Ayaneo’s Kun gaming handheld is an train in decadance

13. That’s the variety of completely different handheld gaming PCs that Ayaneo exhibits on its homepage as of this writing. Fourteen when you rely the preview for one within the carousel. Every system is available in a selection of colours with completely different storage and RAM configurations. Ayaneo has quite a lot of SKUs. Solely 5 months in the past I reviewed the Air Plus and it’s already been discounted to make means for the subsequent model. The present tippy-top of all these handhelds is the Ayaneo Kun and it’s, presently, one among a form.

The Kun is the highest-spec machine the corporate has ever made, and after utilizing it for a few weeks I can say it’s each a incredible gaming handheld and (in order for you) an honest transportable general-use PC. However regardless of being the most recent and best, it didn’t take lengthy for one factor to turn into abundantly clear: The Kun is only a placeholder for the Kun 2, or the Kun 1S, Kun Professional or… no matter they name the beefier, up to date model that’s ready for the subsequent era of processors. We’ll get to why in a bit, however for now, it’s probably the most spectacular console the corporate has made.

The Ayaneo Kun is pictured on a coffee table with the Death Stranding launch screen showing.

Picture by James Trew / Engadget

With an 8.4-inch show, the most recent AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor, and as much as 64GB of RAM and 4TB of storage the Kun kicks digital sand within the face of the anemic-by-comparison Steam Deck. Bodily, it’s a shade taller and, at two kilos (900g), a (double) handful. However with Valve’s transportable approaching its second birthday, it’s beginning to make much less sense to measure the present wave of gaming portables in opposition to it. That stated, only one have a look at the Kun, with its familiar-looking trackpads and rear buttons, and it’s clear the way it’s been influenced by the market-leading system .

Earlier than we discuss how all that {hardware} performs, or the software program expertise, we must always discuss worth. The totally loaded Kun I’ve been testing prices an eye-watering $1,700. That’s sufficient cash for a superb desktop gaming PC, together with the monitor. It’s additionally sufficient to purchase two prime of the road Steam Decks with change (or two high-end ROG Allys). A greater comparability is the lowest-spec Kun, as that matches the RAM and storage (16GB / 512 GB) of the high-end Deck ($649), and that mannequin prices a barely extra affordable $999. You possibly can add one other $200 or so to these Kun costs if you are going to buy exterior of the IGG marketing campaign, however Ayaneo tends to go away them going lengthy sufficient for anybody who desires one to get the higher worth.

Whereas the Kun is new, there’s so much we’ve seen earlier than. The Ayaneo 2S shares the identical 7840U processor and graphics chip. However when it comes to efficiency, you may fairly count on the Kun to be a shade worse, as that 8.4-inch show permits 1600p gaming which is extra intensive than the 1200p max of the Ayaneo 2 or 2S. The fact, nevertheless, is that when you can play video games at larger resolutions, it’s normally not price it for the hit on efficiency. That’s the place the opposite essential {hardware} distinction on the Kun is available in: the large 75Wh battery.

The Ayaneo Kun playing a game while showing the settings overlay.

Picture by James Trew / Engadget

When taking part in video games at 1080p or 1200p all the pieces nonetheless appears to be like incredible. That show is shiny, has glorious dynamic vary and simply actually brings video games to life. The pairing of optimized graphics settings and the larger battery interprets to for much longer play classes. Precisely how lengthy will depend upon a couple of variables together with the utmost energy drain/TDP that you simply specify within the Ayaspace software program. However as a broad information, for lighter video games and issues like retro emulation it’s best to have the ability to crack 5 hours. For lots of AAA video games, you’ll be able to count on over three hours of 1080p play (assuming a TDP of between 15 and 20). If you wish to enhance the decision to both 1200 or 1600 and enhance the TDP nearer 30 then you definitely may eke out two hours when you’re fortunate.

These instances are fairly good for this present era of Home windows handhelds, however there are different elements to contemplate. The Kun is a foot broad and a little bit hefty. Positive, you’ll be able to take this factor locations however you’ll not be sliding it out of a pocket whereas ready on the DMV. The Kun lives to be performed, unironically, at dwelling — or another person’s dwelling, or possibly on a flight or lengthy practice experience. The scale and weight aren’t problematic in these managed, indoor environments, however you’ll wish to be someplace comparatively snug or ergonomic. There’s a kickstand, which actually helps with sure sorts of video games, nevertheless it positions the Kun upright like a laptop computer display. I do want the stand have been adjustable to permit for quite a lot of angles, nevertheless it’s higher than nothing.

Rear view of the Ayaneo Kun gaming handheld

Picture by James Trew / Engadget

Personally, I discovered myself taking part in with it whereas on the sofa, grabbing an hour or so of sport time between work and dinner. For prolonged classes, I’d dock it and play via the TV. This hybrid use case appears to be the place the Kun excels. You don’t have to occupy the lounge’s essential display, however you’ll be able to nonetheless be round associates or household. After which if you actually wish to get right into a sport, taking part in via the TV is the place the Kun’s larger 54W max energy drain / TDP can turn out to be useful.

Right here is an effective time to circle again to one thing I alluded to proper up prime. That 54W max TDP is actually, actually excessive in comparison with the Steam Deck’s 15W highest energy setting. It’s additionally so much larger than even the Ayaneo 2S’ 30W restrict. However proper now that doesn’t translate into a lot additional sport efficiency. The GPU on this system would be the bottleneck, normally reaching one hundred pc lengthy earlier than you attain something close to 54W of energy. Sadly, jacking the facility as much as 54W as soon as the GPU is already operating at most received’t change something. However what it may possibly assist with is 2 fold.

The Ayaneo Kun paired with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse

Picture by James Trew / Engadget

Firstly, it permits for extra CPU intensive duties like common computing. Wish to run music making software program on this factor? You undoubtedly might. Have the urge to edit video footage on the go? The Kun will eat this up. With a keyboard and a mouse, the Kun is, in a comical means, a superb all-purpose laptop. Heck, it even has a webcam with infrared for Home windows Hiya (and Zoom calls) which is one thing many laptops don’t even have. The Kun’s display is extra Netbook than Macbook when it comes to dimension, nevertheless it’s massive sufficient. You might at all times join it to a monitor anyway. Do not buy it for that reason after all, it is only a testomony to how massive and highly effective this factor is.

Secondly, and most significantly for avid gamers, is that this 54W TDP is a reasonably clear indicator that the Kun type issue will undergo the identical steady revisions as Ayaneo’s different fashions. The Kun is principally all set for a chipset that can make use of 54W TDP for gaming as soon as AMD and others begin making APUs with extra highly effective GPUs in them. We’re a methods out from any probably refresh from AMD, however you by no means know, as they’re not the one title within the sport. Not even in the hand held gaming sport.

The result’s, predictably, a tool with so much to supply but additionally some fairly slim enchantment. In reality, there’s a good probability that when you have been fascinated about one among these, you already positioned an order for one. For these people, the Kun delivers on its guarantees. For that small group that didn’t know they have been in search of a $1,000-plus gaming handheld, the Kun presently has no actual competitors at this dimension and specification. For everybody else, it’s probably an train in extra, however at the least it’s enjoyable.

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