Well folks, they finally did it. Aya finally shipped their first Android device… a bit late really. I’d say it’s a Christmas miracle, but that’s more reserved for the Ayn Odin 2 and its review by our own Raven Mage. In all reality, Ayaneo finally got there. The ‘Air’ moniker handheld for Android! It’s here, it’s powerful, and it’s the same price as something way more powerful. And if timing isn’t bad on its own, they’ve already moved on to focusing on new handhelds like the Pocket S, and their usual selection of Windows handhelds for the high end.

It was wanted, it was begged for, it released at a price marketed as a “goodwill gesture due to expenses,” and it was basically discontinued out of the gate. 1,200 Ayaneo Pocket Airs have been made and as far as we can tell, that will be it. Is this the best handheld you can’t buy? Can the OLED display, Ayaneo software, and high-end build quality save it? Or is it too little, too late?

Before we get into it, I just want to disclose the Ayaneo Pocket Air was purchased by me, directly through their Indiegogo


For your $279-$459 depending on Indiegogo price, you receive a Dimensity D1200, the same chip last seen in the doomed GPD XP+. Alongside that comes your choice of 6gb, 8gb, or 12gb of ram paired up with either 128gb, 256gb, or 512gb of storage respectively. All of that is powered by a nicely sized 7,350mAh battery. And all of that powers a genuinely gorgeous 1920×1080, 5.5”, AMOLED display that I absolutely adore every time I turn the device on.

The Minor specs worth mentioning, but aren’t as apparent include the Fingerprint sensor on the power button… That I never used. And more necessary, the Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 chips that have helped to give this device a pleasant experience when it comes to game streaming. One thing I didn’t use but is also worth mentioning is the included 4G support. This means the Pocket Air can continue to stream gameplay even if it isn’t on your home wi-fi network. You would just need to use a service such as Visible, or Mint Mobile to provide a sim card on this one. For the price, not a bad set-up, and I would be happy with it in a vacuum of course.


When it comes to inputs, I think Ayaneo actually nailed it… outside of the tiny size of their buttons. The triggers and analogue shoulder buttons are nicely sized and have a nice feel in actuation. The Hall-effect joysticks move smoothly and haven’t given me any false inputs or issues. And even the tension in the face buttons and d-pad were done well! Not to stiff, not too sloppy and mushy, it is in this nice middle ground that takes a little bit of effort to press, but won’t require you to drop an anvil on just to jump in Dead Cells.

My biggest complaint in terms of input are the size of the buttons. I felt the face buttons on the Pocket Air could have been a little bit bigger, but other than that, I have less complaints about the buttons on this than I do the standard Ayaneo Air Plus.

What I also like more are the ergonomics. Despite being slighty more narrow, and less thick in comparison to the Air Plus, the reduced weight is a major game changer. The Pocket Air feels great in the hands and fills my average mitts well. Being lighter makes me want to just use it for hours at a time, playing Dadish 2 all the way through – again.

Sizing up the Competition

Speaking of size and ergonomics, how does the Pocket Air compare to some other high end devices?

Compared to its airy predecessor, the Ayaneo Pocket Air is a little bit smaller in width, and quite a bit smaller in thickness. As for height the Pocket Air is quite similar to the Air Plus if not identical. When it comes to ergonomics the Air Plus wins out for me, if only due to the extra thickness providing a little bit of extra grip. As for weight, the Pocket Air wins out handily.

When compared to its direct competitor, the Ayn Odin2, you find the Pocket air to be just about as wide, while being a little bit shorter and thinner. Ergonomics wise it feels to be a bit of a wash. My thumb rests better on the left stick of the Pocket Air better, but I prefer the grip and feel of the triggers on the Odin2 a bit more in that regard. Weight wise they’re remarkably similar, and you wouldn’t really notice if you didn’t have both at once.

Compared to another similarly priced x86 handheld, the Win600 is larger in every way. It’s wider, it’s thicker, it’s taller, it’s heavier, and it feels good. I really do like the feel of the Win600 in hand in comparison. Though that’s only if I want to play d-pad focused games. Otherwise the Pocket Air wins hands down. Weight of course is higher in the x86 option.

