Some of us will take any opportunity to get our game libraries out of the house, and maybe the best way to keep your Steam library handy is with a Pocket PC. It’s hard to say if the popularity of handhelds stems from the lack of desktop silicon available at the moment, but Valve’s recent announcement for the Steam Deck was such a hit that it’s hard to ignore the trend. In fact, moments after the $ 5 reservations went live, the Steam Deck page in the Steam store was so overwhelmed that it stopped working.
In the fallout, we face a dismal outlook in terms of Steam Deck availability. New reservations placed for the 64GB Steam Deck won’t ship until early 2022, and when it comes to the two top-of-the-line Steam Deck models, buyers shouldn’t expect to have one on their hands. before July 2022 at the earliest.
If you’re one of the many who missed out on Steam Deck’s early reservations and you’re still looking for a handheld console to play your PC games, fear not! There are more immediate alternatives circulating.
With each of the handhelds we’ve rounded up below, you get a fully functional Windows 10 PC gaming device with the ability to take any game library you have on your desktop with you wherever you go. . They might not be super powerful machines that will see your frame rates skyrocket in the hundreds, but they can fit in the palm of your hand, anyway if you have particularly large hands. Nonetheless, these types of devices are much more viable for gaming on the go these days.
Some of these, having been the result of crowdfunding campaigns, may not be the easiest job to find, new and unused, but they are at least available before the middle of next year.
Alternatives to Steam Deck
GPD Win 3
We introduced the GPD Win 3 as the Switch alternative we’ve been waiting for before the Steam Deck appeared. It’s a modern portable PC gaming device and a worthy competitor to the high-end Steam Deck models, although it costs around double the price.
Released this year, both configuration options come with a 1TB NVMe 3.0 SSD (PCIe 4.0 drives are also supported), 16GB of LPDDR4-4266 RAM and use the quad-core Intel Core i5 1135G7 model and eight threads with 4.2 GHz boost or Core i7 Model 1165G7 with 4.7 GHz boost. Both chips are equipped with Intel Xe graphics to drive the gaming experience.
In terms of gaming performance, the Indiegogo page estimates that the Core i5 and i7 models can average 42 fps and 49 fps respectively in Microsoft Flight Simulator, as well as 47 fps and 61 fps in our favorite benchmark game Metro Exodus. However, it does not note which parameters were used in the tests. At 720p this is entirely possible, but probably only after setting the graphics setting to a low level.
GPD Win 3 | Intel Core i7 1165G7 | 1 TB | $ 999 (£ 729) on Indiegogo
An Intel Xe-powered portable gaming machine with a 720p touchscreen that slides up to reveal its keyboard. Available in silver or space gray, with 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of NVMe 3.0 SSD. And with PCIe 4.0 support and even a Thunderbolt 4 port, there’s a lot to like about the Win 3 GPD.
The Aya Neo was marketed as the world’s first 7nm portable gaming device. Released in March, it’s another relatively modern option, and comes with Red Team Zen 2 architecture, for the AMD enthusiasts among us.
It packs a six-core, six-threaded AMD Ryzen 5 4500U APU with 4.0 GHz boost and 16 GB of LPDDR4X-4266 RAM. You can choose between the 512GB model or the 1TB model, and there are two color options for each (black or white).
As for gaming performance, this 720p device is said to be able to handle Cyberpunk 2077 at low settings at 20 fps, according to GBAtemp. It even handled Horizon Zero Dawn at around 30 fps on average and Outriders at 23 fps on low / medium settings.
So while it isn’t going to release AAA games at jaw-dropping frame rates, you can at least buy the Aya Neo right now from the official store for $ 925, or $ 1,015 for the model. with higher storage capacity (taxes not included).
Aya Neo | AMD Ryzen 5 4500U | 512 GB / 1 TB | $ 925 / $ 1,015 on the Aya Neo store
This AMD Zen 2 device is aimed at Red Team supporters and comes at a slightly cheaper price than some of the alternatives. At just 720p, this small machine can handle fairly demanding games, albeit with lower graphics settings.
The OnexPlayer, which we reviewed earlier this year, is one of the higher-resolution portable PC gaming devices, albeit the biggest at 1.8 lbs (820 g). Backed by a hugely successful Indiegogo campaign, there were three options on the initial version: Standard Edition, Pro Edition, and Ultimate Edition.
Each tier comes with a different Intel Tiger Lake SoC: Core i7 1135G7, Core i7 1165G7, or Core i7 1185G7. These are paired with 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of NVMe SSD storage, and backed by 16GB of LPDDR4X-4266 RAM and a touchscreen, to boot.
The setup we tested was a bit different from what is available, but we generally found it to be quite reliable at 720p, but not so much at its native 2560 × 1600 pixels. With low graphics in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, it averaged 35fps and handled 60fps in GTA V. That’s the kind of performance to expect from a portable device. Basically don’t expect to play Cyberpunk at 1600p.
When they first came out, the OnexPlayer models were priced at $ 1,059, $ 1,158 and $ 1,599 respectively, and given that the campaign has just ended, the likelihood of finding a used one is quite low – the current shortage of tokens won’t help either.
However, I am told that there may be plans to put the device on sale to the general public soon.
OnexPlayer | Core i7 1135G7 / 1165G7 / 1185G7 | 512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB | $ 1,059 / $ 1,158 / $ 1,599 on Indiegogo
This 1600p pocket PC is the heaviest, but a relatively capable machine. Like the others, it will struggle with some AAA games, but for the most part it’s a reliable Tiger Lake machine, backed by 16GB of RAM and plenty of potential. Keep an eye on the OnexPlayer Indiegogo page in case the company decides to put them up for sale after the fact.