Today we are checking out the eagerly awaited revision of earlier this year’s AYA NEO. In our AYA NEO 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.
Underneath the information coverings, there is the AYA NEO which we will show in more detail shortly.
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.
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.
It has a 7-inch H-IPS multitouch screen, it 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 toggle, 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, ESCape and to toggle the on screen keyboard.
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.
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.
|PROCESSOR||AMD RYZEN 5 4500U|
|MAX. FREQUENCY||4.0 GHz|
|GPU||AMD RADEON GRAPHICS|
|MAX FREQUENCY||1500 Mhz|
|RAM||16GB LPDDR4x @ 4266Mhz – Dual Channel|
|STORAGE||1TB NVMe 1.3 & AHCI PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4|
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.
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 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.
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 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.
The AYA NEO scores 4,861 with good scores across the tests, but not higher than the i7 based handhelds.
3DMark tests the CPU and GPU for 2D and 3D capabilities which gives us an indication of how it will perform for gaming.
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.
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.
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.
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 TDP||20W TDP|
|FORZA HORIZON 4||34 FPS||39 FPS|
|STREET FIGHTER V||26 FPS||27 FPS|
|FINAL FANTASY XIV||2876||3020|
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 3||GPD WIN MAX 2021||ONEXPLAYER 1S||AYA NEO|
|PASSMARK||3878||3728 (3355)||3988||4451 (4454)|
|PCMARK||5384||5499 (4949)||5250||4861 (4922)|
|3DMARK||1588||1393 (1253)||1818||1110 (1130)|
|FORZA HORIZON 4||41 FPS||43 FPS (38.7 FPS)||40 FPS||34 FPS (39 FPS)|
|STREET FIGHTER V||35 FPS||40 FPS (3939)||44 FPS||26 FPS (27 FPS)|
|FINAL FANTASY XIV||4209||4377 (3939)||4297||2876 (3020)|
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.
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.
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.