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Ayaneo Pocket S is the latest Android-powered Steam Deck rival

Since the Steam Deck arrived on the scene to great acclaim, we’ve seen a multitude of handheld gaming machines, many of which have been designed for PC gaming.

The latest is the Ayaneo Pocket S, which includes new Qualcomm Snapdragon tech, runs on Android, and is designed for gaming on that platform while leveraging all of the top cloud services available via Google Play.

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If you haven’t heard of Ayaneo, it’s a relatively new company (founded in 2020) that focuses on handheld gaming models. Until now they’ve mainly been Windows-based, gamer-focused machines that have been popular on crowdfunding sites. Now the company is expanding into the Android realm and is apparently going big.

Described by the hardware firm as a “flagship gaming handheld”, it will be powered by an all-new Snapdragon G3x Gen2 gaming platform. In a press release dropped to coincide with Gamescom 2023 in Cologne, Germany, the company promised a launch in December this year, but didn’t drop too many details about the specs, or how much it’ll cost. It will be available in both black and white and we were told Ayaneo will provide multiple configurations, including a version with longer battery life and a different grip.

Ayaneo Pocket S white

However, if it’s anything like the Windows handheld models it’ll be packed full of high end specs, with a price point to match.

Whether there’s much of a market for a flagship, high-end Android gaming device, given the presence of a number of alternatives and the inherent similarity to Android phones (which can be turned into handhelds with a range of controller peripherals) remains to be seen.

We reviewed the Razer Edge 5G earlier this year and simply found it a little superfluous as a standalone machine for anyone with an Android phone. Even though it offered access to Xbox Game Pass, Nvidia GeForce Now, the Google Play Store and loads of other cloud gaming options, it felt difficult to recommend given most gamers own a very similar device already.

Perhaps Ayaneo will have some secret sauce via the hardware design or specs that’ll lift it above other options on the market?

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