The Ayaneo Geek Is the Closest Factor We Need to a Steam Deck Professional

Handheld gaming PCs have been round for longer than their latest increase may point out, even when the Steam Deck blew the doorways off of the market by making a mannequin that the common individual may truly afford. Whereas Valve could lay declare to being the “greatest worth” moveable PC with its loss-leadingly low value, in case you’re out there for consolation, sheer efficiency, or the performance of getting Home windows proper out of the field, there are many extra succesful Steam Deck alternatives accessible to these with greater budgets. It’s on this area the place Ayaneo has historically operated, providing full-fledged Home windows gaming PCs with high-performance parts and instantaneous compatibility throughout Steam and each different launcher’s full library.

Premium is sort of the route you must go in in case you don’t additionally personal some sort of retailer that allows you to subsidize low price merchandise for the mass market. To lovers, Ayaneo’s typically 4 determine units have been mouthwatering, however even a boutique producer can’t ignore the Steam Deck eternally. Valve is now the elephant within the nook of each handheld PC producer’s room.

Launching alongside the flagship Ayaneo 2, the Ayaneo Geek (available on IndieGoGo) maintains a premium standing however is the primary of the corporate’s full energy handhelds to no less than get inside spitting distance of the Steam Deck’s value (there’s the Ayaneo Air, nevertheless it’s meant for much less demanding video games than the Deck). It options extra in frequent with the Ayaneo 2 than it doesn’t, together with its wonderful Corridor Impact joysticks and a strong AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor. Nevertheless it begins $150 cheaper than the Ayaneo 2, at $849. That can nonetheless set you again greater than even the costliest Steam Deck ($640). However in case you’re simply trying to spend lower than $1,000 for a real Home windows gaming PC that’s extra highly effective than the Deck and isn’t a lot greater than a Nintendo Change OLED, it’s an excellent selection, particularly in comparison with gaming laptops. Lastly, now we have a “finances” boutique Steam Deck competitor. Or, if it helps to think about it this manner, a considerably inexpensive “Steam Deck Professional.”

A succesful AMD Ryzen 6800U handheld gaming PC

Regardless of its Nintendo Change-like design, the Ayaneo Geek is a full-fledged gaming PC and has the specs to match. Probably the most inexpensive mannequin comes with 16GB of DDR5 reminiscence clocked to a speedy 6,400MHz and features a 512GB NVME SSD. The SSD might be upgraded to 1TB or 2TB for one more $150 and $250, respectively. The highest tier mannequin is presently priced at $1,199 and consists of 32GB of reminiscence and a 2TB SSD, but when all you want is storage, the Geek additionally helps MicroSD playing cards for a less expensive various (albeit at a slower 300 MB/s pace). The Geek can also be accessible with 800p or 1200p screens, even when that is barely unclear on the present IndieGoGo campaign.

As the budget counterpart to the pricier Ayaneo 2, the Geek is remarkably similar and really just feels like a slightly pared down version of the flagship model. You’re getting the same fast Ryzen 7 6800U processor, so gaming performance is the same between both models. It uses the same outstanding Hall Effect triggers and joysticks, which feel great and are immune to joystick drift. Both units have bright 7-inch touchscreen displays. Their layouts and control schemes are the same, though the Ayaneo 2 offers more customization options for the buttons and triggers. They’re nearly identical in shape, size, and weight. Both offer a 50.25 wHr battery.

There are a handful of variations, however they’re total small and really feel like truthful scale-backs for the lower cost. The largest distinction is that the Ayaneo 2 options an edge-to-edge show whereas the Geek has skinny bezels on all sides. There are different smaller variations, too. The Geek has a single gyroscope for movement aiming whereas the Ayaneo 2 has two. The Geek has a linear vibration motor as an alternative of the two’s HD motor, which Ayaneo says is similar to the one within the Nintendo Change. The Geek additionally ships with a PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD as an alternative of the newer PCIe 4.0 drive that comes with the Ayaneo 2, although the impression on load occasions is sufficiently small that you could be not even discover. The flagship mannequin additionally comes with a full glass entrance whereas the Geek simply has a glass display.

There are clear high quality of life enhancements that include the costlier mannequin, however the Geek actually doesn’t really feel like a lot of a step down in any respect, particularly in case you’re evaluating it to the Steam Deck. I’ve used each extensively and probably the most noticeable distinction is the display, which you shortly get used to and gained’t discover in any respect in case you don’t have each fashions facet by facet. In case you have the cash for the Ayaneo 2, it delivers the higher expertise over all, however the Geek is the uncommon tech buy that doesn’t really feel such as you’re making a giant sacrifice by choosing the cheaper mannequin.

