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

Handheld gaming PCs have been round for longer than their current increase would possibly point out, even when the Steam Deck blew the doorways off of the market by making a mannequin that the typical individual may really afford. Whereas Valve might lay declare to being the “finest worth” moveable PC with its loss-leadingly low worth, for those who’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 out there 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 path you must go in for those who don’t additionally personal some sort of retailer that allows you to subsidize low value merchandise for the mass market. To lovers, Ayaneo’s generally 4 determine units have been mouthwatering, however even a boutique producer can’t ignore the Steam Deck perpetually. 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 a minimum of get inside spitting distance of the Steam Deck’s worth (there’s the Ayaneo Air, but it surely’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 most costly Steam Deck ($640). However for those who’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 important alternative, particularly in comparison with gaming laptops. Lastly, we’ve a “funds” boutique Steam Deck competitor. Or, if it helps to consider it this fashion, a considerably reasonably priced “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 reasonably priced mannequin comes with 16GB of DDR5 reminiscence clocked to a fast 6,400MHz and features a 512GB NVME SSD. The SSD could be upgraded to 1TB or 2TB for an additional $150 and $250, respectively. The highest tier mannequin is at present priced at $1,199 and contains 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 different (albeit at a slower 300 MB/s pace). The Geek can also be out there 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 general small and really feel like honest 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 a substitute of the two’s HD motor, which Ayaneo says is an identical to the one within the Nintendo Change. The Geek additionally ships with a PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD as a substitute of the newer PCIe 4.0 drive that comes with the Ayaneo 2, although the affect 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 screen.

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 for those who’re evaluating it to the Steam Deck. I’ve used each extensively and essentially the most noticeable distinction is the display screen, which you rapidly get used to and gained’t discover in any respect for those who don’t have each fashions aspect by aspect. You probably 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 an enormous 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 comparable structure. The Geek adopts a way more curved design than Nintendo’s console, nonetheless. It has an ovular face and deep, curved grips that Ayaneo says are primarily based on a child’s sleeping place. The controllers are additionally non-removable, so that you’ll want to carry the Geek in your palms except you plug in peripherals and a docking station.

Regardless of the similarities to a Change with default joycons, the Geek is much nicer to truly 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, every thing nonetheless feels barely compressed: the correct joystick specifically feels only a hair too low for even my medium-sized palms. Even so, I might take the Ayaneo Geek over both the Change or Steam Deck any day of the week in the case 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

Picture: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Ayaneo has outfitted the Geek with an array of additional buttons to navigate Home windows and entry its totally different choices. There are View and Menu buttons beneath the D-pad on the left (mimicking an Xbox controller, and usually fulfilling the identical position as Begin and Choose on extra old-school units). Two extra further buttons are positioned beneath the correct joystick. One could be mapped to a customized command whereas the opposite, the Aya button, could 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 Activity Supervisor.

This isn’t a full laptop computer, so I/O is proscribed. There are three USB Sort-C ports whole right here: two on high and one on backside, and every can be utilized for energy or knowledge. There are two USB Sort-C to Sort-A adapters within the field for connecting peripherals, however you’ll want a docking station to attach the Geek to an exterior monitor for those who 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. Slightly than utilizing mechanical potentiometers for its triggers and joysticks, the Geek makes use of magnetic sensors to detect motion. The dearth of mechanical put on and tear all however eliminates the prospect for joystick drift and makes these inputs among the smoothest you’ll discover on any gaming controller. With the correct software program tuning, you possibly can even customise your deadzones (the elements 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

Picture: 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 would possibly 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 would possibly anticipate and are noticeably deeper than on the Steam Deck. The triggers particularly really feel at residence in my console-acquainted palms, but all the higher for his or her added smoothness. The sticks have a bit extra of a studying curve resulting from their diminished peak and are much less correct than a full-size controller due to it. Utilizing the built-in gyro helps to fine-tune aiming; nonetheless, the Geek requires putting in an applet to allow movement controls whereas the Ayaneo 2 has them inbuilt 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, but it surely labored for an off-the-cuff like me, even in preventing video games. Every is an enormous enchancment from the Steam Deck’s considerably mushy inputs, nonetheless, and all in all, make the Ayaneo Geek surprisingly nice to sport on.

