AYA-NEO puts a different spin on the PC gaming handheld

By now, the idea of a handheld Windows computer is no longer novel but their implementations are still rare. The earliest models, mostly from GPD, had to make do with either less powerful Intel Atoms or, later on, beefier Intel Cores that still weren't made for gaming. It was only with the 11th gen Intel processors with Iris Xe graphics that PC gaming handhelds may have started getting a chance but the AYA-NEO is taking a different route towards that portable gaming PC goal.

The AYA-NEO takes after the Nintendo Switch, or rather the Nintendo Switch Lite with its permanently attached controllers flanking the screen. This was the same design adopted by the GPD WIN 3 which just finished its own crowdfunding run. The key difference in design is that the WIN 3 used a sliding mechanism to reveal a capacitive keyboard which, based on early reviews, was more of a liability than a winning feature, pun intended.

The differences run deep, however, and the AYA-NEO has one other defining trait. It runs on an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U which, among other things, comes with a Radeon mobile graphics processor. Naturally, the AYA-NEO boasts of the ability to run games that wouldn't otherwise run on Intel-only silicon. that includes the infamous Cyberpunk 2077, though only at 30 fps.

The AYA-NEO also has a larger 7-inch screen but with a 1280x800 resolution only. In addition to your usual game controller buttons, it also has shortcuts for some keyboard combos and keys needed for some PC games. With gyro and accelerometer sensors, the entire handheld can also be used to control games or maybe rotate the display for other games and apps.

At around $790 for the base 512GB model on Indiegogo, the AYA-NEO is a rather hefty investment. The campaign is also offering add-ons like a dock that will turn the gaming PC into a true desktop with the right peripherals. The campaign zipped past its funding goals with 28 days to spare but, as with any crowdfunded product, it will take faith and patience before the final item is delivered to your doorstep.