It was only yesterday that I was mildly hyped about the upcoming AYANEO “Steam Deck” competitor, the AYANEO Next Lite, yet I was also highly suspicious about it all. Mostly because the company didn’t list any specs for the device or a price, which I thought was odd. Despite that, I was curious for more info, so I contacted AYANEO. I should have stopped at that. However, as a PC gaming handheld enthusiast and, of course, a gaming/tech journalist, I also wanted to make sure you all were on top of whatever this device would be. Have you ever heard the expression “stop while you’re ahead?” Yeah, I should have.
Earlier today, AYANEO told me that the Next Lite would not run Valve’s SteamOS but a clone, HoloOS. This is a third-party clone of SteamOS, and the developer has done a commendable job ensuring that it would work on more devices than Valve’s handheld OS. However, I found it pretty disappointing that AYANEO tried to fool everyone into thinking it was running SteamOS. Needless to say, I wasn’t the only one fooled, as several influencers and outlets all reported that the Next Lite was running Steam OS. We were all fooled.
To make matters worse, if you go to the Next Lite page, it literally states, “Pre-installed SteamOS Built for Gaming.” Then, at the bottom, “The pre-installed SteamOS is adapted and optimized by AYANEO based on HoloISO.” Hello… AYANEO? That means this is NOT SteamOS. Sure, it’s very close, but it isn’t the legit thing. Why are you trying to mislead potential customers like this? It’s frustrating.
As of 1/11/2024, at 9:30 PM, the device finally went live on the AYANEO website, so we can now see more information about it. Needless to say, I am highly disappointed, frustrated, and frankly miffed that I actually thought AYANEO would release a somewhat reasonably priced handheld. It wasn’t until nearly two hours later that we got the price via a YouTube video. The AYANEO Next Lite price, while lower than I expected at “up to $299.99,” isn’t even on the website! Why? Even with the underwhelming specs, it has a chance at that price point; any higher, and it definitely wouldn’t have sold.
Update: On 1/12/2024, AYANEO removed the YouTube video from the website.
Let’s talk about the AYANEO Next Lite specs since we finally got them; they are underwhelming. I’m confused about this device potentially going up against the Steam Deck. The Next Lite sports either an AMD Ryzen 5 4500 (6 cores / 6 threads) / Vega 6 GPU or the Ryzen 7 4800 U (8 cores / 16 threads) / Vega 8 GPU. While both processors beat out what’s in the Steam Deck, the Vega 6 and 8 are far from RDNA 2 and will hold you back from worthwhile gaming. These are not meant for gaming. Yet, AYANEO is promoting this as a gaming machine. Maybe it would do well as an emulation machine, but that’s it.
What hurts ever so much is that this device has many features I wanted on a handheld PC: the Hall Effect joysticks and triggers, a bigger battery (47Wh), and 2x USB-C ports. I really like the design of it. Despite that, even the $300 price tag isn’t enough to make me remotely think about picking one up. The severely underpowered APU is a big no-no. There’s no reason anyone should purchase this. NO ONE. STAY AWAY.
The more I think about this, it feels like AYANEO is trying to get rid of its old inventory of parts and trying to pass it along to some unsuspecting sucker, and that’s really foul. Considering that you can get a Steam Deck (LCD) for just $100 more, with a better APU, the same size screen, nearly a similar battery, and the legit version of SteamOS, it just makes more sense. Unlike purchasing the AYANEO Next Lite does.