The GPD Win 3 is a small, powerful handheld gaming computer designed to let you play AAA PC games on a device about the size of a Nintendo Switch Lite. There’s a lot to like about the little computer, but shortly after GPD began shipping the Win 3 to customers, some folks began noticing problems.

For example, the specs on the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign promise support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. But some customers have received Win 3 devices with an older wireless module that top out at WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2.

The good news is that GPD has offered compensation to customers who request it. The bad news is that in doing so, the company leaked the email addresses of 100 or so customers.

Here’s the deal – the GPD Win 3 features an Intel Tiger Lake processor with Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, a PCIe NVMe SSD, and a 5.5 inch touchscreen display surrounded by game controllers. The screen slides up to reveal a capacitive touch keyboard. And there’s a Thunderbolt 4 port with support for external graphics or other peripherals.

The Win 3 is also supposed to have an Intel AX200 wireless module which supports the Intel 802.11ax wireless standard, also known as WiFi 6. It also supports Bluetooth 5.0.

And many customers who have received their Win 3 devices do have the AX200 card pre-installed. But some people noticed that they had Intel’s older AC7265 wireless card instead, which means that their devices can only support 802.11ac (WiFi 5) and Bluetooth 4.2.

According to GPD, what happened was that one of its equipment suppliers provided a batch of Intel’s older modules. And since the newer AX200 wireless module is designed to be a drop-in replacement for AC7265, it looks virtually identical and it can be attached to the mainboard the same way. So factory workers likely installed the wrong chip without noticing.

The good news is that many users probably won’t see much difference. While WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 are significant upgrades that bring support for faster data transfer speeds and improved performance on congested networks, they’re also newer standards and a lot of people haven’t made the move yet. If you have a device with an AX200 chip connected to a home network that tops out at WiFi 5, then you’re only going to get WiFi 5 performance anyway.

But if you do have a WiFi 6 router and/or want a more future-proof chip, then you can contact GPD and the company will either:

  • Pay $30 in compensation for getting a Win 3 with the wrong chip.
  • Send you an Intel AX200 module free of charge, but you’ll need to install it yourself.

That later option is a little risky, as it involves opening up the case of GPD’s handheld computer, de-soldering the AC7265 hardware from the mainboard, replacing it with the new component, and then using a soldering iron to complete the process. If you don’t have experience doing that kind of work, there’s a chance you could break the computer and GPD says it will not cover the costs of any damage incurred.

So yeah, sending out units with the wrong wireless card pre-installed? That’s a little embarrassing. But GPD compounded the issue when emailing customers their options, because the company made the classic, avoidable mistake of using CC instead of BCC. In a nutshell, that means the company exposed the email addresses of more than 100 people… while also confirming that at least 100 people (and probably more) received Win 3 units with the wrong wireless card.

Overall it’s unclear what percent of Win 3 units have shipped with an AC7265 wireless card – many users have also reported that they did in fact get the promised AX200 card. But this isn’t the only problem that’s been reported:

For hardware problems, your best bet is to contact the company directly and request replacement parts and/or a replacement for the entire Win 3. For software issues, you may be able to re-install Windows on your own, but you’ll also probably want to download drivers from the GPD website after doing that in order to make sure everything works properly.

Don’t get me wrong, if you do manage to get a Win 3 that’s not a lemon, it is a pretty great device for handheld gaming (albeit one with a pretty horrible keyboard). But it does seem that GPD has had some quality control issues affecting some units of its latest handheld gaming PC that you may want to know about before placing an order.

If you do decide to buy a Win 3, you may want to go through the steps outlined in an unofficial “Getting Started Guide” to check for problems as soon as possible.

via TechSpot and /r/gpdwin

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  1. I hear people are considering doing charge backs with their bank/credit card company. I wonder if they’ll be successful. I know it’s easier with credit cards but how are sales disguised as “donations” handled.

    Even though GPD unethically keeps using IGG for their initial international sales (intentionally used the word “sales” here), it’s still technically a “crowdfunding campaign” and GPD fully exploits that fact. This article is just one such example.

  2. Think I’d either ship it back or request the AX200. The Intel AC7260 is pure garbage and will eventually suffer from constant disconnects and afaik, their AC7265 has the same issue. Dealt with this headache for years and while a driver upgrade or fresh reinstall usually clears the problem, many months later it’ll eventually happen again. After 7 years of this, my card eventually got to the point where nothing could fix the issue for more than a day.

    Honestly no idea how such a problem could just reappear only once every year or so, or why their driver updates would fix the issue only temporarily (or why Intel deleted multiple 50-page threads about these cards over the years). Best of luck to whoever else will eventually have to deal with such a headache.

  3. This makes me sad, I love my winmax and was considering the mobo upgrade option when they open crowdfunding on the winmax 2021. I’ll have to check if they’ve got their heads outa their rears before comitting.

  4. How’s One Netbook in terms of QA/QC and warranty? I’m interested in the OneGx1 Pro LTE (more specifically, the “official” One Netbook distributor on Amazon US per One’s website). Do they have similar rates of issues and generally not supporting their devices’ like GPD?

    It seems the ONEXPLAYER is their first IGG while their other devices were direct to retail. I’m not interested in this device but I wonder if One Netbook will similarly hide behind IGG’s fairly lax policies like how GPD does.

      1. Thanks! I’ve been reading similar comparisons from others who have both GPD and One Netbook devices.

  5. The other hardware issues mentioned in the article seems much worse than the wrong Wi-Fi chip and it looks like GPD isn’t doing much resolving those issues for customers either.

