Good News for Windows Enthusiasts: Ayaneo Next Lite Gaming Handheld Embraces Your Favorite OS

Good News for Windows Enthusiasts: Ayaneo Next Lite Gaming Handheld Embraces Your Favorite OS

A Win for Gaming Handheld Enthusiasts

The latest entry in Ayaneo’s line of PC gaming handhelds is switching things up. Dubbed the Ayaneo Next Lite, the ultra-affordable $299 portable will run Windows 11 instead of Linux when it launches on crowdfunding.

The decision breaks from the Windows-based Next and Next Pro models aimed at competing with Valve’s Steam Deck. But for many gamers more familiar with Windows, pre-installing Windows 11 Home Edition 64-bit could broaden appeal. Users can still optionally install the Linux-based HoloISO SteamOS alternative.

Going Windows makes sense given its commanding OS market share advantage. But generally, PC gaming handhelds utilizing Windows struggle with unintuitive, clunky interfaces compared to SteamOS’s seamless Steam Deck optimization.

Products like the Asus ROG Ally and Lenovo Legion Go suffer from simply grafting Windows onto portable form factors lacking customization. It remains unclear how much Ayaneo will refine Windows for the Next Lite, if at all.

Crafting a tailored user interface could help differentiate the Next Lite from rival Windows handhelds relying more on brand recognition than usability. Though Ayaneo’s decision-making has proved unpredictable before, like the dated Linux-based HoloISO option.

Still, opening up to Windows should draw interest from more mainstream portable gamers. We’ll have to see whether Ayaneo puts in the work to optimize the OS experience for the hardware or takes a more barebones approach.

Either way, running $299 the Ayaneo Next Lite will be far cheaper than the competition while boasting Windows compatibility. If it can stick the landing on interface design, the Lite could carve out a budget niche catering to Windows-centric portable gamers. But execution remains key.