Just like the Nintendo Change and a gaming laptop computer had a child

The Ayaneo Geek is what would occur if the Nintendo Change and a gaming laptop computer had a child. The Geek is a contact bigger than the Change OLED however has a really related structure. The Geek adopts a way more curved design than Nintendo’s console, nevertheless. It has an ovular face and deep, curved grips that Ayaneo says are based mostly on a child’s sleeping place. The controllers are additionally non-removable, so that you’ll want to carry the Geek in your arms until you plug in peripherals and a docking station.

Regardless of the similarities to a Change with default joycons, the Geek is much nicer to really use. The grips are thick and contoured, tapering towards the highest to information your fingers towards the triggers. The sticks are greater, smoother, and have extra throw. The triggers have a deep, controller-like pull. The buttons are snappy and extra crisp than the Steam Deck’s. Like every handheld, all the pieces nonetheless feels barely compressed: the appropriate joystick particularly feels only a hair too low for even my medium-sized arms. Even so, I’d take the Ayaneo Geek over both the Change or Steam Deck any day of the week on the subject of consolation and ease of use. Even when the Geek is ever so barely heavier than the Steam Deck, at 680 grams vs the Deck’s 669.

The Ayaneo Geek from top down

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Ayaneo has outfitted the Geek with an array of additional buttons to navigate Home windows and entry its completely different choices. There are View and Menu buttons beneath the D-pad on the left (mimicking an Xbox controller, and customarily fulfilling the identical function as Begin and Choose on extra old-school units). Two extra further buttons are positioned beneath the appropriate joystick. One might be mapped to a customized command whereas the opposite, the Aya button, might be clicked to entry a fast settings adjustment menu or held to attract up the complete AYASpace settings software program suite. There are bumpers and triggers on the highest, in addition to a pair of shoulder buttons that may be tied to customized instructions, like elevating the on-screen keyboard or Process Supervisor.

This isn’t a full laptop computer, so I/O is proscribed. There are three USB Kind-C ports complete right here: two on prime and one on backside, and every can be utilized for energy or knowledge. There are two USB Kind-C to Kind-A adapters within the field for connecting peripherals, however you’ll want a docking station to attach the Geek to an exterior monitor in case you plan to make use of it as a full PC. There’s additionally an influence button with an built-in fingerprint reader for biometric login, a quantity rocker, headphone jack, and a MicroSD card slot for expandable storage.

Corridor Impact analog sticks and snappy buttons

Just like the Ayaneo 2, the Ayaneo Subsequent, and the Ayaneo Air earlier than it, the Ayaneo Geek makes use of Corridor Impact triggers and joysticks. Because the axiom goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t repair it, and this design is something however damaged. Reasonably than utilizing mechanical potentiometers for its triggers and joysticks, the Geek makes use of magnetic sensors to detect motion. The shortage of mechanical put on and tear all however eliminates the possibility for joystick drift and makes these inputs among the smoothest you’ll discover on any gaming controller. With the appropriate software program tuning, you may even customise your deadzones (the components of a joystick that your controller doesn’t learn, in order to keep away from small random actions).

The Ayaneo Geek's hall effect analog stick

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Whereas all the Geek’s inputs are smaller than what you’ll discover on a standard controller, they nonetheless really feel nearer than you may anticipate. The added throw on the triggers and joysticks, whereas not as deep as on an Xbox or PlayStation controller, really feel a lot nearer than you may anticipate and are noticeably deeper than on the Steam Deck. The triggers particularly really feel at house in my console-acquainted arms, but all the higher for his or her added smoothness. The sticks have a bit extra of a studying curve as a result of their lowered peak and are much less correct than a full-size controller due to it. Utilizing the built-in gyro helps to fine-tune aiming; nevertheless, the Geek requires putting in an applet to allow movement controls whereas the Ayaneo 2 has them in-built from the beginning.

The face buttons are snappy and tactile. There’s no mushiness to them in any respect, which is nice for button heavy video games like platformers. The D-pad is a bit much less crisp, with a slight wiggle to the cross, nevertheless it labored for an informal like me, even in combating video games. Every is a giant enchancment from the Steam Deck’s considerably mushy inputs, nevertheless, and all in all, make the Ayaneo Geek surprisingly nice to sport on.

