While the Steam Deck continues to be honed using firmware updates, its Aya Neo competitor prefers to release new hardware revisions. The latest, reported by Liliputing, is the Neo Slide. It contains an actual keyboard hidden behind the screen, perfect for tapping away in a group chat or playing text adventures on the go. But, perhaps more importantly, it features uprated specs.
The included keyboard should be good for playing games that don’t pair well with a controller - and even maybe sending the odd email or two - it is a step in the right direction and much more convenient than packing a compact Bluetooth mechanical keyboard in your bag. Oh, and it has RGB lighting.
The product briefing we’ve embedded above, which isn’t in English and doesn’t have complete subtitles, gives you a good look at all the new Neo devices. Apart from the keyboard, the innards were upgraded to an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor (Zen 3+) with Radeon 680M (RDNA2) graphics. This GPU can theoretically push twice as many FLOPS as the one in the Steam Deck and is the same combo found in the recently announced Neo 2. It also takes on the curvaceous design of the new handheld, all rounded corners where the original 2021 model had a more hexagonal shape, similar to the GPD Win3 - which had a slide-up keyboard.
The Slide slots into a fourth product category for the Neo, which now sees the original model and Neo 2 fit into the ‘mainline product’ slot. The Slide has a category of its own that’s roughly equivalent, alongside the 720p Air (entry-level) and Next (top-level) models. The current Next, as we point out in our review, is less powerful than the Steam Deck, so it will be overtaken in its top-level position by the Neo 2.
The company is also developing a version of the Aya Space game launcher for use on non-Aya hardware; however, there is no firm release date. No launch date for the Slide has been released either, beyond ‘later this year,’ and pricing is a guessing game. The current models of Neo all cost over $1,000, so we won’t get the Slide for anything like the Steam Deck’s entry-level price of $399, though there's hope with the upcoming Air.
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Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.
I gotta say, I do like the design, but at the end of the day what matters is how much it'll cost. Sure having a physical keyboard is great as a standalone device, but there's tiny BT keyboards you can use on the go as well if you really need one, otherwise on-screen keyboards should work fine? I'll find out when I get my Steam Deck xDReply
I hope these renders are accurate enough that it's pocketable. Seems small and flat. Great for pocketing.Reply
Pocketable and a physical keyboard would stand out enough for me to get this over or in addition to the Deck even at a higher price. That's just me though. I wouldn't even mind if they need to cap the TDP of the 6800U lower to get it into a pocketable device.