The GPD Pocket 3 is a mini-laptop with an 8 inch touchscreen display, a convertible tablet-style design, and support for an optional pressure-sensitive pen. It’s a powerful little PC, with support for up to an Intel Core i7-1195G7 processor, but it’s also a versatile one with a decent set of ports, plus a modular port section that lets you swap out a USB port for an RS-232 serial port or a KVM switch.

GPD is taking pre-orders for the Pocket 3 through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, and GPD expects to begin shipping the little computer to backers in January. The company sent me a pre-release model for testing, and while I haven’t been using it long enough to pass judgement, my first impressions are pretty positive – it’s an intriguing little computer with an unusual set of features, a decent keyboard, and a couple of new features for a GPD device.

For example, GPD has been releasing handheld computers and mini-laptops since 2016, but this is the company’s first model with stylus support, the first with a convertible tablet-style design, and the first with a modular port (something that’s rare to find on any laptop, although not entirely unheard of).

If you’ve been paying attention to GPD for a while like I have, the Pocket 3 feels like a cross between the GPD MicroPC (a 5.5 inch handheld aimed at IT professionals) and the GPD P2 Max, an 8.9 inch mini-laptop designed for general purpose use.

Like the MicroPC, the new model has a touchpad, left, right and middle buttons, and a power button above the keyboard. But like the P2 Max, it has a keyboard that’s large enough for touch-typing. In my initial tests, I was able to type at around 67 words per minute, but I suspect that score will improve once I spend a little more time familiarizing myself with the quirks of this not-quite-full-sized keyboard.

The model I’m testing features an Intel Core i7-1195G7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage, making it a pretty powerful little PC. This configuration costs $999 for the laptop alone during crowdfunding, or $1079 for the Pocket 3 plus the serial and KVM modules.

But if you don’t need that level of performance, a cheaper model with an Intel Pentium Silver N6000 processor, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage is priced at $650.

Note that those are promotional prices for the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. GPD has indicated that retail prices will be 23% to 31% higher, depending on the configuration. Folks who back the campaign will also get a free stylus, while customers who by the Pocket 3 later will have to purchase a stylus separately.

Here’s an overview of the official specs for both models, with key differences marked in bold.

GPD Pocket 3 specs
ProcessorIntel Pentium Silver N6000
4 cores / 4 threads
1.1 GHz base / 3.3 GHz turbo
1.5MB L2 cache
4MB L3 cache
6W / 10W TDP
Tremont architecture
Intel Core i7-1195G7
4 cores / 8 threads
2.9 GHz base / 5 GHz turbo
5MB L2 cache
12MB L3 cache
12W – 25W TDP
Tiger Lake UP3 architecture
GraphicsIntel UHD 630
32 execution units
350 MHz base / 850 MHz max
256 shaders
[email protected] Hz
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.5
Intel Iris Xe with 96eu
96 execution units
400 MHz base / 1.4 GHz max
768 shaders
[email protected] Hz
DirectX 12.1
OpenGL 4.6
Display8 inches
1920 x 1200 pixels
248 ppi
IPS LCD
500 nits
10-point multitouch
180 degree hinge
8 inches
1920 x 1200 pixels
248 ppi
IPS LCD
500 nits
10-point multitouch
180 degree hinge
RAM8GB LPDDR4x-2933
(LPDDR4x-4266, but the Pentium N6000 SoC limits speeds to 2933 MHz)
16GB LPDDR4x-3733
Configurable up to 4266 MHz in BIOS
StorageM.2 2280
PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3 SSD
512GB
M.2 2280
PCIe 3.0 or 4.0 x4 NVMe 1.3 or 1.4 SSD
1TB
Modular portUSB-A (included)
RS-232 (sold separately)
KVM / USB input (sold separately)
USB-A (included)
RS-232 (sold separately)
KVM / USB input (sold separately)
Other Ports1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
2 x 3.2 Gen 2 USB Type-A
1 x HDMI 2.0b
1 x 2.5 Gbps Ethernet
1 x 3.5mm mic/headphone combo
1 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x 3.2 Gen 2 USB Type-A
1 x HDMI 2.0b
1 x 2.5 Gbps Ethernet
1 x 3.5mm mic/headphone combo
WirelessWiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
KeyboardQWERTY chiclet-style keys
Backlit
QWERTY chiclet-style keys
Backlit
Webcam2MP
77 degree field of view
2MP
77 degree field of view
Battery & Charging38.5Wh 10,000 mAh battery
45W USB-C charger (20V/2.25A)
38.5Wh 10,000 mAh battery
45W USB-C charger (20V/2.25A)
AudioStereo speakers
3.5mm audio jack
Stereo speakers
3.5mm audio jack
SecurityFingerprint reader
TPM 2.0
Fingerprint reader
TPM 2.0
CoolingActive (fan)Active (fan)
StylusMicrosoft Pen Protocol 2.0
4096 levels of pressure sensitivity
Sold separately
Microsoft Pen Protocol 2.0
4096 levels of pressure sensitivity
Sold separately
MaterialsAluminum unibody chassisAluminum unibody chassis
Dimensions198 x 137 x 20mm198 x 137 x 20mm
Weight725 grams725 grams
Price (during crowdfunding)$650 for Pocket 3
$730 for Pocket 3 + module
$999 for Pocket 3
$1079 for Pocket 3 + module

