttons, there’s plenty to choose from, and  each are located naturally where you would expect.

The on/off button can be a little cumbersome at times, not knowing between a press and a hold.

One of my favourite ports is actually the SD-card slot, i’ve never seen a door like this before. Instead of an old-fashioned rubber grip that always ends up breaking, they have added a door that you press, and it opens out, then when you’re done you click it back into place.

It’s small touches like this that shows that AYANEO are looking at every tiny detail when creating a handheld of this calibre.

Overall in the hands, AYANEO have crafted a handheld that feels far more premium than the Steam Deck, and looks as if it has been designed by angels themselves.

The weight is noticeable, due to the large screen, and large 13000 MAH battery, but thanks to the thick grips, it can be used for hours on end, if the battery life allows you too that is.

AYANEO 2 Performance

god of war ayaneo 2

In terms of the performance, the AYANEO 2 is one of the most powerful handled PC’s on the market as of this video, so there’s not a whole amount of consoles to compare it to.

The best is to compare it to the Steam Deck, but the AYANEO outperforms it by a long mile, coming in at approximately 30% faster in terms of performance allowing you to push it that little bit further when playing your AAA games.

But because its so powerful, has such a crispy screen, it requires a lot of power input, and this is where things get a little tricky, because if you really want to push this console to the limit you will only get a few hours of battery life out of it, confining it to a portable console that ideally stays in your home.

Yes you can tweak the settings and play smaller, less power intensive games to stretch that battery life, but the reason you go for a console like this is to squeeze as much out of it as you possibly can.

But when doing that I found myself keeping an eye on my battery percentage for more than I would like.

ayaneo 2 game selection

With great power comes great responsibility, and unfortunately, it’s your responsibility to be near a charger when playing large games.

But if you were to put that aside, and realise that we’re still early when it comes to creating CPU’s and portable batteries specifically for portable PC play, then that’s when you start to love the AYANEO 2.

It’s the handheld I go to when I want a serious gaming session on the sofa, or to experience my favourite games in a new way while travelling.

The AYANEO 2’s performance is like no other, and I am in shock that I can take these types of games with me on the go. It’s a big step in the right direction for the portable PC industry, and AYANEO is at the forefront of that even if it sounds like a harrier jet when playing intense games.

I was playing Destiny 2, Hi-Fi Rush and God of War natively… on a handheld, albeit with custom settings but that in itself is an incredible feat.

AYANEO Space OS

ayaneo space

To help organise your library, AYANEO offers a custom interface that allows quick access to games and settings with just the press of a button.

This operating system does need a little bit of work, it can be buggy and slow at times, but it’s well designed to help you understand and tweak your handheld to your output needs.

The home screen features your game library, and access to settings. For example, i can tweak the output to up to 33W for Pro Mod, or I can modify the saving mode down to 3W should I want to increase battery life when playing small 2D retro games.

This OS takes time to get use to, but offers a wide range of customisations, from changing your fan speed to changing button configuration to modifying the colours of your analogue sticks LED’s just like the AYN Odin.

At full blown 33W I was getting around 1 hoursof gameplay when playing games like God of War on a single charge, which admittedly isn’t great but unfortunately that’s as good as we are going to get.

ayaneo 2 back

The less strenuous the game the more battery life you will get out of it, small 2D games running at a very low output can stretch the battery life to 3 or 4 hours on a single charge. So this should give you an idea of battery life range on a handheld of this calibre.

It all depends on what you want to play.

Overall Opinion

Overall AYANEO have created one of the best handheld gaming PC’s ever, they have combined comfortable ergonomics and modern minimal design with next level power.

It may not have impressive battery life, nor will your bank account look impressive after buying one, but it’s hard not to love this thing. 

AYANEO are single innovating in the space far quicker than those who should be.

If you want one of the most powerful handhelds on the planet, this is it.

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