February 14, 2024

AYANEO FLIP DS Impressions – Game And Watch Time

The AYANEO FLIP DS takes handheld PCs in a new direction. So, ahead of our review, I share some impressions of the odd, but intriguing new device.

Of all the handhelds I have seen in the last year, the AYANEO FLIP DS takes the cake for the most unique. While I have seen clamshell handhelds before, no handheld PC has gone so far as to install a second screen in the gamepad area, making it close in design to the Nintendo DS. With this unique design, a lot of possibilities came into my mind of how it could be used, and of course my first thought was 3DS and WiiU emulation. Thanks to AYANEO, I am able to try it out for myself! So, before my full review, I wanted to share some thoughts and a little preview of my thoughts so far.

A huge thank you to AYANEO for sending over a FLIP DS for us to review.

These are impressions after using the FLIP DS for two days, not our full review. Our review will be posted early next week with a definitive take and rating from us.

The Second Screen Is Wonderful

Probably the biggest feature of the AYANEO FLIP DS is the second screen implanted on the gamepad, in a similar fashion to the Nintendo DS. This second screen is a fully functional secondary monitor, though it is extremely small. Even still, I love it. It allows so many cool things that you can do on it. You can watch a video while browsing the web, play games while reading the news, and even play emulated games, like 3DS and WiiU, as you would have on their respective devices!

Of course, this does depend on how you use it. 3DS and WiiU emulation is self-explanatory, but for videos and news, there are many different use cases. If you are playing a strategy game online that is turn-based, you could watch a video or read on the bottom while waiting for the others to take their turns. You can put a game guide on the bottom to read it while playing the game on the top.

I would also like to mention that I do like the AYASpace default menu for the second screen. Being able to change TDP and Fan speed, as well as add shortcuts to other applications and see a performance overlay without it being on top of the game, is very nice.

The Snapping Angles Are Near Perfect

On the FLIP, the top screen flips open and can snap to three different angles, which are all fantastic. The first one is at a 90-degree angle, while the third is at a 180-degree angle, making the device completely flat. While I like the first one when I sit the device down to download while I am working on my other computer, I much prefer the second snapping angle when playing games, which is in between the others. It is a nice balance that feels perfect when playing games in my hands and wanting to relax my neck a bit.

The Screen’s Colors Pop Nicely, And That 120Hz Refresh Rate is Smooth

One thing I found particularly intriguing is the colors of the top and bottom screen. The 7-inch top screen sports 120% sRGB Color Gamut Volume and covers 100% of sRGB gamut in general. It also features a 1200:1 contrast ratio and 314PPI pixel density. While this isn’t as great as OLED, it still shines bright and looks very vivid. Combined with the 120Hz refresh rate of the screen, it looked and felt wonderful at 40 FPS and 60 FPS.

The bottom screen is very bright, too, which makes all the colors pop down there as well. They both work together very well.

The Heat Can Make the Second Screen a Bit Hot

Probably one of the first things I noticed when trying out using both screens is the heat. After playing a game on the top screen and reading our Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered review, I could feel the bottom screen getting very hot. I wouldn’t say it was too hot to touch, but I wouldn’t want to keep my finger on it for too long. For quick swipes, like going through the AYASpace options, was perfectly fine, but doing anything that required your finger on there for any longer was a bit too much.

And The Battery Life is Not So Amazing

The FLIP DS has a 45Wh battery inside of it, and while this is bigger than the Steam Deck LCD, it is a bit small overall. This is in part due to Windows OS, which is more power-hungry than the Deck’s OS, SteamOS. That, combined with the bottom screen drawing some power, brings us to around a 3-hour battery life for general use or small games and around 1 – 1.5 hours for larger games. I do need to get more testing done for emulation, and for the larger games, but for ones that take up the entire 28W TDP limit, it can be around 1 hour long.

These battery life approximations were tested from being 100% fully charged.

But the Power To Game is There

Since the FLIP DS uses either a 7840U or 8840U APU, you will have as much power as a handheld PC can push in the current market. This means games like Persona 3 Reload, Tekken 8, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth and more can hit 60 FPS. And thanks to this being on Windows OS, any game that couldn’t run on the Deck, like Call of Duty and Destiny 2, can run. We also have the added AFMF and Frame Generation technologies that can make some games run at higher framerates.

The Handles Fit My Hands Well, Even if They Could Be a Little Bigger

In all the pictures I have seen, the handles on the FLIP look small. Even looking at the device as I type this, it almost seems nonexistent. Yet, when I hold the device, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable. I have no trouble gripping the handheld, and I would say it is more comfortable than the ROG Ally (I found it uncomfortable), which is saying a lot. Could it be a little better with more pronounced handles? Of course. But is it necessary? I wouldn’t say so.

The Joysticks Are Better Than Expected, but Fat Finger People Beware

My other biggest worry about the FLIP devices was the joysticks. They are pushed in a little bit to make the screen close with ease. Looking at the device, I thought they were going to be a bit too uncomfortable to use, but I was wrong. For the most part, I had no issue using the joysticks here, and it was quite nice. The biggest problem stems from my fat fingers. For some games, you need to use the joystick’s full range of motion, which unfortunately made my fingers hit the sides of the indent. I wasn’t a big fan of this, but I also have fat fingers, so I doubt this issue will be affecting the majority of people.

And those are my first impressions of the AYANEO FLIP DS! There is definitely more I am testing and can’t wait to talk about, like the emulation performance/feeling, the overall design of the device, and the buttons feel compared to other handhelds, and they will all be detailed in my review that goes live at the beginning of next week. Overall, I am liking it and love the use-cases I am finding with the second screen. Now, back to testing!

If you enjoyed this article, check out the rest of the content on HandheldHQ! We have a wide variety of reviews and news that are sure to help your gaming experience. Whether you’re looking for news and handheld reviews, or just want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, we’ve got your back.

Noah Kupetsky

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