I’ll be putting the Pocket 3 through the paces over the next few weeks, but I can already tell that:

  • The keyboard is one of the better ones I’ve used on a mini-laptop
  • The touchpad placement will take some getting used to, particularly having the buttons on the left, but I’m optimistic that this will become second nature over time.
  • Swapping out the modules is quite easy, assuming you’ve got a 2mm Philips head screwdriver. Just remove the two screws and the USB port modular will practically jump out of the case. Just put in the module you want to use, tighten the screws in place, and you’re good to go.

  • The KVM module let me use the touchpad and keyboard with a Windows PC right away. All I had to do was connect one end of a USB-C cable to the GPD Pocket 3 and the other end to another laptop and I was able to use the Pocket 3’s hardware to control my Dell Vostro laptop. Unfortunately plugging in an HDMI cable didn’t instantly make the Pocket 3 act as an external display for the Dell laptop, so I need to further investigate how to get that working.
  • Update: The KVM HDMI input works like a virtual webcam, so all I had to do was open the Windows 10 camera app and switch from the front-facing camera to the virtual camera/HDMI capture device to see the input from another computer. Here’s a video showing how that works (as well as the process for swapping out modules):
  • I don’t have any hardware that makes use of an RS-232 serial cable, so I probably won’t be testing that module. But if the KVM module works properly. I have no reason to believe the serial module wouldn’t.
  • GPD is calling this the “Pocket 3,” and with some effort I was able to slide it partway into the front pocket of a pair of jeans. But quite a bit of laptop sticks out from the top and walking isn’t particularly comfortable. This is a small laptop, but it’s not really pocketable.

  • The 180-degree hinge allows you to flip the screen so it faces away from the keyboard and then fold it down over the keys, allowing you to hold the computer in tablet mode. This could come in handy for watching videos, reading, or using the system as a KVM display for external hardware. The design also leaves the rear ports accessible at all times.
  • Thanks to support for an optional pressure-sensitive pen, you can also write or draw on the screen in tablet mode (or laptop mode, I guess). Palm rejection seems to work, as does pressure sensitivity.
  • But one thing that doesn’t seem to work is automatic screen rotation. I don’t know if GPD left out the gyroscope and accelerometer that makes this possible on most modern smartphones and tablets, or if there’s some software that needs to be configured.
    • Update: It’s hardware. There is no gyroscope in the GPD Pocket 3, which means the screen needs to be rotated manually if you want to use the computer in portrait orientation.
    • Update 2: GPD says that this is an issue that only affects the demo units sent to reviewers, and that the mass produced version that will ship to customers and crowdfunding backers will have an accelerometer and support for automatic screen rotation.
  • Build quality seems pretty good. The aluminum chassis feels sturdy, there’s surprisingly little flex in the keyboard, and the display doesn’t wobble when I type.
  • The  laptop’s 180-degree hinge does seem like the most likely point of failure since the display is held in place a just that spot rather than in multiple places on most modern laptops including models with 360-degree hinges. But PC makers have been using this sort of design since the 90s, if not earlier, so I’m not too worried that the hinge will break as long as I can remember not to twist it in the wrong direction.

One other thing to keep in mind whenever looking at GPD hardware is that the company makes some of the most interesting devices in the mini-laptop space, but GPD is a small Chinese company that ships its products to customers worldwide while offering limited customer support.

The company has also made some mistakes in the past, like shipping hardware with the wrong components. So I’d only really recommend buying GPD gear if you’re the adventurous and tech savvy type willing to troubleshoot any problems that may arrive… and possibly willing to eat the cost if anything goes wrong and you’re unable to get your device repaired or get a refund.

