Chinese device maker GPD has made a name for itself in recent years with a series of handheld gaming PCs that run Windows. But GPD actually got its start making Android devices, and the company is sort of going back to its roots with the new GPD XP handheld game system… but it’s also looking to the future.
It’s an Android-powered device with support for 4G LTE, a 6.81 inch touchscreen display sandwiched between game controllers, and a modular design that lets you swap out the right controls for different input methods. First announced in August, the GPD XP is now available for purchase for $341 from GPD’s AliExpress store.
Here’s a run-down of some key specs:
|GPD XP Specs|
2400 x 1080 pixels
84% NTSC color gamut
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
|Processor||MediaTek Helio G95|
2 x ARM Cortex-A76 CPU cores @ 2.05 GHz
6 x ARM Cortex-A55 CPU cores @ 2 GHz
ARM Mali-G76 MC4 GPU @ 900 MHz
|Storage||128GB UFS 2.1|
microSD card slot (up to 2TB)
|Battery & Charging||7,000 mAh|
2G: GSM B3/8
3G: WCDMA B1
4G: TDD-LTE B34/38/39/40/41
4G: FDD-LTE B/1/2/3/5/7/8/12/17/20/26/28
GPD, A-GPS, GLONASS
|Ports||1 x USB-C|
1 x 3.5mm audio
1 x microSD card reader (up to 2TB)
1 x SIM card slot
|Left Controller||Analog stick|
Back, Home, Return buttons
2 x Shoulder buttons
|Right Controller||3 Controller module options:|
|Dimensions||233 x 83 x 18 (Xbox controller)|
216 x 83 x 18 (FPS controller)
205 x 83 x 18mm (MOBA controller)
|Weight||370 grams (Xbox controller)|
350 grams (FPS controller
330 grams (MOBA controller)
GPD Metro UI
While the processor, memory and storage should be good enough to handle most Android games, the console’s design could also make it an attractive option for use with game streaming platforms like Stadia or GeForce Now, which allow you to stream console-quality games to a mobile device over the internet. And of course there are emulators – the GPD XP seems to be able to handle GameCube emulation pretty well.
The active cooling fan should help prevent overheating. And the built-in controllers will allow you to play native Android games or use emulators or streaming without the need to place your hands on the screen, covering the action.
GPD also includes button-mapping software, which will allow you to play Android games that might not normally support physical controllers, by mapping on-screen functions to hardware keys.
The company says its modular controllers connect to the body of the GPD-XP via physical pins and offer no latency since they’re not using a wireless connection. They’re held firmly in place by magnets.
But perhaps the most interesting thing about the GPD XP controllers are that you have three options, allowing you to switch controller styles depending on the games you’re playing. The left controller is permanently attached, but the right controller can be swapped out.
- GPD’s Xbox style controller gives you all the keys you’d expect from a console, including X, Y, A, and B keys, a second analog stick, shoulder buttons, and start and select keys.
- The FPS controller features five face keys that can be programmed to perform different functions, plus two shoulder buttons.
- The MOBA controller isn’t really a controller at all. It’s just a cap that magnetically attaches to the port on the right side of the device, covering it up. This allows you to use your right thumb with the touchscreen while you play, while you use your left hand for physical controllers.
The device is designed as a handheld game console rather than a phone, so there’s no earpiece mic or speaker and no support for phone calls or SMS. But if you do pop in a SIM card you can use it for 4G data and the device does support instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.
There’s also a front-facing camera that you can use for video calls or to record video messages.
Initially, GPD acknowledged that the reason it selected a display with a hole-punch camera opening was primarily because most of the displays available in this size are designed for phones rather than handheld game consoles. But it seems the company did at least decide to equip the device with a camera, even if it’s something that mobile gamers might not need.
At a time when you can pre-order Valve’s Steam Deck for $399 and up, it’s interesting to see competitors in the handheld gaming space come up with new ways to differentiate their products. I don’t know if a $341 Android model with a modular controller system is going to be enough to tempt anyone away from Valve’s offering, but it is always nice to have options.
This article was originally published August 12, 2021 and last updated November 5, 2021.