A vibrant and colourful display that begs for OLED

The Geek’s 7-inch display is vibrant and colourful. Though it lacks the edge-to-edge protection of the Ayaneo 2, it nonetheless feels pretty massive because of its 16:10 side ratio. Ayaneo quotes a peak brightness of 400 nits, and I’ve found a number of occasions that it’s vibrant sufficient to play in direct daylight. It doesn’t assist superior options like HDR assist or gaming at 120Hz, however for many video games, these are non-issues. And actually, would you anticipate both from a handheld designed to be price pleasant?

Time Spy on the Ayaneo Geek

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

No, and neither would you anticipate an OLED display, however the Geek begs for it. The colours are wealthy and blacks are tremendous, however after seeing how a lot better OLED can look on the Ayaneo Air, the Geek isn’t fairly as spectacular with out it. Distinction ranges are typical for an LCD display, with blacks being extra of a deep grey, however the wealthy distinction and inky blacks of the Air would have pushed this to a different degree.

The display helps contact enter, and it total works effectively. The display is responsive and registers presses reliably. The largest problem is tapping on-screen parts that may simply be, effectively, tiny. The Geek packs a full, desktop model of Home windows 11. Even with Home windows scaling turned on, selecting gadgets in drop down menus or navigating settings inside purposes might be tough. AYASpace, the Geek’s configuration software program, solves this by permitting you to regulate a digital mouse cursor utilizing the joysticks. It doesn’t exchange utilizing an precise mouse, however works surprisingly effectively when contact doesn’t reduce it.

Trying to use a drop down menu on the Ayaneo Geek

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

The display is out there in 800p or 1200p choices, nevertheless it’s not value paying further for the 1200p display, even when 800p will web you a similar decision because the more cost effective Steam Deck. Whereas the added decision may sound nice on paper, it has a major impression on gaming efficiency and doesn’t provide a significant benefit in visible high quality. Actually, that decision bump is principally solely seen in nonetheless pictures–bear in mind, the display right here is simply 7 inches. Until you’re enjoying older video games or indies, it’s higher to depart the display at 800p and luxuriate in the next FPS with extra responsive gameplay.

AYASpace is the Ayaneo Geek’s spine

AYASpace is the Geek’s predominant configuration app and the spine to utilizing it as an precise pc. The software program, referred to as up utilizing the devoted AYA button beneath the appropriate joystick, acts as a central hub for all your configuration choices, and you may also use it as a sport launcher. Inside, you may set your TDP (the ability restrict for the system’s processor), fan pace, button shortcuts, and extra. It’s additionally the place you’ll go to obtain and apply firmware updates as they’re launched over time.


Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Tapping the AYA button additionally brings up a fast menu for while you need to make quick modifications or ship frequent instructions. It lets you change the efficiency settings, brightness, and quantity. You possibly can assign 9 completely different shortcuts for issues like placing the system to sleep, enabling system-wide FSR upscaling, or power closing video games. It’s quick and dependable, and in case you occur to give up AYASpace by chance, you’ll instantly miss it.

AYASpace remains to be in beta and it exhibits. It’s improved by leaps and bounds over the past yr, however there are nonetheless tough edges, with cases of damaged English, Chinese language solely descriptions in lots of applets, and a propensity to reset itself to Chinese language with software program updates. Regardless of that, it total works effectively. If you happen to ought to occur to search out your self caught in Chinese language, you may change your language by clicking in your profile within the prime proper nook, then clicking on the hexagon with a splash icon via it within the subsequent menu. The subsequent display has language settings within the left-most possibility of the center row.


Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

If you happen to shut AYASpace down, the Geek simply doesn’t work proper. Key capabilities just like the mouse cursor or button shorts for the on-screen keyboard cease working, and people shortcuts are the important thing to the hand-held’s skill to operate as a pc. With no mouse and keyboard, they permit you carry out fundamental duties like urgent the Escape key to again out of menus. Whereas it’s technically attainable to run the Ayaneo with out AYASpace, I wouldn’t advocate it. It’s painful.

Overlook your work laptop computer? The Ayaneo Geek has you coated.

One of many superb issues concerning the Ayaneo Geek is one in all its most evident: it is a real Home windows gaming PC in a handheld type issue. There’s no Linux. No compatibility layer just like the Steam Deck’s Proton. You need to use all the apps and instruments you’d usually use in your desktop or laptop computer with a fraction of the footprint.

And though it’s small, The Geek is mighty. The Ryzen 7 6800U is a really quick, very succesful processor, and it’s backed by 16GB of high-speed reminiscence. The Geek has sufficient horsepower to run absolutely anything an fanatic PC person may need: productiveness apps, artistic apps, web sites and streaming companies: the works. It’s a high-performing little pc.