A shiny and colourful display screen that begs for OLED

The Geek’s 7-inch display screen is shiny and colourful. Regardless that it lacks the edge-to-edge protection of the Ayaneo 2, it nonetheless feels pretty massive due to its 16:10 side ratio. Ayaneo quotes a peak brightness of 400 nits, and I’ve found a number of occasions that it’s shiny 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 value pleasant?

Time Spy on the Ayaneo Geek

Picture: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

No, and neither would you anticipate an OLED display screen, however the Geek begs for it. The colours are wealthy and blacks are high quality, 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 screen, 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 screen helps contact enter, and it general works effectively. The display screen is responsive and registers presses reliably. The largest problem is tapping on-screen components 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 could 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 substitute utilizing an precise mouse, however works surprisingly effectively when contact doesn’t lower it.

Trying to use a drop down menu on the Ayaneo Geek

Picture: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

The display screen is out there in 800p or 1200p choices, but it surely’s not price paying further for the 1200p display screen, even when 800p will internet you an identical decision because the more cost effective Steam Deck. Whereas the added decision would possibly sound nice on paper, it has a big affect on gaming efficiency and doesn’t provide a significant benefit in visible high quality. In truth, that decision bump is especially solely seen in nonetheless photographs–keep in mind, the display screen right here is simply 7 inches. Except you’re enjoying older video games or indies, it’s higher to depart the display screen at 800p and revel in the next FPS with extra responsive gameplay.

AYASpace is the Ayaneo Geek’s spine

AYASpace is the Geek’s essential configuration app and the spine to utilizing it as an precise laptop. The software program, known as up utilizing the devoted AYA button beneath the correct joystick, acts as a central hub for your entire configuration choices, and you may also use it as a sport launcher. Inside, you possibly can set your TDP (the facility 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.


Picture: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

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

AYASpace remains to be in beta and it reveals. It’s improved by leaps and bounds during the last 12 months, 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 general works effectively. For those who ought to occur to seek out your self caught in Chinese language, you possibly can change your language by clicking in your profile within the high proper nook, then clicking on the hexagon with a splash icon by it within the subsequent menu. The following display screen has language settings within the left-most possibility of the center row.


Picture: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

For those who shut AYASpace down, the Geek simply doesn’t work proper. Key features 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 capability to perform as a pc. And not using a mouse and keyboard, they permit you carry out primary 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 lined.

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

And regardless that 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, inventive apps, web sites and streaming providers: the works. It’s a high-performing little laptop.

Reddit on the Ayaneo Geek

Picture: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

To truly use it on this method requires some add-ons, except you wish to hunt and peck your method by its onscreen keyboard and small display screen. You’ll want to purchase peripherals, in addition to a monitor for those who don’t have already got one. Then you definately’ll want a docking station to attach every thing and energy the machine. 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 document some tune concepts in Reaper, my digital audio workstation.

I additionally put it to the take a look at with our suite of benchmarks. It scored 5,126 in PCMark 10, which is a strong 500 factors larger 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 in need of most of the gaming laptops we’ve reviewed during the last 12 months, and is center of the pack for productiveness PCs. However given its considerably extra reasonably priced worth than a lot of these notebooks, the Geek’s efficiency actually is reasonably spectacular.

For inventive 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 quick 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. And not using a devoted graphics card like most gaming laptops have, its processor has to drag double-duty. It’s not the quickest, however can definitely get the job executed if you wish to use it as a full-fledged PC.

Spectacular gaming efficiency due to 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 for those who’re enjoying plugged into wall energy), it’s greater than a bit spectacular.

Regardless that 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 an identical settings, in-game body charges needs to be nearly the identical. Any scalebacks Ayaneo utilized between the fashions are purely high quality of life and don’t affect gaming efficiency.

