AYA NEO 2021 Review – GPD finally has competition!

Aya Neo Review
Review
  • Build Quality
    (4.9)
  • Overall Performance
    (4.8)
  • Gaming Performance
    (4.5)
  • Portability
    (4.8)

Summary

A very good Ryzen gaming handheld, but not quite as good as the Intel handhelds which have higher performance.

Overall
4.8
Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

Pros

  • Perfect size for a handheld gaming PC
  • 7″ display looks great
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Very comfortable to game on
  • Responsive buttons
  • Cheaper than the Intel i7-1195G7 handhelds

Cons

Not powerful compared to the Intel i7-1195G7 handheld PC’s

Today we are checking out the eagerly awaited revision of earlier this year’s AYA NEO. In our AYA NEO 2021 review we will be unboxing it, taking a look at the handheld gaming PC features and comparing the updates to the original model. Then we will run some system and gaming benchmarks to compare it with the latest i7-1195G7 GPD Win 3, Win MAX 2021 and ONEXPLAYER 1S models.

AYA NEO Review Video

AYA NEO Review

Let’s start with the unboxing. There’s some nice packaging to start with.

AYA NEO Packaging
AYA NEO Packaging

Underneath the information coverings, there is the AYA NEO which we will show in more detail shortly.

AYA NEO Unboxing
AYA NEO Unboxing

Lifting out the protective foam reveals a quick start guide. There is a USB Type-C cable. As standard it comes without a charger, but we will include a DroiX branded 65W charger.

USB Type-C to USE Type A Adaptors
USB Type-C to USE Type A Adaptors

And last but not least are two USB Type-C to USB Type-A converters which you can use to connect peripherals to such as a keyboard and mouse.

AYA NEO Overview

The AYA NEO measures 10.4 x 4.17 x 0.79 inches (25.5 x 10.6 x 2 cm) and weighs 648 grams.

AYA NEO Dimensions
AYA NEO Dimensions

It has a 7-inch H-IPS multitouch screen, it runs at 1280×800 resolution. 

7" Multitouch H-IPS DIsplay
7″ Multitouch H-IPS DIsplay

On the left side are the clickable left analogue stick and classic D-Pad. Below are four buttons which are the rumble on/off toggle, Home button, Start and Select.

Left side of the handheld gaming PC
Left side of the handheld gaming PC

On the right side are the four gaming buttons and right analogue stick. There are four shortcut buttons which are Desktop, Task Manager, ESCape and to toggle the on screen keyboard.

Right side of the handheld
Right side of the handheld

Along the top we have the Left and Right Shoulder and 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.

Top of the device
Top of the device

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 Technical Specifications

Let’s take a brief look at the tech specs and differences between the original and new AYA NEO.

AYA NEO
PROCESSORAMD RYZEN 5 4500U
CORES6
THREADS6
MAX. FREQUENCY4.0 GHz
GPUAMD RADEON GRAPHICS
MAX FREQUENCY1500 Mhz
RAM16GB LPDDR4x @ 4266Mhz – Dual Channel
STORAGE1TB NVMe 1.3 & AHCI PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4
AYA NEO Technical Specifications

AYA NEO Comparison

The immediate difference between the two windows handheld’s is the case. The plastic see through case has been replaced with a more premium finished moulded case that looks and feels far better. This is the Dark Star colour, and it is also available in Light Moon colour.

Old and New Aya Neo compared
Old and New Aya Neo compared

The trigger buttons have also received an upgrade. The original had digital triggers and these have been replaced with analogue triggers to keep with the standard. It is great for racing games for example, as it provides greater control.

The buttons have also received an upgrade, with improvements to the manufacturing process to ensure the button’s print does not fade over time. They also feel nicer when pressing compared to the original.

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

AYA NEO System Benchmarks

We are running the benchmarks at the AYA NEO’s default TDP which is 15W. We will be showing the 20W scores further in our AYA NEO review in order to compare to the GPD and ONEXPLAYER which are default 20W.

PassMark

PassMark performs a series of tests on the CPU, GPU, RAM and storage to push it to the maximum for an artificial performance rating under full load.

PassMark Benchmark Score
PassMark Benchmark Score

The AYA NEO scores 4,451 with around average scores on the tests and an above average on the storage speed. Overall they are good scores, above the i7 models.

PCMark

PCMark performs a series of tests on overall usage for tasks such as web browsing, media consumption, image and video editing and much more. It provides a good gauge on overall day to day tasks.

