Ayaneo Next Ryzen Zen 3 Gaming Handheld Is Up For Preorder
As the first wave of Valve's Steam Deck consoles begin shipping out, there's another handheld PC entering the fray. It's the Ayaneo Next with Zen 3 guts, and it's now up for preorder on Indiegogo. That's the good news. The bad news is the early bird discounts on the regular Next and Next Pro have already sold out. Should you buy it anyway?
That depends on what you're after, and how much you're willing to pay. The Steam Deck is a much more affordable proposition, with the base 64GB eMMC model running $399, the mid-tier 256GB NVMe SSD model costing $529, and the top 512GB NVMe SSD version priced at $649. But the expected availability for newly placed reservations is listed as a vague "after Q2 2022," which could be any time after June. Maybe it ships in August, maybe September, or maybe not even until next year.
In contrast, Ayaneo states in an FAQ on the crowdfunded site that both the Next and Next Pro will begin shipping by mid-April, sent via DHL Express and "other couriers" for delivers to where DHL doesn't service. So barring any shipping snags, the Next and Next Pro should arrive on doorsteps sooner than newly placed Steam Deck orders.
Let's talk pricing, which we suspect will be a deal killer for many people. The cheapest option is $1,335 for the Next and $1,535 for the Next Pro. There was an early bird discount that brought the base model down to $1,285 and the Next Pro to $1,485, but those are no longer available.
The Next is sleeker and more powerful than Ayaneo's previous generation handheld, which was built around a Ryzen 5 4500U "Renoir" APU. Ayaneo tapped AMD's Zen 3 architecture for its Next handhelds, which pair a Ryzen 7 5825U with 1TB or 2TB of storage, depending on the config. That's an 8-core/16-thread CPU with a 2GHz base clock, 4.5GHz max boost clock, and 16MB of L3 cache.
For graphics, the APU leans on AMD's Radeon RX Vega architecture with eight compute units clocked at up to 2GHz. There was some initial hope that Ayaneo would instead roll with AMD's Ryzen 6000 series "Rembrandt" APUs with RDNA 2 graphics, but that will perhaps have to wait for the next generation followup (assuming there is one).
Other specs include 16GB (Next) or 32GB (Next Pro) of LPDDR4x RAM, 7-inch IPS screen with a 1280x800 resolution, two full-function USB-C ports, a DisplayPort 1.4 output (4K at 60fps), a 3.5mm jack, and a 47Wh battery.
It looks like a capable handheld, though with the Steam Deck being cheaper and rocking more powerful graphics, the Next and Next Pro faces stiffer competition than the previous generation model did. There's also the inherent risk that comes with crowdfunding projects. If you're interested, though, you can preorder a Next/Next Pro on Indiegogo. Those who do will also receive a "Titan" storage bag and tempered film screen protector.