Steam Deck OLED vs AYANEO Air 1S | Which Handheld Should You Pick?

In the world of handheld gaming, the competition is fierce, with manufacturers continually striving to offer the best experience for gamers on the go. Valve’s recent announcement of the Steam Deck OLED brings an upgraded display to the popular handheld gaming PC. But how does it stack up against the AYANEO Air 1S, which was one of the pioneers in introducing OLED technology to handheld gaming? Let’s delve into a detailed comparison to help you make an informed decision.

Display

Steam Deck OLED vs AYANEO Air 1S
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Valve Steam Deck OLED 1TB Handheld Gaming Console
  • 1TB NVMe SSD
  • 1280 x 800 HDR OLED display with premium anti-glare etched glass, 7.4" Diagonal display size up to...
  • Wi-Fi 6E
  • 50Whr battery; 3-12 hours of gameplay (content-dependent)

Steam Deck OLED: Elevating Visuals to New Heights

The Steam Deck OLED features a 7-inch 1280×800 resolution OLED panel, offering several significant upgrades over its predecessor’s LCD display. OLED technology provides higher contrast with true blacks, resulting in more vivid images and improved immersion for gamers. The individual pixel control allows for inky blacks and faster pixel response times, reducing motion blur in games and videos. Additionally, Valve claims a peak brightness of 1000 nits, enhancing visibility in bright lighting conditions. With 100% coverage of the sRGB color gamut, the Steam Deck OLED delivers more accurate and saturated colors, further enhancing the gaming experience.

AYANEO Air 1S: Crisp Resolution in a Compact Package

Steam Deck OLED vs AYANEO Air 1S

On the other hand, the AYANEO Air 1S boasts a smaller 5.5-inch OLED display but with a higher 1920×1080 resolution. While maintaining the benefits of OLED technology such as high contrast and fast pixel response, the higher resolution provides sharper details and crisper text. Despite its smaller size, the AIR 1S display offers excellent picture quality and a rated peak brightness of 350 nits, ensuring visibility in various lighting conditions. The near-non-existent bezels maximize screen real estate in the compact chassis, providing a visually immersive experience.

Comparison: Size vs. Resolution

The choice between the two displays ultimately boils down to personal preferences. While the Steam Deck OLED offers a larger screen with high brightness and color accuracy, the AIR 1S provides a higher resolution for sharper details in a more compact form factor. Gamers may prioritize a larger, brighter screen for immersive gaming sessions, while others may prefer the sharper visuals offered by the higher-resolution display.

Performance

Steam Deck OLED: Balancing Power and Efficiency

The Steam Deck utilizes a custom AMD APU with Zen 2 CPU cores, optimized for handheld gaming. Despite its lower raw CPU speed compared to the AIR 1S, the Steam Deck’s intelligent cooling design enables it to sustain higher performance for longer sessions. With faster LPDDR5 RAM, the Steam Deck achieves smoother frame rates and delivers excellent real-world gaming performance.

AYANEO Air 1S: Leveraging the Latest Technology

In contrast, the AYANEO Air 1S leverages AMD’s latest Zen 4 architecture, boasting superior raw CPU speed on paper. However, the Steam Deck’s balanced custom architecture optimized for handheld gaming allows it to achieve equivalent or better real-world gaming performance. Both devices handle demanding AAA games smoothly, thanks to their tailored power limits and efficient designs.

Comparison: Balanced Performance vs. Raw Power

While the AIR 1S may seem superior in terms of raw CPU speed, the Steam Deck’s optimized architecture and intelligent cooling design ensure excellent real-world gaming performance. Gamers can expect smooth frame rates and immersive gaming experiences on both devices, but the Steam Deck’s balance of power and efficiency sets it apart.

Ergonomics

Steam Deck OLED: Comfortable Gaming on the Go

Despite its larger size and weight, the Steam Deck incorporates an ergonomic design with grips that enhance comfort during extended handheld play. The larger build provides a more comfortable and secure grip, ensuring a pleasant gaming experience even during prolonged sessions.

AYANEO Air 1S: Extreme Portability

In contrast, the AIR 1S prioritizes exceptional portability with its lighter weight and slim profile, making it impressively easy to carry. The emphasis on portability is a significant advantage for users who prioritize on-the-go gaming, allowing them to enjoy gaming experiences anywhere, anytime.

Comparison: Comfort vs. Portability

The choice between the two devices depends on individual preferences. While the Steam Deck excels in ergonomic design, offering a comfortable grip for extended gaming sessions, the AIR 1S shines in extreme portability, allowing gamers to enjoy gaming on the go without compromising on comfort.

Battery Life

Steam Deck OLED: Flexibility and Longevity

With a solid 50Wh battery, the Steam Deck promises anywhere from 3 to 12 hours of gaming, depending on the game and settings. The flexibility of battery life makes it suitable for various gaming habits and preferences, ensuring uninterrupted gaming sessions on the go.

AYANEO Air 1S: Limited Battery Performance

In contrast, the AIR 1S faces challenges in overall battery performance due to its smaller 38Wh battery. Many reviewers report significantly shorter battery life, making it less suitable for playing demanding titles for extended periods.

Comparison: Flexibility vs. Limitations

While the Steam Deck offers flexibility in battery life, catering to different gaming preferences, the AIR 1S falls short in battery longevity. Gamers should consider their gaming habits and preferences when choosing between the two devices to ensure an optimal gaming experience.

Software and Compatibility

Steam Deck OLED: Versatile Gaming Experience

A major advantage of the Steam Deck is its compatibility with SteamOS for access to a wide range of Steam games. Additionally, it allows installation of Windows and other software for open PC functionality, providing gamers with a versatile gaming experience tailored to their preferences.

AYANEO Air 1S: Limited Software Support

In contrast, the AIR 1S currently only supports Windows out of the box, lacking Valve’s optimized SteamOS interface. While it provides access to the Steam library, its compatibility with other software may be limited compared to the Steam Deck.

Comparison: Versatility vs. Limitations

The Steam Deck offers a more versatile gaming experience with its compatibility with SteamOS and the ability to install Windows and other software. In contrast, the AIR 1S may have limitations in software support, potentially restricting gaming options for some users.

Price and Verdict

Steam Deck OLED: Affordable Performance

Starting at $549, the Steam Deck offers a competitive price for its hardware and performance, making it an attractive option for gamers seeking an affordable handheld gaming solution.

AYANEO Air 1S: Premium Pricing

With a price tag of $799, the AIR 1S falls into a higher pricing tier, making it a premium option for gamers who prioritize portability and high-resolution display.

Comparison: Value vs. Premium Quality

Considering the specs and capability, the Steam Deck appears to offer better value for its price compared to the AIR 1S. While both devices offer advanced OLED display technology and excellent gaming performance, the Steam Deck’s larger screen, ergonomic design, and affordable pricing give it the edge as the ultimate handheld gaming solution.

In conclusion, the Steam Deck OLED and AYANEO Air 1S both offer advanced OLED display technology optimized for handheld gaming. While the AIR 1S impresses with its lightweight portability and high-resolution display, the Steam Deck OLED stands out with its larger screen, ergonomic design, and affordable pricing. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on individual preferences, whether one prioritizes portability, resolution, or value for

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