One year ago at CES 2020 in Las Vegas, Alienware made waves with a modular gaming PC that acted as a Nintendo Switch, with a pair of game controllers flanking a powerful Windows 10 tablet. Unfortunately, Alienware’s UFO was just a concept, similar to Lenovo’s idea this year – but two companies are now picking up the torch with a few crowdfunded gadgets you might see in your lifetime. They look seriously legitimate.
The 5.5-inch GPD Win 3 and 7-inch Aya Neo do not run in the same way; while Ava tries to match Nintendo’s console in shape, size and with strict game controls on board, GPD sticks to its computer sweetener with a slider that displays a small backlit keyboard. There̵
What’s the same thing: both are really trying to deliver a powerful tablet surrounded by joysticks and buttons for under $ 1000 each. With Intel’s latest Tiger Lake chips and AMD’s Ryzen 4500U, they have some of the latest and greatest integrated graphics you can buy, and they claim pretty decent performance as a result – Cyberpunk 2077 can reportedly hit 30 frames per second on Aya Neo’s 1280×800 resolution at low settings, and GPD offers a long list of examples of recent, demanding games that you can lure well over 50 frames per second with its Intel Xe graphics.
As you can see in the spec comparison sheet I whipped up below, each has 16GB of DDR4 memory, a fast NVMe solid state drive, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, a pair of stereo speakers, a real headphone jack and several USB ports. Not bad!
GPD Win 3 vs. Aya Neo specifications
|Spec||GPD Win 3||Aya Neo|
|Spec||GPD Win 3||Aya Neo|
|Screen||5.5-inch 1280x720p IPS||7-inch 1280x800p IPS|
|Brightness||400 nit||500 nit|
|processor||15-28W Intel i7-1165G7 or i5-1135G7 (4C8T)||10-25W AMD Ryzen 4500U (6C6T)|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe (96EU or 80EU)||AMD Vega 6|
|RAM||16 GB LPDDR4x 4266||16 GB LPDDR4x 4266|
|Storage||1 TB NVMe SSD||512 GB NVMe SSD|
|Battery offer||2-3 hours heavy, up 11 hours light||up to 6 hours|
|Cooling||Two heating pipes, PWM fan||Two heating pipes, fan|
|Porter||1x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), USB-A, 3.5 mm||3x USB-C, 3.5 mm|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Dimensions||7.6 x 3.6 inches (192 x 92 mm)||10 x 4.1 inches (255 x 106 mm)|
|Thickness||1.06 inches (27 mm)||0.79 inch (20 mm)|
|Weight||1.2 kg (0.56 kg)||0.65 kg|
|Docking station||Optional, 3x USB 3.2, 1x USB-C, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x GbE||N|
|OS||Windows 10 Home||Windows 10|
|Early price||$ 799||$ 699|
|Final starting price||$ 999||TBD|
Just know that these systems are going to be chonky compared to an actual Nintendo Switch’s 0.55-inch thick frame and 0.88-pound weight, and battery life will be a big issue, with both Aya Neo and GPD Win 3 allowing you to fine-tune the chip’s TDP-watt to get the most out of it of their tablet-sized cells. NotebookCheck says you should not expect to get more than 1.5 hours out of GPD Win 3 while playing a demanding game, although Taki Udon on YouTube claims that you can get 2-3 hours out of an early Aya Neo.
Speaking of Taki Udon’s video, it looks like a great overview of the handheld, so I recommend checking it out, and this other knowledge that shows how good games are. Cyberpunk 2077 and Sekiro play on its Founders model. It’s not enough to convince me to crowdfund a company I’ve never heard of, but it’s a good start.
You should also know that not all of these handheld devices will look and play the same: The transparent Aya you see in the videos was a limited edition of 15,000 for early pre-orders in China, with final models launched in black and white instead when they will be sent in April. Aya will launch her Indiegogo campaign in February with a “super early bird price” of $ 699, without saying how much the rest of us can pay.
GPD Win 3 is already on Indiegogo, where you pay $ 799 for the Core i5-1135G7 version, with the more powerful i7 chip starting at $ 899, or $ 949 for a package of optional USB, HDMI and Gigabit Ethernet docking station.
Between these handheld gaming PCs, the cute upcoming Playdate and the gorgeous Analog pocket, some of the squeaky clean fashions we’ve seen too late, not to mention the popularity of the switch itself and the march to ever smaller and more powerful chips, it feels as if we could enter a handheld renaissance. Here you hope.