If you follow the portable gaming PC scene at all, you’ve probably heard of Aya Neo. The Chinese manufacturer has quietly made a name for itself since 2021 with high-performing handheld Windows PCs. In that short window, Aya Neo has released a bunch of different handhelds (with several more on the way), which could be considered both a good and bad thing. On the negative side, it means that customers who buy an Aya Neo may feel like their handheld is outdated in a few months. But on the positive side, Aya Neo’s handhelds just keep getting better. The latest example of this is the Aya Neo Air Plus, which takes the impressive internals of the flagship Aya Neo 2 and squeezes them into a compact form factor. The Aya Neo Air Plus is a superb machine with great performance and a premium build that feels and looks fantastic.

As with all other Aya Neo models, the Air Plus comes in several configurations that vary widely in price and specs. Prices range from $600 to $1,400, and there are three different colors to choose from: Glacier Blue, Starlight Black, and Classic Gray. On the low end of the scale, you’re getting an AMD Ryzen 3 7320U processor or an Intel Alder Lake i3 1215U. To get the type of performance you’re probably looking for, the AMD Ryzen 7 6800U configuration is the marquee Air Plus. Though I didn’t test the lower-end models, their specs suggest they wouldn’t perform favorably compared to the Steam Deck despite costing more. The Ryzen 7 6800U units start at $980 and can outperform the Steam Deck. I tested the model with the 6800U, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. If you really want to go all out, the Air Plus tops out at 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD. That said, the Air Plus has a microSD card slot to expand your storage, which I found to be a convenient way to increase the storage space while maintaining solid performance.

The Air Plus falls between the Aya Neo 2 and last year’s Air/Air Pro with its size and form factor. It’s larger than the original Air models and has a 6-inch touchscreen display instead of the 5.5-inch, but it’s noticeably smaller than Aya Neo’s 7-inch handhelds. And placing the Air Plus next to the Steam Deck makes the latter appear comically large and clunky. Fortunately, the compact size doesn’t stop the Air Plus from being ergonomically friendly: It feels natural to hold, and the rounded back handles keep the experience comfy for hours.

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