Witcher 3 on the Ayaneo Geek

Picture: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

There are 4 totally different energy modes to select from: Energy Saving (11W), Steadiness (15W), Recreation (22W), and Professional Mode (3W – 33W). Older video games and indies can typically be performed at 11 watts and generally 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 tweaking, I discovered that quite a lot of indie video games, like Tremendous Meat Boy and Disco Elysium, might be performed with as little as 5 to seven watts, which enormously enhances battery life. Curiously, cranking up energy settings to 33W doesn’t normally provide the key efficiency improve you would possibly anticipate. It normally offers you lower than 10 further FPS whole and drops battery life to lower than an hour, although for those who’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 evaluate 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 Warfare (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
  • Filth 5 (Medium) – 56 FPS
  • Elden Ring (Low) – 51 FPS

Enjoying 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 finest 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 straight examine the Steam Deck’s efficiency to the Ayaneo Geek’s, as Valve’s steady updates and plenty of community support means it’s all the time getting higher. However in our unique Steam Deck evaluate, we “simply barely breached the 30 fps threshold” in God of Warfare. The AMD Ryzen 6800U is utilizing a more moderen processor technology than the Steam Deck’s customized AMD APU, so on the whole, you’re prone 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. Nearly all 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 finest to customise your settings and go for a combination that appears finest to you), components like decrease high quality textures are much less noticeable due to the smaller display screen. Options like FidelityFX Tremendous Decision (FSR), AMD’s technique of upscaling photographs to enhance efficiency, are additionally changing into extra frequent and will let you 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 differ from nice to distractingly blurry.

I’ve talked about it earlier than, but it surely bears repeating once more: the Geek is ready to assist any sport that’s at present out there on Home windows. There’s no concern that video games will or gained’t work like there may be on the Steam Deck. There are few efficiency anomalies that pop up in the midst 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. For those who’ve performed a conveyable gaming PC earlier than, you’re already accustomed to simply how variable battery life could 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. For those who play on the 22-watt gaming preset, the Geek’s fan could be distractingly noisy. It produces as a lot noise as a typical gaming laptop computer, although stops in need of “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 you could be doing that anyway due to 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 similar to a laptop computer, I wouldn’t advocate utilizing them in case you have a pair of headphones useful.

Ayaneo Geek

Picture: Chris Coke / Gizmodo

Must you purchase the Ayaneo Geek? 

The Ayaneo Geek is a powerful handheld gaming PC, particularly in comparison in opposition to the Ayaneo 2 and the Steam Deck. Whereas Ayaneo has scaled again sure options to hit the Geek’s worth, its gaming efficiency hasn’t suffered in any respect. It’s a top-tier handheld that appears sure to impress. For those who can afford it. And that’s the rub: regardless that the Ayaneo Geek has loads to supply for lots lower than most of Ayaneo’s units, for that very same $849, you might purchase two Steam Decks and have cash left over for video games.

That doesn’t imply the Ayaneo Geek isn’t price 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 a substitute of Linux, so any sport or app that runs on Home windows ought to work high quality with none further tweaks crucial (you possibly can run Windows on the Steam Deck, but it surely takes a bit of labor and doesn’t all the time internet nice outcomes). Join it to a docking station and monitor and it could actually change into a real, full-featured laptop. Due to that, it’s extra becoming to contemplate the Geek prefer it’s a uniquely designed gaming laptop computer reasonably than a easy sport console, and in that gentle, $849 can really begin to look reasonably affordable.

Whether or not the Ayaneo Geek is sensible for you relies upon fully on how you intend to make use of it and simply how a lot you worth its consolation, optionally available upsells like that 1200p display screen, and pure gaming horsepower. It additionally relies on how a lot you’re keen to take care of some small firm jank, as AYAspace is extra prone to break than SteamOS. Nevertheless it’s among the best choices for getting only a bit greater than the very best finish Steam Deck will get you whereas not spending greater than a pair hundred {dollars} further.

Need extra of Gizmodo’s client 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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