Ayaneo’s next gaming PC features Steam Deck touchpads and a discrete GPU

Few companies go that hard Handheld Gaming PC Market as Ayaneo, which has now revealed its seventh wearable of the year. The Ayaneo Next 2 is said to be the first of its kind to sport a discrete graphics card under the hood, rather than relying on the integrated GPU in an APU. You might also notice a familiar-looking Steam Deck-inspired set of trackpads.

Under the hood we can expect a few combinations, like an Intel Alder Lake processor paired with an Arc GPU or an AMD Ryzen gaming CPU alongside a Radeon 6000 graphics card. However, we don’t yet know which models it will contain. All we know is that the graphics card will be somehow removable, which is great for repairability, and upgradeable should you find another that fits.

There are some design changes that we can see during the reveal. The analog sticks now have backlighting, which could come in handy when playing in the dark. You can see an RGB strip on the back, but this will no doubt eat into your precious battery life. And there’s also a wheel attached to the bottom right grip that probably defaults to adjusting Windows volume, but hopefully can be rebound.

Since it’s billed as a Windows handheld, it’s most likely running the latest Microsoft. However, the inclusion of trackpads seems like Ayaneo is preparing the handheld for Valve’s SteamOS and its verified list of Steam Deck games, so you may have the option of dropping Windows 11 after release.

An Ayaneo Next 2 with blue light stands on top of another lying with orange light

Ayaneo Next 2 affects

It’s hard to tell by looking at a two-dimensional image, but the device looks significantly larger than its predecessors. The touchpads are a welcome addition, having performed so well in our Steam Deck review, but they’re positioned quite low on the device. We won’t know how comfortable it’ll be until we get our hands on one, but thumbs stretch inward rather than down ergonomically.

A discrete GPU means it no longer shares memory with the CPU, thereby consuming more power. Fingers crossed the larger size lends itself to a larger battery, otherwise it might not be a fantastic companion on your travels.

Another concern is cost. The original Ayaneo Next has twice the CPU cores of the Steam Deck, but you can only get your hands on one if you’re willing to pay triple the cost. It’s worth noting that this is the top premium edition in its entire portfolio and there will be a budget model for less than $300. Still, here’s an enthusiast MSRP that’s likely to top the $1,000 mark.

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And finally, we are gradually losing the number of products that Ayaneo planned. It’s done a fantastic job of establishing itself as a leader when the market emerges, but its need to be the first to do something (as the Ayaneo Air is the first wearable OLED device) makes us wonder if it will will stumble. Does it have the bandwidth and infrastructure to sustain such rapid growth and support its customers? Only time can tell.

For now, the release date of Ayaneo Next 2 is scheduled for Q4 2022 and we should learn more ahead of time.