A slightly different comparison comes with the Retroid Pocket 3+. In the opposite direction the RP3+ is smaller in every regard. Thickness, width, height, weight, etc. And of course because of this the Pocket Air wins in terms of ergonomics. It’s comfier in hand and I would use it. But the RP3+ wins in its pocketability and portability. Something that’s always worth looking at when you look into handhelds.

And if you’re curious about weight I’ll have those placed down below for you as well.

Retroid Pocket 3+ – 237 grams

Ayaneo Pocket Air – 391 grams

Ayn Odin2 – 437 grams

Anbernic Win600 – 515 grams

Ayaneo Pocket Air – 519 grams

Software/Battery Life

With software and battery, lets start with the good. The Battery life on this thing has been outstanding. I have yet to have the Pocket Air outright die on me. I’ve used this device in bed, in the car (not driving), and on the go when visiting my family this holiday season. If there is one is one thing the Pocket Air is, it’s a battery sipper.

One thing the Pocket Air isn’t, is the bringer of a good software experience. Despite running Android 12, Ayaneo has decided to include their own software including AyaHome, and AyaSpace. AyaHome is the Pocket Air’s launcher; an admittedly simple and easy to use, but strangely slow and stuttery interface in my experience. It would take multiple button presses to get between my app drawer and the main launcher page despite it just being one row down. As for AyaSpace? Their settings menu is simple and easy to navigate, and it’s inoffensive to the eyes. But no Ayaneo. I will NOT create an account or sign in to your system. I find that to be completely unnecessary and a waste of resources, at least in this sense.

Overall: Battery is great! Software is incomplete and reminiscent of something from the G Cloud or the ABXYlute. I opted to use Console Launcher for the rest of my time with the Pocket Air.

Gaming Experience

When it comes to gaming performance and experience it’s pretty straightforward. The Dimensity 1200 runs just about anything you could want (currently) at a pretty decent clip. The OLED display on this thing makes everything look nice, vivid and beautiful. Though just as with most devices, it does struggle to run NES very well.

Just kidding.

Really though the Pocket Air handles everything like a champ. With it being an Android device we don’t yet have access to emulators for systems like the PS3 or Xbox, you can rest assured knowing that everything from the Dreamcast on down will run like a hot knife through butter.


Gamecube. An a system with a few emulation options on Android whether that be the official Dolphin Build or one of the MMJR builds that you can find along the way. You shouldn’t have much issue pushing the system to 2-3x performance on the Pocket Air. As someone who doesn’t like to fiddle to much with settings after setting everything up, I generally left it to 2x and not much more. In my experience Sonic Heroes ran pretty much flawlessly for me, and the original Burnout on Gamecube did just as well. Though I’d still recommend going to Burnout 3 if you want the true racing destruction experience.


Which, speaking of Burnout 3, you can definitely play that on the Pocket Air through PS2. With this you can either use an older “pre-ads” version of AetherSX2, or if you’re inclined you can attempt to do a build of NetherSX2. Though with my “non-fiddly” nature, I prefer to grab Aether. Just as my nature intends, I prefer to leave PS2 down around 2x resolution which did the job for most of the games that I played. Shadow the Hedgehog for PS2? Yeah that runs fine. Burnout 3: Takedown? Runs… mostly okay. Regardless of the resolution I put it at, some games such as Burnout will experience major stuttering after “respawning” in the game. Whether you’ll experience that is down to what you’re using or even which version. Overall though my time with PS2 proved to be quite nice.


Similarly to previous entries, 3DS will run pretty dang well on the Ayaneo Air Plus using Citra. Though, “well” could mean a lot to different people depending on if you want two play your dual screened games on a single screen. Regardless you’ll be able to upscale 3DS around 2-3x depending on the game, some more, some less. But just be aware that even with a device this powerful you still may come across stutters from the emulator. This is mostly caused by compiling shaders, and overtime will go away. In the end, you can easily play 3DS, though I’ll either stick to games that just use one screen… or just use a 3DS in the end.


