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Zotac’s new ‘ZONE’ handheld gaming console could be Steam Deck’s next big rival

Zotac enter handheld gaming marketplace with its first offering
Last Updated on May 29, 2024
Zotac zone unveiled at this year's computex
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Just when you thought it was safe to start searching for the perfect handheld gaming console, another 7-inch player hits the fray. This time, it’s ZOTAC that’ll be vowing for handheld supremacy – with an official product unveiling at this year’s Computex event.

Zotac has confirmed (according to VideoCardz) the arrival of yet another handheld gaming console this year, adding to an already expanding list of potential Steam Deck competitors. This one will be called the ZONE and – according to sources – will be officially showcased at this year’s Computex in Taiwan.

(image Source: Zotac/VideoCardz)

While not much information is currently available for the Zotac ZONE, we do have confirmation that it will come equipped with a 7-inch AMOLED display – similar to that of the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch OLED. Early pictures of the new device showcase a stylish black aesthetic (which may or may not be the final color) and Zotac branding on the rear. It does showcase a thin RGB light strip on the images, but this will likely be for marketing purposes only.

Despite this being the case, VideoCardz goes on to speculate what we might see in the ZONE – suggesting that, due to Zotac’s usage of Intel hardware in its mini-PC range, we’ll probably see the same in the ZONE. Meaning, we could see the Intel Core Ultra 100 or 200 series processors used here.

Will the Zotac ZONE be a Steam Deck competitor?

This year looks set to be massive for handheld gaming, with a tonne of new arrivals set to launch in 2024. And while most of the hype right now surrounds the highly-anticipated ROG Ally X, we think the ZONE could be one of the leading rivals to the Steam Deck.

Of course, it’s a little naive to say the ZONE will be a Steam Deck rival without any mention of internal specifications, but one thing that caught our attention was the screen. If there was ever a specification that showed intent to match the current flagship handheld offering, it’d be the screen – and that’s exactly what Zotac are showing.

There are only two other devices on the market that utilize OLED screens right now, and that’s the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck. Well, there are soon to be three, and if Zotac equips this handheld with powerful internal hardware, there’s no reason to suggest it won’t be a Steam Deck rival by the end of the year.

I suppose we’ll have to sit tight and wait to see what this year’s Computex brings. One thing is for sure, 2024 looks set to be one of the most explosive years for handheld gaming to date, and we’re right behind it.

Charlie is the Affiliate manager for PC Guide. He has a vast understanding of most PC hardware and consumer essentials, using his knowledge to provide the best products and the biggest deals.

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