Best Steam Deck Alternatives in 2023

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Robert_Stark
edited November 2023 in Gaming

Portable gaming PCs have come a long way in the last few years. Valve's highly-anticipated Steam Deck has taken the gaming world by storm, with preorders selling out almost instantly and months-long wait times for those who missed out. Making it still challenging to get one and completely unavailable in some countries. 

If you're in the market for a portable gaming device that can deliver high-quality gaming experiences, consider looking at some of our top Steam Deck alternatives in 2023.

What is a Steam Deck? 

The Steam Deck is a handheld gaming device by Valve that lets you take your entire Steam library on the go, offering a portable and powerful PC gaming experience. The device runs on Linux and boasts impressive hardware specifications, with pricing starting at $399. 

Steam Deck Specs: 

  • Processor: AMD APU 
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Storage: 64GB 
  • Display: 7" Diagonal 
  • Resolution: 1280 x 800px 
  • Size: 298mm x 117mm x 49mm 
  • Weight: 669 grams 
  • Battery Capacity: 40Wh 

So, armed with those impressive specs, what are the Steam Deck alternatives for 2023? 

1. AYANEO 2: Outpowers the Steam Deck 

The AYANEO 2 is a powerful handheld gaming console powered by Windows 11. With a steep base price of $1099, it's equipped with top-of-the-line hardware that outperforms the Steam Deck. 

With base models powered by an AMD Ryzen™ 7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, you'll have tons of storage and lightning-fast load times. It can easily handle demanding games such as Cyberpunk 2077 at 60 FPS if you drop the resolution to 800p. 

The AYANEO 2 screen is gorgeous, with its bezel-less UHD display covering the entire front of the device. Its 1920 x 1200 resolution is higher than the Steam Deck, allowing for crisp, high-resolution visuals on the IPS display. RGB lighting effects boost your immersion. 

Rather than standard joysticks and triggers, the AYANEO 2 uses Hall-effect with a small magnetic sensor to detect movement, promising more precise and accurate control. 

PC gaming requires significant power, making running AAA games challenging for extended periods due to short battery life. Adjusting the system's power settings can help you extend the battery life. With its higher resolution display, expect 2 to 3 hours of longevity for most titles. 

While the AYANEO 2 is expensive, it's worth it if you're willing to invest in a premium handheld gaming console, as the specs are unparalleled. 

AYANEO 2 Specs: 

  • Processor:  AMD Ryzen™ 7 6800U 
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Storage: 1TB SSD 
  • Display: 8.4-inch IPS 
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1200px 
  • Size: 264mm x 105mm x 21.5mm 
  • Weight: 680 grams 
  • Battery Capacity: 50.25Wh 
  • Price: $1099 

2. GPD Win Max 2: Doubles as a Mini Laptop 

The GPD Win Max 2 is a powerful handheld gaming device that doubles as a mini laptop, so it is ideal for gamers on the move. It packs serious power into its compact design with its AMD Ryzen™ 7 chipset and 16GB RAM. It's a more powerful machine than the Steam Deck, but this higher level of performance costs $1390, which is perhaps seemingly expensive.  

The 10.1-inch touchscreen display provides crisp visuals with a 1920x1200 resolution. The built-in controller is comfortable, while the hall-sensing controls give you precise and responsive control.  

But what really sets the GPD Win Max 2 apart is the physical keyboard with a complete backlit QWERTY layout. This keyboard means you can type emails and browse the web on the go. Plus, you can switch the gaming pad into a mouse for productivity tasks.  

Battery life, however, is relatively short, with just over 2 hours for heavy use on a single charge. This is due to the device's powerful hardware and high-resolution display, which can quickly drain the 67Wh Li-polymer battery. Luckily, you can use its Thunderbolt 4 (USB4) port for quick top-ups while on the go. You can switch to moderate usage and extend the battery life for other tasks.  

The GPD Win Max 2 is an impressive device offering power and portability in one package. Whether you're looking to game or get some work done, the GPD Win Max 2 has you covered with its impressive hardware and versatile design. 

GPD Win Max 2 Specs: 

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen™ 7 6800U 
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Storage: 1TB SSD 
  • Display: 10.1-inch H-IPS 
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1200px 
  • Size: 227mm × 160mm × 23mm 
  • Weight: 1005 grams 
  • Battery Capacity: 67Wh 
  • Price: $1390

3. Ayn Odin: The Cheaper Steam Deck Alternative 

Ayn Odin is a handheld gaming device that offers a complete streaming gaming experience at an affordable price point. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 4GB of memory, it's significantly less powerful than the Steam Deck. However, the 6-inch touchscreen resolution is higher at 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Odin's design takes inspiration from the Nintendo Switch Lite, with a similar form factor and weight that makes it comfortable to hold and play games on the go. The analog joystick and d-pad provide precise and responsive controls. 

At $239, Odin is a compelling alternative to more expensive gaming devices like the Steam Deck. Despite its price, Odin can stream a wide range of games, including: 

  • Classic x86 games 
  • Xbox 
  • PS4 
  • PS5

Running on Android allows access to a vast library of apps and media players. But you'll need extensive sideloading to play most games, including emulators. However, you can install Windows on ARM and run Steam.  

While it lacks the power of more expensive devices, it still offers solid gaming at an affordable price.

Ayn Odin Specs: 

  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon SD845 
  • RAM: 4 GB 
  • Storage: 64GB 
  • Display: 6-inch IPS 
  • Resolution: 1080 x 1920px 
  • Size: 224mm × 95mm × 15mm 
  • Weight: 300 grams 
  • Battery Capacity: 6600mA 
  • Price: $239

4. ONEXPLAYER MINI: A Light Weight Gaming Experience

​​The ONEXPLAYER MINI is the latest handheld gaming device running on Windows 11. It retails at $699 and is powered by an  Intel® Pentium® Gold Processor 8505, a cheaper alternative to the Ryzen 7 ONEXPLAYER MINI model.​

The Intel® Pentium® 8505 is an entry-level mobile chip, so it's suitable for cloud gaming, but if you need to install and natively play AAA games like cyberpunk 2077, you will need a more powerful system.

