GPD, which may have once stood for “GamePad Digital”, has long been in the business of making gaming handhelds, previously all Android-based. In 2016, it discovered that a niche handheld gaming PC market was ripe for the taking, but all of its GPD WIN iterations so far resembled tiny laptops that happened to have gamepad controls as well. Next year, however, the GPD WIN 3 will be switching to a more gaming-centric form, one that looks like the Nintendo Switch’s and Sony Vaio UX Micro PC’s baby.
The rationale behind every GPD WIN design has always been to support PC gaming. Unlike consoles, however, PC games support one or two input types, sometimes preferring one over the other. The result was a design that needed to have joysticks, buttons, keys, and a trackpad, hence the more logical adoption of a laptop or clamshell form factor.
Unfortunately, it made for an awkward handheld experience, something the GPD WIN 3 will address by taking a page from Sony’s book. Like the odd micro PC from 2006, the GPD WIN 3’s 5.5-inch screen slides up to reveal a capacitive touch keyboard flanked by gamepad controls ala Joy-cons. In contrast to previous GPD WIN generations, however, this design might make it a bit more awkward to thumb type without accidentally hitting those buttons.
Specs for the GPD WIN 3 are definitely on the unbelievable side, with a Tiger Lake U-series CPU and 16GB of RAM, for starters. The 720p resolution, however, is a rather big letdown considering the processing power but, on the flip side, it could help run games at higher settings.
The GPD WIN 3 is expected to hit Indiegogo in January and one can only guess how high the price will be. It also looks like a very chunky piece of hardware and there will definitely be concerns about its performance and thermal management. There also seems to be an optional docking station that can transform the gaming PC into a productivity device, at least with the right peripherals.