AYA NEO 2021 PRO Review – A more POWERFUL Aya Neo!

Aya Neo 2021 Pro Review
  • Design
    (5)
  • Build Quality
    (4.9)
  • Performance
    (4.9)

Summary

Overall a very worthy contender for the best gaming handhelds, shared with the ONEXPLAYER 1S. Intel or AMD? take your pick!

Overall
4.9
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User Review
0 (0 votes)

Pros

  • Excellent packaging and accessories inside
  • Amazing 7″ display, just the right size
  • AMD Ryzen 7 CPU which performs well
  • Feels very comfortable to hold and play for extended periods of time
  • High performance on games that use multiple cores & threads

Cons

  • Performance is slower than Intel handhelds for games that do not use multiple cores & threads

Welcome to our AYA NEO 2021 Pro review of this Windows gaming handheld. We will be unboxing it and checking out its features, then running some system and gaming benchmarks to see its performance.

AYA NEO PRO review video

AYA NEO PRO Unboxing

Lets get started with the unboxing. The AYA NEO PRO model has a different colour scheme to the new AYA NEO box we showed last week. 

AYA NEO 2021 Pro Packaging
AYA NEO 2021 Pro Packaging

Inside is a new overlay design which details all of the features and buttons.

Newly designed information overlay
Newly designed information overlay

Next we have the AYA NEO PRO which we will show in more detail shortly.

The AYA NEO 2021 Pro
The AYA NEO 2021 Pro

There’s a quick start guide. Under the packaging is a 60W PD charger. This can be used in conjunction with the included UK, Europe and SE Asia plug adaptors

There are two USB Type-C to USB Type-A adaptors. And last but not least there is a USB Type-C cable.

Overview of the AYA NEO PRO

The AYA NEO PRO measures 10.4 x 4.17 x 0.79 inches (25.5 x 10.6 x 2 cm) and weighs 648 grams. This is the dark star colour, it’s also available in light moon and the awesome AYA NEO PRO retro theme which we hope to show off soon!

Aya Neo Pro dimensions and front view
AYA NEO Pro dimensions and front view

It has a 7-inch H-IPS multitouch screen, and runs at 1280×800 resolution. On the left side are the clickable left analogue stick and classic D-Pad. Below are four buttons which are the rumble on/off, Home button, Start and Select.

On the right side are the four gaming buttons and right analogue stick. There are four shortcut buttons which are Desktop, Task Manager and ESCape. The fourth button is to toggle the on screen keyboard, or bring up Aya Space if you have it installed.

Along the top we have the Left and Right Shoulder and analogue Trigger buttons. There are the power and volume buttons, followed by the 3.5mm headphone jack. There are two USB Type-C ports, the second is a full port which allows you to connect peripherals such as a hub for video output to your TV or monitor.

AYA NEO Pro top view
AYA NEO Pro top view

On the bottom there is a second full USB Type-C port which can also be used to connect peripherals to such as a docking station.

AYA NEO 2021 Pro Technical Specifications

A brief look at the technical specifications for the AYA NEO PRO and also compare them with the AYA NEO 2021.

AYA NEO 2021AYA NEO PRO
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 4500UAMD Ryzen 7 4800U
CORES / THREADS6 / 68 / 16
BASE / MAX FREQUENCY2.3Ghz / 4.0Ghz1.8GHz / 4.2GHz
GPUAMD Radeon Graphics with 6 cores up to 1.5GHzMD Radeon Graphics with 8 cores up to 1.7GHz
RAM16GB LPDDR4x @ 4266Mhz – Dual Channel16GB LPDDR4x @ 4266Mhz – Dual Channel
STORAGE1TB PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4 NVMe 1.3 & AHCI1TB PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4 NVMe 1.3 & AHCI
CONNECTIVITYWiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) compatible
Bluetooth 5.2
WiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) compatible
Bluetooth 5.2
AYA NEO 2021 & AYA NEO 2021 Pro Technical Specifications Compared

System Benchmarks

We continue our AYA NEO 2021 Pro review with some benchmarks. For all of the benchmarks we are running at 20W TDP instead of the default 15W. This is so we are able to compare it to other devices such as the ONEXPLAYER 1S handheld gaming PC which has a default 20W TDP.

PassMark

As always, we start the benchmarks with PassMark. PassMark performs a series of tests that push the CPU, GPU, RAM and storage to their limits for maximum performance. 

PassMark benchmark score for Aya Neo Pro 2021
PassMark benchmark score for AYA NEO Pro 2021

The AYA NEO Pro scores 5,054 which is in the higher band of benchmark scores we have run on devices. A promising sign for the performance!

PCMark

Next we are running PCMark which tests your more day to day tasks from web browsing to video conferencing and working with image & video editing. 

AYA NEO Pro PCMark score
AYA NEO Pro PCMark score

The AYA NEO 2021 Pro scores 5,343 which is within the area of the ONEXPLAYER 1S.

