GPD, which may have represented “GamePad Digital”, has long been in the business of making handhelds for games, all previously based on Android. In 2016, she discovered that a niche in the portable PC gaming market was ready to be conquered, but all of her GPD WIN iterations so far resembled small laptops that also had gamepad controls. Next year, however, the GPD WIN 3 will shift to a more game-centric form, which looks like the baby of the Nintendo Switch and Sony Vaio UX Micro PC.
The logic behind each GPD WIN design has always been to support PC games. Unlike consoles, however, PC games support one or two types of input, sometimes preferring each 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 shell shape.
Unfortunately, this caused a strange experience on the handheld device, something that the GPD WIN 3 will resolve by taking a page from Sony’s book. Like the weird 2006 PC, the GPD WIN 3’s 5.5-inch screen slides up to reveal a capacitive touch keyboard flanked by Joy-cons gamepad controls. In contrast to previous generations of GPD WIN, however, this design can make typing with your thumb a little more complicated without accidentally hitting those buttons.
The GPD WIN 3 specs are definitely on the unbelievable side, with a Tiger Lake U series CPU and 16 GB of RAM to begin with. 720p resolution, however, is a major drawback considering the processing power but, on the other hand, can help to run games at higher settings.
GPD WIN 3 should arrive at Indiegogo in January and you can only imagine how high the price will be. It also looks like a very robust piece of hardware and there will definitely be concerns about its performance and thermal management. There also appears to be an optional docking station that can turn your gaming PC into a productivity device, at least with the right peripherals.