The ‘world’s smallest handheld gaming PC' has a built-in Xbox controller

(Image credit: GPD)

I made the mistake of buying a netbook years ago, one of the early models that was ill-equipped for doing much of anything outside of basic chores (like Solitaire). They eventually improved, then faded from existence. Had netbooks remained a popular form factor, they probably would have morphed into something like GPD's new Win Max, which is being billed as the "world's smallest handheld gaming laptop."

That's an interesting way of describing it, and from what I can tell, it's not inaccurate. At its core, this is an 8-inch laptop. But it's also designed specifically for handheld use, with an integrated Xbox 360 gamepad of sorts—there's a pair of "ultra durable 3D joysticks" above the keyboard, along with a D-pad on the left and a set of XYAB buttons on the right. There's also shoulder buttons. If an Nvidia Shield, Nintendo Switch, Xbox controller, and a Windows laptop had a foursome, this would be the lovechild of their romp in the design lab.

The 8-inch display sports an IPS panel with a 1280x800 resolution (16:10 aspect ratio). It's powered by an 10th generation Intel Core i5-1035G7 processor (Ice Lake) with 4 cores and 8 threads clocked at 1.2GHz to 3.7GHz, along with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD.

(Image credit: GPD)
  • Display—8 inches (IPS)
  • Resolution—1280x800
  • CPU—Intel Core i5-1035G7 (4C8T, 1.2GHz to 3.7GHz)
  • GPU—Intel Iris Plus 940
  • RAM—16GB LPDDRX-3733
  • Storage—512GB NVMe SSD
  • Wireless—Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) + Bluetooth 5.0
  • I/O Connectivity—1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C, 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A, 1x HDMI, RJ45 (GbE LAN)
  • Battery—57Wh (up to 3 hours of "heavy use")

(Image credit: GPD)

The 8-inch form factor likely precludes anything more powerful than integrated graphics, though at least the resolution is not too demanding. GDP also touts being able to connect an external graphics enclosure to the Win Max, by way of the Thunderbolt 3 port. Overall, this is an impressive collection of hardware for such a tiny system.

As to what type of actual gaming performance you can expect, GPD has provided the following set of benchmarks:

(Image credit: GPD)

GPD notes that all games were set at their default graphics settings, and says higher framerates might be achievable by lowering them. We have not spent any hands-on time with the Win Max so we'll have to take the company at its word, for now. Looking at the numbers, though, nothing jumps out as wildly inaccurate. And as expected, the best experiences on a system like this will be in less demanding games.

It's certainly an interesting concept, and one that could potentially work well with something like GeForce Now, Nvidia's cloud game streaming service.

That will depend in part on pricing. Unfortunately, GPD hasn't provided that detail yet. We imagine it will launch soon, though—there's an "order button" on the product page, but it's not working yet. The closest information I could find as to when it will be available is a tweet in late February saying it will launch in a couple of months.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).