The ONEXPLAYER MINI is light, weighing only 619g, and fits comfortably into your hands with its S-shaped design. The shell is coated in PC and ABS to secure your grip while minimizing fingerprint smudges.

The ONEXPLAYER MINI features a 7-inch IPS screen that offers an immersive gaming experience with its high resolution of 1280*800P and pixel density of 216 PPI. The 10-point touch functionality makes it ideal for gaming with precise fingertip control.

The ONEXPLAYER MINI is right if you want an affordable device that delivers a decent gaming experience. Its lightweight design and impressive specs make it an excellent choice.

ONEXPLAYER MINI Specs: 

  • Processor: Intel® Pentium® 8505 
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Storage: 512GB 
  • Display: 7-inch IPS 
  • Resolution: 1280 x 800px 
  • Size: 260mm x 106mm x 23mm 
  • Weight: 619 grams 
  • Battery Capacity: 40Wh 
  • Price: $699

5. AYANEO NEXT: Steam Deck Alternative for Mobile Windows Gaming 

The AYANEO NEXT offers cutting-edge features and an immersive and portable gaming experience. Powered by the AMD Ryzen™ 7 5825U, it was the first Windows handheld device to feature AMD's ZEN 3 core architecture that gives stability and power efficiency for running AAA games.

The AYANEO NEXT boasts Hall-effect sensors on the joysticks and triggers, ensuring pixel precision and durability. Its ergonomic grip and soft-touch texture also offer a comfortable gaming experience.

The AYANEO NEXT delivers exceptional visuals with its 7-inch IPS screen, high pixel density of 215 PPI, and high-quality dual-channel stereo cavity speakers that create an authentic surround sound experience. You can also use the large screen to watch movies and TV shows as it operates on Windows. Its price point of $1315 may be too steep for some.

The AYANEO NEXT's dual copper tube and high-performance silent fan ensure excellent heat dissipation during long gaming sessions. Its battery life of 47Wh means you'll need a charger to play games for a long time.

One crucial difference is Steam Deck uses Linux, and AYANEO NEXT is a Windows handheld. So, AYANEO NEXT is compatible with any Windows game, provided it supports controllers. The downside is that some games lack the same optimization as Deck Verified games, so some games run better on the Steam Deck, even though NEXT offers better hardware.

The AYANEO NEXT is a solid option for gamers who desire a portable and versatile Windows gaming handheld with innovative features and impressive hardware specifications. 

 AYANEO NEXT Specs: 

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen™ 7 5825U 
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Storage: 1TB 
  • Display: 7-inch IPS 
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1200px 
  • Size: 267mm x 112mm x 30mm 
  • Weight: 720 grams 
  • Battery Capacity: 47Wh 
  • Price: $1315

6. Ayaneo Kun: The Latest Beast by Ayaneo

The Ayaneo Kun is a powerful Windows gaming handheld that targets Steam Deck users, offering several distinctive features that make it a compelling alternative. It has a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen, dual trackpads for easier Windows navigation, a webcam for biometric login, and additional programmable buttons. Its design mimics an Xbox gamepad, featuring hall effect joysticks and triggers for enhanced durability and precision.

Under the hood, the Kun boasts a 75 watt-hour battery, significantly larger than its competitors, and a 54 watt TDP, offering substantial power for processing tasks. It runs on a Ryzen 7 7840U CPU with integrated Radeon 780M graphics, capable of handling demanding games and even replacing a workstation for heavy tasks like video editing. The device supports up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of storage, with customization options available.

Despite its high-resolution display, the screen's 60Hz refresh rate and lack of variable refresh rate support are areas where it lags behind competitors. However, its high-resolution display and quality speakers offer a great multimedia experience.

The Kun also excels in software, running on Windows 11 with AyaSpace 2 for configuration, offering intuitive navigation and customization. Its performance is solid, although not significantly better than other devices with similar specs. The main advantage lies in its ability to maintain high performance over extended periods without thermal throttling.

The Ayaneo Kun is priced starting at $999, which is higher than the Steam Deck and other competitors. However, its larger battery, screen, and other unique features justify the price for users who need a more versatile and powerful handheld PC. Its suitability as a Steam Deck alternative depends on the user's budget and the specific features they prioritize in a handheld gaming PC.

AYANEO Kun Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 7840U (8-core/16-thread)
  • RAM: Options up to 64GB LPDDR5-6400 (unlockable to 7500MHz)
  • Storage: Options up to 4TB NVMe
  • Display: 8.4-inch IPS touchscreen
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1600
  • Size: 12.29 x 5.22 x 0.86 inches
  • Weight: Not specifically mentioned in the provided text
  • Battery Capacity: 75 Whr
  • Price: Starts at $999, with higher configurations (64GB RAM, 4TB storage) priced at $1,699 (early bird) and $1,809 (retail)

The Bottom Line 

While the Steam Deck is taking the gaming world by storm, these 5 promising alternatives with different specs, features, and price points are worth considering.

When choosing a device, do your research, read the reviews, and consider the following:

  • Performance 
  • Portability 
  • Battery life 
  • Game Library 
  • OS

Whether you opt for Steam Deck or one of its competitors, the handheld gaming market is becoming more exciting and competitive. With new technology and innovations on the horizon, there's never been a better time to be a gamer on the go. 

Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.

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