Something to look forward to: Valve's Steam Deck wasn't the first handheld gaming PC and almost certainly won't be the last. Other companies are trying to create alternatives for portable Windows or Linux gaming. Ayn and GPD offer two examples with drastically different specs and price points.

This week, GPD unveiled the successor to last year's GPD Win Max. An IndieGoGo campaign for the new device starts Wednesday at 10 pm EST with a flexible goal of $20,000. Five models are available, all in the ballpark of $1,000.

Like the 2021 model, the GPD Win Max 2 looks more like a mini laptop than a handheld game system. This year's version offers three AMD variants and one Intel option, differing in memory and storage capacity.

The Intel model packs a Core i7-1260P with 1.4GHz Iris Xe graphics at a 20-28W TDP, while the AMD option features a Ryzen 7 6800U with a 2.2GHz 680M GPU at 15-28W. Both sport 16-thread CPUs with a 4.7GHz max boost, Wi-Fi 6, and a 10.1" screen that can switch between 1920 x 1200 or 2560 x 1600 resolutions.

Benchmarks for the 680M model show Elden Ring reaching 35 frames per second on medium settings, God of War at 45fps on low with FSR, Forza Horizon 5 at 75fps on low, and FIFA 22 hitting 132fps on ultra, all at 1200p.

Backers can choose between 16 or 32GB of RAM, and 1TB or 2TB of PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage, with an additional M.2 expansion slot and a MicroSD slot. The cheapest version features AMD hardware with 16GB of RAM and just 128GB of storage at $900. However, GPD only offers 50 of these and won't sell them at retail.

The other models are as follows:

  • 6800U, 16GB RAM, 1TB, $999
  • 6800U, 32GB, RAM, 1TB, $1199
  • 6800U, 32GB, 2TB, $1299
  • 1260P, 16GB, RAM, 1TB, $999

Conversely, Ayn's Loki Zero looks like something with a completely different purpose and consumer in mind. The Loki Zero looks unambiguously like a gaming handheld, contrasting GPD's clamshell design that could honestly pass for a micro work laptop. The other immediately apparent difference is price, with pre-orders for Ayn's machine starting at a discounted $200 from a $250 MSRP.

The hardware matches the modest price --- an Athlon Silver 3050e (dual-core, four threads) with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard M.2 storage with a MicroSD slot, and a 720p screen. Most likely, no one will use this to play recent AAA games outside of cloud streaming. Ayn probably intends its device to run lower-end PC games like Stardew Valley, Hades, Cuphead, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge, or Citizen Sleeper.

For anything other than a high-end gaming PC, $1,200 is a high price, but is Ayn offering enough here for an attractive entry-point to handheld PC gaming?