I bought a Chinese Steam Deck and I am surprised

I bought a Chinese Steam Deck and I am surprised
I bought a Chinese Steam Deck and I am surprised
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September 23, 2022, 15:33

For many, gaming on the go means only one thing lately – using the Steam Deck. But is this the only sensible option to learn about PC games without access to decent hardware? I have found that not.

Steam Deck changed the perception of “playing the paw”. Computers that are de facto portable Switch-style consoles are not new, but only the machine created by Valve made the appropriate hype in the market. Now, PC handhelds have become more recognizable, and Steam Deck is their unofficial ambassador. And what if you don’t want to buy a Deck, can’t, or the waiting doesn’t suit you?

I booked my “pocket” by Valve late, in October 2021. It was known that I would be waiting, but I was irritated by the lack of more specific information about even the supposed date of finalizing the purchase. Life changes made it more comfortable for me to play, lying on the couch, without sitting at the computer or TV. So when the Chinese company Ayaneo announced a baby called Ayaneo AIR and guaranteed shipping in the summer, I got interested. I wanted the equipment as soon as possible.

Who is selling?

Ayaneo is an experienced teamwhen it comes to PC handhelds, because her first device hit the market in the spring of 2021, before Valve revealed their hit. The biggest problem was the price – those who bought the equipment blind during a crowdfunding campaign were offered it for $ 799 and then the price increased to around $ 1,000. The basic and Pro versions of this first razor can still be bought for at least PLN 4,500. Expensive! When Valve a little later promised to give players more powerful equipment for a much lower amount, the cannibal went crazy. Well, at least some part of it. No wonder that the market has moved and today there are many devices of this type to choose from, although you still have to wait for most of them.


I bought a Chinese Steam Deck and I'm surprised - Illustration # 1

What’s selling?

Let’s move on to AIR. The company decided to crowdfund again, although the devices in several versions already existed, so you did not have to pay for the development of the prototype and count on success. It was enough to choose your version and wait. I opted for the base variant for $ 569 (Pre-order price – an offer for $ 629 should appear in the official store soon). This amount is much closer to what you have to pay for the Steam Deck. The device came to me at the beginning of September; inside is an AMD Ryzen 5 5560U with Radeon Vega 6, 16 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, and on the outside you can see fantastic build quality and a beautiful 5.5 inch OLED screen. Ayaneo AIR is a Switch Lite Pro – a bit bigger, heavier and much more powerful. But is it worth about PLN 3,100 (device, transport, tax and a cover sent separately with a foil on the screen)?

Although each of these machines is a full-fledged PC – you can put it in the dock, connect the monitor, keyboard, mouse – their primary purpose is to enable comfortable, portable gaming. This is the only way I use my new toy and I have to admit that it gives me a lot of fun.

It is true that the screen is small (so that navigating the system can be tedious), but thanks to the use of OLED technology, deep blacks and vivid colors draw more visual splendor from the games, even despite using low graphics quality settings, which, moreover, at 5.5 inches poses no problem.


I bought a Chinese Steam Deck and I'm surprised - Illustration # 2

SPECIFICATION

  1. CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5560U (6 cores / 12 threads) max. 4 GHz
  2. GPU: AMD Radeon RX Vega 6
  3. RAM: 16 GB LPDDR4x-4266
  4. SSD: 256GB M.2
  5. Battery: 28 Wh
  6. System: Windows 11
  7. Weight: 410 grams
  8. Screen: OLED Full HD 5.5 inch
  9. Controller with Hall sensors (magnetic instead of mechanical)

And what?

After two weeks of using the AIR, the new machine has become my main gaming equipment. So far, I have tested three games, all of them have made me a lot of fun. Stray this is an example of an “AAA turkey”, a production from a small studio that looks like a million bucks. The gameplay is simple, relaxing and short, and AIR was able to show it at around 30 FPS in 720p low quality, with the CPU’s TDP set to 12W. And this wonderful screen, despite everything, provided a sensational visual experience. Low is my new high!

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Forza Horizon 4 it may be a few years old, but it still looks great and provides a lot of fun for arcade racing fans. My new beast jumped to around 45fps in the built-in benchmark (720p, medium, 12W), but a locked 30 gives a better effect. Can you play? For an individual who 25 years ago, on equipment too weak to boast about it, cut into a whole lot of production in “movie” mode (read: max. 24 frames per second), such a stable 30 and tiny OLED is a pleasure. Despite the fact that everything would run faster on a large computer.


I bought a Chinese Steam Deck and I am surprised - Illustration # 3

The last game is Death’s Door. A cute, challenging, incredibly addictive “turkey” that runs very smoothly in 720p with all effects turned on (but no anti-aliasing) at 9W, which squeezes more out of your battery. Exactly, what about the battery? This is the biggest disadvantage of the AIR, although it can be accepted with the right style of playing. The basic device has a battery, which at 12 W consumes 90% of its capacity in about 70 minutes. So total exhaustion would probably occur after about 75 minutes. At 9 W, this time can be extended to about 90 minutes, and various tests on the network say that the absolute maximum that Ayaneo AIR offers in its basic version is 3 hours, provided that the processor only has 5 W at its disposal, the screen is dimmed as much as possible, Wi-Fi is turned off, and so on.

Compared to the Switch Lite or even the Deck, this is a very poor result and can be discouraging. Unless you play like me – for a maximum of an hour in the evening, because you don’t have any more time for it. Then you just have to remember to connect the machine to the charger afterwards. Or choose the more expensive Pro version, which gives you approx. 30% more uptime.

An old man and he can play

I am very happy with my new gaming gear. In fact, it replaced my Switch one hundred percent, because on the Nintendo console I played mainly ports from the PC. Yes, AIR can be warm at the end of the game (but this is a problem only when someone is interested in touching the screen – the handles are cold), The fan at full speed cannot be ignored (but what the headphones are for), and the combination of Win 11 and AyaSpace (an application simulating the “console experience”) can be a bit of trouble, but the fun of looking at relatively fresh games running smoothly on such a small hardware with such a fantastic screen turns out to be enormous. Technological progress is indisputable – a device weighing several hundred grams and fitted in a (capacious) trouser pocket has the same computing power as the entire Xbox One. Incredible.

And now a confession. If the email from Valve came faster, would I buy a Deck instead of an AIR? Without a doubt. On average, about 50% higher performance, a seven-inch screen and a more powerful battery would probably reward me with a lot of weight and – apparently – some bulky equipment. But fate wanted me to pay a bit more for a theoretically inferior device. And I do not regret it. My AIR is nice.

FROM THE AUTHOR

I have been playing for almost 30 years and only recently I discovered the charms of portable gaming (playing on the phone does not count). I plan to catch up on a lot of outstanding titles on my new equipment, and also check out some fresh “turkeys” like Rollerdrome. I’m sure I’ll like it. And I encourage you to discover what this market offers apart from Deck – Ayaneo, GPD, OneXPlayer … A lot of it.

The article is in Polish

Tags: bought Chinese Steam Deck surprised

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