A New Steam Deck Rival Is Coming With A Slide-Up Display And Keyboard

Despite delays and limited supplies, Valve's Steam Deck handheld gaming console has managed to keep a loyal following and steady stream of believers. The lure of being able to play PC games anywhere has become so strong that the Steam Deck has already found itself a couple of competitors. Most of these come with the same general design as the Steam Deck, which pretty much means a chunky device with a screen in between controls. A small number, however, have gone in a different direction, like using a mini laptop design with some gamepad buttons and joysticks. One particular alternative tries to blend the best of both worlds by offering a gaming PC in a handheld-friendly size that hides a real physical keyboard inside.

The idea of being able to play games anywhere has been around for decades, ever since the first "Game & Watch" devices hit the market. Handheld consoles like the Game Boy and the defunct PSP helped keep the flame alive, but it was probably the success of the Nintendo Switch that rekindled mass interest in this kind of mobile gaming. Being able to switch between handheld and docked modes definitely has its appeal, especially when some games can't be played with just a gamepad, like the hundreds of titles available for PCs.

The current crop of handheld gaming PCs that include the Steam Deck isn't really the first of its kind. Although the concept sounds novel to mainstream ears, there have been one or two companies hailing from China that have been dabbling in that niche market. GPD, which started out as a manufacturer of Android gaming handhelds, is one of those, and it will take another stab at the handheld PC that could give its rivals a run for their money.

GPD Win 4 combines handheld design with physical keyboard

Liliputing reports that GPD is at it again with another portable gaming PC, even while it's currently engaged in a crowdfunded campaign for one such device. Unlike the Steam Deck and its competitors, however, the GPD Win Max 2 is actually a 10-inch laptop that has gaming controls built-in. As you can imagine, this might not be the best for the "handheld" scenario, but it is going to appeal to gamers that also want to use the same computer for serious business.

The upcoming GPD Win 4, in contrast, is a true handheld device, and at first glance, it doesn't seem to differ from others in the market. Its secret, however, is that its 6-inch screen slides up to reveal a tiny physical keyboard underneath. It remains to be seen whether the design will be good for thumb-typing, but it's already significantly better than the capacitive glass that its predecessor used.

The GPD Win 4 will run on an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor with RDNA 2 graphics, a chipset that seems to be a favorite among handheld PC makers. From these details, it would almost seem like it will be a worthy rival to the Steam Deck, but there are a few caveats that might spoil the fun. The biggest one will be the price, as these devices usually start at around $900, which is significantly higher compared to the even highest Steam Deck configuration. The GPD Win 4 is more powerful, of course, but some might wonder whether it's worth simply paying the price of a laptop instead.