Apart from a brief period following the launch of Windows RT, the Windows, Android, and iOS markets remain resolutely segregated. Windows still ships on the vast majority of desktops and laptops (Chromebooks are a noted exception), iOS dominates tablets and racks up a solid amount of the phone market, while Android manufacturers don’t put a lot of emphasis on chasing the iPad market, but slug it out with Apple in phones on a regular basis in the US and win by a landslide globally. The niche handheld markets that once served up tiny Windows PCs have largely fallen by the wayside, but not entirely. A new iteration of the GPD Win, the GPD Win 2, arrives in the spring of 2018 with significantly updated capabilities and the option to play some games, like GTA V.
The original GPD Win was a Windows 10 handheld, powered by the Atom X7-Z8750 and featured a 5.5-inch 720p touch-screen display, dual analogue joysticks, a QWERTY keyboard, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage (expandable up to 128GB), and two USB 3.0 ports (1x Type C, 1x Type A). It sold for $ 350 to $ 400, and apparently did well enough to warrant a replacement.
The GPD Win 2, on the other hand, should be significantly more powerful than its predecessor. The screen is slightly larger, at 6 inches, and the CPU has undergone a substantial upgrade, from the Atom-based Z8750 to a Kaby Lake-derived Core m3-7Y30. This should yield particular improvements where the GPU is concerned; the GPU architecture inside the Core m3 chip (Intel Graphics 615) has a 1.05GHz max clock rate compared with just 600MHz for the older Atom processor. Total RAM is up to 8GB of LPDDR3-1866, with 128GB of M.2 SSD for storage, and a far larger (37.24Wh) battery. Total weight is just a pound, which isn’t bad for a system with as many features as this one.
As the video above shows, the GPD 2 is capable of running games that could never work on its predecessor. GTA V is apparently in range, along with a number of other Wii U titles through an emulator. So far, so good. The one downside to all this additional capability is the price. At $ 699, the GPD Win 2 is nearly twice the cost of its predecessor. An IndieGoGo campaign will offer it for $ 599 (according to PCMag, that starts on January 15) for an April target launch date.
It’ll be interesting to see where this system goes. It’s an attempt to offer handheld gaming options in Windows 10 in an ultramobile product that combines a Windows 10 installation with full PC capabilities without compromising on any front. Whether that’s likely to work at a time when PCs aren’t really associated with these types of form factors or niches anymore is anyone’s guess.