Two of the first to launch also happen to be two of the most interesting options, thanks to somewhat larger screens, bigger keyboards, and other usability improvements. They also happen to be the first two models I’ve had a chance to test — so let’s compare the GPD P2 Max and One Mix 3 Yoga.
If you’re hoping for a clear-cut winner… it’s not that simple. Each model has its own strengths and weaknesses.
The GPD P2 Max features an 8.9 inch touchscreen display, a multitouch trackpad, and support for up to an Intel Core m3-8100Y processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of NVMe storage. GPD is taking pre-orders through a crowfunding campaign, with the top-of-the-line model selling for $705 (it’ll eventually have a retail price closer to $840).
Meanwhile the One Mix 3 Yoga is already available for purchase from GeekBuying for $760 and up. The entry-level model features an Intel Core m3-8100Y processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of NVMe storage. It has an 8.4 inch display, and a larger keyboard… but it has a small optical touch sensor instead of a touchpad. And unlike the GPD P2 Max, the One Mix 3 Yoga has a 360-degree hinge, a backlit keyboard, and digital pen support.
There are many similarities between the two devices. They both have aluminum bodies. Both have fingerprint sensors. Neither is fanless.
But there are some differences in port selection and other features. And there are some notable differences in performance, battery life, and the overall experience of using the little laptops.
Before we get to that, let’s take a look at the specs for each of these mini-laptops. Please note that these are the specs for the demo units I have in hand. GPD also offers a lower-specced version of the P2 Max with less memory, storage, and a less powerful processor, and One Mix has higher-specced versions of the One Mix 3 with up to twice as much memory and storage and a higher-performance processor.
|GPD P2 Max||One Mix 3 Yoga|
|Display||8.9 inch, 2560 x 1600||8.4 inch, 2560 x 1600|
|CPU||Intel Core m3-8100Y||Intel Core m3-8100Y|
|Storage||512GB NVMe||256GB NVMe|
|Pen support||N/A||Microsoft Pen Protocol|
|360 degree hinge||No||Yes|
|Touchpad||Multitouch trackpad||Optical touch sensor|
|Keyboard||5 rows, 56 keys||6 rows, 67 keys|
|Fingerprint sensor||In power button||Standalone button|
|Battery capacity||34.96 Wh||33.11 Wh|
|Battery life (Netflix test)||5 hours, 10 minutes||4 hours, 50 minutes|
|Battery charge time||~2.5 hours||~4.5 hours|
|Power adapter||15V/2A = 30W PD||15V/2A = 30W PD|
|Bluetooth||BT 4.1||BT 4.0|
|Dimensions||213mm x 149.5mm x 14.2mm||204mm x 129mm x 14.9mm|
|Weight||655 grams (1.4 lb)||689 grams (1.5 lb)|
|Price (as of June 25, 2019)||$705||$760|
As the table makes clear, both little laptops have USB-C ports, micro HDMI ports, and 3.5mm audio jacks. But the GPD P2 Max has two USB-A ports and no card reader, while the One Mix 3 Yoga has a microSD card reader, but just a single USB-A port.
The P2 Max has stereo speakers, a bigger battery, and longer battery life (at least while streaming Netflix videos at 50 percent screen brightness with the Windows 10 power setting set to “better battery.”) It also has a webcam and scores higher on benchmarks (more on that below). In a lot of ways it seems like it should be the winner in a head-to-head matchup.
But the One Mix 3 Yoga has a bigger keyboard, backlit keys, support for pen input, and a 360-degree hinge that lets you use the computer in tablet, tent. or stand notes. All of those features make it a more versatile device… albeit one that doesn’t perform quite as well in most performance tests.
Keys, buttons, and touch input
Ultimately, I find it much easier to type on the One Mix 3 Yoga — I do not love the placement of the tab key (it’s above the number 2 instead of next to the letter Q, where it should be). But the number keys are full-sized. There’s an extra row of function keys above it. There are separate Delete and Backspace keys. And the keyboard is backlit, making it much easier to see in the dark… although the white-on-silver color scheme can make the keys a little touch to see when the backlight is off.
On the other hand, it’s easy to see why GPD decided to go with a 5-row keyboard rather than a 6-row version: it makes room for a real touchpad. The One Mix 3 Yoga (like older GPD Pocket devices), has a small optical touch sensor which is better than nothing… but which isn’t large enough to support multi-touch gestures, among other things. The P2 Max has a decent touchpad that supports two-finger scrolling and clicking, among other things, which makes it much easier to navigate Windows (or other operating systems).
Overall, I prefer typing on the One Mix 3 Yoga. But the P2 Max keyboard does have a few advantages — I think the placement of the Tab key is better. And while you have to hit Fn+K or Fn+L for the colon and semi-colon keys, I think that’s better than placing them in the bottom row next to the space bar, which is far from where they’re found on most other keyboards.
I think the One Mix 3 Yoga also has a better power button/fingerprint sensor solution. The top right key on the keyboard is a power button, and while you do have to press and hold it for a moment before the computer boots or resumes from sleep, it’s easy to tell when it’s working because a blue status LED above the keyboard will turn on. Once you’re at the Windows login screen, you can then just place your fingertip on the fingerprint reader to the right of the power button.
The P2 Max has a single power button with an integrated fingerprint reader. It’s a mushy button that doesn’t give you a solid click when you press it, and there’s no LED status light to let you know when the computer is powering up, so I sometimes can’t tell if the computer has noticed I’ve pressed the power button or not. I’ve also found the fingerprint reader to be a bit hit-or-miss. Sometimes I have to put the computer back to sleep and turn it on again before it will recognize my finger. At that point it would probably be faster to just enter a PIN or password.
