the AYA Neo Air is a handheld gaming PC that stands out in an increasingly crowded market for a few reasons. It’s the first with an OLED display. It’s one of the thinnest and lightest models to feature an x86 processor. And it’s AYA’s most affordable handheld to date, with retail prices starting as low as $549 for an entry-level model.
Unfortunately the company had to sacrifice something to make all of those things true, and in this case it looks like it’s battery life.
While the AYA Neo Air already went up for pre-order in China recentlyAYA hadn’t revealed the full specs for the handheld until a press event on May 28, 2022, where we learned what makes the device tick.
The AYA Neo Air features a 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel AMOLED display, up to 32GB of RAM, an AMD Ryzen 5 5000U processor with Radeon Vega integrated graphics, an M.2 2280 slot for up to 2TB of solid state storage.
An entry-level version of the AYA Neo Air also has just a 28Wh battery, which AYA acknowledges is going to provide between only a little more than an hour of game play time for more resource-intensive games like ForzaHorizon 5 or The Witcher 3. You should be able to get around 2.5 hours of battery life for less demanding games like Dead Cellsbut that’s still nowhere near the kind of battery life you’d get from competing devices with bigger batteries: the ONEXPLAYER 1S, for example, has literally twice the battery capacity of the AYA Neo Air.
There will be an AYA Neo Air Pro model that does come with a 38 Wh battery that should provide a little more run time, but even that falls short of most competing devices and the company is only promising 89 minutes of run time for ForzaHorizon 5 and 3.25 hours for Dead Cells.
The Pro models are also a bit thicker and heavier than models with 28Wh batteries, but some configurations are available with higher-performance processors and with more memory and storage than you get from the lower-cost models.
|AYA Neo Air 5560U||AYA Neo Air 5560U||AYA Neo Air Pro 5560U||AYA Neo Air Pro 5560||AYA Neo Air Pro 5825U|
|processor||AMD Ryzen 5 5560U
6-cores / 12-threads
2.3GHz base / 4GHz boost
|AMD Ryzen 7 5825U
8 cores / 16 threads
2GHz base / 4.5GHz boost
|Graphics||Radeon Vega 7||Radeon Vega 8|
|Memory||8GB LPDDR4x-3200||16GB LPDDR4x-4266||32GB LPDDR4x-4266|
|SSD||128GB||256GB||512GB /1TB||512GB / 1TB||512TB / 1TB / 2TB|
1920 x 1080 pixels
|Fingerprint reader?||Nope||And it is||And it is||And it is||And it is|
|Colors||White||Black||Black, White, Pink||Black, White||White, Black, Silver (32GB / 2TB only)|
|Dimensions||224 x 89.5 x 17-26.7mm||224 x 89.5 x 18-26.7mm||224 x 89.5 x 21.6-26.7mm|
|Weight||395 grams||410 grams||450 grams|
$499 (early birds)
$569 (early birds)
$599 (early birds)
|16GB / 1TB – $799 (retail) / $749 (early bird)
16GB / 512GB – $699 / $649
|32GB / 2TB – $1399 (retail) / $1299 (early bird)
16GB / 1TB – $1099 / $999
16GGB / 512GB – $999 / $899
|Shipping||Early August 2022||Early September 2022|
AYA has also announced plans to launch an even lower-priced AYA Neo Air Pluswhich will sell for $289 and up, but which features an AMD Mendocino processor designed for budget laptops and other mobile devices.
While the battery life is disappointing, during a press eventAYA also played up the device’s strengths, including that AMOLED display, which has a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, 109% NTSC color gamut (and 100% sRGB, 96% Adobe RGB, and 99% DCI-P3), and support for up to 350 nits brightness.
The device is also said to be small enough to slip “easily into a trouser pocket,” although I suspect that it depends on the size of your pants pockets.
Other features include a microSD card reader, a 3.5mm audio jack, game controllers that include RGB lighting beneath the analog sticks, and a “full function” USB-C port. Need more ports? There’s also an optional docking station that connects to the USB-C port to provide you with HDMI and Ethernet ports, two USB-C ports, and two USB-A ports.
AYA has also unveiled some limited edition configurations including a B. Duck model with a yellow body, 16GB of RAM, 512B of storage, and a $749 price tag (or $699 for early bird customers) as well as a Pandaer model.
AYA has also begun to show off what appears to be a new Linux-based operating system called AYA Neo OS, which includes a custom user interface designed for controller navigation, an app store, and tools for button mapping, adjusting controller settings, and tweaking processor settings, among other things.
It’s unclear if AYA Neo OS will ship standard on any of the company’s handhelds, or if it will be available as an alternative to Windows. But given the popularity of Valve’s Linux-based Steam Deck, it’s clear that Linux is becoming a viable option for gaming devices. It’s also long been a popular option for gamers using emulators to play classic console games.
Overall, while the AYA Neo Air enters an increasingly crowded market with a few stand-out features including an OLED display, a compact design, and a reasonably low starting price, there’s a lot more competition for budget handheld gaming PCs than there were a few months ago
Not only does Valve’s Steam Deck start at $399, but the upcoming ayn loki is expected to start at just $299 for models with an Intel Alder Lake processor or $499 for versions with AMD Ryzen 6000U chips featuring RDNA 2 graphics. And Anbernic, a company that’s mostly focused on budget retro gaming devices with ARM processors until now, is also expected to enter the x86/Windows handheld space soon.
The AYA Neo Air is already available for pre-order in Chinaand it should be available worldwide soon.