Indiegogo staffers are putting crowdfunded products to the test in our new series of honest reviews. In this edition, our very own email marketing and lifecycle strategist Karisa Hunt tried out AYANEO SLIDE, the new handheld gaming PC that our crowdfunding community is talking about. Does it live up to the hype? Read on as we put it to the test!
I love video games, but don’t love their largely non-portable nature. And while the Nintendo Switch is great, it’s old enough now that it has trouble with newer games, and the selection available to play is limited. I figured that I was pretty much stuck with what I had, limitations and all.
But then handheld gaming PCs became a reality, and I got interested. I’ve been wanting to try one out for a while, and when AYANEO launched their new SLIDE model, I knew it was time for me to try it out.
I want to give the AYANEO team a lot of credit here, because I was enchanted by this product the moment I took it out of the shipping box. I mean, look at how great this packaging is!
Sure, this packaging is targeted to a certain age range who will both understand what it is and be nostalgic about it… but as it happens, I’m right in that age range. I’m still delighted by the giant VHS box.
Everything you need is in the box, which is great… because as excited as I was to ry it out, I needed to charge it first.
The AYANEO SLIDE isn’t like a game console, where it has its own operating system and way of doing things. Instead, it’s a true handheld PC, so it runs Windows and any other programs you download to it. Setting it up was pretty simple, as Windows walks you through the process the entire way.
The first issue I hit was when launching the AYANEO software. It kept crashing on me, so I decided to bypass it entirely for the time being and download Steam. (It comes preloaded with Xbox gaming access, but I’m mostly a Playstation person, so I went a different route.) No problems there, or with any other program loading, so I’m chalking the AYANEO software issue up to the program itself instead of an issue with the console.
The AYANEO SLIDE that I got has 64GB of RAM in it, so it works ultra-fast. I wanted to test it out by playing Ori and the Will of the Wisps, a game I attempted to play on my Switch but had to stop because it glitched too much to enjoy it.
When I tell you that it was an utter joy to play on the AYANEO SLIDE, I’m not exaggerating. Ori has gorgeous graphics and a seamless flow, which makes for a lovely play experience when it’s played on a machine with the processing capability to handle it. I was absolutely delighted by the experience.
Of course, I couldn’t stop there. The AYANEO SLIDE handled Resident Evil 4 with ease (at about 50 FPS, too). It played a few different first-person shooters with zero glitching. It even played Baldur’s Gate 3 like an absolute champ, and I was able to carry it with me everywhere I went, instead of being tied to a specific location like I would have been at home.
There are a few other smaller features that really enhanced my experience as well. The sliding screen tilts up, so I’m able to hold the console at a comfortable angle while still being able to see. The customization is also incredible – you can change every little thing, from preferred gaming settings to different color background lighting for the keyboard and each joystick. It’s also so incredibly fast, and with a 4TB SSD in it as well, it’s by far the most advanced computer I’ve ever used.
While I love the way the AYANEO SLIDE handles games, there are a few drawbacks. First, and most importantly, the battery life isn’t great. On a full charge, I can play about an hour and a half of Baldur’s Gate 3 before it dies. Granted, that’s a game that chews up a lot of battery, but that’s still not a great runtime. (This is a problem with a lot of similar devices, though, and I don’t think the AYANEO SLIDE is any worse than average here. It’s just something to be aware of.)
Second, while the slide keyboard is neat (and makes typing in my incomprehensibly long passwords a lot easier), there just aren’t that many places where it feels necessary. It’s also kind of an odd size, which makes sense, but makes it a little tough to use. My hands aren’t big enough to reach the middle keys while holding the console two-handed, but if they shrank the buttons to make it smaller, the keys would be hard to hit accurately (and the screen size would shrink, which would be sad).
Third, it’s heavy. While it’s not impossible to use due to the weight, it’s probably two and a half Switches in weight. It doesn’t start getting really uncomfortable until the battery is about to quit, so there’s no point where I felt I needed to put it down for my wrists’ sake, but it’s noticeably heavier than a lot of other handheld PCs and Steam decks out there (likely due to the keyboard).
Overall, the AYANEO SLIDE is a very, very good gaming PC, and the ability to take it anywhere is great. Its biggest differentiator – the keyboard – ended up being less of a draw than I’d initially hoped, but it will probably be more useful for browsing the web and chatting on apps like Discord than it has been solely in gaming contexts. However, the way it handles heavy games like Baldur’s Gate 3 will keep me happily coming back to it for a long time to come.
To learn more, check out the campaign for AYANEO SLIDE!