The next handheld gaming PC from GPD will have a brand new design… that’s inspired by a rather old design.
The upcoming GPD Win 3 is a gaming PC that’s about the size of a Nintendo Switch Lite, and which looks a bit like one two – there’s a 5.5 inch touchscreen display surrounded by game controllers.
But if you slide the screen upward, you’ll reveal a hidden keyboard that can be used to enter text in games (or other apps). If the design looks familiar, that’s because it’s heavily inspired by the Sony Vaio UX line of handheld computers from almost 15 years ago.
GPD’s model is an all-new take on the design though, with upgraded components including an Intel Tiger Lake processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics.
The GPD Win 3 will go up for pre-order through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that’s tentatively scheduled for January, 2021, and it should ship to backers in April or May. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet.
GPD has been making handheld gaming computers for several years, but up until now they’ve all featured clamshell designs. That means that they fold like a laptop. Lift the screen on the GPD Win, Win 2, or Win Max and you reveal a small keyboard and integrated game controllers.
But while that design makes sense for a laptop that rests on a table, desk, or lap, it can be a bit more awkward for a gaming device that’s meant to be held in your hands like a Nintendo Switch.
So GPD decided to try building a model that you can hold like a Switch. But unlike Nintendo’s handheld game consoler, the GPD Win 3 is a full-fledged computer capable of playing PC games. And since it has a keyboard, you can use it to enter usernames, chat, or use other applications that require text input.
But make no mistake, the Win 3 is first and foremost a gaming computer. The keyboard is a capacitive touch keyboard – the keys register your taps the same way a touchscreen does, but they won’t move when you press them. That could make touch typing a little tricky for some users, although it does allow the keyboard to take up a little less space than it would if the keys moved.
You could theoretically use the GPD Win 3 as a productivity device. But its design and feature set were clearly chosen for gaming.
GPD has equipped the game controllers with dual vibration motors, analog L2 and R2 buttons, and dual analog sticks that can work as L3 and R3 buttons when you press down, among other things.
And while the company says the original plan had been to use an Intel Tiger Lake Y-series processor, but the company eventually decided to go for a higher-power U-series chip in order to support faster data transfer speeds for overall better performance. With the highest single-core CPU performance, faster memory, and integrated graphics that can best NVIDIA’s GeForce MX350 or MX450 discrete GPUs in some cases, the Win 3 will be GPD’s most powerful handheld gaming computer to date.
If you’d rather have many of those features in a device with a larger screen and keyboard though, GPD does plan to offer a version of the GPD Win Max with a Tiger Lake processor eventually. You just may have to wait until later in 2021 or maybe early 2022 to get your hands on one.
While GPD has been one of the driving forces behind the emergence of a modern handheld gaming PC renaissance, there’s growing competition in this space. Rival One Netbook plans to release a OneGx Pro mini-laptop with a Tiger Lake-Y processor soon. The upcoming AYA Neo handheld features an AMD Ryzen 4000U processor with Radeon graphics. And maybe the Smach Z will actually ship one day.
But there’s nothing currently on the market that’s quite like the GPD Win 3 – a modern handheld gaming PC with high-performance CPU, GPU, storage, and memory and a slider-style design that allows you to use a keyboard when you need it, and hide it when you don’t.
Oh, and there’s also an optional docking station that allows you to quickly and easily connect an external display, allowing you to use the same computer for gaming on the go (or around the house) and on your TV or monitor.
That doesn’t mean that this is necessarily the perfect gaming device for everyone though. GPD opted for a 720p display, even though the Tiger Lake processor should easily be able to handle a higher-resolution panel. There’s no gyroscopic sensor for motion controls. And while the Win 3 is about the size of a Nintendo Switch Lite in terms of length and width, it’s rather chunky for a handheld.
Here’s a run-down of all the specs that have been confirmed so far, but keep in mind that with release still several months away, it’s possible that some specs or features could still change.
|Display||5.5 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel IPS|
84-percent NTSC color gamut
Gorilla Glass 5
Slides up to reveal keyboard
|CPU||Intel Core i5-1135G7 or Core i7-1165G7|
15W to 28W TDP
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe|
80 EUs (Core i5) or 96 EUs (Core i7)
|Storage||M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe SSD|
microSDXC card reader (supports A2 cards with 160MB/s speeds)
|Battery & charging||44 Wh battery|
65W power adapter (1.5 hours for a full charge)
|Battery life (estimated)||3 hours of heavy use|
6-8 hours of moderate use
14 hours of light use
|Ports||1 x Thunderbolt 4|
1 x USB Type-A
1 x 3.5mm audio
|Cooling||Active (fan + dual heat pipes)|
Hidden behind screen
|Game controllers||Analog L2/R2 triggers|
Dual analog sticks (press down for L3/R3)
X, Y, A, B keys
Dual vibration motors
|Docking station||1 x HDMI 2.0b|
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (10 Gbps)
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (10 Gbps)
|Materials||Magnesium alloy & ABS plastic|
|Colors||All black or silver black|
|Dimensions||198mm x 92mm x 27mm|
(7.8″ x 3.6″ x 1.1″
Update: The Phawx has a new video showing a little bit of gameplay on a prototype with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor as well as a few new details:
- The base model will have the Core i5 chip and a silver paint job.
- An Indiegogo Special Edition black model will have a Core i7-1165G7 processor.
- There’s a fingerprint sensor on the right game controller so you can login without raising the screen to access the keyboard.
Update 2: GPD has shared a short video showing Win 3 prototypes in action:
First show of WIN3 1035G7 pic.twitter.com/qjQYTXXOXL
— GPD Game Consoles (@softwincn) November 12, 2020
Update 3: GPD posted a few new images showing a the ports, shoulder buttons, and size of a recent prototype:
Last time we already knew Win3’s size, now let’s see the thickness.
It would be quite similar as Win2. (Nice tea😅) pic.twitter.com/FM0oEQHjLz
— GPD Game Consoles (@softwincn) November 25, 2020
Update 4: GPD has announced that the Win 3 will sell for $829 and up during crowdfunding. Some more specs have also been revealed, so I’ve updated the spec table above.