Ever since the Switch arrived on the market and reinvigorated interest in portable gaming, we’ve seen a fair few imitators and rivals appear, mostly from companies in the Far East. GPD has already shown off more than one Switch-inspired handheld and Chinese giant Tencent has a similar machine in the works, while the relatively new outfit Aya Neo has been working hard on its ‘AYANEO 2021’ device for some time now.
Like many tech firms right now (including Nintendo), Aya Neo has been struggling to source components for its product following a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year. While ‘backer’ units are out in the wild, the final consumer version of the AYANEO 2021 is due to go into fully production next month – and Aya Neo has given it a spec boost as well as a Nintendo-style facelift to really hammer home its gaming credentials.
Dubbed ‘Retro Power’ by the manufacturer, the new case colouring is a dead-ringer for the original 1989 model Game Boy, something Aya Neo makes even more plain in its promotional imagery, photographing it next to the OG Game Boy and even a Game & Watch handheld.
Powered by an AMD Ryzen R7 4800U processor (with 16GB of RAM and ‘up to’ 2TB of solid-state storage) and boasting a 7-inch, 1280×800 pixel IPS display, the AYANEO 2021 Pro runs Windows and will therefore grant access to a wide range of PC titles, including (according to the official website), AAA releases like Resident Evil Village, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Cyberpunk 2077 and Forza Horizon 4, as well as a host of indie titles via Steam (many of which are also available on Switch). There’s a 47Wh battery inside which, it is claimed, is good for ‘up to’ 5 hours of play time.
While the AYANEO 2021 Pro – and many devices like it – isn’t an exact match for Switch because it doesn’t offer detachable, motion-sensing controllers, it does offer a dock which means you can connect it to a screen and use wired or Bluetooth pads as an interface.
The catch? Well, this kind of power doesn’t come cheap. The AYANEO 2021 Pro starts at $1,215 (with 1TB of storage), while the Retro Power edition – which comes with the dock – costs $100 more. We’re talking pretty advanced PC tech here, so the price isn’t that shocking, but when compared to the Switch, there’s clearly a world of difference.