ayaneo 2s review 1 2

“The Ayaneo 2S’ spectacular energy is not sufficient to justify its excessive price ticket and hacked collectively options.”


  • Excessive-quality construct
  • Glorious display
  • Greatest at school efficiency


  • Poor audio system
  • Brief battery life
  • Sloppy customized instruments
  • Uncompetitive pricing

The Ayaneo 2S exhibits simply how a lot our expectations for tech can change in only a 12 months. When the Steam Deck launched final February, it felt like a complete revelation. The transportable PC was a recreation changer in essentially the most literal use of the time period, letting gamers take pleasure in high-end PC video games on the go. The system had its justifiable share of issues, from UI bugs to poor battery life, however its practically uncontested place out there earned Valve a whole lot of flexibility.

The transportable PC market has progressed quickly since then. We have already got a “Steam Deck killer” within the type of the Asus ROG Ally and numerous third-party firms are placing out their very own opponents with incremental energy features. The Ayaneo 2S finds itself in that deluge of tech, however the context of its launch utterly adjustments what’s anticipated of it. With the ability to play video games on the go isn’t sufficient anymore. There’s a stage of polish that’s now anticipated primarily based on the bar the Steam Deck has set — and the Ayaneo 2S simply isn’t tall sufficient to experience anymore.

The Ayaneo 2S has loads going for it because of robust specs, a high-quality design, and a display that places the Steam Deck to disgrace. Sadly, it’s lacking a whole lot of normal quality-of-life issues that we’ve already come to count on from a tool like this in simply over a 12 months. With a excessive value level that’s far over superior opponents, it’s extremely troublesome to think about a situation the place it’s a most well-liked transportable PC choice.

Design and luxury

Although chances are you’ll not know the title Ayaneo, the younger firm isn’t any stranger to the transportable PC tech market. In truth, it’s principally an elder. It put out a number of Steam Deck-like devices previously three years, with every one progressively enhancing on the final. It’s just a little overwhelming and definitely hurts its personal worth proposition because it all the time appears like there’s a greater model of any given gadget proper across the nook, however the upside is that Ayaneo is aware of tips on how to make a handheld at this level.

An Ayaneo 2S runs Baldur's Gate 3.
Giovanni Colantonio / Digital Traits

That’s mirrored within the system’s high-quality design, which is created from easy and glossy black (or white) plastic. It’s a a lot smoother and cleaner-looking system than the Steam Deck, actually retaining the look of a premium product with out being too flashy — save for some RGB lights underneath its joysticks. It’s additionally a smaller system. The hand-held is 10.4 by 4.1 by 0.8 inches, which does make it extra compact than a Steam Deck. Although it’s virtually as heavy as one too (667 grams), which makes it really feel surprisingly dense within the palms. It might probably really feel a bit like holding a brick quite than an ergonomic piece of tech.

That mentioned, it’s no less than snug to carry. The sleek plastic feels good on the palms and there’s some slight curvature occurring on the again that lets my fingers relaxation naturally. There are not any textured grips to talk of, which may generally make me fear it’s going to slip out of my palms, however that’s extra me getting used to the Steam Deck’s design.

Ayaneo packed loads in right here to ensure it may stand out amongst a lot larger {hardware} producers.

Button high quality is a spotlight right here too. Whereas it doesn’t characteristic the Steam Deck’s trackpads (a notable omission that I’ll circle again to), I’ve few complaints about the usual controller format right here. Buttons are reactive with out feeling too clicky, each joysticks use a sturdy design meant to chop down on drift, and two further buttons subsequent to the highest bumpers give me just a little additional customization to play with. That’s all rounded out by menu buttons on each side, with those on the proper giving fast entry to Ayaneo’s customized interface. None of that is groundbreaking, nevertheless it’s a system that feels prefer it’s constructed to face as much as put on and tear — which is sweet contemplating that the 2S doesn’t include a case.

There are a whole lot of additional options packed in too. Most usefully, the 2S comes outfitted with three USB4 Sort-C ports and a useful microSD slot. It has two six-axis gyroscopes for motion-controlled gaming, a fingerprint unlocking energy button, a noise-canceling twin microphone, and a few key customization choices for joystick useless zones, gyroscopic controls, and extra. Ayaneo packed loads in right here to ensure it may stand out amongst a lot larger {hardware} producers and that does go a good distance.

