Baldur's Gate 3 has been out for a little over 10 days and it is constantly blowing expectations away with the amount of choices, depth of gameplay systems, and how well it all works with each other in a visually-stunning package. On top of that, it is playable on the Steam Deck and, even with some sacrifices, it is insane to have such a huge game in the palm of our hands. But wouldn't it be amazing to play without as many sacrifices and enhance the experience further? That question is what led me to the AYANEO AIR 1S.
The AYANEO AIR 1S is a Windows OS handheld made by AYANEO that sports an AMD 7840U APU, which has similar power to the Z1 Extreme chip in the ROG Ally, but has a couple of differences that make it a bit more appealing. The biggest one, for me, is the OLED screen. The increased color contrast and true blacks make it so appealing to use and play games on. With that in mind, I wanted to test out and see not only how Baldur's Gate 3 performs on the AIR 1S, but also how great the screen will make the game look. So I decided to download it on there and take a look at how it runs and looks.
Baldur's Gate 3 - AYANEO AIR 1S Performance
Thanks to the 7840U and the ability to drain a bit more power than the Steam Deck, Baldur's Gate 3 can run fantastically on the AIR 1S. At medium settings with no upscaling, and 1280x720 resolution, Baldur's Gate 3 can run at a stable 30 FPS and it looks incredible. The world looks detailed and the characters look great, all with a 15W TDP limit to get around -24W battery drain. This allows us to have a solid hour and a half to 2 hours of battery while looking like this.
If you want a smoother experience too, we can also set everything to low, FSR 1.0 on Ultra Quality, and increase the TDP limit to 19W. From that, we will get an almost solid 40 FPS, only dipping down when moving around largely populated areas. It still feels extremely smooth even when it does slightly dip, but for my money, I would still rather stick to the Medium 30 FPS due to how sharp and clean it looks.
Just like in my impressions, I didn't feel any heat where I was holding the device, except for the heat generated by my hands. The device stayed relatively cool during my play time and I felt no discomfort holding it in my hands.
Small Screen, Small Text?
The AYANEO AIR 1S, apart from having an OLED screen, also has a smaller build. With the screen coming in at 5.5 inches, this is quite small compared to the 7 inch screens of the Steam Deck and ROG Ally, so I was a little worried when it came to text readability. Thankfully, that isn't an issue with Baldur's Gate 3 and I was able to read everything without any issue. It does help that everything is read out and has voice acting attached to it, but I did play with sound off and reading wasn't an issue.
Playing at 1280x720 helped this a bit too as 1080p does make everything a little smaller, but the game still looked sharp and beautiful.
So What Makes Playing on the AIR 1S Special?
With all the devices to choose from, each brings something special to the table. Whether it's accessibility, power, screen refresh rate, operating system, or VRR, each one has something that makes it stand apart from the crowd. So what is special about the AIR 1S you ask? To me, it's the weight and the OLED screen.
Starting with the screen, yes it is only 60hz and is 5.5 inches, but the colors make up for it. Going into dark spaces with shadows engulfing me felt truly dark and I loved it. The environment lit up, the colors were vibrant, and I couldn't get enough of it. Even on the smaller screen, the vibrant visuals made it all worth it.
Then we have the weight. I like the size of the AYANEO AIR 1S, it's a bit surreal holding something so powerful, yet so small that it could fit in my pocket. But the best part about it was the weight. The AIR 1S is surprisingly light, which not only makes it easier to hold, but more comfortable to have in my hands for longer periods of time. This is especially true with my playtime in Baldur's Gate 3. I held the device the entire time in my hands and never once had to lift them up or set it down to give my hands a rest.
The AYANEO AIR 1S is available to order early on Indiegogo starting at $799.
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