In the absence of offers discover
Just a few months ago, the Chinese manufacturer Ayaneo was still living a relatively quiet life in the peaceful market for laptops in the form of gaming consoles. Then came Valve’s Steam Deck. And it’s an understatement to say that it made everything tremble thanks to its unsurpassed performance-price ratio – and despite many minor criticisms leveled elsewhere. It took more to deter Ayaneo, which has just unveiled Air, a new line of machines that rank at the “entry level” in its catalog.
There is no doubt that Ayaneo Air is designed in full awareness of this competition from Steam Deck, as the manufacturer’s communication places great emphasis on its own characteristics. The first is its lightness: weighing between 398 g and 450 g depending on the chosen configuration, the machine swims in the same water as a Nintendo Switch (420 g for the Oled model with its joy-cons fitted) and well below 670 g of Deck.
This is determined at the expense of the size of the screen, 5.5 inches diagonal “only”. The latter, however, wants to seduce the crowds thanks to the use of Oled technology and its generous definition of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The manufacturer does not specify whether it is a PenTile or RGB structure panel. We put our hopes in this second option, as far as a PenTile structure with 404 dots per second. empty would result a priori into a very noticeable parasitic grain in the display. A small oddity should be noted in the technical sheet: the manufacturer thinks it is good to boast a color temperature of … 8500 K, that is, a good distance from the 6500 K standardized by the BT.709 and BT standards. .2020 and therefore indicates a significant blue drift. All that remains is to hope that the machine will also offer a more neutral display mode.
Three face values and a host of possible configurations
Specifically, the Ayaneo Air comes in a variety of configurations organized into three major variants. The “standard” Air model is surrounded by entry-level Air Youth and a premium Air Pro version. The youth and standard models are built around an AMD Ryzen 5 5560U APU with six Zen 3 CPU cores (12 logical cores) at a nominal frequency of 2.3 GHz and six Vega 8 graphics units at 1.6 GHz. The Pro model is offered either with this same 5560U or with a Ryzen 7 5825U – which goes to eight CPU cores at 2 GHz and eight graphics devices at 2 GHz. The higher energy consumption of this chip is the reason why the Air Pro is slightly more bulky than its congeners: its thickness is 21.6 mm in the middle of the machine, against 17 mm for Air and Air Youth. The difference does not really affect the machine’s portability, as it chooses to offer thick ergonomic handles on the edges.
It should also be noted that Air Youth is significantly limited compared to its congeners when it comes to RAM. Not only does it have 8 GB of LPDDR4x instead of 16 GB, but it also has to run at 3200 MHz instead of 4266 MHz – which should significantly limit the computing power that can be extracted from the CPU.
Performance that should stay a little short compared to Steam Deck
All of these characters, it must be said, are not particularly exciting on paper, and the performance is likely to appear very pale compared to those from Steam Deck. If the CPU part of the equation were to hold up quite well, the same is not the case on the GPU side. The flaw is the use of the aging Vega 8 architecture, whose energy efficiency is largely surpassed by the RDNA2 architecture used by the “custom” chip on Steam Deck (as well as by PS5, Xbox Series X / S and AMD RX 6000 graphics card).
Specifically, the example of the Ayaneo Next, already equipped with the Ryzen 7 5825U and marketed since February last year, gives us an idea of what to expect. The latter only produces in-game performance that is roughly equivalent to Steam Deck at best, provided you set its rated TDP to a maximum of 25W compared to 15W for Deck’s Van Gogh APU. The same 15W is also the maximum allowed of the standard and youth variants of the Aya Neo Air, while the Pro goes up to 18W. Either way, it should result in frame rates well below the bar, located by Valve.
Finally, on the software side, Air retains what some would consider a critical advantage over Valve’s approach: The machine comes standard with Windows as the operating system, ensuring perfect software compatibility with virtually all PC games and launchers currently in use. circulation. Superimposed on it is an Ayaneo OS overlay that promises the user access to all their games and all system settings via an interface tailored to the machine without having to go through the office.
The first wave of a new generation of Ayaneo machines
The first shipments were to take place in September 2022 following a “pre-order” phase via a participatory participation campaign set up on the Indiegogo platform. Prices range from $ 549 for Air Youth all the way up to as much as $ 1,399 for the most complete Air Pro configuration (Ryzen 7-chip, 2TB of storage).
In parallel, Ayaneo (decidedly talkative) also announced the existence of a relatively mysterious Air Plus, which we know will be equipped with a 6-inch 1080p LCD screen and an AMD Mendocino APU. The latter is this time from the same family as the Van Gogh APU, and therefore uses RDNA2 graphics devices … whose number according to the latest rumors would only be two instead of the eight in Steam Deck. Suffice it to say that we should not expect miracles in recent AAA games. But that would only be in line with the machine’s very affordable pricing, starting at $ 289. A few days earlier, at the other end of the spectrum, the manufacturer also vaguely announced Ayaneo2, which it presents as the very first machine equipped with the next generation AMD Ryzen 7 6800U chip (eight CPU cores Zen3 +, 12 RDNA2 graphics devices) with an entry price at $ 1300. For these two models, no launch date has been announced, otherwise a very vague one “the end of 2022”.
In the absence of offers discover