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Anbernic is a Chinese company that makes handheld gaming devices, most of which are retro gaming devices powered by ARM processors and designed to run Android or Linux software. But now the company has launched its first portable gaming PC with an x86 processor.
The Anbernic Win600 is a full-fledged computer that comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed, but also supports the Linux-based Steam operating system. First announced in January, the Win600 is now available for purchase from Anbernic.com or the company’s AliExpress store. Prices range from $300 for an entry-level model to $475 for a high-end configuration. Just keep in mind that Anbernic’s top-end model is significantly less powerful than a similarly priced Steam Deck, although there may still be a few reasons to consider the Win600.
The first is that the Anbernic Win600 is significantly smaller than a Steam Deck, measuring 236 x 103 x 22mm and weighing 490 grams compared to the Steam Deck’s 298 x 117 x 49mm and 669 grams.
A second benefit is that the Win600’s memory and storage can be upgraded by the user, while only the Steam Deck’s SSD can be replaced. And the third is that it comes with Windows, while the Steam Deck comes with Valve’s custom Linux distribution pre-installed (which means you need a Windows license if you plan to install the system from Microsoft operation).
That said, the Win600 still looks like a pretty tough sell. Early reviews suggest its AMD Athlon Silver 3050e processor with Radeon Vega 3 graphics only offers one-sixth the graphics performance of the Steam Deck, making it a good choice for indie games, some retro titles, and maybe a handful of modern games. But it’s not really a speed demon.
When Anbernic first announced plans to enter the PC gaming space, it was easy to imagine the company would do so with a competitively priced device. But if the Win600 is technically cheaper than a Steam Deck, it’s not a lot more affordable. And in recent weeks, several other companies have announced cheaper products with similar or better specs, including the AYN Loki Zero (AMD Athlon 3050e for $199 and up), AYA Neo Air Plus (Intel or AMD options for $249 at $299), and AYN Loki Mini and Mini Pro (Intel and AMD options for $260 to $299).
But there’s a fourth reason to consider the Win600: you don’t have to wait that long to get one. Although Valve has increased Steam Deck inventory in recent months, there is still a waiting list and if you buy one today, you might have to wait a few months for it to arrive. The Anbernic Win600 usually ships within a week or two.
Here is an overview of the main specifications of the Anbernic Win600:
|Anbernic Win600 (3020e)||Anbernic Win600 (3050e)|
1280 x 720 pixels
|Processor||AMD Athlon Silver 3020e
2 cores / 2 wires
Up to 2.6GHz
|AMD Athlon Silver 3050e
2 cores / 4 wires
Up to 2.8GHz
|Chart||AMD Radeon Vega 3
Up to 1GHz
|RAM||8 GB or 16 GB
|256 GB or 1 TB
|Ports||1x USB Type-C
1 USB 3.0 Type-A port
1 x 3.5mm audio
|SE||Windows 10 Home (pre-installed)
Steam operating system (supported)
|Dimensions||236 x 103 x 22mm|
When Anbernic first launched the Win600, it was only available with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. But in September, the company added a new top-tier configuration that includes the more capable Athlon Silver 3050e processor, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. This model sells for around $475 as of mid-September 2022.
In terms of physical design, the Anbernic Win600 has a small screen surrounded by game controllers including a D-Pad, two analog sticks, action, start and select buttons and shoulder keys. The system also includes dual vibration motors.
There’s a vent on the back, indicating the device is being actively cooled, and USB Type-A and Type-C ports on the top of the system. There’s also a Home key on one side and a Windows key on the other, which will likely work as a Start key. Other features should include stereo speakers, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microphone.
On the left side of the device there’s also a switch that lets you toggle between game controller and mouse modes, a feature we’ve seen on other Windows handhelds, which makes Windows a bit easier to navigate on devices without a physical mouse or keyboard.
While support for user-upgradable storage is common on modern portable gaming computers, the ability to replace or upgrade memory helps set the Win600 apart. Unfortunately, so does the fact that this model only supports single-channel RAM.
With Windows 10 Home software pre-installed, it should be easy to install popular game clients from Steam, Epic, or GOG, among others. But if you prefer an operating system designed from the ground up for gaming, Anbernic has also released software and instructions for installing Steam OS, the Linux-based operating system that Valve has designed for its PC. Steam Deck laptop (which also has an AMD processor with Radeon graphics).
Going for the AMD Athlon Silver 3000 series chips may have been a decision made to help keep the price down, but that means the Win600 won’t deliver the same level of performance you’d find in PCs. high-end pocket watch with higher performance. CPU and GPU hardware.
That said, the chips should be able to handle retro games, some indie games, and maybe even a few recent AAA titles at low graphics settings. Third-party reviews suggest this isn’t a bad device…it might not be priced very competitively.
The Win600 joins an increasingly crowded space that’s currently populated by smaller Chinese companies like GPD, One Netbook and AYA as well as Valve’s Steam Deck (which will ship with the Linux-based Steam operating system, but features of all the necessary hardware for Windows gaming if someone feels the need to replace the operating system).
Here’s how the Anbernic Win600 compares to the competition:
Going through RightX, Taki Udon/r/anbernic (1)(2), Obscure handheldsand retro game company
This article was originally published on January 17, 2022 and most recently updated on September 12, 2022.