GPD-win review, A windows handheld console.


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introduction

The GPD-win is an ultra-mobile PC, (UMP), running windows 10 that is marketed towards gamers, with its built-in game controller.

Design

The GPD-win has a clam shell design, like what you see on most mac books, without the little lid to open it and with no magnets to hold the lid shut. However, due to its small size, the lack of magnets does not seem to be a problem. On the back, going from left to right, you have your l1 and r1 buttons, a USB 3.0 port, a micro SD card slot, a HDMI C port, a USB C 3.0 port, (unfortunately it’s not thunderbolt), and r2 and l2.
The right side contains only the speaker grill, which is in a very unfortunate place when considering how most handheld consoles are gripped, (I tend to cover it with my palm while using the game pad).
On the front of the device is again going from left to right is a vent for air to escape the device and a microphone which kind of works, (more about that later).
On the left is another grill like the speaker grill, however it is not. It is one of the intake vents for the fan, again, very odd placement for that, though it’s only a secondary vent and it makes the device look symmetrical so you can’t argue with that.
The bottom There are 5 2mm screws, (don’t take them out, you’ll break it and shipping to china is expensive as fuck), the primary intake vent for the fan, and a switch to manually adjust fan speed. The switch has 3 settings. moving from right to left this time just to make sure you’re still paying attention, off, medium and high. Why this is a thing I have no clue, it’s one more thing to worry about, (I’ve been watching YouTube with the fan off, went to pick the device up and it’s uncomfortable to hold).
When the lid is opened, the 5.5 inch 5 point touch display is revealed, as is the keyboard and game pad/controller whatever you want to call it. The keyboard is similar to what you would find on an old blackberry phone, not comfortable but you can use it to type out passwords or URL’s. For any serious typing you’re going to need something bigger, which completely defeats the purpose of the device anyway. The game pad is very nice, with 2 almost perfect analogue sticks, (my only complaint would be the very small dead zone, but you can understand why it is this way because of the limited travel space), four face buttons, a, x, y and b. The DPad, in contrast to the sticks, is not very nice at all. It seems to me to be very floaty, and I find myself going in directions or performing actions I don’t actually want. In some games this is absolutely brilliant though, (certain games that require you to press all four arrows clockwise as fast as possible, snow balls anyone?) One thing that confuses me no end is the fact that rather than placing the buttons that would be executed if the sticks could click down, which they don’t, in a sensible place, they put them in the keyboard, which makes first person shooters on this impossible, as most need that to be accessible to run without having to be a contortionist to reach your trigger buttons at the same time.
The overall build quality is nice though, it feels sturdy but I wouldn’t risk dropping it due to the fact that if you break something you’re not going to get it fixed unless you’re willing to be stung hard by taxes and wait months, (or risk doing it yourself and breaking it more).

Design rating: 6/10.

Specs, (pull your socks up for this one)

The device has 4gb ddr3 ram, an Intel x7z8700, (8750 on newer revisions), 64gb of in-built flash Emmc storage, (expandable with the micro SD card slot andUSB3 port if you need it, which you will), Intel graphics 405.
For a handheld windows gaming console marketed towards emulation, these specs will do the job. Not mind boggling, but they work.

Specs rating: 9/10

Performance, how does it actually deal with games and other things?

Well, is the short answer, but as you all might know I like to drone on and on and on about such things, exactly as I’m going to do here.
As far as audio games go it runs everything I threw at it, from text adventures to code 7. Only thing I was not able to run was cyclepath with virtual surround on and effects on, and that was only with the city world, everything else ran fine. This might just be down to my configuration, I’ll have a play and right an update if I’m able to work out what’s causing this.
For mainstream games, anything Indie runs fine pretty much, don’t be expecting to run the latest and greatest on this with decent fps. GTA V is unplayable pretty much, mk X works fine on low settings, but apart from that you’re not going to be running triple a games on this thing. As far as PC games go, anything from 2013 and back I’m pretty sure could run fine, I’ve only tested it with a few things.
As far as console emulation goes, anything from xbox360 and ps3 days back runs fine.
In summary, for the specs it does more than I wanted from it, and if you want to run more intensive games steam in house streaming works just fine.

Performance: 10/10

Issues and Repairability

There are some people who say the device is terrible, power problems, battery calibration issues, heating problems, (I’ve had these personally), sleep and hibernation issues, among other things. I’m only going to focus on the issues I’ve personally had, because they’re the only ones I’ve had to deal with.
Heat.
The device gets very warm very quickly when playing intensive games, and the fan does not do a whole lot to compensate. To fix this, just close the game and place the device on a cool flat surface with the fan on high for 15 to 20 minutes, or shut it off completely. The device then cools very quickly.
Device does not power on while charging.
This isn’t an issue with power, it’s simply the fact that for some reason while the unit is connected to power you have to hold the power button for slightly longer. My advice would be to keep the fan on high so you can here if the device is staying on or shutting back off.
Fan sounding like a bee.
This is a problem on only a couple of devices as far as I know, because I haven’t found any solutions to this and just a couple of cases. The only solution I can suggest is replace the fan.
Microphone not working after a reboot.
Again, a strange one that hasn’t had a solution found apart from the one I will outline here.
1. Setup NVDA remote as an auto connect for reboot.
2. Uninstall the Intel sound driver under device manager>sound, video and game controllers.
3. Reboot the device.
4. Re install the device drivers using the driver pack that can be obtained from the GPD-win red it.
As far as reparability goes, this device is very difficult to get fixed. The shipping costs to china are huge, and fixing it yourself is damn near impossible.

Issues and Repairability: -5 (due to the number of issues and how many issues there are.)

Summery

The device fills its niche perfectly, a device for playing games on the move. All though you’re not playing triple a games on it, would you really want to play things like that on such a small screen?
Would I recommend the device? The answer would be yes, if you need it. The device is not cheap by any means, and if you only want this to say you have it then I can’t justify the purchase. However, if you travel a lot or just want a way to play games while you walk around the house this device is perfect. In the end, it’s up to you whether you want it.
Final score: 20/30

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