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
Display6.81 inches
2400 x 1080 pixels
338 ppi
60 Hz
84% NTSC color gamut
500 nits
10-point multitouch
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
ProcessorMediaTek 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
Storage128GB UFS 2.1
microSD card slot (up to 2TB)
Battery & Charging7,000 mAh
ConnectivityWiFi 5
Bluetooth 5.0
2G: GSM B3/8
4G: TDD-LTE B34/38/39/40/41
4G: FDD-LTE B/1/2/3/5/7/8/12/17/20/26/28
Ports1 x USB-C
1 x 3.5mm audio
1 x microSD card reader (up to 2TB)
1 x SIM card slot
AudioStereo speakers
Left ControllerAnalog stick
Back, Home, Return buttons
2 x Shoulder buttons
Right Controller3 Controller module options:

  • Xbox Controller Module
  • FPS Controller Module
  • MOBA Controller Module
Camera5MP front-facing
CoolingActive fan
Dimensions233 x 83 x 18 (Xbox controller)
216 x 83 x 18 (FPS controller)
205 x 83 x 18mm (MOBA controller)
Weight370 grams (Xbox controller)
350 grams (FPS controller
330 grams (MOBA controller)
OSAndroid 11
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.

  1. 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.
  2. The FPS controller features five face keys that can be programmed to perform different functions, plus two shoulder buttons.
  3. 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.

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31 replies on “GPD XP is a modular handheld Android gaming device”

  1. This is a complete fail. You honestly expect this to compete with the steam deck. I hope this company goes out of business and has to claim bankruptcy!!!!!!!

    1. Eta prime has a review and a USA $99 dollar cellphone comes close in benchmarks.

  2. The Mali GPU kills this for me, sadly support for that GPU is very poor, even thou on paper it’s more powerful than competing Adrenos.

  3. It looks like you dropped a few digits from the title(?) Currently it says:

    “GPD XP is a modular handheld Android gaming device for $”

      1. Question: why did you update this article?

        A) Is it for more clicks/views? (fair enough, we all have bills)
        B) Or did you add anything new to it? (was it noteworthy)

        If you did add new info: can you Bold/Highlight that text so that it sticks out better for reading, and maybe leave it at the end. Or if the update is not text (eg Photos or video), perhaps you could just post it as a separate article, as a follow-up to this one. That would make look better and more simpler to absorb.

        I have noticed you’ve updated this article twice now (August, October, November), so I’m mostly curious. Thanks.

  4. So this is mostly for Mobile Games and emulators for back up games for classic consoles? I think most 3 year old android phones are capable of doing these things.

  5. Hard pass. Using the phone screen with a hole punch is just too lazy. There was a lot of love for the clamshell design, and it was unique. Anyone can get a used phone and put a Gamesir X2 on it.

  6. I think it’ll make more sense if GPD teamed up with GameSir. And together they made a new device. It’s basically the Razer Phone 2 paired with the JungleCat controller, but with better ergonomics and internals.

    So basically a compact 16:9 phone, no notch/holes, very loud front speakers, symmetric design everywhere, etc etc. And did I mention it’s pocketable, and there’s two JungleCat controllers that detach and also pocketable.

    If they can’t, they can get Xiaomi to mass produce it for them. This is what I think would be needed to compete against the Valve SteamDeck. A device that’s pocketable, and uses ARM technology instead of x86 for gaming.

  7. So…a cheaper-than-steamdeck non-phone that plays Android games vs a win 10 (possibly 11, and who knows what other os by release date) capable machine that will run high-end pc games (I’m betting bluestacks, etc. will work on it also) without the gimmicky modular controllers for about $100 usd more (assuming it’ll drop at about $299)…wonder which one I’ll pick? Oh wait, I already did…pre-ordered on the first day it was announced! Yeah, I know the base SD only has half the storage, but who needs 128gb on a machine just for Android gaming…no photos, nothing?! Their only saving grace …wait, check that…did I see here there isn’t even a speaker in it? Oh, no speaker for making calls…didn’t realize there was a difference in speakers. 😖

    Sarcasm aside, it may gain a small amount of presence in the China market, but as another poster mentioned android devices are beyond plentiful there already. For the rest of the world I don’t think it’ll be much more visible than on a few youtuber review videos.

  8. If all you’re buying it for is emulators, you’d be better off just saving and getting the $399 Steam Deck, instead.

  9. Except the Steam Deck plays real games and not normie mobile game trash

  10. I guess they never got the memo that modular systems in handheld form factor don’t work. They’re also not maximizing the potential of the modules: both sides should be modular, and modules should be able to attach on either side. They should also come out with modules with alt layout (thumbstick below D-pad, thumbstick above face ABXY).

