The Nintendo Switch has proven extremely popular with gamers in large part because it’s portable. It’s a bit underpowered compared with the other game consoles, though. A Chinese startup aims to offer a Switch-style device with a lot more power and access to the multitude of games on Windows. The Aya Neo went on sale in China last year, and now the company has opened pre-orders to the entire world. This Ryzen-powered mini-computer won’t come cheap, though.
At the heart of the Neo is an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U 7nm APU. This six-core processor runs at 2.3 GHz with boost clocks as high as 4.0 GHz. It also has a healthy 16GB of DDR4 RAM and an M.2 SSD for storage. The 7-inch LCD is a bit larger than the switch, but the resolution is in the same ballpark at 1280 x 800 (the Switch is 720p). To keep the Neo running, there are three 4100 mAh li-ion cells that charge at 65W via the USB-C port. The company claims up to six hours of runtime, but that no-doubt includes only light usage. A demanding game will kill the battery faster.
These specs would get the job done in a laptop, but the Neo is a gaming device first and foremost. It’s shaped like a Switch but has much more girth to accommodate all the PC hardware. There’s even a fan inside to keep the processor cool. The Neo tips the scales at about 1.4 pounds, which probably makes it rather tiring to hold for long periods. Still, this device has enough power to play some of today’s most popular PC games in a nominally portable form factor.
Aya offers a few examples of the kind of performance you can expect. It’s not going to blow you away with its speed, but keep in mind this Windows computer will fit in your (very large) pocket. GTA V can run at up to 50fps, and Red Dead Redemption 2 can chug along at 30fps. The Witcher 3 runs at up to 45fps. If you’re more of a shooter fan, Horizon Zero Dawn manages 40fps on the Neo. Even the famously clunky Cyberpunk 2077 works, albeit only at 30fps on low settings.
Aya is running worldwide pre-orders on Indigogo, and the design has been improved since Chinese sales started. Buyers should notice refined haptics, better resolution scaling, and more. However, this is still a crowdfunding venture, and the hardware doesn’t ship until May. As of now, the 1TB versions are all that’s left. They start at $870, which is 10 percent off the final price.
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