The GPD Win 2 is first and foremost designed to be a mobile gaming PC. It has a 6 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel touchscreen display and physical gaming buttons that make it possible to play all sorts of games on the go, including Batman: Arkham City, Grim Fandango Remastered, and even StarCraft II (although you’ll probably want a mouse).

But the Win 2 also has a QWERTY keyboard that you can use for entering usernames, passwords, URLs, or longer chunks of text.

I wouldn’t want to use the built-in keyboard for an extended typing session, but the keyboard is a big improvement over the one found on the first-generation GPD Win.

The keyboard has pretty much every feature you’d find on a full-sized keyboard including arrow keys, volume and brightness controls, and F1 – F12 keys (although they’re all crammed onto the left side of the keyboard, so you have to press F1 + Fn to trigger F7, for example).

Some of the most important keys for gamers are specially marked. The arrow keys and W, A, S, and D keys are labeled in yellow instead of white, for instance. And those W, A, S, and D keys (which are often used as forward, back, and side buttons in games) also have a raised area that makes them a bit easier to detect with your fingertips when you’re looking at the screen rather than the keyboard.

GPD placed the power button in the center of the top row, but it’s recessed in a way that makes it unlikely that you’d accidentally press it and put the computer to sleep unexpectedly. You also have to press it reasonably hard to turn the PC on or off.

There are also L3, select, start, and Xbox buttons to the right of the volume and power buttons, giving you access to a few gaming buttons on the keyboard itself.

All of the keys have a gentle slope, so while there’s no much room between the keys, the surface area your finger comes in contact with is actually rather small. That may sound like a bad thing, but it helps you feel where one key ends and the next begins.

Still, the keyboard is really too small to be comfortable for 10-finger touch typing. The keys are small and you have to press them pretty hard in order to trigger any action. I found myself looking down at the keyboard more than I usually would on other devices.

One of the most comfortable ways to type is using two thumbs. Odds are that you’re going to spend a lot of time holding the GPD Win 2 with two hands, much the way you would an Xbox or PlayStation game controller. This puts the entire keyboard within range of your left and right thumbs.

I did find that I was able to type a bit more accurately by putting the Win 2 down on a table and using 3 or 4 fingers to type. I still had to look down at the keyboard, but my accuracy and speed improved.

That said, I can’t type nearly as quickly on this tiny computer as I can on my phone or a laptop or desktop PC.

Here’s what happened when I took the 10FastFingers typing test a few different ways on a few different devices:

  • GPD Win 2 thumb typing – 21 words per minute
  • GPD Win 2 three-finger typing – 28 words per minute
  • Pixel 2 smartphone with Google keyboard – 37 words per minute
  • Pixel 2 with Google keyboard swiping – 40 words per minute (and better accuracy)
  • Desktop PC with Logitech K520 keyboard – 108 words per minute

So yeah, the GPD Win 2 keyboard is the least efficient means of text input I have in my house right now, unless you count the remote controls that come with my Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices (and which you use to enter passwords with an on-screen menu).

I wouldn’t want to type a term paper or business report on this thing. But it’s perfectly serviceable for entering passwords, URLs, and search terms, which I suspect is the main thing you’re likely to do with this sort of miniature computer.

The GPD Win 2 is a niche device with a price tag that’s almost twice as high as its predecessor. But while it has a laptop-like price, it doesn’t really have a laptop-class keyboard. If that’s what you want in a portable computer, you might need to look elsewhere.

You might not need to look too far though. GPD also sells a tiny computer that’s not designed for gaming. The GPD Pocket which has a 7 inch screen and a larger keyboard, but a slower processor and no dedicated game control keys.

Or you could just buy a regular sized laptop and get a regular-sized keyboard. You just wouldn’t be able to fit it in your pocket or hold it in two hands like a Nintendo DS.

The GPD Win 2 is expected to ship later this year for $699 and up, but it’s up for pre-order from Indiegogo for $649. GPD sent me the prototype featured in this article for testing purposes.

It has the near-final design and features an Intel Core M3-7Y30 dual-core processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of solid state storage, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth, a USB Type-C port, USB 3.0 Type-A port, micro HDMI port, headset jack, and microSD card slot as well as stereo speakers and a 720p touchscreen display.

 

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16 replies on “GPD Win 2 keyboard overview (and typing test)”

  1. Looks like the losers from the GPD community came out and mass down voted all the comments not praising GPD, hahahahaha.

    They’re the worst fanboys I’ve seen.

  2. at about $500 should be what it sells at. the win has always been a unique thing to have…..the win 2 can play falout 4 and skyrim the true se version (not the switch original version with dlc). they claim 50 fps or so on skyrim, 38fps on high settings for gta 5.
    this company could be a new player in mobile gaming, right up there with nintendo…..if they priced the thing lower

  3. Thank you for covering the keyboard. It’s understandable that thumb typing on it isn’t better than a smartphone’s onscreen keyboard but a physical keyboard might be better when using a terminal. At least it’d be quicker for me when accessing numbers and symbols plus it doesn’t take up screen space.

    Very unfortunate that the keyboard isn’t backlit. While being mobile, I sometimes find myself in not well lit places. I doubt I’ll type very well without looking.

    Looking forward to how well Linux works and other coverage.

  4. You can play a number of games on most core m3 powered laptops, does that mean they are gaming machines. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I wonder if this article is also going to get a bot mass disliking remotely negative comments about the GPD Win like the last article the author posted? Even the author’s own comments about how loud the fan was got mass disliked by a bot.

    1. They already did. Mibu’s comment had 10+ up votes and the GPD fanboys are down voting it to keep it at 0. I guess they think that’s somehow better…

      1. On the other article, people (the author included), were getting downvotes over 400 for making slightly skeptical statements about the GPD Win or for simply saying something neutral instead of high praise. Probably people who work for GPD trying to do some PR or online damage control .

      2. Yep, my original comment is at -204 now and yours is -194 lol. Those bots are really at it. We should simply keep commenting neutral comments on all GPD Win articles and try to stay ahead of the bots, or if it’s not bots, give them a run for their money and make their jobs very difficult.

    2. Looks like you predicted exactly what the GPD fanboys would do. What a bunch of losers.

      1. Haha yep, look at that -204 so far, you’ve got a few too. I don’t understand what they think disliking comments will do. It’s obviously fake dislikes and people will see it easily. It’ll only have the opposite effect than what I think they hope they’re trying to achieve.

  6. Was that the fan getting louder and louder when you were just doing the typing test? If so, that sucks.

  7. Seems like a nice improvement over the Win 1 but it’s too expensive for what it is despite what the component costs are.

    I would buy this if this was using the same Atom SoC as the Win 1 but with the same overall design (ie. keyboard, buttons, screen and other compatible components) AND a ~$300 price tag. I guess more a Win 1+. Too bad the Atom is dead with no x86 equivalent.

    Oh well, I guess I’m not part of the target audience for the Win 2. Good luck to those who’re willing to pay $600+.

    1. I am not a gamer, so $700.00 dollars is to much for me to pay for this device. I don’t need all the gaming bits. But I do like the specs and the form factor. If I was a gamer, I’d get this in a heartbeat. I am a big fan of small pocketable computers.

      1. im a big gamer…..where i thought $500 was a good and fair price for the xbox one x, the win 2 is just too much…..$500 and id probably be up for it

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