AYANEO Pocket S Packs Qualcomm Snapdragon G3x Android Gaming Firepower
AYANEO makes some premium AMD-based handheld gaming devices that have been well-received by mobile gamers. The Air 2 offered superior performance and a nicer display compared to the Steam Deck, for example, nearly a year before ASUS launched the ROG Ally. The company has typically stayed away from Android gaming handhelds, but that's all about to change. Thanks to Qualcomm's new Snapdragon G series, AYANEO is set to produce the most powerful Android handheld game console ever — the Pocket S.
Android game consoles have existed for a long while now, but the AYANEO Pocket S will be the first retail handheld with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon G3x Gen 2. The Razer Edge launched with the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 last October, and the recently-launched Pimax Portal runs on the same Snapdragon XR2 as the Meta Quest 2. The Pocket S should have a leg up on those two in both performance and battery life. The company's own Pocket Air uses a MediaTek Dimensity A1200, which is a significant step down in terms of GPU performance. As we learned when Qualcomm launched its Snapdragon G series Gen 2 yesterday, the new flagship promises nearly 50% better performance-per-watt and an enormous boost in GPU power compared to the G3x Gen 1.
For the most part, Android handheld game devices have two main purposes: streaming and gaming. AYANEO's announcement definitely leans on the latter, as the company is all about packing as much performance as it can into its devices. The Pocket S has what AYANEO calls "x86-level heat dissipation capabilities", which we're taking as code for "active cooling," which the Air 2 uses to provide as much performance as possible. We can see a large vent on the rear of the device, and our bet is that the fan is tucked away underneath.
The company also makes mention of "cross-platform AAA gaming", and we're sure that's an indicator that the Pocket S is compatible with NVIDIA's GeForce NOW and Microsoft's xCloud services. Given that it runs Android, the Pocket S can also probably make use of Sony's Remote Play application, allowing it to serve similarly to the just-announced PlayStation Portal.
The industrial design and control layout are pretty typical for an AYANEO device. It has offset dual analog sticks and button layout that matches an Xbox controller, just like the rest of its own devices. There are also four shoulder buttons, but AYANEO doesn't say if L2 and R2 are digital or analog. The left side houses a D-pad for digital directions and what appear to be dedicated Android function buttons. All of these are carried over from the Pocket Air, a device which itself has not yet begun shipping.
AYANEO is being very tight lipped about the rest of the specs, but we can potentially use the company's other devices as a guide. The Pocket Air has a 5.5" 1080p OLED display, Hall-effect joysticks, and a 7300-mAh battery. We would expect all of those things to carry over to the Pocket S at a minimum, but it'd be a darned shame if it launched without a 120 Hz display. We've got time to salivate and speculate, as AYANEO expects to ship the Pocket S in December.