AYA NEO Review – AMD Ryzen 5 handheld gaming PC

Aya Neo Review

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.

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.

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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