Unfortunately, when it comes to Switch emulation, you won’t have too much luck on here. Especially if you’re someone like me who only bought the 6gb model because “Well who’s gonna emulate much Switch on this thing?” If you’re fine with lower end, sprite based, 2D or Indie games, the Switch emulation on this thing would be perfectly fine for you! But anything else and I’d recommend stepping up to something akin to the Odin2 for that pure power.

Android Gaming

This one should be no surprise really. Android gaming as a whole ran pretty much flawlessly. I will always take a moment to give the Play Store flack though. Their search system for finding new games is awful and they should feel bad about it. Randomly losing support for games in the app store angers me, and I should still be able to download older apps that didn’t need the internet for access. I could go on and on, but if you want to use the Pocket Air as just an Android gaming handheld, you should be aware of the shortcomings. One of my favorite games to play on this thing is Horizon Chase Turbo. The colors absolutely pop on the OLED screen, and the serviceable speakers make it a pleasant experience. There are other games to play but I kept coming back to this one.

One other mention in Android gaming comes from streaming and the inclusion of a sim card slot on this device. Being able to stream PC games from anywhere essentially is a huge deal. I didn’t get much chance to test the sim card slot, however streaming Xbox Cloud to it over Wi-Fi was a seriously nice experience. As a fan of Forza Horizon games, I think it’s something worth experiencing on an OLED screen like this.

The Competition

The competition to the Ayaneo Pocket Air is what makes things both more interesting, and obvious as to why it may not be “the one”. At the same price as the Pocket Air you can purchase the Ayn Odin 2. Exchanging out the sim card slot and the OLED display, you get a slightly larger 6 inch display and a much more powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen2. A processor that gets you more performance in basically everything, including Nintendo Switch. 

In the x86 market, the Pocket Air butts against the Steam Deck and the recent surge of used LCD Decks on the market. For native PC gaming it’s possible this could be the bet. Though you’ll suffer from a worse screen and a much worse battery life in comparison. 

Outside the main two competitors you’ll also come across other Android competitors including the Pimax Portal, the Razer Edge, and the Logitech G Cloud. All of which have their merits. The G Cloud is more ergonomic. The Razer Edge is more powerful. The Pimax Portal… Well it has magnets! In the end though, I find they offer worse value than Ayaneo’s offerings. However if any of those have something you’re looking they really could be the choice for you.


In the end the Ayaneo Pocket Air finds itself in a no-man’s land. There are other devices at the same price that offer better value. This really is a limited run device so it won’t be around for long. And depending on what you’re looking for there may be a deal-breaker or a deal-maker. If you want a streaming handheld, the Sim slot in the Pocket Air can make your games look beautiful on the go. But that is currently the biggest merit, and even the original Odin Lite could do that at only $200 before shipping. 

The other big concern comes from the longevity of Ayaneo’s support of the device. With how quickly they move from handheld to handheld who knows how long this could be the one. Will they even give it an OS update? It’s already behind with Android 12. If you’re not worried about that, it’s at least one less hurdle to jump. I find it to just be a little concerning.

As a whole, I found myself comparing the Pocket Air moreso to the Retroid Pocket 3+ than I did the Ayn Odin2. Whether that’s a compliment to the RP3+ or an insult to others, that’s what I found to be the big comparison. The Ayaneo Pocket Air is currently the “RP3+ Upgrade” and not much more. If you find it for a good price, go for it. Otherwise-the Ayn Odin2 may be All You Need.

What I Liked:

  • The Battery life on some serious longevity.
  • The Screen looks amazing
  • Good Performance, and Ergonomics to Boot

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The AyaHome Software needs work
  • The value leaves a bit to be desired
  • Longevity of Ayaneo Support is Questionable


You can purchase each of the devices mentioned in this article at the following links:

Anbernic Win600: Direct | Amazon | Aliexpress

Retroid Pocket 3 Plus: Direct

Ayn Odin 2: Direct

Aya Neo Pocket Air: Indiegogo

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