The One mix 3 Yoga’s convertible tablet-style design and support for an optional pressure-sensitive pen also gives it a bump in the usability space… if you care about tablet functionality. If you don’t, then these are both pretty good little laptops… especially compared with earlier models from these companies which had 7 inch screens and cramped keyboards.
The One Mix 3 Yoga weight a bit more and it’s a tiny bit thicker, but its smaller screen and lack of a physical touchpad means it takes up a little less space when you fold it up.
I can slide it into a pants pocket… it’s not comfortable and I wouldn’t want to walk around with it in my pocket all day. But it fits.
The GPD P2 Max does not fit into the pocket of any pants I own. But it’s got a sleeker-looking design thanks to sloped edges which make the laptop look thinner at the front than the back.
I think the darker color scheme for the P2 Max is also more attractive, but that might be a matter of personal preference. The white-letters-on-black keys on the keyboard are objectively easier to see in a well-lit room than the white-on-silver keys on the One Mix 3… but the lack of backlit keys can make the P2 Max keyboard tougher to see in darker settings.
Both laptops have displays that can get pretty bright, but the P2 Max display can get much dimmer at its lowest setting.
While running my Netflix-streaming battery test, I also noticed that the One Mix 3 Yoga display seems to have more of a blue/purple tint than the P2 Max. I don’t have the tools or expertise to do a detailed screen quality/color test, but I think the P2 Max seems to have a display that looks a little more accurate to my eye… but it’s only something I notice when the two mini laptops are side by side.
One difference that’s more immediately noticeable it the fact that the GPD P2 max has stereo speakers, while the One Mix 3 Yoga has just a single mono speaker. The P2 Max is louder and the sound feels more balanced, since it’s not coming out of one end of the laptop. Bear in mind, neither of these notebooks is much louder than a smartphone or tablet, but stereo speakers do seem to make a difference.
Neither of these little computers are speed demons. They both have low-power Intel Core m3-8100Y processors, but GPD set its chip to run at 8 watts, versus 7 watts for the One Mix 3 Yoga.
So it should come as no surprise that the P2 Max came out ahead in most benchmarks. The difference wasn’t huge, but it was measurable.
What’s a little more surprising is that despite offering better performance and sporting a slightly larger display, the P2 Max still lasted longer in my battery life test. So if performance is the deciding factor for you, then I think it’s pretty clear that the P2 Max is the mini-laptop to beat.
That said, the fan on the P2 Max seems to run more frequently. In a quiet room you’ll hear it whirring at a gentle speed most of the time that the computer is powered on. Fire up an app or game that requires a little more horsepower, and the fan speed will ramp up and it’ll get louder.
The One Mix 3 Yoga also has a fan, but I didn’t notice it running as much. There’s also an option to press Fn+Fel on the convertible notebook to slow down the fan (it doesn’t turn off, but it gets quieter in this mode… but you should use it judiciously since the computer may take a small performance hit and it may get warmer to the touch).
Speaking of heat, the One Mix 3 does get rather warm after you’ve been using it for a while. The P2 Max stays pretty cool. I guess that’s what happens when the fan doesn’t turn off very often. That’s not to say the P2 Max never warms up, but it doesn’t seem to get as hot as the One Netbook machine, and the heat tends to be localized to the right side of the mini-laptop.
Update: One Netbook says two more reasons the One Mix 3 Yoga gets warmer are the fact that it has a backlit keyboard and a smaller chassis, which means there’s not as much space for heat to dissipate.
And now… let’s take a look at some benchmarks.
I’m not surprised to see that the GPD P2 Max outperforms the One Mix 3 Yoga in most tests. After all, it has a higher TDP and what I’m guessing may be a better cooling system.
What is a little surprising is that it also outperforms the Acer Swift 7 in many tests, despite that laptop have an Intel Core i7-8500Y processor which should theoretically score higher on these tests. But maybe I should have expected that — the Acer Swift 7 is a fanless laptop, while the GPD P2 has active cooling.
Another surprise? The GPD P2 Max actually scored higher than my HP Spectre x360 in Cinebench’s single-core performance test. The HP laptop has a 15 watt Intel Core i5-8250U quad-core processor, so it does way better in multi-core performance. But still, the Core m3 chip holds its own.
GeekBench, PCMark, and PassMark show similar results (although the Acer Swift 7 does come out ahead in PassMark.
That said… is the One Mix 3 Yoga so much slower that you shouldn’t even consider it? I wouldn’t think so. It still scores much better on benchmarks than computers with Atom, Celeron, or Pentium chips. So if you want a bigger keyboard or tablet functionality, I think it might be worth the tradeoff.
The performance gap this year isn’t nearly as big as it was for the first-gen One Mix Yoga, which had a nifty design but absolutely horrible performance.
I think both the GPD P2 Max and the One Mix 3 Yoga are pretty good options for modern mini computing. I wouldn’t mind lower price tags… but given the hardware in these little PCs, I’m not surprised at the $700-and-up prices.
It’s worth noting that GPD does have a lower-priced option. The company is also taking pre-orders for a model with an Intel Celeron 3965Y processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of RAM. It’s going for $529 during the P2 Max Indiegogo campaign. That price comes a little closer to impulse-buy territory, but the processor is much slower and you can probably expect significantly lower scores on benchmarks and more sluggish real-world performance. On the bright side, you’ll also probably get longer battery life from that model.
Meanwhile, another Chinese device makers is entering the mini-laptop space with a lower-cost option. Chuwi’s 8 inch MiniBook is up for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign, and that model has a starting price of $430 for a model with an Intel Celeron N4100 processor or $550 for a version with an Intel Core m3-8100Y chip. I should have more details about that mini-laptop soon.