3DMark

We move on to 3DMark which tests the CPU and GPU together for its graphics performance. Not only is graphics used for gaming, but also for tasks such as video decoding and image editing.

AYA NEO 2021 Pro 3DMark score
AYA NEO 2021 Pro 3DMark score

The Pro scores 1,404. It’s not the highest scores we have seen, but well above the average.

Gaming Benchmarks

Forza Horizon 4

Moving on to the gaming benchmarks now. We start off with Forza Horizon 4, hopefully in our next video we will be trying Forza Horizon 5 as it is out by the time this video is live. We are running at 1280×720 on the default Ultra Settings.

Forza Horizon 4 Benchmark
Forza Horizon 4 Benchmark

The AYA NEO Pro reaches a very impressive 47 frames per second. That’s the highest in our Windows gaming consoles.

Street Fighter V

We are running the Street Fighter V benchmark at 1920×1080 on the maximum graphics settings.

Street Fighter V Benchmark
Street Fighter V Benchmark

At the end of the first match, the Pro gets an average of 32.5 frames per second. It’s not the highest score in the Windows handhelds category but definitely not the worst.

Final Fantasy XIV

Next we are benchmarking Final Fantasy XIV at 1920×1080 with the Highest Desktop settings.

Final Fantasy XIV Benchmark
Final Fantasy XIV Benchmark

The AYA NEO pro scores 3,372 with a slightly low rating. Reducing a few graphics settings should get the game up to speed just fine.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

For our final benchmark we are running Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the Lowest and Highest graphics settings to see the difference in performance.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark
Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark

The Lowest graphics benchmark scores 58 FPS average. And the Highest graphics benchmark scores an average 28 frames per second. This is a newer benchmark we are running so we can’t compare it to previous handhelds.

Benchmark Summary

A brief recap of the benchmark scores and to also compare them to the AYA NEO 2021 and ONEXPLAYER 1S handheld gaming PC’s.

AYA NEO 2021ONEXPLAYER 1SAYA NEO 2021 PRO
PASSMARK4,4513,9885,054
PCMARK4,8615,2505,343
3DMARK1,1101,8181,404
FORZA HORIZON 434 FPS40 FPS47 FPS
STREET FIGHTER V26 FPS44 FPS32 FPS
FINAL FANTASY XIV2,8764,2973,372
SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDERN/AN/ALowest Graphics: 58 FPS
Highest Graphics: 29 FPS
AYA NEO 2021 Pro benchmark results compared with AYA NEO 2021 and ONEXPLAYER 1S

Naturally the AYA NEO Pro beats the AYA NEO by a fair margin, with 12.6% difference in performance on PassMark and 32% difference on Forza Horizon 4 for example.

Compared with the ONEXPLAYER 1S which came out overall top of the Intel 1195G7 based handhelds, it is a mix of who wins. In terms of performance, the Pro beats the 1S in PassMark with 23% difference, and Forza Horizon 4 with 16%. 

But on other benchmarks it falls behind. On 3DMark there’s a 25% difference and Final Fantasy XIV there’s 25% difference.

Summary

It can depend on which games you are playing for whether or not you will get great performance. Generally games which take advantage of multiple cores and threads will see better performance on the AMD processor than it does on the Intel.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider on AYA NEO Pro
Shadow of the Tomb Raider on AYA NEO Pro

I am definitely torn between the AYA NEO 2021 Pro and ONEXPLAYER 1S as to which I would use every day. The Neo Pro’s size is just right in my opinion, it handles games well and feels great in your hands. Whereas the 1S screen is larger and more immersive, but it’s also physically larger and not as comfortable to hold or as portable in comparison.

Both have their wins and loses for system and gaming performance. I feel like for gaming, the 1S would overall be the better performing device for gaming in general. But for games that are optimised for multi cores and threads, the Aya would be the ideal choice. 

Crash Bandicoot 4 on AYA NEO 2021 Pro
Crash Bandicoot 4 on AYA NEO 2021 Pro

I am still very much undecided between the two. In our next video and blog post I will be taking a closer look at gaming and higher end console emulation. There will be plenty of actual gameplay footage to get a better understanding of the differences in overall performance. 

Where to buy the AYA NEO 2021 Pro

That wraps up our AYA NEO 2021 Pro review, we hope you have found it useful. Orders for the AYA NEO 2021 Pro are now available . You can browse our range of gaming handhelds here.


Aya Neo 2021 Pro handheld gaming PC announced

Originally posted by DaveC on: 23/08/2021

The Aya Neo 2021 Pro has officially been announced! We take a look at and discuss the system specs, new designs and improvements over the original Aya Neo AMD Windows gaming handheld.

Aya re expanding their range of gaming handhelds with a new model which features a faster processor as well as a new retro themed model and accessories.

