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Orange Pi Neo gaming handheld to come with Manjaro Linux

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Shown off during the recent FOSDEM 2024 event, it seems the Manjaro Linux team have buddied up with hardware vendor Orange Pi for the Orange Pi Neo gaming handheld.

The system has not been fully announced by Orange Pi directly as of yet, but the Manjaro Linux team put various (1) posts (2) on X (formerly Twitter) and they have a dedicated page on their website for the Orange Pi Neo that goes over the specifications.

We haven't seen many jump into Linux for handhelds like this yet aside from the Steam Deck. We would've had the AYANEO Next Lite, which was announced with HoloISO, but they reversed course back to Windows. So it's good to see another that will be coming to market to further push Linux in the gaming space!

Specifications:

CPU AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840U
Screen 7-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200, WUXGA) 16:10, 500nits Brightness, 120Hz Refresh Rate
Ram 16GB/32GB LPDDR5 (7500MHz dual channel)
Storage 512GB-2TB PCIe® 4.0 NVMe™ M.2 SSD (2280)
Dimensions 259mm*107mm*19.9mm
Battery 50WHrs, 3S1P, 3-cell Li-polymer battery
I/O Ports 2x USB 4.0 Type-C, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x TF card slot
Audio 2x 1W dual panoramic speakers
Cooling Turbo Large Fan, Dual Copper Pipes + Aluminium Alloy Cooling Fans, extra large air vents + customised cooling system and air ducts with a subtle design
Bluetooth BT5.3
Input Dual 6-axis gyroscopes
Dual trackpads
Dual thumbsticks with RGB

The decision to go with Manjaro isn't that unexpected either, considering it's the Linux distribution Valve still suggest right now for developing specifically for the Steam Deck without having one (as SteamOS and Manjaro are both Arch Linux based).

Seems like it could be quite an interesting device, definitely worth keeping an eye on! Curious to see more on it, especially since it's an all-in-one device with Orange Pi usually being known for their small boards.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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sarmad Feb 6
Quoting: JuliusOdd screen resolution choice. Probably not the best for overall performance.

But still... depending on the price this might be an interesting Steam Deck competitor.

I second that. They should've stuck with 1280x800 to guarantee higher frame rate or longer battery life. On a 7" screen 800p resolution should be enough given the constrained processing power.
Phlebiac Feb 6
Quoting: Penglingthere's barely any difference between Coke and Pepsi

Them's fightin' words! ;-D
Pengling Feb 6
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Quoting: Loftyi mean, its not a fact. it's your opinion. but if you have a study you can link which shows where people cannot tell the difference then i will bow to your superior evidence.

i can tell the difference on a smart phone between a 7" 720p smart phone and a 1200p smart phone, its a nice sizeable difference for reading text. last time i checked, we still read text in games, although i admit the steam deck might not be used for e-book reading

in fact i can link a dozen videos where people are showing the difference and claiming the difference in the detail of the screen of a ROG Ally vs a Steam deck.
I think I may not have been clear enough, and I apologise. I'm afraid I don't have any studies and equally I don't need to see people's opinions about the ROG Ally - it's just Handheld Design 101 that you don't waste battery-life and performance on details that can barely be seen at a normal viewing distance for a handheld (a big mistake the ROG Ally makes, and it's already impossible to see the individual pixels on the Steam Deck's display even if you push it right up to your nose; As I said before, it's a fact that there's barely any difference at the sizes we're talking about - there's a point of diminishing returns with high-resolution 7" displays in a handheld).

The original Apple Retina Displays were 960x640 and a normal viewer could not distinguish the individual pixels on those at a standard smartphone viewing distance - and that's a lot closer than you would be viewing a handheld, and a lot lower-resolution than the devices in question here. Dot-pitch is key more than the resolution itself, and the human eye can only see so much detail in a centimetre at the intended viewing distance. You don't want to eat into other issues that are more important for the form-factor, like needing to be able to venture further than the power-cord goes!

You're normally going to be holding a handheld at least twice the distance away than a smartphone due to the weight (which is much greater than a smartphone in most cases), and for the sake of not hurting your arms, wrists, and hands; Even with a lighter gaming-handheld, you'll never hold it up like a smartphone because that makes it hard to use the controls since that sort of posture and lack of elbow/forearm support will put undue strain on your wrists and fingers (I learned that one the hard way a long time ago, before smartphones even existed - ouch! Don't try this at home! ). Maybe if it was put on a desk or aeroplane seat at very close-proximity at eye-level and you were using external controls, but that's not how most would typically use a handheld.