    1. Yeah, the execution on the modularity is half-baked. Although, the entire device is half-baked. I wouldn’t pay 3,000 Rupees for this.

  11. Isn’t China saturated with non-phone Android gaming handhelds? Seems like a bad decision to go back to an Android handheld where the market is more competitive than the x86 + Windows/Linux market even when including the Steam Deck.

    1. As others mentioned, there’re also a lot of controller attachments for phones too.

      Why would GPD go back into such an over-saturated market? The XP doesn’t seem all that competitive either.

  12. So basically they got smart phone parts, sans the actual phone stuff, slapped some controllers that you can get from Amazon for $20 – $40 and are calling it a new product. Ok, you guys are right, GPD is done for.

    1. This might not be the product that WE want, but it isn’t necessarily going to be a failure.

      It’s obvious this device was designed for the Chinese market. In China, smartphone gaming is really huge. Lots of people are playing smartphone MOBA-type games, and games like Pubg Mobile.

      1. Perhaps my criticisms of this device were a little myopic, but China and other countries on that side of the world are flooded with devices like this. I can’t speak on the quality of this device but GPD has been on a bit of a cold streak lately and that makes me doubt they will be relevant in the west past this year.

        1. It’s hard to say how many devices can coexist in the Chinese market. There are lots of choices, but I’m not sure if there is appetite for more.

          One thing that is for sure, if they want any success in western markets, they need to focus on retro gaming. Very few people in western countries are interested in Android gaming, and the majority of Emulation gamers do not like Android.

          The only room for GPD in the niche handheld retro gaming market (theres a few communities online, like /r/sbcgaming on Reddit) is if GPD wanted to deliver something with a decent mid-range/high-end SOC with a good GPU.

          BUT, they would need to refrain from delivering it with Android. It would need to be focused on a Linux emulation build, like Retropie, Lakka, etc (one of the many Linux builds that run EmulationStation or Retroarch).

          Most of the options on the market right now for handhelds in this niche are running very low-end SOCs, and under $150ish. There’s lots of interest in something above the $200 price point, if someone was bold enough to offer something with a good SOC with more GPU power, but so far there hasn’t been anyone trying to offer anything like that.

  13. This thing is over designed in features while not really tailored for gaming, using available phone screen. It will be overpriced and probably will underperform compared to Ayin Odin. Also no one gives a tit about controllers detaching. See Switch Lite.

    Odin will crush this if it sticks to that $200 target.

  14. Why could they not have it make phone calls.
    I mean, it’s like…people aren’t allowed to not have a phone. And if you make your console the size of a phone (but egregiously long) and run a phone OS, but don’t let it make phone calls, what incentive do people have to get this instead of getting controllers for their phone?
    I mean, maybe if your current phone isn’t very powerful, but I would be surprised if you couldn’t find a relatively competitive phone in this thing’s price range, whatever it is. Or maybe it’s good for when you have no phone but you have a watch that can handle all your call needs, but if they were going for that market, I could thing of some other things they could have done.

  15. Going back to ARM powered Android gaming handhelds is a great move for GPD. I really liked the GPD XD+.

    Having said that, this particular device looks like an odd design. The holepunch screen was a lazy choice by them.

    Also, the choice to use an “ultrawide” screen was a really unfortunate choice. It tells me that this thing is being marketed towards “smartphone gamers” (PUBG mobile, and whatever else they play in China), and not emulation gamers.

    As someone who wants something like this for Emulators, I want something much more square than that. As close as possible to 4:3. 16:9 at the widest.

  16. I was thinking GPD left the ARM/Android gaming space for Windows since these devices are a dime a dozen in China.

    Anyway, meh. Pass.

    1. Likewise, what was their last android gaming device, GPD XD back in 2015 with an RK3288?

      1. Yeah the XD and the XD+ were their last ARM units that I can recall.

        I would have MUCH preferred that they simply refresh the GPD XD+. Just more high-end specs, and make the D-pad better.

        The XD was the winning formula for form factor. Having the screen on a clamshell lid allows you to have a larger screen, but not make the device ridiculously large. Plus it also doesn’t require them to layout the buttons in really cramped layouts, but having the whole bottom half of the device free for button layout, they made it very comfortable.

      2. Unless you don’t want your gaming data linked with your Google account, you mightas well just buy a gampad foryourphoneand call it a day. For around $40-60, you can get a high quality gamepad like GameSir.

        1. Just don’t buy the Gamesir G2U, I have one and it’s absolute trash. Feels like it’s made from paper mache.

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