It’s been a long time coming, but the Smach Z handheld gaming PC is now a real thing that people who don’t work for Smach have actually used. As promised, the company is showing off the final production hardware at the E3 gaming show this week.
Given this project’s history, it’s probably too early to say whether it’ll ship later this year as expected or if it’ll live up to the hype Smach has tried to generate if and when it does. But at least we now have some third-party photos and videos of the Smach Z thanks to Tom’s Hardware, HobbyConsolas, Kyle Orland, and p64imp.
Update: Scroll down for some more hands-on videos from E3.
If you need a refresher, the Smach Z is a handheld computer powered by an AMD Ryzen Embedded V1605B processor with Radeon Vega graphics.
It features a 6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel touchscreen display with game controllers on the left and right sides. The controllers are inspired by Valve’s Steam Controller, and include two touchpads that theoretically make it easier to play games designed for mouse input (like real time strategy games).
So far folks seem underwhelmed by those touch controllers, but the analog stick and buttons are reportedly pretty solid, and Smach will offer software that lets you reamp functions so you may be able to work around the wonky touchpads if they’re not improved by the time the Smach Z ships.
According to Tom’s Hardware, Rocket League runs at around 50 fps on the Smach Z, and the 2016 version of Doom stays just over 30 fps, while other games such as Monster Hunter World could only hit 17 frames per second. So while the Smach Z does seem to be exactly what’s promised — a handheld gaming PC, it’s not exactly a super powerful one. I can’t help wondering why Smach didn’t opt for a 720p display panel to reduce the strain on the system’s 15 watt processor (Tom’s Hardware does note that Smach is developing a “powered dock that will allow the processor to run at 25 watts).
Smach says to expect 2-7 hours of battery life from the Smach Z, so it seems safe to assume that some games will drain the battery pretty quickly (although maybe not as quickly as some folks have estimated).
It’s also not exactly cheap — pre-orders have officially ended and now the Smach Z website offers visitors a chance to “reserve” a Smach Z for $10.
An entry-level model with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB PCIe NVMe SSD will set you back $699 if you opt for a version with Smach’s Linux-based operating system. The price goes up to $799 if you want Windows 10.
A top-of-the-line model with 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 5MP camera starts at $1299.
Update: PCDIY has some more hands-on photos from E3, as well as a few pictures of the Smach Z booth at the show.
And here are a few more hands-on videos from the show floor: