AYN Loki Mini wants to make laptop gaming a little more accessible
PC gaming has taken on a new form in recent years. Although there have been portable gaming PCs from Chinese brands before, it was the success of the Nintendo Switch and the arrival of Valve’s Steam Deck that spurred the creation of a new generation of portable PCs, especially those that are clearly inspired by the Switch and the Steam Bridge. Just like with their larger laptop counterparts, the prices and specs of these gaming PCs vary widely, even though they basically look the same. Most of them tend to lean towards the more expensive end of the spectrum, but newcomer AYN wants to shake up that market a bit with not one but four Loki gaming PC handhelds to choose from, depending on your needs and your budget.
When it comes to the design of portable gaming devices, there really isn’t much room for deviation and innovation. Short of implementing detachable controllers like the Nintendo Switch or a hulking “mini” laptop computer like some of GPD’s models, the basic form of these handhelds is to flank a screen with D-Pads, buttons, and more. action and analog sticks. The AYN Loki and its siblings don’t break the mold in this respect and actually look more like a Switch Lite than a Steam Deck.
It also doesn’t stray from staples, which is actually part of its appeal. In a somewhat small package that has enough room for a 6-inch 1080p screen, you’ll get the basic hardware and features you’d expect from a handheld console, like analog triggers, a gyroscope for motion control, and vibrating motors for rumble effects. . The only thing the AYN Loki does differently than existing handhelds is include RGB lighting that will allow owners to choose from three different hues. It’s not as expressive as similar features on gaming laptops and desktops, but it’s an added touch that gamers will most likely appreciate.
The biggest draw that the AYN Loki, specifically the AYN Loki Mini, will try to make is its price, which starts at $299 for this “Mini” model. All four variants will actually have the same basic dimensions, only varying within a certain thickness and weight to accommodate different hardware components. The AYN Loki Mini is only small in that it has the least powerful hardware options, which might not be enough for anything but the most basic PC games. At this point, the Loki Mini loses its edge over the $650 Steam Deck, but AYN has other options on the table as well.
It’s still unclear if this new wave of portable gaming PCs is just a passing fad or the start of something groundbreaking. The Steam Deck mostly dominates players’ attention, but it’s hardly perfect when it comes to execution. Valve continually releases updates that improve the performance and control of the device, but some things like the design are set in stone, affecting the ergonomics of the device until the next design iteration. There’s also the fact that the Steam Deck still strikes one of the best balances between price and performance, especially since Valve has worked with partners like AMD to optimize the hardware, which smaller brands might not be. able to imitate.