This Steam Deck Alternative Has Dual Trackpads and Drift-Proof Joysticks
It looks like a Steam Deck, but there are some key differences.
The Steam Deck has inspired a lot of gaming handhelds since its release. That’s bad if you’re on the lookout for something radically different, but great if you’re into slow, but material, improvements on a breakout product.
Orange Pi, known for its single-board computers, and Manjaro, the company behind a Linux-based operation system, recently showed off the Orange Pi Neo handheld, which falls more on the iterative side but with some enticing quality-of-life upgrades over Valve’s two-year-old Steam Deck.
The Neo handheld bears a close resemblance to the Steam Deck, especially thanks to its two trackpads. Even in this hot handheld market, only the Ayaneo Kun offers dual trackpads while the Lenovo Legion Go has just the one on its right side. Not everyone is a fan of trackpads on handhelds, but for those who have embraced the light, this means mouse-like functionality for point-and-click games along with a wide-open field when it comes to custom controller inputs.
A Steam Deck With Better Specs
Instead of the Steam Deck’s 7.4-inch OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and 1,280 x 800 resolution, the Orange Pi Neo has a smaller, seven-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. All of that comes in a slimmer form factor than the Steam Deck, which is still rather chunky for a handheld.
Manjaro says on its website that the Orange Pi Neo will run on AMD’s Ryzen 7 7840U while offering up to 32GB of memory and 2TB of storage. The upcoming handheld will also get Hall effect joysticks and triggers so you never have to replace anything due to stick drift.
Orange Pi’s Neo matches the refreshed Steam Deck’s 50Whr battery, but has RGB lighting on the joysticks and doubles up on the USB-C ports and six-axis gyroscopes. Just like the Steam Deck, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot, and Bluetooth 5.3 compatibility.
Still in Development
Manjaro has been demoing the Neo gaming handheld at FOSDEM 2024 but hasn’t mentioned anything about a release date. More recently, the company posted that the handheld was “coming soon,” but we’re not getting our hopes up since the product page says it could be subject to changes.
There aren’t any details on pricing either, but the Neo will come in black and white colorways. Judging by the specs alone, we’re expecting Orange Pi to price its debut handheld anywhere between $600 and $800 which matches the handful of other Steam Deck alternatives like Asus’ ROG Ally, the Lenovo Legion Go, or the MSI Claw.
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