The Steam Deck by Valve has easily become one of the most talked about gaming devices of the year.
Since it’s announcement in 2021, both PC gamers and some of us retro gaming enthusiasts were excited to get our hands on one and see what it can do.
Of course, the biggest selling point being that you can now take your PC games on the go!
If you start looking at how to install emulators on the Steam Deck, it also becomes quite a powerful retro emulation machine…. which you know is our thang.
So we know what is great about the Steam Deck, but you know the one drawback? It’s still kind of difficult to get one. There is currently a waiting list to buy one, and they are unrolling them slowly.
So if you are eager to get your hands on a modern gaming machine with a focus on portability, why not take a look at some of our favorite Steam Deck alternatives in 2023?
6. AYN Odin Pro
We have recently compared the two incredible devices in our article Steam Deck VS AYN Odin Pro.
If we look at the devices spec for spec and compare their abilities… the Steam Deck has a strong edge.
For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on where the Odin might have an edge…
To start with, the Odin Pro is alot more aesthetically pleasing, and will feel like familiar territory if you have a Nintendo Switch or a horizontal retro emulator in your collection.
And with a price tag over $100 cheaper than the base model for a Steam Deck, the Odin is an obvious affordable alternative.
The easiest edge to give to the AYN Odin Pro is that you can order one right now and expect to receive it within a couple of months. The Steam Deck is still quite difficult to get your hands on.
So in our opinion: looking at the two based on the visuals, the price tags, and thinking about the wait time involved to receive one or the other…
The AYN Odin Pro is looking like one of the best Steam Deck alternatives of the year.
5. Nintendo Switch Lite
Admittedly, we recognise some of the stigma of recommending a mainstream gaming console.
Most of the devices we share on this outlet tend to come from smaller companies hoping to introduce new devices in niche gaming markets.
But we also think that maybe it’s time to put down some of that shame of loving Nintendo, because they clearly have done a lot of right for many of us gaming fans.
Nintendo is my number one favourite hardware and software developer in video gaming. Easily.
The Switch kind of blew a lot of us away when it was first announced.. and of course it went on to be quite the success for Nintendo.
It currently sits at number five on the list of best selling games consoles at over 107 million units. And it is likely to land much closer to the top of that list, if not taking the number one spot.
There are currently 4 iterations of the device since its release in 2017.
But if we are comparing the Nintendo Switch line of consoles to the Steam Deck, the most comparable asset would be the portability.
And the most portable version of the Switch is the Switch Lite, their handheld only model.
It’s a bit smaller than the other models and it cannot dock to your television. But to those of us who are portable gaming enthusiasts, those differences actually make for a more ideal travel console.
You’re still gonna get the exact same game play experience.
Nintendo has a gigantic game selection between its physical game cards, their online service that has many of the best classic games from the Nintendo library, and their overwhelmingly large online store of first and third party releases.
At a selling price of $199.99, that makes the Switch Lite a quite affordable alternative to many of the devices on this list.
The ONEXPlayer claims the title of the “most powerful portable pc on the market”, and they really are not far off from that mark.
With stats like an 8.4″ 2K IPS display, Tiger Lake i7 CPU, Windows 10 operating system, 15300mAH battery… it is really a powerful gaming device.
Like the Steam Deck, it’s called “portable”, but you are essentially going to be carrying a laptop in your bag if you take it with you on the go.
But if you do not mind massive gaming consoles, this thing is actually a joy to play on.
The button configuration and the feel in your hands is one of the best we have experienced in recent times.
And the screen is insanely beautiful. It is massive, and at arms reach distance, it really immerses you in the game play.
The ONEXPlayer is now out of the crowdfunding stage, and you can purchase one directly from the ONEXPLAYER official website starting at $799.
With some upgrades, it might end up costing you closer to $1100. So that puts it a bit higher than what you would expect to pay for a Steam Deck.
But if you prefer the visuals of the ONEXPlayer, or like that you can purchase one now, it might be one of the best Steam Deck alternatives to snag today.
3. AYANEO Air
One of the latest handhelds we have reviewed is the AYANEO Air, a powerhouse device with a AMD Ryzen 7 5826U Zen 3 processor all in a device that is just 20mm thin.
This device is by far the most powerful handheld we have ever reviewed. Yes, the 5.5″ screen may be slightly too small for a handful of games, but if you’re looking for portable power, this is the go to.
AYANEO are new on the block, yet they continue to launch and reveal incredible products, their flagship being the upcoming AYANEO 2 which is likely to launch this year also.
But where the AIR beats most of these handhelds, is simply portability. It’s thin, it’s lightweight and the OLED display is incredibly crispy.
But with portability, comes problems. Inside is just a 10,000MAH battery capacity meaning the Pro models (which we tested) only lasts just over two hours when playing our favourite games.
Yup, battery life sucks, but then again, what do you expect when you’re playing AAA games at 720p 60FPS?
2. AYANEO Next
AYANEO is a Chinese console developer who aims to produce some of the most beautiful and powerful machines we can get our hands on. And we are happy to say, they are doing exactly that!
Like the ONEXPlayer and the Steam Deck, the AYANEO Next packs a punch: AMD Ryzen 7 5825U CPU, AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU, 16GB RAM, 2TB storage and a 7″ IPS display…
That’s a lot of complicated stuff that equates to great game play in a super portable gaming console that is about the same size and feel of a Nintendo Switch.
It is smaller than the Steam Deck, and like the ONEXPlayer, you can get your hands on it right now.
Like the ONEXPlayer, it does come with a pretty hefty price tag, but you are paying for the supreme quality. And again, this is a gaming laptop, at the end of the day.
We are most excited to see the upcoming AYA Neo Air, but while we wait.. The AYANEO Next is absolutely a great alternative to the Steam Deck.
1. AYANEO 2
As of now, the best steam Deck alternative on the market is the AYANEO, one of the world’s most powerful portable PC’s crafted by an innovative company that has only been around for a few years.
The AYANEO 2 features a Ryzen 7 6800U CPU, a RADEON 680M GPU, 32GB’s of RAM, 2TB storage and a stunning 7″ LCD touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 @ 60hz.
This thing is a beast, and it’s designed with a premium nature, featuring a glass panel on the front that surrounds the entire face of the device.
There’s stunning LED customisations that add to the modern, minimalistic look, alongside perfect egonomics that allow you to play for as long as the battery lasts… not long.
That’s the only downfall with a device of this calibre, AAA games can last anywhere between 1 and 3 hours of gameplay before needing a charge.
But that aside, it’s the most powerful handheld on the block. If you want to experience the best of the best and have an endless budget, this is the one to go for.
It’s truly remarkable, and AYANEO are doing what the competition aren’t, and that’s innovating… quickly.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.