Review & Guide: AYANEO Air

The AYANEO Air is the latest handheld PC to come to market, and it has some distinguishing characteristics: it’s ultra small for what it can do, and features a beautiful OLED panel with 1080p resolution. Let’s take a deep dive look at the device and see if it’s worth the $500+ asking price. Additionally, is it a “Steam Deck killer” or a “Switch killer”? I can never keep them straight.

AYANEO Air IndieGoGo campaign

00:00 introduction
02:26 tech specs & unboxing
03:51 hardware impressions
09:02 comparison with other handhelds
10:49 screen & audio
14:26 AYA Space software
16:21 TDP, framerate, and resolution
18:54 battery life
20:34 PC game testing
24:09 retro game emulation testing
26:38 N64, DS, Saturn, Dreamcast, PSP
28:42 GameCube, PS2, 3DS
31:56 Wii U, PS3, Xbox, Switch
35:58 summary (likes & dislikes)
38:48 conclusion

Check out The Phawx’s video review for a deep-dive into benchmarks and their implications:

Recommended tools:

I used a number of tools to get the most out of my AYANEO Air testing, and here are some suggestions:

RetroBat – this is a Windows application that hosts an EmulationStation frontend and is preloaded with emulators, similar to something like the Batocera operating system.

AMD APU Tuning Utility – the AYA Space software will provide most configuration options for the device, but if you want to push the TDP past 15W, you will need to use a third-party application like this one to configure the thermal settings. Note that while the AMD 5560U is rated for a range up to 25W TDP, heavy use of a high wattage (above 15W) in such a small form factor could potentially be harmful after a prolonged period. The AATU app does not have pre-configured settings for the Ryzen 5 5560U so in my testing I used the settings for the Ryzen 5 5500U instead. Additionally, before opening this app, I recommend turning off the AYA Space sofware.

ControllerService – this app will provide a virtual controller simulation of the PS4 controller, allowing you to use motion controls within the Wii U and 3DS emulators, or to use the official PS4 Remote Play app on the device.

FXSound – this free tool will boost the audio quality of your handheld device and has a number of configurable EQ presets as well. The standard preset is a dramatic improvement over the stock audio profile. It is lightweight and will run at system startup, giving you a seamless, integrated experience.

Additionally, here is my guide on the Anbernic Win600, which has some helpful tips and tools for getting the most out of a low-powered Windows device.

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