Valve’s Steam Deck might be the handheld gaming darling right now, but wannabe rivals are rapidly turning up the heat with a focus on greater portability, more palm-friendly dimensions, or both. The latest is the Ayn Loki, which its maker reckons will be the “most affordable Windows handheld ever created”.
Revealed in a series of posts on Ayn’s instagram account and a brief YouTube teaser, the Loki is set Ayn’s second stab at a handheld gaming console. The Android-powered Odin arrived around a year ago as a Nintendo Switch Lite-sized emulation specialist, with the gaming grunt to play modern titles from the Google Play Store.
This latest model is running Windows, rather than Android, and will rock either an Intel Alder Lake U or AMD Ryzen processor instead of Qualcomm’s mobile silicon. That should give it a serious step up on the performance front, with a selection of different sizes helping keep the price down compared to Valve’s established alternative.
The entry-level Loki Mini will have 64GB of on-board storage and set you back $299 (around £240). Step up to the regular Loki and you get an AMD Ryzen 5 6600U CPU, and a choice of 64GB, 256GB and 512GB of storage for $499, $599 or $699 (£400, £475 and £550 respectively). The flagship Loki Max gets an even beefier AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor and 512GB of storage for $799 (or £640 before tax and import fees).
There’s no official word if you’ll be able to add more capacity at a later date, either by opening the thing up and adding an NVMe SSD, or by slotting in a microSD card.
The Loki isn’t all that different from the Odin, with twin joysticks, a D-Pad, four face buttons, shoulder buttons and shoulder triggers. It seems the colour-coded B, A, Y, X button layout has been swapped for a more subtle white setup that matches the Xbox’s Y, B, A, X layout. Power is by USB-C, with a 3.5mm headphone port at the bottom of the unit. It also seems to have a slightly smaller screen than the Odin, which has a 5.98in, Full HD panel.
The Ayn Loki will be available to order direct from the Ayn website soon, although there’s no official date for deliveries to start just yet. The firm is still filling pre-orders for the Odin, which smashed its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign late last year.