Aya Neo 2021 Pro Technical Specifications

Aya Neo 2021Aya Neo 2021 Pro
CPURyzen 5 4500URyzen 7 4800U
CORES68
THREADS616
SPEED2.3Ghz Base, 4.0Ghz Max Boost1.8GHz Base, 4.2GHz Max Boost
GPUAMD Radeon Graphics
AMD Radeon Graphics
CORES68
SPEED1.5GHz1.7GHz 

As you can see from the technical specs, the Aya Neo 2021 Pro improves over the original in all areas with more CPU cores and threads and a higher maximum CPU speed. In addition, the Radeon Graphics also benefits from an upgrade with two additional cores and faster clock speed.

We can expect to see a considerable jump in performance between the two devices. Depending on the benchmarks this could be anything from 5% to 60%. For instance, we have seen from previous benchmarks that the percentages vary due to whether or not they take into account the extra number of cores and threads. 

PassMark Scores for Aya Neo and Aya Neo 2021 based on CPU
PassMark Scores for Aya Neo and Aya Neo 2021 based on CPU

As an example, PassMark scores 11,220 on the 4500U and 17,277 on the 4800U, that’s around 54% difference. This type of benchmark tests all available cores and threads to give a more accurate test of performance.

In gaming performance, there may be less of a gap as some games are only designed to use a set number of cores, say six for instance. Above all, the 4800U will come out on top every time, although the gap may not be as large as 54%

Other specifications

The Aya Neo 2021 Pro will feature a 7 inch IPS Screen with a colour gamut of 78% NTSC. It has a peak brightness of 500 nits and a PPI of 215.

In terms of RAM and storage, the new Ryzen handheld will have the same 16GB LPDDR4x RAM. In our tests we found it to be very fast! The storage is available in 1TB and 2TB m.2 NVMe. This is a step up from the 512GB and 1TB offered on the original.

Aya Neo 2021 Pro with Retro Power docking station
Aya Neo 2021 Pro with Retro Power docking station

Following on from the original Aya Neo, it will feature at 47Wh large battery for long battery life. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 are also present for fast data transfer.

Aya Neo Improvements

The new Aya Neo Pro continues to build on the improvements since the launch of their original Aya Neo Founder Edition. 

New multi-level linear triggers, aka analogue triggers, are part of the new design. For instance, this gives gamers more control over their games like Forza Horizon 4 and Dirt 5. With analogue triggers it would be more similar to gently pressing an accelerator pedal, rather than foot slamming it.

Aya Neo Pro Analogue Trigger
Aya Neo Pro Analogue Trigger

The built-in vibration motor sees improvements with a new X-axis linear motor instead of a standard linear motor. This will bring a greater degree of vibration accuracy.

One of the complaints of the original was that the button prints faded very soon after using them. Aya has improved the way the buttons are manufactured, which should improve the durability of them.

The cooling system has also been improved with a new heat dissipating dual copper tube. This will provide faster and more stable heat removal. 

New Cooling Design
New Cooling Design

Aya Neo Pro Design

The Aya Neo 2021 Pro will have the two colour schemes found on the original which is Dark Star and Light Moon.

Dark Star and Light Moon models
Dark Star and Light Moon models

In addition, a brand new design called ‘Retro Power’ has been announced. This is based on the U.S. model Super Nintendo style colour scheme. Featuring the famous light grey shell, purple gaming buttons, and darker grey additional buttons, it really does look great!

Retro Power!
Retro Power!

Aya has announced a retro themed charger. The GaN PD charger supports up to 108W fast charging, has three USB Type-C ports and one Type-A port. It has a retro inspired design and colour scheme representing the original Gameboy which we love!

Retro Power GaN PD charger
Retro Power GaN PD charger

The Aya Neo 2021 Pro dock also continues the retro theme with a Gameboy inspired gaming handheld design. The dock features a pressable D-Pad and gaming buttons. Although sadly they are only for show and not used as a mini controller.

Aya Neo Pro Retro Power and accessories
Aya Neo Pro Retro Power and accessories

And finally there is a retro themed mechanical keyboard. Aya mentioned that a non-engraved version will be initially released. This will be followed by side or positive engraved key caps in the future. 

Aya Neo 2021 Pro Release Date

The Aya Neo 2021 Pro is expected to start shipping around mid September. We will have more details on exact dates very soon!

Aya Neo 2021 Pro Price

The Dark Star and Light Moon models will cost $1,215. The Retro Power gaming handheld PC model which comes with the retro themed docking station will cost $1,315. These prices are based on purchasing from China directly. As such you may incur higher postage costs and import taxes to your country.

Summary

The Aya Neo 2021 Pro is shaping up to be a big release in the gaming handheld market. It faces fierce competition from GPD Win 3 & Win MAX 2021, and the One Laptop ONEXPLAYER. There is definitely a sense that each company is trying to have the fastest handheld gaming PC on the market!

You can browse our range of Aya products here, including the original Aya Neo to buy now.

DaveC
Bringer of videos, text and images! AKA the social media guy at DroiX. Massive retro gaming fan and collector, with a far too large collection of consoles and computers from 1970's to modern.
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The Aya Neo 2021 Pro review is here! Is it more powerful than the ONEXPLAYER 1S? We unbox and run system and games benchmarks to find out...Read full article

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