There must be a multitude of questions that surge forth upon reading the title of this piece. Steam Deck alternatives? There are alternatives? Why would anyone want or need an alternative to the Steam Deck? Especially given that it seems Valve has just recently managed to overcome the supply chain issues that plagued it from the start.
Well, in most cases it comes down to availability and eagerness. For some, the Steam Deck is not yet available for preorder, let alone purchase. Even if you do place an order today you’re still looking at a prolonged wait. That is where these devices surge to the forefront.
Here’s a brief synopsis of what each device is capable of and why someone might want to purchase or avoid one.
Aya Neo Air
The Aya Neo Air boasts a gorgeous AMOLED display with an astounding range of colors. It also has hall-effect analog sticks(improved sensitivity with no drift woes) and impressive performance. However, early reviews of this device have lambasted Aya for its poor battery life. The price is also downright obscene when compared to that of the Steam Deck, which also just so happens to outperform the Air. The Air is cheaper than its big brother the Aya Neo Next which just so happens to be next on this list.
Aya Neo Next
The Aya Neo Next also has a beautiful display, it’s not quite as pretty as the AMOLED on the Air. It does however incorporate the same technology for its analog sticks. It should out-class the Steam Deck in performance(in theory). However, the Steam Deck has an amazing community and Valve’s ever-dedicated team who are hard at work making optimizations wherever possible. It makes the Next a hard sell unless you’re swimming in money. Read more about this device here.
Unless you’re into retro handheld emulators, you’ve likely never heard of Anbernic. This is their first Windows-based handheld. While it won’t trade blows with the Steam Deck, it is the first globally available handheld and it comes with an integrated version of SteamOS! This means that you can play low-end Steam games (if they aren’t too graphically intensive). You can buy it now and it’s essentially the same price as the base model steam deck. It’s an emulation powerhouse though.
Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld
The Logitech G Cloud Gaming handheld is a new device that’s rather expensive for what it does. It’s centered around streaming which is heavily dependent on a stable internet connection. This device is essentially an Android phone with included controls. If you don’t have a fast stable internet connection then this probably isn’t the device for you. If you’d like more info you can find it here.
Ayn Odin Pro
The Ayn Odin Pro is one of the cheapest devices capable of running Windows (with some tinkering). This device is “available” for purchase now, however it’s renowned for its slow shipping times. The Odin is another Android-based gaming handheld immensely competent at emulation, with upper limits extending as far as GameCube and PS2. It is also capable of streaming and is reported to have excellent controls. However, it’s important that you don’t overlook the delivery issues because if you go this route you’re probably in for a wait that rivals that of the Steam Deck.
So there you have it, the highlight reel of Steam Deck alternatives that seek to capitalize on the recent craze of hyper-powerful gaming handhelds. Not all of these devices are as competent as the Steam Deck, however, with no global release in sight, it’s no surprise folks are willing to pay a premium to join the hordes of lucky gamers touting their Steam Decks. It’s my turn next Valve!