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The Ayaneo Next Lite is the first Steam Deck rival to feature SteamOS

A person uses SteamOS on the Ayaneo Next Lite.

We’re in the middle of a renaissance for PC gaming handhelds thanks to the success of the Steam Deck, but all of those alternatives tend to default to using Windows or their own custom interfaces rather than Valve’s own SteamOS, which makes using the Steam Deck feel so seamless. Ayaneo is taking a different approach with the Ayaneo Next Lite, as the gaming handheld that was revealed today utilizes SteamOS.

The Ayaneo Next Lite comes with SteamOS preinstalled as the primary interface on the system, which should make it very easy to get your Steam game library up and running on the handheld. The convenience of that definitely bolsters Ayaneo’s idea that the Next Lite will be a “value-for-money option” for its handheld PCs.

While exact pricing and release date details haven’t been revealed yet, we know this device will feature a 7-inch screen, a 47Wh battery, x-axis linear motors, and the ergonomic design and hall-effect joysticks of the standard Ayaneo Next handhelds.

In the blog post unveiling the device, Ayaneo also teases that the Next Lite “will debut with unexpected and exciting surprises for players,” although we don’t know what exactly it means by that just yet. We will learn more soon as Ayaneo says “subscriptions” related to the device will become available at 9:30 p.m. ET on January 11.

If you’re curious about the company’s previous attempts at PC gaming handhelds, Digital Trends reviewed the Ayaneo 2S last August. We only gave it two-and-a-half stars, writing that the device’s “impressive power isn’t enough to justify its high price tag and hacked together features.” Hopefully, the inclusion of SteamOS makes the Ayaneo Next Lite a better handheld from the start.

Update: Ayaneo has since backtracked on the claim that the Ayaneo Next Lite comes preinstalled with SteamOS. Instead, it’ll come pre-installed with HoloISO.

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Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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