Stylized Alex Ward logo


Steam Deck vs Ayaneo 2

tl;dr - If you're most people, get a Steam Deck. If you've got similar use cases to me Ayaneo 2 might be for you.

I don't think I've ever posted about this before, but I wanted to take a bit of time to talk about one of my pretty-obvious hobbies. Despite having way too many side projects, and working too many hours in the week, I still like to try and find some time to play video games.

After working 50-60 hours a week, I like to unwind - but I don't really have a great place to play console games - my PS 5 is at the same desk where I work, and at the end of the day I really like to get away from all of that. I solved this problem with a gaming laptop (13" Razer Blade - love that thing), but it still required a fair amount of effort - keeping a controller near it, having a lap desk so it didn't burn my legs, etc.

Enter the Steam Deck. I preordered one the moment it became available (well, like an hour in because the servers were crashing) and then waited well over a year for it to arrive. But when it arrived.... oh boy was that thing awesome. The controller layout is top-notch, it's comfortable to hold (if a bit heavy), and since I was playing on the couch - the laughably short battery life wasn't an issue. It solved basically all of my problems... except for one major one.

You see, dear readers, every year I do Extra Life - and every year I need to stream for a full 24 hours. While concievably I could do this on the Steam Deck - the amount of CPU things like OBS take up would be pushing the Deck's hardware to the limit. That, coupled with the screen being a bit sub-par in terms of color saturation and resolution, I started to look for alternatives.

Specifically alternatives that support an eGPU.

Enter the Ayaneo 2. Now, for those of you who don't know about Ayaneo - they're a small Chinese company who (for a good while) had a reputation for the best support of the not-Valve handhelds (because no one is going to match Valve in this space - they're simply the largest player), with a reputation for quality. So, I figured I'd give the 2's Indiegogo campaign a go1.

Long story short, they had a number of issues with that campaign and a lot of folks were having issues with either delivery, faulty hardware, support, or the like. I was not one of those people - I had zero issues with the 2 when it arrived. Let me tell you, I love this thing. The screen is beautiful, it's comfortable to hold (though the Deck has the superior inputs), and after a lot of tinkering and driver updates - I got it to work with my eGPU. Problem solved, I will be able to stream this year without resorting to hijacking what is now my Fiancee's gaming laptop and have a solution for when I need to play those games that have a bit higher graphical demands.

Deck Battle, iPad for scale

So, how do the two consoles stack up to each other?

Things the Deck does Better

  • Input: The back buttons are amazing and really really useful. Especially when you remap one of them to "right stick depress" - makes toggling run in a bunch of games much easier. Also, trackpads are exceptionally useful for certain games.
  • Comfort: It's just slightly nicer to hold for longer periods due to where the sticks are placed vs. the d-pad.
  • Software: The Software experience on SteamOS is really tight. It just workstm. That cannot be said about the Win 11 experience on Ayaneo - and Ayaspace is semi-necessary for changing TDP and mouse support, but it's clunky.

Things the Ayaneo 2 does better

  • Screen: The screen is beautiful, and higher resolution. Even when dropping the resolution on AAA games to get better performance, it just looks better.
  • Performance: You can set the TDP on this thing fairly high, higher than the Deck, and at higher TDPs you get better performance for your trouble.
  • eGPU support: The Deck doesn't have a USB-4 port so it cannot do eGPUs even if it wanted to, so.... here we are.

All in all, they're both great hardware and the Ayaneo 2 is working great for me - but for most people, I think the Steam Deck is going to be the way to go -

1: Full disclosure, I'd already gotten an Air from them at this point, and enjoyed it. The air is my travel console.

Plausible for Analytics

Just a quick note for the blog that I've added a self-hosted copy of Plausible analytics. Privacy friendly, only going to me to understand visitor statistics.

Installation was simple, and I'll keep y'all apprised on how well it goes.

Earbud Reviews Updated

So I've added 3 new earbuds to my Earbuds Review Page: Anker Soundcore Space A40, Anker Soundcore VR P10, and Apple Airpods Pro v2.

I've finally also written the write-ups for the other buds on the list that were missing. Hope the info in there is useful for you. As always, the thoughts in there are my opinions, and they're all super subjective so your mileage may vary.

Alternative Video Hosting

I've fallen down a super deep Fediverse rabbit hole. It feels kinda like for the first time I can play around with stuff and not have my Extra Life videos just living on Twitch or Youtube. As a result, I've put up my own PeerTube instance up on and am slowly moving the Extra Life videos there. They're going to stay up on Youtube as well, but here's a much better place to move things. Going to see if I can also make copies of my old talks, but odds are good I don't have the rights to reproduce them. In any case, here's a copy of my Sucker for Love run!

RSS feed added to blog

So thanks to the RSS Plugin for 11ty I now have these posts available via RSS! The feed is linked in the footer and is available at /feed.xml.

I intend to do the same thing to the reviews page just as soon as I finish up my headphone reviews page. Which I'll definitely do, one of these days....

OSRaon Icon Set v0.1 Beta Release

Today I'm happy to reveal something I've been working on for the past month or so: an Icon Pack specifically for Old School Revival RPGs! This is something I've wanted to learn how to do for a while now, and I've been working on another OSR type project (which I'm hoping to reveal soon) and found myself looking for icon packs that I could use for dungeon maps. There were several candidates, but I could not find anything that I really liked.

So, to that end, I set about making some of my own! In the OSRaon Icon pack, we've currently got 64 icons across 12 categories. Several of these are variants on a theme (lots of 4-poster beds, for example), so the variety is a little sparse at the moment. However I'll be adding more icons over the coming months. I'm a bit of a novice at this though, so maybe don't expect artful mastery. But if you like what you see, and want simple/clean icons, this might be the icon pack for you.

Here's a preview image of a subset of the icons (potato quality for reasons):

The package itself includes all the icons in .png or .svg format, as well as an Affinity Designer assets file for importing to Affinity.

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, the best way to acquire it during its beta release (aka, now) is via my Extra Life page at and making a donation. It's in the incentives column. This will get you access to the package as well as any future updates (if you give me your email address).