Best Steam Deck alternatives in 2023: Ayaneo, GPD Win & more
Are you planning to get your hands on a Steam Deck substitute in 2023? The handheld realm can be overwhelming without proper knowledge. Fret not as we’ve selected a few top-notch alternatives for you to ponder.
The Steam Deck’s surge in popularity over the past year has prompted a response from the portable PC industry. Brands like GPD and Ayaneo are delving into a market that craves high performance, regardless of the price tag.
Given there are so many coming up from brands, it can be hard to figure out which one would actually be the best for your money. Needless to say, none of the handheld alternatives really manage to beat the Steam Deck on price, but instead focus their efforts on something else: Power.
Many of these current handhelds will be using AMD’s Zen 3 architecture, which is more powerful than the Steam Deck. However, graphics performance remains around on par with Valve’s portable powerhouse.
The Ayaneo 2 is the company’s next-generation handheld. With hall-sensing analog sticks in addition to powerful hardware under the hood, this handheld has to be one of the best ones that we’ve seen around so far. From its exquisite build quality to the power under the hood, the Ayaneo 2 has it all, if you can live without the trackpad seen on a Steam Deck.
In our testing, the handheld managed to handle all manner of games, including Cyberpunk 2077 at 60 FPS. Since it has a higher resolution than the Steam Deck, you can also run titles with gorgeous high resolution, afforded by the bezel-less IPS display. The Ayaneo can run you around $949, so you will be paying for the privilege.
Ayaneo Air Pro
The Ayaneo Air Pro isn’t as powerful as the Steam Deck, and while it does come in at $600, it provides a similar performance to its Valve counterpart. Ayaneo has a bigger range of consoles, with a far deeper user interface for gaming purposes.
What you’ll find with the Ayaneo Air Pro is a much smaller, slimmer design compared to the Steam Deck. While it might not be as powerful, it makes for an excellent Windows gaming device at 720p. It also helps that it comes equipped with a delightful OLED screen.
OneXPlayer has recently announced the second edition of their handheld, but that’s not to discount the current choices. The two on sale right now are the Mini editions, sporting either an Intel i7-1260P and Intel Xe graphics, or AMD 6800U with RDNA 2 graphics.
Both of these devices are absurdly powerful in what they sport outside of the specs. The USB-4, as well as supporting up to 100W GaN charging and it has Wi-Fi 6. This should ensure that transferring data, charging and even your downloads will all be excessively quick on the right hardware setup.
These devices are a little bit more expensive, but with the Steam Deck lagging behind in certain specs – namely a lack of Wi-Fi 6 – it can be a decent alternative to gun for.
Performance on these devices is exceptional, with similar performances to that of the Steam Deck, thanks to the inclusion of RDNA 2 on the AMD unit. The Xe graphics from Intel will get you into most games at a lower resolution without much hassle.
Yes, it was going to make an appearance as an alternative. While the Switch might be getting on in years, for those who want that same bounty of games to take with you on the go, this is the way forward.
For now, at least.
The three different versions of the Switch will all provide the same performance, but the Lite cannot be connected to the TV.
Nintendo’s current pricing is still considerably lower than Valve’s Steam Deck, with a lot of the games you’d be looking to play on the go, also available – at much worse resolutions – on the Switch.
A great benefit of buying games through the Switch’s eShop is the collection of ‘gold coins’, which you can then transfer over into your local currency to get discounts on games.
Asus ROG Ally
New to the town is the Asus ROG Ally. Originally announced on April Fools, Asus quickly picked up the slack to confirm that it was real.
While we probably wouldn’t recommend it as a true alternative to the Steam Deck over the others on this list, the Asus ROG Ally has some impressive specs and performance that others can’t match. We’ve detailed this further in our review.
While its issues prevent it from becoming the Steam Deck competitor it wants to be, it’s still a neat little device when it comes together.
Lenovo Legion Go
Lenovo is not new to the world of gaming; hence, it would make sense for Lenovo to get their feet wet by delving into the handheld category. With the Legion Go, Lenovo knocks it out of the park with standout features such as the clean and simple UI and the detachable controllers.
The Lenovo Legion Go clearly takes inspiration from the Nintendo Switch, with the detachable controllers also being able to act as a mouse. Read more in our hands-on review.
The Legion Go is definitely a worthy competitor when put against the Steam Deck.
If you’re after even more useful guides to do with the Steam Deck, we have many more guides for you to check out right here:
How to use the Steam Deck’s keyboard in desktop mode | Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch: Which one is better in 2023? | How to install Windows on Steam Deck: Dual boot & more | Steam Deck SSD installation: How to upgrade your storage drive | Best Steam Deck games in 2023: Resident Evil 4 Remake, FFXIV & more | How to add extra storage on your Steam Deck and Dock | Best handheld console 2023 | Steam Deck 2: Price, specs, & benchmark speculation