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Ayaneo’s new handheld PC will run a Steam OS clone, HoloISO

Ayaneo Next Lite will not run Windows out of the box, but you can install it.

New ayaneo next lite
Image: Ayaneo

Steam Deck wasn’t the first handheld PC-based console and surely, it wasn’t the last. But it was indeed the first to use Valve’s proprietary Steam OS instead of the conventional Microsoft Windows. 

Now, it turns out another company is following its lead, but not quite officially. The famed handheld maker, Ayaneo, has announced its Next Lite handheld that will be running HoloISO, a Steam OS clone. 

What is Ayaneo’s Next Lite? 

Next lite steam os clone based pc handheld from ayaneo
Image: Ayaneo

At the moment, we don’t know much about Ayaneo’s Next Lite handheld except for a few intricate details revealed by the company itself. 

According to Ayaneo, the Next Lite will offer a 7-inch 800p display, which resembles the Steam Deck. However, its 47Wh battery is fairly larger than Valve’s machine. 

There are also Hall effect analog sticks and X-axis linear motors for haptic feedback.

The Ayaneo Next Lite images have revealed a few things, like the handheld will have two USB-C ports and a 3.5mm port as well. 

However, Ayaneo’s device lacks the trackpads we have seen on the OG Steam Deck

Unfortunately, we have no information on the rest of the specs, like the RAM and storage.

There are so many handheld PCs, so why does Ayaneo’s Next Lite stand out? 

Ayaneo next lite
Image: Ayaneo

While it’s true that there are several capable handheld gaming PCs available in the market. At CES 2024 itself we saw a new one, as the MSI Claw was announced. 

But nearly all of them use Microsoft Windows as their operating system. Steam Deck was the only one that stood out for doing something different, and now, Ayaneo is following the lead. 

HoloISO is not quite Steam OS, though. It’s a Steam OS clone made to run on non-Valve hardware, which gets close to the official version. While it will have some upsides, an official Steam OS build would have been perfect.

The user experience is probably the biggest upside. HoloISO brings Steam OS’ special UI that is adopted for both touch and control inputs. However, Windows is finicky at best with a controller and touchscreen.

That said, another good reason to use Steam OS over Windows OS is the cost. OEMs need to pay a licensing fee to use Windows OS on their products, which adds up to the total cost of the product. 

In theory, there’s no such hassle with Valve’s Linux-based platform, so it comes cheaper. Probably why Ayaneo says you can install Windows on the Next Lite yourself.

Steam OS has a quick-resume feature, which may or may not work on this handheld. While Windows devices like the ROG Ally get the functionality, it is not as robust as Valve’s. 

There are benefits to running Windows, though. Windows has a vast library of games, provides easier access to third-party app stores, you can sideload games and has wider support for anti-cheat software used in various multiplayer games.

Unfortunately, Ayaneo hasn’t provided the Next Lite pricing details and only said the device will be “cost-effective.”

However, it is best not to expect a $400 pricing like the Steam Deck. Ayaneo usually prices its PC-based handhelds starting between $900 to $1,000.

While it will be the company’s first product with a new OS, expecting a $400 price tag would be too much.

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Saurav loves writing and tech. So, after engineering, he didn't look back and embarked on a journey to become a tech writer. Saurav has worked for various tech websites across the globe. Saurav has recently joined Know Techie and is proud to be a part of it.

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