The best Steam Deck alternatives (when you can’t get Valve’s handheld)

Can’t get your hands on Valve’s handheld? These might work in the meantime

Fergus Halliday
Digital Content Editor
Read More
June 15, 2022
3 min read

In the absence of a much needed upgrade for the Nintendo Switch, Valve’s Steam Deck has proved to be the biggest hit that the handheld gaming space has seen in years.

Unfortunately, demand for SteamOS-powered portable has quickly exceeded supply.  Getting your hands on one in Australia was never easy to begin with, and it's hard to know if or when Aussie gamers will be able to buy one either directly through Valve or a local retail partner. Thankfully, if you’re in the market for a Steam Deck alternative, there are plenty of possibilities out there worth exploring.

Product
Price [RRP]
Availability
Resolution
Processor
Operating System
US
$399
1280 × 800Custom AMD "Aerith" Zen2 APUSteamOS
US
$1319
1280 x 800AMD Ryzen 7 5825UWindows 10
AU
$3399
1920×1200 or 3840×2400Intel Core i9-12900HWindows 11
AU
$2249
2560 x 1600AMD Ryzen 7 5800UWindows 11
US
$489
1920 x 1080AMD Ryzen 5 6600UWindows 10

Aya Neo Next

Aya Neo Next
Aya Neo Next
Even if it lacks SteamOS and the prestige that comes with the Valve brand, the Aya Neo Next is a decent Windows-based alternative for those who can't quite get their hands on the Steam Deck.
Display
7-inch LCD, IPS
Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 5825U
RAM
16GB
Storage
1TB
Starts at
$1315

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

Play Video

The Aya Neo Pro is pricier than Valve’s Steam Deck, and it runs on Windows rather than the more streamlined SteamOS. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a lean and mean machine that’ll play PC games on the go, it comes equipped with the specs to get the job done and a design that, while not particularly original, appears to be surprisingly robust given the lack of a mainstream manufacturer.

Under the hood, the Aya Neo Next runs on an AMD Ryzen 7 5825U and 16GB of RAM. While those specs aren’t exactly cutting edge, they come complemented with a solid 1TB of SSD storage and a 7-inch IPS display. So long as you’re happy with keeping the resolution relatively low or are keen to use the hardware here for emulating older titles rather than new releases, the Aya Neo Next is a more than acceptable alternative.

Steam Deck TV dock

How to buy a Steam Deck in Australia

Don't want to wait on Valve? It'll take more than a VPN to preorder the company's portable gaming PC in Australia.

ASUS ROG Flow Z13

ASUS ROG Flow Z13
ASUS ROG Flow Z13
ASUS' gaming tablet is much more expensive and familiar than the Steam Deck, but it's also much more powerful.
Display
13.4-inch
Processor
Intel Core i9-12900H
RAM
16GB
Storage
1TB
Starts at
$3399

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

ASUS ROG Flow Z13

The ASUS ROG Flow Z13 doesn’t have the Switch-like form-factor of the Valve Steam Deck, but it does have specs that promise to make it just as good, if not even better, for PC gaming on the go. 

Under the hood, the ASUS ROG Flow Z13 comes kitted out with either a Ryzen 9 or a Intel Core i9-12900H processor paired up with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPU and up to 16GB of RAM. While those specs are felt when it comes to the asking price, the ability to jump into graphically demanding titles like Elden Ring and Cyberpunk 2077 as you please is a possibility that’s hard to pass up.

ONEXPLAYER

OneXPlayer
ONEXPLAYER
The ONEXPLAYER is pricier than both the Aya Neo Next and the Steam Deck, but it promises to be proportionally better when it comes to gaming performance.
Display
7-inch, IPS
Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
RAM
16GB
Storage
1TB
Starts at
$2249

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

Like Aya Neo Pro, the ONEXPLAYER is another third-party Steam Deck competitors that comes in at a higher price, but promises to be a little more confident and capable where it counts.

While the ONEXPLAYER isn't too different from the Aya Neo Next when it comes to specs, it does offer a little more room for customisation. While the handheld has, based on the website, what looks to be a slightly less polished design overall, buyers get the option of going with a larger 8.4-inch screen or a version kitted out with Intel’s i7-1195G7 processor. If you can’t get your hands on the Steam Deck and can afford to stretch your budget a little further, the ONEXPLAYER is definitely an option worth considering.

Ayn Loki

Ayn Loki
Ayn Loki
As far as Steam Deck alternatives, the Ayn Loki cuts a few corners, but might still be capable enough for some.
Display
6-inch LCD
Processor
AMD Ryzen 5 6600U
RAM
8GB
Storage
128GB
Starts at
$489

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

Ayn Loki

Ayn’s first handheld, the Odin, was an Android-powered rival to the Nintendo Switch. The company’s next effort in the space, the Ayn Loki, has the Valve Steam Deck in its sights.

At a starting price of $489, the Ayn Loki is slightly more affordable than both the ONEXPLAYER and the Aya Neo Next. However, the flipside of that is that the hardware inside the handheld is a little more modest and the design is a little more barebones.

The Ayn Loki arrives armed with an AMD Ryzen 5 6600U processor, 8GB of RAM and just 128GB of on-board storage. It’s also got a smaller 6-inch LCD screen. Still, depending on what you’re looking to play on it, there’s a chance this could very well work as an affordable alternative to both the Steam Deck and its many imitators. 

Xbox Cloud Gaming

Xbox Games Pass Ultimate
Signing up for a subscription to Xbox's Netflix-style gaming service is a lot cheaper than buying a Steam Deck and, provided you can pair it with a decent mobile gaming setup and a fast internet connection, the final results might not feel that different.
5 out of 5 stars
5
Pro Bullet Day one exclusive releases
Pro Bullet Robust cloud infrastructure
Con Bullet Cloud gaming doesn't include full Games Pass library
Con Bullet No native iOS support
Starts at
$15.95

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

If you’re excited by the convenience of the Steam Deck but less than thrilled by the price, one alternative worth considering might be Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming. This service is included as part of a Games Pass Ultimate subscription, letting you stream games to an Android or Windows device over the internet in the same way that you stream video via Netflix. You can even stream to iOS devices, provided you're doing so via a web browser.

While your mileage with Xbox Cloud gaming may vary based on the quality of your NBN or 5G internet connection, as well as the kind of games you’re keen to play, it’s definitely an option worth investigating. Paired up with a high speed connection and an accessory like the Razer Kishi or Backbone, and the end experience here isn’t all that far from what Valve are offering with the Steam Deck.

Product -or- Model
Price [RRP]
Availability
Passthrough charging
Headphone jack
Rating
From
$154
YesNo
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
From
$179
YesYes
4 out of 5 stars
4
Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a Digital Content Editor for Reviews.org who specialises in technology, entertainment, gaming and pop culture. His work has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, Press Start Australia, The AU Review, Screen Rant, Superjump and more. You can follow him on Twitter.

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