As an aside, I have to compliment your amazing eyesight - please be sure to look after your eyes well. A lifetime of handhelds and laptops mean that my own are sharp only at the typical viewing-distances for those; Long-distance vision is a bygone dream, but at least I like my glasses, haha!

Quoting: sarmadI second that. They should've stuck with 1280x800 to guarantee higher frame rate or longer battery life. On a 7" screen 800p resolution should be enough given the constrained processing power.
I can imagine there being a market for a larger device with a screen big enough to see those details, but then it would be a pretty large handheld and getting into only-semi-portable "Maybe I should've just bought a laptop?" territory, I suspect, and the battery definitely wouldn't be much cop.

Ideally, I'd like to see Linux handhelds and Linux gaming-laptops bolstering each other by covering all the options, because there's only so far you can take the resolution on a handheld before you can't see it, and there's more room for a bigger battery in a laptop, but both can advance the software side of things.

Quoting: Phlebiac
Quoting: Penglingthere's barely any difference between Coke and Pepsi

Them's fightin' words! ;-D
I'm a lot less picky about sweet fizzy water now that I'm getting older!
Ananace Feb 6
Played a little bit with the one at FOSDEM, felt reasonably weighted, liked the port layout, but the shell felt like the stereotypical sticky when dry and slippery when wet plastic of a cheap aftermarket controller, and the shape was a little too smooth - so there was no real way to get a solid grip on it.
I really like the fact that it has trackpads though, unfortunately the positioning of them makes it almost impossible to use both trackpads and sticks in any meaningful combination. You either have to hold the console so that you can comfortably use the pads, or you have to hold it so you can comfortably use the sticks and buttons, there wasn't really a middle ground for my hand size at least.

Spent a while chatting about the immutable design, and from the answers to my questions it's been really well thought out, though there seemed to be an awful lot of weight placed on the fact that it would be as easy as possible to disable the immutability.


Last edited by Ananace on 6 February 2024 at 8:47 pm UTC
Lofty Feb 6
Quoting: PenglingAs an aside, I have to compliment your amazing eyesight - please be sure to look after your eyes well. A lifetime of handhelds and laptops mean that my own are sharp only at the typical viewing-distances for those; Long-distance vision is a bygone dream, but at least I like my glasses, haha!

you underestimate how close i sit to my screen

I'm not a Manjaro fan, but I've heard good things about Orange Pi SBCs.

Plus, unless I'm mistaken, this is the first Deck clone I've seen to actually have trackpads. It baffles me why this isn't more common.
Pengling Feb 7
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Quoting: Loftyyou underestimate how close i sit to my screen

NOOOOO! Hahahaha! Don't do it! You'll end up like me;





Quoting: CyborgZetaPlus, unless I'm mistaken, this is the first Deck clone I've seen to actually have trackpads. It baffles me why this isn't more common.
All of the pre-Steam Deck handheld PCs lacked it, so I guess that various vendors have just continued on with that? It's such a great feature, though - I wouldn't want to be without them now, and I wouldn't consider an x86 handheld that lacks them!
Relsre Feb 7
Quoting: Pengling
Quoting: CyborgZetaPlus, unless I'm mistaken, this is the first Deck clone I've seen to actually have trackpads. It baffles me why this isn't more common.
All of the pre-Steam Deck handheld PCs lacked it, so I guess that various vendors have just continued on with that? It's such a great feature, though - I wouldn't want to be without them now, and I wouldn't consider an x86 handheld that lacks them!

FWIW, there are more recent handheld PCs that do have trackpads -- the AYANEO KUN for instance: https://www.notebookcheck.net/Ayaneo-Kun-gaming-handheld-in-review-Performance-beast-for-individualists.797526.0.html

Whether they are as useful or well integrated into the UX as the Deck's trackpads (especially outside of playing games with Steam Input) is another story.
Pengling Feb 7
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Quoting: RelsreFWIW, there are more recent handheld PCs that do have trackpads -- the AYANEO KUN for instance: https://www.notebookcheck.net/Ayaneo-Kun-gaming-handheld-in-review-Performance-beast-for-individualists.797526.0.html

Whether they are as useful or well integrated into the UX as the Deck's trackpads (especially outside of playing games with Steam Input) is another story.
Good to see more companies picking them up!

That said, I'm not sure about the placement or shape of these - round trackpads look a bit less useful to me. BUT, that's probably a view influenced by a lot of laptop usage over the years, since I expect the shape to match that of the display for non-gaming use.
Too bad they, like everyone except valve get the stick-placement wrong
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