While the Switch is selling fast, many believe the hardware needs a power boost – which is why rival handhelds like Valve’s Steam Deck have garnered so much attention. Although these laptops cost more than Nintendo’s machine, they offer some impressive tech specs – and that has, unsurprisingly, led some people to wonder what a Switch successor is. could look like.
Chinese company Aya Neo has released other Windows-based laptops before, but its latest effort is notable for being a lot smaller than other products of this type; in fact, it’s about the same size as the Switch Lite. Our sister site Additional delays got hands-on with the device – which is currently making the rounds of the crowdfunding circuit — and came away suitably impressed, with a few caveats.
On the plus side, the design is by far the best from Aya Neo so far, with fancy LED lights and superb build quality. The analog inputs are based on ‘Hall Effect’ sensors, meaning there are no moving parts inside to wear out – so in theory controller drift won’t occur. The OLED panel is also fantastic, although Time Extension notes that its 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution is rather wasted as you’ll need to play all but the least demanding games at 720p to avoid draining the battery too quickly.
Alas, endurance is the Aya Neo Air’s biggest weakness; if you pay close attention to the games you play, then you could potentially get somewhere close to three hours on a single charge, but most of the time you’ll be rushing to the wall outlet after just over an hour of play. This illustrates one of the main sticking points of the game laptop right now; it’s hard to make a portable console more powerful than the Switch, as battery life will suffer. The Steam Deck also has the same problem, to a much lesser extent than the Aya Neo Air. Nintendo’s handheld might be less powerful than its fancy rivals, but it offers a good balance of power and battery life thanks to its mobile-focused Tegra chipset.
So, is the Aya Neo Air a rival to the Switch? Maybe not, especially with its hefty price tag of around £500/$600, but if you’re looking for a Steam Deck-style device but want something more portable (with an OLED panel to boot ), then it might be worth a look.