The current focus is on the Steam Deck and the Asus ROG Ally. However, AMD is going to power many other alternatives. What exactly are these options?
The arrival of the Steam Deck marked a turning point in the world of portable PC consoles. The Steam Deck stands out with a unique formula: it’s a computer running on Linux, capable of running PC games like a Nintendo Switch, and offering exceptional value for money. Its competitors, on the other hand, rely on greater power, run on Windows 11, but have higher prices.
New horizons for mobile gaming
The appeal of portable PC-console hybrids lies in the ability to play a vast library of PC games in a compact format, reminiscent of the experience offered by the Nintendo Switch and smartphones. These products open up new horizons for mobile gaming, offering a true portable PC gaming experience. So when Asus unveils the ROG Ally with unprecedented performance for this format, we see real potential for the future of mobile gaming.
As a reminder, the Asus ROG Ally integrates a new generation of chips developed by AMD: the AMD Ryzen Z1 and Z1 Extreme. It is based on the Zen 4 architecture for the CPU and RDNA 3 for the graphics. This is a more advanced chip than those found in Xbox Series consoles, PS5, and Steam Deck. The ROG Ally features a cooling system that allows the chip to run with a TDP of 30W.
As you may have guessed, a key element of this new wave of portable consoles is the arrival of AMD’s Ryzen Z1 and Z1 Extreme chips. These chips make the design and sizing of mini gaming machines much easier, whether for ultraportables, PC consoles, or mini-PCs. They fit into a wide variety of designs and pave the way for new competitors for the Steam Deck.
Indeed, the Asus ROG Ally is not the only alternative to the Steam Deck in the portable PC console market. Several other products, designed by younger companies specializing in this format, are emerging and could appeal to fans of mobile gaming.
Aokzoe, AyaNeo, GPD…
Among the alternatives to watch, there is the Aokzoe A1 Pro. Equipped with the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor, it has an 8-inch 1200p screen and up to 64GB of memory; this portable console is a unique option on the market. Storage options range from 512GB to 2TB for the most powerful variant.
The Aokzoe A2, on the other hand, is a more compact version of the A1 Pro, with a 7-inch screen and 800p or 1080p resolutions. The Indiegogo project will soon be launched to finance this model.
AyaNeo is also preparing two new consoles: the AyaNeo 2S and the AyaNeo Geek 1S. The former, equipped with the Ryzen Z1 Extreme, will benefit from an improved cooling system with new heat pipes and optimized airflow.
The Geek 1S, on the other hand, will be a lighter version of the AyaNeo 2, with an 800p screen and fewer components. Like other PC-consoles, it will feature Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.
Finally, GPD, another specialist in the sector, should soon confirm its new products. Mobile gaming enthusiasts will have several options to enjoy a portable PC gaming experience. It remains to be seen how these consoles will evolve and how they will compete with the Asus ROG Ally and the Steam Deck.
Emerging brands and crowdfunding
Portable PC-consoles developed by emerging brands such as Aokzoe, AyaNeo, and GPD are generating increasing interest. However, it is important to note that these companies typically fund their products through crowdfunding campaigns. While this method allows for the launch and financing of new products, it also indicates a certain financial vulnerability.
These companies do not have local customer support, and their distribution is often limited to sales on platforms such as Amazon or direct sales. This can raise concerns about the quality of after-sales service and the ability of these brands to provide updates and improvements for their products.
It is also essential not to focus solely on the technical specifications of these products. Although they are all marketed at around 800 euros, their high price requires particular attention to design quality, finishes, control ergonomics, software support, features offered, available accessories, and customer service.
In this context, it will be interesting to observe what established players in the industry have to offer. Brands such as Acer, Lenovo, Dell Alienware, MSI, and Razer could enter the portable PC-console market, leveraging their expertise and existing infrastructure to propose more robust alternatives.
Sony, on the other hand, is already the subject of rumors about a new generation of PSP, which could compete with portable PC-consoles. As for Microsoft, it would be interesting to see if the company considers entering this rapidly expanding market.