Ayaneo's Kun gaming handheld is an train in decadence

13. That’s the variety of totally different handheld gaming PCs that Ayaneo reveals on its homepage as of this writing. Fourteen in case you rely the preview for one within the carousel. Every machine is available in a selection of colours with totally different storage and RAM configurations. Ayaneo has a whole lot of SKUs. Solely 5 months in the past I reviewed the Air Plus and it’s already been discounted to make method for the next version. The present tippy-top of all these handhelds is the Ayaneo Kun and it’s, at present, 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 improbable gaming handheld and (if you’d like) a good moveable general-use PC. However regardless of being the newest and best, it didn’t take lengthy for one factor to change 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 technology of processors. We’ll get to why in a bit, however for now, it’s essentially the most spectacular console the corporate has made.

Picture by James Trew / Engadget

With an 8.4-inch show, the newest 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 moveable approaching its second birthday, it’s beginning to make much less sense to measure the present wave of gaming portables towards it. That stated, only one take 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 machine .

Earlier than we discuss how all that {hardware} performs, or the software program expertise, we should always discuss value. The totally loaded Kun I’ve been testing prices an eye-watering $1,700. That’s sufficient cash for a great desktop gaming PC, together with the monitor. It’s additionally sufficient to purchase two high 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 slightly more reasonable $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 value.

Whereas the Kun is new, there’s lots we’ve seen earlier than. The Ayaneo 2S shares the identical 7840U processor and graphics chip. However by way of 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 increased resolutions, it’s normally not value it for the hit on efficiency. That’s the place the opposite essential {hardware} distinction on the Kun is available in: the massive 75Wh battery.

The Ayaneo Kun playing a game while showing the settings overlay.
Picture by James Trew / Engadget

When enjoying video games at 1080p or 1200p all the pieces nonetheless seems to be improbable. That show is brilliant, has wonderful 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 rely on a couple of variables together with the utmost energy drain/TDP that you just specify within the Ayaspace software program. However as a broad information, for lighter video games and issues like retro emulation you must be capable 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 you then may eke out two hours in case you’re fortunate.

These instances are fairly good for this present technology of Home windows handhelds, however there are different components to think about. The Kun is a foot huge and slightly 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 house — or another person’s house, or possibly on a flight or lengthy prepare trip. The scale and weight aren’t problematic in these managed, indoor environments, however you’ll wish to be someplace comparatively comfy or ergonomic. There’s a kickstand, which actually helps with sure kinds of video games, but it surely positions the Kun upright like a laptop computer display. I do want the stand have been adjustable to permit for a wide range of angles, but it surely’s higher than nothing.

Rear view of the Ayaneo Kun gaming handheld
Picture by James Trew / Engadget

Personally, I discovered myself enjoying 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 by means of the TV. This hybrid use case appears to be the place the Kun excels. You don’t must occupy the lounge’s foremost display, however you’ll be able to nonetheless be round buddies or household. After which while you actually wish to get right into a sport, enjoying by means of the TV is the place the Kun’s increased 54W max energy drain / TDP can turn out to be useful.

Right here is an efficient time to circle again to one thing I alluded to proper up high. That 54W max TDP is actually, actually excessive in comparison with the Steam Deck’s 15W highest energy setting. It’s additionally lots increased than even the Ayaneo 2S’ 30W restrict. However proper now that doesn’t translate into a lot further sport efficiency. The GPU on this machine 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 working at most gained’t change something. However what it may well 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 basic computing. Need to run music making software program on this factor? You positively may. 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 method, a great all-purpose pc. Heck, it even has a webcam with infrared for Home windows Good day (and Zoom calls) which is one thing many laptops don’t even have. The Kun’s display is extra Netbook than Macbook by way of measurement, but it surely’s large sufficient. You could possibly all the time join it to a monitor anyway. Don't purchase it for that reason after all, it's only a testomony to how large 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 kind 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 seemingly refresh from AMD, however you by no means know, as they’re not the one title within the sport. Not even in the handheld gaming game.

The result’s, predictably, a tool with lots to supply but in addition some fairly slender attraction. In truth, there’s a good probability that in case you have been serious about one among these, you already positioned an order for one. For these of us, 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 at present has no actual competitors at this measurement and specification. For everybody else, it’s seemingly an train in extra, however at the very least it’s enjoyable.

This text initially appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ayaneos-kun-gaming-handheld-review-164050984.html?src=rss

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