The Ayaneo 2 is one of the most fascinating and powerful pieces of tech I’ve ever reviewed. Ayaneo isn’t a new company, but for many readers, this might be the first time they’ve seen the company’s work.
Most people think of the Steam Deck for portable gaming devices these days. It’s the most widely advertised, thanks to being Valve’s device, but it’s not the only option on the market. The Ayaneo 2 is a more powerful device compared to what the Steam Deck can output. However, it’s more expensive than Valve’s device.
The Ayaneo 2 caters to a variety of users. Some people can’t get a Steam Deck in their region or want to spend a bit more to get a powerful, flexible, portable PC gaming experience. While it’s not a cheap piece of hardware, it delivers in every aspect.
What is the Ayaneo 2?
The Ayaneo 2 is a portable Windows 11 device, and it packs an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U CPU and AMD Radeon 680M GPU. With 16 GB on board and 1 TB SSD, you can quickly put your favorite games on this device and play them on the go. My package also came with an optional dock, which only increases what the Ayaneo handheld can do.
The dock adds an HDMI port, cat5 cable port, Thunderbolt, and more. You can connect the Ayaneo 2 to your TV with a Bluetooth keyboard/controller or sit it on your desk and use it to the game while mounted in the dock while charging the system.
The D-pad is fantastic on this device as well. It feels excellent to navigate with and is solid in most fighting games I played. The Gulikit undriftable sticks are also a sound choice for the Ayaneo 2. It has a large pair of bumper/triggers on the top, two USB-C ports, and a fingerprint sensor/power button.
It also has a USB-C slot on the bottom, a MicroSD slot, and a headphone jack. It’s easy to run the plug to the device while you’re lounging around and playing Hades on it without disrupting your gameplay.
I reviewed a sleek, white Ayaneo 2 with a bezel-less 8.4-inch IPS display. It looked gorgeous, and every game I played was crystal-clear. However, it’s not exactly a cheap product. This product retails for $1099 on IndieGoGo, but you can do much with it.
Ayaneo 2 specs
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
- GPU: AMD Radeon 680M
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
- Panel: 8.4-inch IPS
When you set up the Ayaneo 2, it comes pre-installed with Windows 11, and it’s straightforward to get set up to play on. It also has the AyaSpace app, which serves several functions. You can load games from it and adjust some settings on the device – including the RGB lighting around the sticks.
One of the few problems I had with the device is that it resets to Chinese text virtually anytime you update the AyaSpace software. It’s easy enough to fix, and this could have been updated by the time the device was sold to the general public.
You can also press the AyaButton, which brings up a series of options to adjust. You can also adjust the power settings in this area. There are some defaults here to choose from, with Game (12W), Balance (8W), PowerSaving (5W), and Pro Mode (5W). So the Ayaneo 2 is an easily accessible device.
Performance and battery Life
I benchmarked the Ayaneo 2 across several devices, and the numbers did not disappoint. While the device has a strong GPU in the AMD Radeon 680M, the handheld shines in games requiring CPU performance. In particular, this would be a terrific emulation system.
As a part of this review, I tested a few emulators, ranging from the SNES to PS2-era games, and they played brilliantly. While I did not test for more modern emulators, after doing some research, I found that some modern consoles can run well enough on this hardware.
I ran the Benchmark software on a few different settings, particularly 3D Mark. In a benchmark test this morning on Gaming Settings, I received a GPU rating of 1,525 and a CPU rating of 5,134.
Depending on the power settings, your battery life will also vary. I averaged about 2 hours of life, even on more graphically intensive games. However, thanks to the dock, I could prop it up, connect a controller, and play that way, so the dock charged. If I wasn’t at my desk, I would often do this.
Gaming performance was varied but satisfying
Of course, I had to play a ton of games on the Ayaneo 2! I downloaded Witcher 3, Yakuza 7, Modern Warfare 2, Need for Speed Unbound, and DragonBall FighterZ. These were far from the only games I played.
At first, everything I played ran terribly. No matter what I did, it would just run slow and miserable. This was when I realized that the Ayaneo 2 wasn’t set at the proper resolution.
The recommended resolution was 1920×1200, so everything ran perfectly when I switched. I had to lower the resolution a bit more for Yakuza 7, which made the game playable.
The Witcher 3 played smoothly, offering little to no issues. Combat was fluid, and riding a horse was an enjoyable experience. The game that took the most work to get working was Yakuza: Like a Dragon. I had to reduce the settings closer to medium. That doesn’t mean the game was ugly, though. It still looked gorgeous on the Ayaneo 2.
DragonBall FighterZ was the next game I put effort into. I would go into the training mode with a few teams and push out as many particle effects as possible – no lag whatsoever. This led me to play a few fighting games, but sadly, Street Fighter V felt so slow and laggy. It was like swimming underwater.
I did mess around with some Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s Warzone as well, which, as long as I was on decent internet, played spectacularly. It didn’t make me any good at Warzone, but that’s not what we’re here to judge. Another recent title I experimented with was Need for Speed Unbound.
While I was dreadful at driving, especially when I tried recording it with one hand, it was a smooth, typically fast-loading experience. The first load is always dreadful, but it would be fine for the rest of my gameplay experience.
Naturally, as an MMO player, I also had to test MMOs on the Ayaneo 2. Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft play on this with a controller. World of Warcraft has controller support now. It was tedious to bind the buttons how I wanted them, but it’s possible. I wouldn’t play in the current raid or anything, but if you want to level grind on an easy class (EG: Rogue), it’s no issue.
Final Fantasy XIV was another beast. It wouldn’t register the built-in sticks and buttons for controller gameplay. I could set up a keyboard via the dock or connect a controller, but I wouldn’t want to play MMOs on the go in that fashion anyway. It worked, though, and I didn’t feel any express lag, except in the most intense moments.
If you’re willing to front the 1,000 dollar price tag and are looking for a portable PC, or an exceptional portable gaming experience, this is the device for you. Having a built-in 1 TB SSD sold it for me.
Not getting a separate microSD was nice, but I plan on getting one anyway. You can connect this to a GPU enclosure if you desire more power.
The build and design of Ayaneo 2 is incredibly high quality and has a decent battery life. The settings take some work to get used to, but I quickly fell in love with the Ayaneo device.
It’s powerful, looks gorgeous, and plays virtually every game I tested great. This is, at its core, a Windows 11 machine designed to look like a portable gaming console. This device matches the performance of gaming on a PC.
Product: Ayaneo 2
Release Date: December 2022
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
GPU: AMD Radeon 680M
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Panel: 8.4-inch IPS
OS: Windows 11, 64-bit
Dimensions: 264.6 x 105.5 x215mm
Weight: 1.5 lbs (680g)