AYA Neo Next II handheld gaming PC features integrated touchpads and discrete graphics

Chinese handheld gaming PC maker AYA has unveiled another new model to join the company’s growing range of portable gaming devices.

That AYA Neo Next II has a few features that set it apart from the rest.

Firstly, in addition to D-Pads, analog sticks, action buttons and shoulder buttons, the AYA Neo Next II has two built-in touchpads. The only other modern handheld PC manufacturer to currently include touchpads is Valve, which uses them for its Steam Deck.

Touchpads theoretically open the door to playing games designed for keyboard and mouse input rather than controllers. They might also make navigating Windows or Linux based operating systems a bit easier without a mouse. But despite the Steam Deck’s popularity, I’ve seen mixed opinions as to whether the touchpads are really that helpful.

Another thing that sets the AYA Neo Next II apart? It was developed with support for discrete graphics.

While it initially looked like the little computer would come with support for external graphics docks, that actually wouldn’t be a huge differentiator. Theoretically any Handheld gaming systems with a Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 port supporting 40 Gbps data should also be able to work with external graphics docks.

Arthur Zhang, CEO of AYA, says the Neo Next II will take it a step further by offering a laptop-class discrete GPU. The company hasn’t finalized exactly how it will do that, but there are two possibilities that AYA is considering:

  • One option would be a laptop-like discrete GPU positioned on the motherboard along with the CPU. This model would be slightly heavier than most handhelds and would have a removable battery, allowing users to choose between heavier, higher-capacity batteries or thinner, lighter batteries for more portability (but less runtime).
  • Another option would be a removable module that contains both a battery and a discrete graphics card. Simply remove the battery from the back of the AYA Neo Next II and replace it with a dGPU module if you want extra gaming performance, or use the original battery if the internal graphics are good enough.

AYA is apparently considering using Intel Arc graphics and AMD Radeon 6000-series graphics for its discrete GPUs. And while the company hasn’t finalized the details yet, Zhang says Neo Next II isn’t a “concept device,” but something that AYA actually plans to launch.

However, this opens the door to using the handheld gaming PC as yours only gaming pc Connect it to an external GPU and display it while gaming from home for the best experience. Or unplug it and take it with you to play at a lower resolution and lower quality on the go.

AYA has suggested that the Neo Next II will be available with a choice of Intel Alder Lake or AMD Ryzen 7 6000U processor options, although the company has yet to announce specific chips.

While AYA has already shipped a few handheld gaming PCs, including the AYA Neo and AYA Neo Next, the company’s roadmap looks to be over the coming year very ambitious, with recent announcements of upcoming models including:

That’s a lot of devices. AYA says the goal is to accommodate the different needs/requests of different players. And indeed, this lineup means the company promises to offer a variety of products at different price points, some with unusual features that help them stand out in the increasingly crowded handheld gaming PC market.

But it’s pretty strange to see a company that has shipped only a few products announce so many new models in a month or two.

To update: This article originally suggested that the AYA Neo Next II would support an eGPU (external graphics dock), but Arthur Zhang, CEO of AYA, says that was a mistranslation and that the company actually plans to bring discrete graphics to the handheld PC to bring yourself.

via AYA (YouTube & Weibo)

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