PCMark Benchmark Score
PCMark Benchmark Score

The AYA NEO scores 4,861 with good scores across the tests, but not higher than the i7 based handhelds.

3DMark

3DMark tests the CPU and GPU for 2D and 3D capabilities which gives us an indication of how it will perform for gaming.

3DMark Benchmark Score
3DMark Benchmark Score

The AYA NEO scores 1,110. It’s above average for similar CPU and GPU configurations and can go higher with some TDP increases.

AYA NEO Gaming Benchmarks

Continuing our AYA NEO review, we will check out some game benchmarks. We are running these benchmarks with the same settings as we have done with the Intel based handheld game console to ensure fairness.

Forza Horizon 4

We start with Forza Horizon 4 which is running at 720P, with the default Ultra settings and a target frame rate of 60 FPS.

Forza Horizon 4 Score
Forza Horizon 4 Score

The AYA NEO finishes the benchmark with a score of 34 FPS.

Final Fantasy XIV

Next we have the Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker benchmark running at 1920×1080 on the High Desktop quality settings.

Final Fantasy XIV Benchmark Score
Final Fantasy XIV Benchmark Score

The AYA NEO scores 2,876 with a rating of Slightly Low. You would still be able to play the game fine but using a small mix of lower settings than High for best performance.

Street Fighter V

We finish the gaming benchmarks with Street Fighter V running at 1920×1080 at Maximum quality settings.

Street Fighter V Score
Street Fighter V Score

At the end of the first match there is an average frames per second of 26. Will it be higher or lower than the Intel model handhelds?

AYA NEO Benchmark Results

Lets first have a reminder of the benchmark results. The scores for the default 15W TDP are shown, as well as the tests for 20W to keep more in line with the GPD and ONEXPLAYER devices.

15W TDP20W TDP
PASSMARK44514454
PCMARK48614902
3DMARK11101130
FORZA HORIZON 434 FPS39 FPS
STREET FIGHTER V26 FPS27 FPS
FINAL FANTASY XIV28763020
AYA NEO Benchmark Results

There are some improvements using 20W TDP in games that take advantage of multicore CPUs, especially with Forza Horizon 4 seeing a very good increase in frames per second.

Now, let’s take a look at the benchmark results and compare them with the GPD Win 3, Max 2021 and ONEXPLAYER 1S. The scores in brackets are the 20W scores for the Win MAX 2021 and AYA NEO.

GPD WIN 3GPD WIN MAX 2021ONEXPLAYER 1SAYA NEO
PASSMARK38783728 (3355)39884451 (4454)
PCMARK53845499 (4949)52504861 (4922)
3DMARK15881393 (1253)18181110 (1130)
FORZA HORIZON 441 FPS43 FPS (38.7 FPS)40 FPS34 FPS (39 FPS)
STREET FIGHTER V35 FPS40 FPS (3939)44 FPS26 FPS (27 FPS)
FINAL FANTASY XIV42094377 (3939)42972876 (3020)
PRICE£1,049.95£1,099.95£1,034.96£949.95
Ryzen 5 4500U compared with Intel i7-1195G7 models of handhelds

Comparing the scores, we can see that the ONEXPLAYER 1S still remains overall the best performing device at 20W.

In terms of performance versus price difference, compared to the ONEXPLAYER 1S, the AYA NEO at 15W performs as much as 30% slower for 8.5% less price. 

Summary

So is the AYA NEO worth buying? While it is a good handheld in its price range, by spending a little more you could buy a more powerful Intel based handheld. Or if you wanted to sacrifice some battery power, you could simply increase the TDP to a higher amount to get more in that target performance.

Ignoring the performance differences, the AYA NEO itself is just the right size for a handheld gaming PC. It is larger than the GPD Win 3 and smaller than the ONEXPLAYER 1S. So it is not quite pocket portable, but far more convenient to carry around in a bag and take it out for gaming sessions while travelling, when compared to the ONEXPLAYER.

Tomb Raider on AYA NEO
Tomb Raider on AYA NEO

I like the AYA NEO a lot, it feels very comfortable to handle and play games on, And it is not too heavy when holding it unaided, for example resting on your lap or table. The screen size is also just right, large enough to be able to see smaller text. Aya have done a great job with the Neo and we can’t wait to see how the AYA NEO Pro model with faster processor performs.

