It does seem like gaming handhelds will become a big category going forward, which is why we continue to see more and more of them popping up. With the Switch, basically, spearheading the new generation of gaming handhelds, it’s only natural most other players followed its horizontal layout. That’s why, it’s so refreshing to see the Ayaneo Flip DS, which takes on a more uncommon clamshell form factor.
That’s right, Ayaneo has another Windows-based gaming handheld coming out and, this time, it draws inspiration from Nintendo’s beloved DS line. Not only does it reprise that popular console’s clamshell design, it even throws in a second touchscreen on the other side of the fold, allowing you to use your handheld in entirely new ways.
The Ayaneo Flip DS puts its clamshell form factor to good use, coming in at just 7.1 x 4 x 1.2 inches (width x height x thickness), making it arguably the most pocketable PC gaming handheld in this generation. It has a 7-inch main screen on top with 1080p resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, 400 nits of brightness, and a 1200:1 contrast ratio, making it quite the powerful gaming display, while a smaller 3.5-inch screen with a 960 x 640 resolution and a retro-style 3:2 aspect ratio sits below the fold. The smaller display is flanked by a standard asymmetric control layout, with two analog sticks with magnetic hall effect sensors, a D-pad, and four action buttons, as well as shoulder buttons and hall-sensing triggers. There are also a number of unique system controls here, including a dedicated button for switching control between the two displays and an optical finger mouse sensor for moving the Windows cursor around with better precision.
Granted, there aren’t really dual-screen games in Windows (not that we know of), so the second screen can be used in any way you feel like using. You can, for instance, play on the main screen, then use the second screen to check a walkthrough when you get stuck or use the second screen to keep a chat going with friends. Of course, you can also use it as an excellent emulator for old DS games if you really want to put that second screen to good use.
The Ayaneo Flip DS runs on an AMD Ryzen 8 APU (you can choose between the 8840U and the 7840U), up to 64GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of SSD storage, so this makes for a pretty capable gaming PC. It runs Windows 11 in a dual-screen configuration, so it can run, pretty much, any Windows program, although it’s still a gaming handheld by design, so it will probably be a hassle trying to use it for anything other than gameplay. Other features include a vibration motor for force feedback effects, a six-axis gyro for motion controls, a 45Wh battery, and a magnetic closure to ensure it stays closed up during transport. The main screen, by the way, can be flipped up to either a 120-, 150-, or 180-degree angle, allowing you to find the sweet spot where you feel most comfortable playing, while swappable grips on the corners with different textured patterns allow you customize the handheld’s overall feel.
The Ayaneo Flip DS is currently crowdfunding at Indiegogo. Given the outfit’s track record, this isn’t going to be one of those campsigns that go nowhere, so it’s a pretty safe project to support. Pledges to reserve a unit starts at $742, while an alternate version that replaces the second screen with a QWERTY keyboard can also be ordered starting at pledges of $702.