Show and sound

Although I really like my Steam Deck, I do have one big downside with it: its horrible display. Even when it was alone on the prime, I may by no means recover from how washed-out video games look on it subsequent to my Nintendo Switch OLED. With the Ayaneo 2S, its shortcomings are much more obvious. That’s as a result of Ayaneo’s newest system has a transparent, vibrant display that does each recreation I’ve performed on it up to now justice.

The 7-inch bezel-less IPS display is the system’s ace within the gap, offering gamers with a 1920 x 1200 decision that places the Steam Deck’s 720p display to disgrace. Colours particularly come out on it, one thing that was obvious as I performed Baldur’s Gate 3 on it. The pink and purple landscapes featured in its earliest hours particularly stood out, letting me soak in its colourful artwork design. On the opposite finish of the spectrum, a 1200:1 distinction ratio made The Banished Vault’s blacks even deeper, letting me additional sink into its outer house eeriness. For that cause alone, there’s an opportunity I would truly want utilizing my 2S over my Steam Deck infrequently.

An Ayaneo 2S sits on a pink table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

There’s a caveat to all this, although. The display’s refresh fee is locked to 60Hz with no solution to modify it. That’s not a deal breaker for me personally, as I don’t want way more from a small display, however those that like tinkering with their shows may be let down by the shortage of flexibility.

The one space I’m just a little extra underwhelmed by is its audio system. Whereas the sound high quality is completely high quality, the utmost quantity is pretty low. I’ve had moments enjoying on my sofa the place I’ve needed to escape some earbuds simply to listen to dialogue extra clearly — and I discovered some issues there too. I presently can’t get wired headphones to work on my gadget when plugged in. I’m unclear if that’s only a bug with my gadget or a wider concern, however the truth that I’m even second-guessing that speaks to my requirements for the gadget. Thankfully, its Bluetooth 5.2 support means I can join a wi-fi headset with ease.

Efficiency and battery

The true draw of the Ayaneo 2S is its superior efficiency over its prime rivals and it delivers the place it counts — although not with out some main concessions. By way of energy, the 2S packs an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U and a Radeon 780M. That’s an extremely spectacular pairing for a tool like this in the mean time and the outcomes communicate for themselves. The truth that I’m in a position to run an unlimited, brand-new recreation like Baldur’s Gate 3 speaks to that energy. Different heavy hitters like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered look implausible on the gadget earlier than tweaking settings, sustaining a formidable quantity of element.

A graph compares game performance on the Ayaneo 2S.
Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

Our efficiency checks made it clear that the 2S is a big soar over the Steam Deck. Operating on its balanced setting in 720p, PS5 shooter Returnal hits 35 frames per second on the 2S vs. the Steam Deck’s 24 (each in low settings). When favoring efficiency in settings, Horizon Zero Daybreak truly passes the 60fps mark, placing it forward of the Steam Deck, which caps out nearer to 50.

A graph compares Ayaneo 2S and Steam Deck performance.
Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

The 2S comes out on prime in a battle towards the newer Asus ROG Ally too, although it’s just a little nearer. One other 1080p balanced check confirmed the 2S hitting a median of 34 fps in Dying Light 2: Stay Human, a notable enhance over the Ally’s 26 fps. The ROG Ally packs AMD’s Ryzen Z1 Excessive, which principally a rebranded model of the {hardware} contained in the 2S. It ought to, on paper, match the Ayaneo gadget. Asus has been tweaking the efficiency of the ROG Ally continually since launch, so it might get to the extent of the 2S finally. For now, it takes a transparent backseat, maybe because of the reality the ROG Ally doesn’t get practically as sizzling because the 2S.

A graph compares the Ayaneo 2S with the Asus ROG Ally.
Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

Does that every one sound too good to be true? It isn’t, however there are two vital catches. For one, the 2S can begin to really feel like a baked potato after an hour of play. Ayaneo’s web site makes an enormous deal of the 2S’ “3+1 warmth dissipation construction” and its high-pressure turbo cooling fan, however these options don’t do sufficient to cease the system from reaching some at occasions regarding temperatures.

