Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition Handheld Review – A Nostalgic Journey in a Slim Package

Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition

Are you a fan of all things retro, a time when gaming was simpler, and the world was full of youthful energy? If you are, the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition is a handheld gaming console that might spark your interest. As a seasoned gamer with years of experience, I was naturally excited to explore this slim and lightweight device.

In this comprehensive review, we’ll dive into the unboxing experience, take a close look at the design, spend some quality time playing games, and finally, I’ll provide my verdict.

Unboxing the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition

Let’s kick things off with what’s inside the box. Beyond the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition console, you’ll find packaging that exudes retro vibes, setting the mood for what’s to come. Included accessories are a Type-C to Type-C USB cable and an instruction manual, complete with an English translation on the back.

However, one noticeable omission is an adapter, unlike other Ayaneo handheld gaming consoles. You’ll need to supply your own adapter to charge this device.


After spending three days immersed in the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition, I can confidently say that I’m impressed with its design. It stands out as notably slim and lightweight compared to Ayaneo’s other handheld consoles. Measuring a mere 17 millimeters in thickness and weighing a featherlight 380 grams, it offers a distinct advantage in portability.

The console’s retro two-tone design is striking, resembling a Game Boy that has aged gracefully with a slight yellowish tint. The device features RGB LED accents, customizable thumbsticks, and eye-catching red highlights on the d-pad and face buttons. Triggers on the top complete the package. Overall, the design blends simplicity and elegance beautifully, with the only minor drawback being a visible join at the bottom.

Ergonomically, the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition excels. It fits comfortably in your hands, thanks to the thoughtfully designed grips that meld seamlessly with your palms. Holding it feels secure, with no worries about it slipping from your grasp. It’s clear that Ayaneo has prioritized a comfortable gaming experience.

On the port front, simplicity reigns. The top of the device houses only a heat vent, power button, volume rocker, and the sole USB-C port. Additionally, you’ll discover a headphone jack and a microSD memory card slot, simplifying expandable storage options.

Android & Features

What distinguishes the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition from its predecessors is its Android operating system. While it’s a modified version of Android, it retains familiar elements like the touch interface. Navigating the system feels intuitive, with apps accessible via a swipe-up gesture and notifications and toggles reachable with a swipe-down action.

I should mention a minor quirk I encountered: the inability to change the background, despite attempts to do so in the personalized settings. This could stem from using an early review model, and I anticipate this issue will be resolved in the final retail version. Furthermore, it’s important to note that the device ran Android 12 during testing, while Android 14 was on the horizon. I expect the retail version to include the latest Android version and security patches.

One of the device’s strong points is full access to the Google Play Store and other Google services, providing a vast array of apps and games for a diverse gaming experience.

The Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition’s power button conveniently houses a built-in fingerprint sensor, ensuring quick and secure access to the device. Additionally, the device supports SIM cards, enabling use as a phone or providing internet access on the go—a handy feature for multiplayer gaming while traveling.

Beyond Android gaming, the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition excels at retro gaming. The “Aya Space” feature provides access to all the ROMs you’ve copied onto the console. Adding ROMs is straightforward; you simply place them in corresponding folders within the “pocket games” directory. The device supports various retro consoles, including GameCube, Game Gear, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance. Adding BIOS files is also straightforward, and the console assists you in downloading the required emulator for a specific game when necessary.

In terms of controls, initial mapping is required for each emulator, but this means you can eliminate on-screen controls for a more authentic gaming experience.


Under the hood, the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200 chipset. During testing, the device demonstrated commendable performance in most scenarios. PS2 emulation ran smoothly, with only occasional audio hiccups. GameCube emulation, especially with titles like Rogue Squadron 2, experienced some occasional juddering, likely stemming from the emulator rather than the device’s performance.

To truly put the device through its paces, I tested Genshin Impact for an extended period. Despite the absence of physical controls for Android games during testing, the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition handled the game with ease, maintaining a stable frame rate even on the highest graphics settings. Additionally, I kept the fan on the highest setting to ensure the device remained cool, which it did without any issues.

Battery Life

The Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition boasts a substantial 7,350mAh battery, significantly surpassing the capacities of most Android smartphones. This generous battery capacity ensures you can game for hours without worrying about running out of power. Even with more demanding titles like Genshin Impact, the device easily delivers a full day of gaming.

However, it’s worth noting that the device’s charging speed leaves much to be desired. Regardless of the adapter used, it took approximately three to four hours to reach a full charge from empty. This may be a minor inconvenience, but it’s a consideration for users with busy schedules.

Display & Audio

The Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition features a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1920×1080 pixel resolution. The display offers sharp contrast and vibrant colors, characteristic of an OLED screen. It’s perfect for playing retro games, making them look better than ever. However, the screen’s maximum brightness of 350 nits means that outdoor visibility can be challenging, particularly in bright sunlight. The glossy nature of the screen exacerbates this issue, as it reflects sunlight, further hindering outdoor play.

On the audio front, the device features stereo speakers, although they are downward-firing. While they produce reasonable sound quality, it can be slightly muffled due to the positioning. The sound tends to be tinny, although it complements the retro gaming experience. For a truly immersive experience, it’s recommended to use headphones or the onboard headphone jack. The device also supports Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless audio, which works seamlessly.


The physical controls of the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition are one of its standout features. They include robust triggers and thumbsticks with no drift issues and no dead zones. These controls are customizable, allowing you to adjust sensitivity and boost levels to your liking. Additionally, the device features a six-axis gyroscope, which can be activated for gyroscopic aiming, adding another layer of control.

While the physical controls work brilliantly for emulated games, they currently don’t function with Android games. However, an upcoming update is expected to address this issue, allowing users to map physical controls to on-screen virtual buttons, making games like Genshin Impact and Call of Duty much easier to control.


In conclusion, the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition is a delightful gaming console that caters to both retro and modern gaming enthusiasts. Its slim and lightweight design, coupled with dedicated physical controls, provides a comfortable and immersive gaming experience. The inclusion of Android opens up a vast library of games and apps, and the device’s Aya Space feature makes retro gaming a breeze.

While it has its minor drawbacks, such as slow charging speeds and limited outdoor visibility, the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition more than makes up for them with its impressive performance, long battery life, and nostalgic design. If you’re a fan of retro gaming or simply want a versatile handheld gaming device, the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition is definitely worth considering.

Overall, the device holds the promise of taking you on a nostalgic journey back to the golden days of gaming, where memories are made, and fun is had. So, are you tempted by the Ayaneo Pocket Air Retro Edition?

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