Stay tuned for the second part of our AYA NEO review in which we will test some popular and recent Windows games and show how they perform. 

Where to buy the AYA NEO

You can learn more and buy the AYA NEO here, or you can browse our range of gaming handhelds here.


AYA NEO FAQ – Everything You Need To Know So Far

Originally Posted by benjamin on: 28/07/21

Welcome to our FAQ for the AYA NEO. Here we’ll compile everything you need to know about this up-and-coming ryzen handheld, where to buy it, and more!

What is the AYA NEO?

The AYA NEO is an up-and-coming gaming handheld that was successfully crowdfunded in April 2021, totalling up at an impressive 1,576,992 GBP.

The motivation behind the AYA NEO is a simple. “The [Switch] is a cool device. What if there was a [Switch] that could run AAA games?”. Shortly thereafter, the AYA NEO came into existence.

Why the AYA NEO Exists, essentially

The market for handheld gaming PCs that can play AAA games is still a relatively untapped one, so right now the space is ripe for innovation and new developments.

AYA NEO 2021 Technical Specifications

The full list of specs, taken from the kickstarter page, are as follows:

ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 4500U
GraphicsAMD Radeon Graphics
RAM16GB
Memory TypeLPDDR4x @ 4266Mhz
SSD Form FactorM.2 2280
SSD InterfacePCIe Gen 3.0 (NVMe)
Wi-FiWiFi 6 (802.11/a/b/g/n/ac/ax)
Dual-Band (2.4G/5G)
MU-MIMO Support
BluetoothBluetooth 5.0
Ports3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
3.5mm Headphone Jack
Speakers2x Stereo Speakers
SensorsBuilt-in Gyroscope
Built-in Accelerometer
ScreenCapacitive touchscreen
7-inch 1280x800p H-IPS
215ppi
Battery3x 4100mAh
Adapter65W PD
Leds1x Charging Indicator
Game ControlsClickable (L3/R3) analogue sticks
Built-in rumble
D-Pad w/ independent buttons
Face buttons (A/B/X/Y)
Bumpers/Triggers (L1/R1, L2/R2)
Weight650g approx.
Dimensions255mm x 106mm x 20mm approx.
AYA NEO Technical Specifications

Processor

The AYA NEO is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U. A Ryzen series mobile processor that “officially” launched in June 2020 (but as with most “official” launches of hardware, it usually takes some time for them to worm their way into the market).

The 4500U is not a standard processor, but rather it is an “APU”. This is a fancy term for a combination of the graphical (Radeon) and general processing (Ryzen) technologies that AMD develop. Practically, this can be considered a more “efficient” version of integrated graphics.

There are also rumours that there is a Ryzen 7 4800U version in the works, but this is currently unconfirmed.

RAM & Storage

The AYA NEO features soldered-on LPDDR4x RAM clocking in at 4266MHz, highly suited for gaming applications. The high frequency enables quick loading and de-loading of assets during gameplay.

The NVMe SSD – while nothing new to the world of windows gaming handhelds – is still a welcome addition as well, as this boosts the load times across the device in general.

AYA NEO Peformance

How does the AYA NEO perform in games? Surprisingly well!

Thanks to the power of the power of AMD’s Ryzen line, coupled with the hyper-fast speeds of the LPDDR4X RAM, the AYA NEO is fully capable of playing various AAA games at stable frame-rates. Ranging from 30FPS to 60FPS on normal/high settings depending on the game.

It is also possible to adjust the TDP (Thermal Design Power i.e., power consumption) in order to squeeze more performance out of the device.

AYA NEO FAQ - Performance Benchmarks
AYA NEO Benchmarks

AYA NEO Battery Life

The AYA NEO will have around 2 to 5 hours of battery life, depending on the game it is being used to play (more intensive games will equal less battery life). You can also change the TDP of the AYA NEO to further adjust the battery life.

What chargers does the AYA NEO support?

The AYA NEO only supports chargers that can supply a minimum of 60 watts. Anything less than this will not work.

Docking & External Displays

The AYA NEO can be connected to various docks and USB hubs in order to expand its number of interfaces. By using the bottom-most port or the central-most top port, you can connect a USB-C to HDMI hub or dock, and enable HDMI connection to most modern TVs and monitors.

Despite two separate ports being capable of display output, it remains yet to be seen if the AYA NEO can support multiple displays.