The largest caveat is its low battery life. The system’s 50.25Wh battery drains quick when enjoying the sorts of higher-end video games that make the 2S interesting. When operating my system in balanced mode, I’m fortunate to get 90 minutes out of Baldur’s Gate 3 on medium graphics settings. With fewer choices to optimize efficiency than a Steam Deck (there’s an 11W Energy Saving mode that may be toggled on shortly), I don’t have as a lot flexibility to squeeze extra juice out of it. It’s a tool I’m extra more likely to play at house whereas plugged in than one thing I’d tackle the go.

Nonetheless, there’s no denying that the ability on show here’s a feat within the present transportable panorama. When you’re merely in search of essentially the most succesful handheld out proper now and are prepared to pay prime greenback for an incremental enhance, Ayaneo is the best way to go.

Customized interface

Up to now, the whole lot I’ve mentioned checks off a whole lot of bins even with vital trade-offs. Excessive-quality construct? An important display? Extra energy than a Steam Deck? Downsides like brief battery life appear to counterbalance the gadget and make it a aggressive choice within the transportable PC market. The place it actually loses its place, although, is in its particulars — or its lack of them, extra precisely.

Merely put, the Ayaneo 2S is only a Home windows OS slapped right into a handheld. Once you boot it up, you’re simply powering up a laptop computer that you just management with a touchscreen and gamepad. That’s by no means a really intuitive design for a tool like this, and a scarcity of trackpads makes navigating all of the extra irritating. The touchscreen is responsive sufficient and I haven’t encountered as many unpredictable issues as I nonetheless do with the Steam Deck, however I’m nonetheless usually fiddling to click on small home windows with my fingers.

The Ayaspace app is downright ineffective outdoors of some very fundamental customization choices.

That’s one space the place I’m reminded of why the Steam Deck is such a phenomenon. It’s constructed with its small display in thoughts, as SteamOS is a wonderful handheld interface that’s simple to fiddle round with. It’s telling that the best manner to make use of the gadget is by enabling Steam’s Massive Image Mode. And that’s particularly preferable to utilizing the Ayaneo customized interface included on the gadget, which is — to be blunt — downright horrible.

When opening the Ayaspace app, you’re dropped at a display that shows not too long ago performed video games and a fast assistant menu for some on-the-fly tweaking. After a little bit of fiddling, it instantly grew to become clear that the app hasn’t been optimized a lot for English customers. Anytime I click on on a recreation to see its profile, I get a field that inexplicably says “Sport time: Took a look.” Different menus haven’t been translated in any respect. After I soar into the Assistant tab, I’m handled to a central widget that hasn’t been localized to English. Different menus characteristic phrases with no spacing between them and letters wrapping awkwardly wrapping onto a second line. It immediately appears like I’m utilizing a bootleg gadget quite than a high-end one.

The Ayaspace app appears on screen on a Ayaneo 2S.
Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

The interface itself doesn’t fare significantly better relating to performance. After I soar right into a recreation profile, I’ve the choice so as to add customized configurations. That choice is buggy to the purpose that I can’t truly determine the way it’s meant to work. Typically I click on the button so as to add a brand new configuration and nothing occurs. Different occasions I open it, just for the interface to freeze up. At one level, I opened the choice and the window bugged out, shrinking the whole app. I needed to shut out of it to reset it again to its precise dimension. And once I lastly did get into that menu, I couldn’t truly do something in it. Frankly, the Ayaspace app is downright ineffective outdoors of some very fundamental customization choices.

I’d say that “you get what you pay for” right here, however that’s precisely the issue: the Ayaneo 2S isn’t low cost. The 512GB mannequin with 32GB of RAM will price you a whopping $1,300, a jaw-dropping quantity subsequent to the comparable Asus ROG Ally’s $700 value (and for its top-tier mannequin, too). You’d be paying practically double the worth for an incremental energy enhance on a system that’s more likely to be surpassed in mere months — probably by the ever-improving Ayaneo itself. On prime of that, you’re getting a system pretty devoid of customization options and an totally unusable UI. You’re basically simply shopping for an expensive solution to run Home windows 11 on a gaming handheld.

Had the Ayaneo 2S launched earlier than the Steam Deck, I’m certain it could have wowed me. I’d possible write off its points as early tech quirks as I did with Valve’s system. That flexibility is all however gone in 2023 when there are merely cheaper, cleaner gadgets available on the market. Ayaneo has the ability it must make an excellent handheld gadget. It’s simply sorely missing panache.

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