Reddit on the Ayaneo Geek

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

To really use it on this approach requires some add-ons, until you need to hunt and peck your approach via its onscreen keyboard and small display. You’ll want to purchase peripherals, in addition to a monitor in case you don’t have already got one. Then you definitely’ll want a docking station to attach all the pieces and energy the gadget. Nevertheless it’s attainable. With the Geek, I wrote a number of articles throughout Google Docs and Microsoft Phrase, edited pictures and movies with Adobe, and even plugged in a USB mic to report some music concepts in Reaper, my digital audio workstation.

I additionally put it to the check with our suite of benchmarks. It scored 5,126 in PCMark 10, which is a stable 500 factors greater than the HP Dragonfly Folio Elite we reviewed in January. In Geekbench 5, it scored 1,341 for single-core efficiency and 6,483 for multi-core, which falls wanting lots of the gaming laptops we’ve reviewed over the past yr, and is center of the pack for productiveness PCs. However given its considerably extra inexpensive value than a lot of these notebooks, the Geek’s efficiency actually is quite spectacular.

For artistic apps, the Geek maintains its center of the street posture. In Cinebench, it scored 1,338 for single core rendering and eight,845 for multi-core, far exceeding the Dragonfly with all of its cores engaged however falling barely brief in single-core speeds. In Blender, the Geek rendered a BMW in 4 minutes and 29 seconds, placing it proper in between the Apple MacBook Pro 13 and MacBook Pro 14. With no devoted graphics card like most gaming laptops have, its processor has to tug double-duty. It’s not the quickest, however can actually get the job finished if you wish to use it as a full-fledged PC.

Spectacular gaming efficiency because of the AMD Ryzen 6800U

The place it actually issues—gaming—the Ayaneo Geek excels. Just like the Steam Deck, efficiency will rely in your graphics settings, decision, and the present TDP setting for the CPU. It’s a balancing act between battery life and CPU energy, however as soon as it’s dialed in (or in case you’re enjoying plugged into wall energy), it’s greater than a bit of spectacular.

Though it’s cheaper, the Ayaneo Geek sacrifices nothing in efficiency in comparison with the flagship Ayaneo 2. It makes use of the identical {hardware} to drive the expertise, so with similar settings, in-game body charges must be nearly the identical. Any scalebacks Ayaneo utilized between the fashions are purely high quality of life and don’t impression gaming efficiency.

Witcher 3 on the Ayaneo Geek

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

There are 4 completely different energy modes to select from: Energy Saving (11W), Steadiness (15W), Recreation (22W), and Professional Mode (3W – 33W). Older video games and indies can usually be performed at 11 watts and typically a lot much less. Recreation mode is the most effective match for contemporary video games, although normally drops battery life to lower than two hours in my testing. Steadiness mode strikes a center floor between the 2. With a bit of tweaking, I discovered that plenty of indie video games, like Tremendous Meat Boy and Disco Elysium, might be performed with as little as 5 to seven watts, which tremendously enhances battery life. Apparently, cranking up energy settings to 33W doesn’t normally provide the main efficiency improve you may anticipate. It normally provides you lower than 10 further FPS complete and drops battery life to lower than an hour, although in case you’re enjoying plugged right into a wall outlet, it’s undoubtedly the best way to go, for peak efficiency.

I examined all kinds of video games for this evaluation and left the console in its Recreation preset to maintain issues standardized. I additionally set the video games to 800p for constant comparisons.

  • Forza 5 (Excessive) – 71 FPS
  • God of Struggle (Inventory Settings) – 39 FPS
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (Steam Deck Preset) – 63 FPS
  • Borderlands 3 (Extremely) – 32 FPS
  • A Plague Story (Low, FSR 2.0, Efficiency Mode) – 31 FPS
  • Rocket League (Excessive) – 133 FPS
  • The Witcher 3 (Excessive, FSR 2.0, Extremely Efficiency) – 43 FPS
  • Dust 5 (Medium) – 56 FPS
  • Elden Ring (Low) – 51 FPS

Taking part in at 800p, the Ayaneo Geek lets you flip up the settings on many new video games whereas nonetheless sustaining common body charges above 30 FPS. Some video games, like Elden Ring, are greatest locked to low settings for the improved responsiveness of upper body charges, however others, like Forza 5, have headroom to spare.

It’s tough to instantly evaluate the Steam Deck’s efficiency to the Ayaneo Geek’s, as Valve’s steady updates and plenty of community support means it’s at all times getting higher. However in our authentic Steam Deck evaluation, we “simply barely breached the 30 fps threshold” in God of Struggle. The AMD Ryzen 6800U is utilizing a more moderen processor era than the Steam Deck’s customized AMD APU, so normally, you’re more likely to see barely improved efficiency throughout the board on the Geek.