As for the GPD Pocket 3, I’ll have more details in the coming weeks, after I’ve had more time for testing. In the meantime, here are a few more pictures from day one:

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22 Comments

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    1. The folks at NotebookCheck are far more qualified than I am to check technical characteristics of the display – I’d take their word for it over mine, any day.

      In terms of practical use, the screen looks fine for video, web browsing, or graphics. But if they say it’s probably an ill fit for graphic design or digital photo, video, or artwork, then they’re probably right. That said, I don’t imagine that most visual professionals are looking to use an 8 inch mini-laptop as their primary machine, so much as a portable companion that might help out with a first pass.

  1. As a Cisco CCNA, I really do appreciate a native serial port. I really hate using a 15.6 inch or larger laptop with a questionable USB dongle that doesn’t have drivers for my OS. In the switch room, I want a small lightweight no hassle laptop with good battery life and an rs232 port that just works. Can you say “config t”?

  2. It seems they’ll now building a gyroscope in and are working on a micro SD reader for sale later.

  3. Good thing GPD didn’t go forward with calling this a MicroPC 2. It doesn’t have much from the MicroPC that defined the MicroPC (the useless serial port is definitely not one of them).

  4. I hope GPD makes a MicroPC 2: handheld/thumbable pocketable UMPC.

    They should get rid of the useless serial port on the MicroPC too to make room for other things or be able to make the overall device smaller (ie. more pocketable).

  5. They have useless serial (USB to serial cables are standard nowadays) and HDMI (servers use VGA) KVM but no SD card reader?

    Also, a tablet with no accelerometer? My Surface Go LTE has an accelerometer and it works great for tablet use.

    The most embarrassing thing is that they’re calling this a “Pocket” when it’s not really pocketable.

  6. At this size and price, I’d rather just get the MS Surface Go and live the dongle life. There’s nothing here that would make me risk getting a GPD device.

    I’d even get the LTE version of the Go.

    1. Same. Looking at the hp envy 13 or even the zenbook u425. Can’t take a risk with GPD especially when it comes to getting repairs or parts. I’ll keep my purchase in North America this time.

  7. For the supposed target market, the modules they made are pointless.

    1: USB to RS-232 cables have existed for many years. Anyone having trouble with them probably shouldn’t be operating devices that have RS-232 ports…
    – This was probably the most useless feature of the MicroPC and just added unnecessary bulk.

    2: The KVM module uses HDMI while most servers still use VGA. I guess those Raspberry Pi hobbyists would find this useful…
    – If you’re going to use dongles, might as well use your existing ones with your existing PC.

    Overall, it seems like GPD got the worst/unused aspects of the Pocket and MicroPC and created something neither of the existing user bases want. Who knows, maybe a portion of the existing users and a new set of users will get this thing.

  8. Too bad GPD forgot what the English word, pocket, means. It’s also funny that they were originally going to call this a MicroPC 2 given that’s printed on the motherboard based on photos.

    Pretty much this hardly has any features that made the Pocket a Pocket and the MicroPC a MicroPC.

    Plus, GPD devices have low quality/reliability with a lottery of what parts will actually be inside and customer support is worse than non-existent.

    1. If GPD originally thought this was going to be the MicroPC 2, then I’m glad they abandoned that thought.

      However, I’m concerned GPD also abandoned the MicroPC form factor. I’m going to bet the majority of MicroPC users never used the RS-232 port.

  9. Liliputing is my favorite tech blog, but it’s disappointing for an article of this length to gloss over the perpetual battery issues experienced by GPD customers. I’m enamored with this new machine but will never buy another GPD after 3 serious battery failures with their devices. Check the comments on previous campaigns, Reddit, etc. for hundreds of similar experiences. 🙁

    1. There are actually multiple concerns with GPD devices, including customer service. I plan to go into depth in the review, but you’re right, it probably makes sense to include a word of caution here since there’s a link to the crowdfunding campaign.

      1. You’re awesome.

        Too bad a certain YouTuber seems to be prioritizing getting future free devices over actually providing real/useful info for would be buyers.

      2. thanks Brad, I am also one of those burnt with GPD battery issues (mine died after 1 year) and I am also a big fan of Lilliputing

    2. It’s pretty much an expectation this is going to have the same and new HW failures as previous GPD devices.