AYA NEO’s Design

Like many of the [Switch] inspired gaming handhelds currently, the AYA NEO’s design is fundamentally no different from its contemporaries.

It features a large, vibrant touchscreen that is flanked on either side by physical controls. Two joysticks in total, and various face buttons that perform different functions (A/B/X/Y, D-Pad, Start/Select, etc.).

Screen Size

The 7-inch display is what sets it apart from its most immediate counterpart, the GPD Win 3. This does mean that the AYA NEO is slightly larger, but still ultimately very portable. It is also approximately 100g heavier.

Beyond that, the AYA NEO is relatively plain in design. The shell has small bumps beneath the triggers to aid ergonomics, but there are no real stand-out features beyond that.

Is there an AYA NEO Hardware Revision (AYA NEO 2021)?

The initial batch of AYA NEO units – which we’ll refer to as the “founders edition” – were shipped out in May 2021 to approximately 500 backers. After receiving feedback, AYA have decided to revise the specifications of the device and improve the overall user experience.

Some of the updates being made to the AYA NEO include the addition of analogue triggers, new speakers, a new cooling fan, and more. Note that all newly received AYA NEO units after these first 500 will be the upgraded version.

AYA NEO FAQ - AYA NEO Teardown
The various parts of the AYA NEO

The first 500 backers are also eligible for an “AYA NEO Upgrade” program. Where they will be supplied with following items:

Backers can either have the above components sent to them for self-upgrading, or they can send their founders edition units back to AYA to upgrade the device. Unfortunately in both cases the backers will bear the shipping costs.

This revised version of the AYA NEO is known as the “AYA NEO 2021”.

Is the AYA NEO Pro real?

AYA recently announced the AYA NEO 2021 Pro. An upgrade to the AYA NEO 2021 that features a more powerful processor, as well as an (optional) larger SSD, and an (optional) limited edition colour scheme.

For the full details on the AYA NEO 2021 Pro, check out our blog post covering the AYA NEO 2021’s announcement. See below for a small table outlining the difference between the various AYA NEO models too:

AYA NEO 2021 vs 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 

When is the AYA NEO release date?

The most common question we receive (and one of many that prompted us to make this AYA NEO FAQ) is: “When is the AYA NEO being released?”

The AYA NEO was expected to finalize production and begin shipping in June 2021. Due to a combination of delays (due to the global squeeze on semiconductors at the time), and the “updated” model causing delays, the estimated release date is now currently towards the end of August 2021.

AYA NEO 2021 Pro Release Date

The AYA NEO 2021 Pro is expected to begin shipping at some point in September. We’ll update this section as more information becomes available.

What is the AYA NEO’s Price?

Currently, you can purchase the AYA NEO for £849.95 from DroiX. This will be shipped from the United Kingdom and features a 30-day returns window and a free 1 year warranty.

The device can also be purchased directly from AYA themselves for approximately $1000. However, this only features a 7 day returns window, and warranties will be need to sent to mainland China.

AYA NEO 2021 Pro Price

The AYA NEO 2021 Pro’s launch price is $1,215. There is also a model with a retro motif that comes with a custom docking station which can be purchased for $1,315.


Aya Neo Preview – What to expect on this handheld gaming PC

Aya Neo Preview

Originally posted by DaveC on: 17/08/2021

In our Aya Neo preview, we take a look at the handheld gaming PC which the final version is due for release mid to late September. We will be taking a look at the technical specifications, an overview of the device and what changes are expected in the final model. As well as a brief look at some games for their performance.

The Aya Neo features the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor with Radeon Graphics, 16GB of fast 4266MHz LPDDR4X RAM. There will be a choice of 512GB or 1TB of M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. It has WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 support for wireless connectivity. And there’s three 4100mAh batteries to keep everything running for good gaming sessions on your Ryzen handheld.

You can learn more and buy the Aya Neo here, and don’t forget to check out our wide range of handheld game consoles here.

You can watch our Aya Neo preview video below. Or if you prefer a text based version, scroll down a little further.

The model we have here is the Aya Neo founders edition which was released earlier this year. The final model will have some improvements over Founders Edition which we will discuss further on in the article.

Aya Neo Technical Specifications

Lets first take a look at the technical specifications.

