Aya Neo Multi Station
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

The AYANEO Air has proven to be one of our favourite handheld gaming platforms of recent memory. Sure, it's on the expensive side, and its Windows OS does create some annoying quirks from time to time, but we're in love with the sleek design, fantastic controls and the wide range of games it can play – everything from modern-day epics like Cyberpunk 2077 to retro classics (via emulation).

One aspect of the AYANEO Air which takes a bit of getting used to is the battery life; running at full pelt, the system's stamina is rather pathetic, which is why the notion of a docking station is so appealing. AYANEO produced such a dock for its original handheld, but the Air doesn't fit inside that (trust us, we've tried). Therefore, the company has produced a totally new dock which supports all of AYANEO's current handhelds thanks to a clever internal mechanic (we'll get to that shortly) – and we've been putting it through its paces.

As you might expect, the AYANEO Multi Docking Station (to give it its official name) comes complete with a range of ports and sockets covering pretty much everything you need to turn your handheld into a fully-fledged desktop PC. The HDMI port can handle a 4K/60 signal, and you've got two USB-C ports (one for power, one for data), two USB-A ports (for connecting stuff like keyboards, mice or controllers) and a Gigabit Ethernet port. There are also SD and MicroSD card slots on the side.

Because the AYANEO Multi Docking Station is intended to support multiple AYANEO handhelds, the USB-A connector to which your device connects is housed within a fancy 'sliding' port. On the bottom, there's a small tab which allows you to tinker with the placement of the USB-C male connection and 'lock' it in place when you're done. It's a clever way of ensuring compatibility with the entire range of AYANEO devices, but the connector feels a little flimsy as a result – and, annoyingly, our AYANEO Air didn't sit quite flush in the dock.

We also noticed some odd behaviour when trying to run games on the TV, with the image flipping itself sideways for no apparent reason. We eventually discovered this was because we had the screen rotation lock enabled in the Windows settings, mainly to avoid the display rotating by accident when playing in handheld mode. We're tempted to chalk this little quirk down to the oddities of running Windows on a portable device, and while it's not strictly AYANEO's fault, it's annoying all the same.

Outside of that, however, we can't find many other issues with the AYANEO Multi Docking Station. It looks nice, offers plenty of functionality and is – thanks to its adjustable USB-C port – future-proofed to a certain degree. A potential stumbling block for some might be the price; at $89, this is quite an investment, but it's one that you'll want to make if you wish to get the most out of your AYANEO handheld.

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