Whereas PC gaming handhelds used to demand that video games be set to their lowest attainable settings, that age is generally behind us. The vast majority of video games I examined have been in a position to be pushed to medium and even excessive settings. Even when you must flip issues down (it’s normally greatest to customise your settings and go for a mixture that appears greatest to you), parts like decrease high quality textures are much less noticeable because of the smaller display. Options like FidelityFX Tremendous Decision (FSR), AMD’s methodology of upscaling pictures to enhance efficiency, are additionally changing into extra frequent and permit you to run much more graphically demanding video games whereas nonetheless hitting playable body charges. The Geek even has a built-in FSR possibility that can be utilized on many video games that don’t assist it natively, although the outcomes can fluctuate from nice to distractingly blurry.

I’ve talked about it earlier than, nevertheless it bears repeating once more: the Geek is ready to assist any sport that’s presently accessible on Home windows. There’s no concern that video games will or gained’t work like there’s on the Steam Deck. There are few efficiency anomalies that pop up in the course of video games. The Darkish Photos Anthology: Man of Medan was unplayable on the Deck however excellent on the Geek. All of which means you’ll have an enormous library of video games to select from on day one and instantaneous compatibility for it sooner or later, so long as the Geek can bodily run it. No ready on Valve to certify video games are playable or for builders so as to add assist. It simply works.

The Ayaneo Geek has variable battery life, loud followers, disappointing audio system 

Whereas the Geek is clearly a really succesful gaming machine, its battery life is extraordinarily inconsistent. If you happen to’ve performed a conveyable gaming PC earlier than, you’re already acquainted with simply how variable battery life might be. The 50.25 wHr battery may final 4 hours or 40 minutes relying in your present TDP setting and the way demanding the sport you’re enjoying is.

The fan may also get fairly loud. If you happen to play on the 22-watt gaming preset, the Geek’s fan might be distractingly noisy. It produces as a lot noise as a typical gaming laptop computer, although stops wanting “jet engine” standing. However because you maintain the Geek nearer to your face and ears, its noise is extra noticeable throughout use. Working it in Steadiness or Energy Saving modes quiets it down, however at a noticeable lower in efficiency in demanding video games.

The fan can have you reaching for headphones, however it’s possible you’ll be doing that anyway because of the Geek’s disappointing audio system. They get loud sufficient to listen to effectively, however motion pictures and sport audio lack physique and sound skinny. They’ll work in a pinch, however identical to a laptop computer, I wouldn’t advocate utilizing them if in case you have a pair of headphones helpful.

Ayaneo Geek

Photograph: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Must you purchase the Ayaneo Geek? 

The Ayaneo Geek is a powerful handheld gaming PC, particularly when put next towards the Ayaneo 2 and the Steam Deck. Whereas Ayaneo has scaled again sure options to hit the Geek’s value, its gaming efficiency hasn’t suffered in any respect. It’s a top-tier handheld that appears certain to impress. If you happen to can afford it. And that’s the rub: though the Ayaneo Geek has quite a bit to supply for lots lower than most of Ayaneo’s units, for that very same $849, you can purchase two Steam Decks and have cash left over for video games.

That doesn’t imply the Ayaneo Geek isn’t value contemplating. It’s smaller and extra comfy to make use of. It’s extra highly effective and performs higher in video games. Most significantly, it runs on Home windows as an alternative of Linux, so any sport or app that runs on Home windows ought to work tremendous with none further tweaks essential (you may run Windows on the Steam Deck, nevertheless it takes a bit of labor and doesn’t at all times web nice outcomes). Join it to a docking station and monitor and it may turn into a real, full-featured pc. Due to that, it’s extra becoming to think about the Geek prefer it’s a uniquely designed gaming laptop computer quite than a easy sport console, and in that gentle, $849 can truly begin to look quite affordable.

Whether or not the Ayaneo Geek is sensible for you relies upon solely on how you propose to make use of it and simply how a lot you worth its consolation, elective upsells like that 1200p display, and pure gaming horsepower. It additionally relies on how a lot you’re prepared to cope with some small firm jank, as AYAspace is extra more likely to break than SteamOS. Nevertheless it’s the most effective choices for getting only a bit greater than the best finish Steam Deck will get you whereas not spending greater than a pair hundred {dollars} further.

Need extra of Gizmodo’s shopper electronics picks? Try our guides to the best phones, best laptops, best cameras, best televisions, and best tablets and eReaders. And if you wish to be taught concerning the subsequent huge factor, see our information to everything we know about the iPhone 15.

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