    I’d expect much better support when paying $1,000 USD.

    1. I wonder what’s the extent of all the Win 3 issues. GPD’s been deleting a lot of the IGG comments that bring up issues with the Win 3 they got.

      Good thing the Reddit sub and Discord channel are unofficial and not owned by GPD. Otherwise, GPD will try to censor those platforms as well.

  6. GPD has always had very bad post-sales support and some people just put up with issues because GPD was the only choice. However, with the competition increasing plus rumors of Valve’s SteamPal, GPD can’t keep treating their customers this badly.

    I hope the other companies handle problems much better than this.

  7. I got the competing OneGx1 Pro 4G off Amazon. I hope I get decent warranty support. So far it’s working as advertised though.

    I would have preferred a smaller keyboard device (ie. Win 2 form factor and size with Win 3 specs) but the OneGx1 is the only current device that’s available right now.

  8. Wow. A decent company would replace the unit with free overnight shipping. I guess GPD isn’t a decent company.

    Issues happen (GPD probably has a noticeably higher issue rate than “large” companies though) but too bad GPD made it worse by handling it extremely badly at almost every step of the process so far.

    I hope One Netbook and AYA Neo handle issues much better than this since things do get past QA sometimes but companies at least can do the right thing and make it right for the customer. Too bad GPD doesn’t do that and just tells them to go pound sand.

    1. I guess that would be extremely expensive and would fail the campaign for them.. after all GPD is a small company and they won’t be making a huge profit on what is essentially a niche product.

      1. Here’s the thing. GPD wants to be a company that sells things globally, if you want to play that game, you need to support your customers globally.

        If you can’t afford to support your customers, then you can’t afford to be in business.

        GPD doesn’t get a free pass because they’re a small company. If they want to be a global computer manufacturer, they need to start building the distribution and support resources that customers expect.

        1. I kinda feel like customer support across every industry has been on the decline for quite some time now, with call centers being outsourced when not replaced by computers, and contact forms on websites that they’re usually free to ignore (and I assume every “chat” is a useless bot designed to frustrate you until you give up). Oftentimes problems are ignored until someone with a large following makes a big scene about it on social media.
          People have just accepted that things can’t be made outside of China and if things are made there there’s a generally presumed reduced likelihood and efficacy of support.
          So….if people’s expectations are low enough, and there’s little enough competition, it’s possible to ship out loads of lemons and still compete. I’d like to think they’re not that low, but I think people are too exhausted by the growing problems of this world to do much more than grumble quietly to the few people they still trust, as any sign of discontent not shared by the mainstream is grounds for suspicion and antagonism.

  9. There are still 17 early backers that have not had their units shipped yet. Nothing from GPD as to why, and they are refusing to communicate with us. They haven’t offered any compensation either. It’s been several weeks now since the last batch shipped. We are the forgotten few.

      1. Forgot to say. Maybe GPD has already moved on and abandoned you folks. They’ve been ramping up their marketing of their next device already.

        1. Feels that way. Kendy assures us they will ship on Tuesday.. but then again Kendy assures us they would ship last week.. and the week before

  10. Why do we give companies like this any news at all. Its cheap free advertising for a crap product that you’ll be lucky to get a year before something breaks. I love GPD’s solution. We will give you a chip to solder in yourself. No return policy so we spend 1000.00 on a hope it works device with no warranty. I wish we would stop selling or advertising this “crap”. Instead of posting crap like this on a tech site, it needs to be on ebay with all the other fake stuff.

  11. It’s not like I needed any more reasons to not send $1000 overseas for a device with virtually no warranty, from a company with a horrible QC track record.

  12. By this time , I should expect they don’t have this kind of problems , it is supposed they have experience from previous devices and also had enough time to address the quality control as well as the software issues , nut now with this I will go for one device from One or Aya

    1. Yeah, that’s the real issue being exposed here. The glaring flaws on the Win 1 were excusable because it was the first one-of-a-kind device for a niche market. The flaws on the Win 2 were excusable because there were less of them, so the company seemed to be improving. The Win 3 shows that that’s not the case. On top of the screen issues, a lot of people have started having problems with the analog sticks as well. And the mouse-controller switch. And so on. And this is before people have had their devices long enough to start having the battery problems the Win 2 was notorious for, so we might still see that in the future. GPD aren’t learning from their mistakes, and if they aren’t improving, it gets tough to ignore their bad QA track record in the future.

      1. To me one of the biggest red flags for GPD is that after more than a dozen products released by them, they still utilize crowdfunding platforms to launch their products initially.

        To some, this might look like a progressive business strategy from a company that is doing “grassroots” product development. But in reality, I think they’re doing this to protect themselves from credit card fraud reports (charge backs).

        The payment processors that crowdfunding platforms use are charging cards along the same lines as a charitable donation. This isn’t the same thing as buying a product from a retailer using your credit card, because in that scenario you can ask your credit card provider to charge back the payment if you end up with no product, or a defective product.

        To me, GPD is hiding behind crowdfunding platforms as a means of screwing their early adopters into having no method of financial recourse when they get a defective product. GPD doesn’t move on to traditional retailer sales until after their initial manufacturing issues are resolved.

        GPD should be doing in-depth QA and testing work before releasing products to the public, and they should be launching their products on traditional retailers. Anything less than this is just scammy, because it’s asking your customers to absorb the losses of quick and lazy product launches.