CPUAMD Ryzen 5 4500U, 6 cores & 6 threads up to 4.0 GHz
GPUAMD Radeon Graphics, 6 cores up to 1500 MHz
RAM16GB LPDDR4x 4266Mhz
STORAGEM.2 2280, capacity: 512GB & 1TB PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4 / SATA 3.0, data transfer protocol: NVMe 1.3 / AHCI
WiFiWiFi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) compatible, 2.4G / 5G Dual Band, 2402 Mbps max transfer speed, MU-MIMO support
Battery47Wh 11.4V, 3 cells of 4100mAh each

The Aya Neo has the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor with Radeon Graphics, which we reviewed in our recent ASUS PN50 benchmark blog post. It is a decent processor, and after some benchmarking we saw very respectable scores across the system and gaming tests.

The amount of RAM and storage space is what you would expect to see in a gaming handheld PC. 16GB is plenty for Windows 10 and games to run with no issues. We would recommend the 1TB storage as this will leave you plenty of space for many large AAA games.

Overview

Aya Neo Size
Aya Neo Size

The Aya Neo AMD windows gaming handheld measures approximately 10.03 x 4.17 x 0.78 inches (25.5cm x 10.6cm x 2cm) and weighs 650g. This puts it in the middle in terms of size, with the larger ONEXPLAYER and smaller GPD Win 3.

The 7-inch 1280x800p capacitive touch, native landscape, H-IPS 215ppi display. It has a 76% NTSC colour space and 500 nit peak brightness.

Aya Neo Controls
Aya Neo Controls

On the left side you have a clickable left analogue stick and classic digital pad. Below are a set of buttons. The furthest left, when pressed, cycles through a series of RGB colours for the case LED. Another displays the Xbox game bar which is handy for taking screenshots etc.

Aya Neo Controls
Aya Neo Controls

On the right side we have four gaming buttons and below that the right analogue stick which is clickable. There is another series of buttons including a left mouse button and to bring up the task manager. A very useful button is the on screen keyboard which should overlay on games. This can be used for entering text for example.

Top of the Aya Neo
Top of the Aya Neo

On the top of the Aya Neo we have left and right shoulder and trigger buttons. Along the top you can find the power and volume up and down buttons, followed by the 3.5mm headphone jack.

There are two USB type-C ports which can be used for charging, connecting to a hub or external graphics. There is also a third USB Type-C on the bottom of the device.

Improvements to the new Aya Neo model

The new model, due for release very soon, will have some improvements over the founders edition that we are currently using. 

Aya Neo Dark Star colour
Aya Neo Dark Star colour

There will be two case colours, Dark Star and Clear Moon. It seems at the moment, the clear case was limited to the founders edition.

Amongst the changes are improvements to the backlight bleed, as well as glue that appeared over time around the edges of the display on some units. There was some friction with the fan blades that caused the back of the case to get very warm, so this, as well as the overall cooling has been improved. And improvements to the overall build quality including the case seams and buttons.

Aya Neo Clear Moon colour
Aya Neo Clear Moon colour

Other changes include the addition of analogue trigger buttons which is a very welcome addition. A new speaker has been added which improves the overall audio quality and loudness. 

All in all, Aya has learnt a lot from their first batch of devices and made a good number of improvements based on customer feedback.

Gameplay

We will be doing a full review and benchmark of the final Aya Neo model once it is released. In the meantime we will take a quick look at some games to see the performance.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Shadow of the Tomb Raider

We start off with Shadow of the Tomb Raider which looks and runs great. We are using a mix of settings for the best performance versus visuals.

Streets of Rage 4
Streets of Rage 4

Up next we have Streets of Rage 4 which is running at full graphics settings. It is not a massively demanding game, but it does look and play great on these gaming handheld PC’s.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Remastered
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Remastered

And last but not least, is me trying to play Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 remastered on a controller. I am a mouse and keyboard gamer, so excuse the bad shooting! Again, we will go into more detail on graphics settings in our full Aya Neo review when it is released.

Aya Neo Release Date

The Aya Neo release date for the final model is expected mid to late September 2021 and we can not wait to get our hands on it for a full review. We will compare the Aya Neo vs GPD Win 3 vs ONEXPLAYER handheld games consoles to see how they perform against each other. From our initial tests, the Aya Neo is excellent for gaming thanks to the Ryzen processor.

Where to buy Aya Neo?

You can learn more and buy the Aya Neo here, and don’t forget to check out our wide range of handheld game consoles here.

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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Does the Ryzen beat the Intel handheld PC's? We put the Aya Neo to the test with system and gaming benchmarks to see which performs the best...Read full article

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