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The GPD Win Max 2 gets handheld gaming right

If Valve and Nintendo thought they were the only kids on the handheld gaming block, they’re in for a surprise. Shenzhen GPD just revealed the Win Max 2, a handheld gaming laptop packed with power.

The keyword here is “laptop.” The GPD Win Max 2 is different from all other handheld gaming devices thanks to its classic clamshell laptop design. Only this laptop fits easily in two hands for gaming.

image from Shenzhen GPD

The mini laptop features a full QWERTY keyboard, as well as two thumb sticks, a direction pad, and four command keys, much like an Xbox or PlayStation controller. The mouse pad sits above the keyboard, between the thumb sticks. While this approach is unconventional, it actually works. The Win 2 Max is small enough and, let’s be honest, the mouse pad won’t get much use on this machine.

In any case, there’s enough functionality packed into this tiny design to set it above your standard Steam Deck or Onexplayer device. You could even take a break from gaming to punch out a quick email or post to Twitter on the GPD Win Max 2.

The 10.1-inch screen seems to pop out of the device thanks to its ultra-narrow bezels, giving it over 90% screen real estate. It can reach resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600 at 299 ppi. Corning Gorilla Glass protects it against cracks and drops. Best of all, it’s a touchscreen display and you can use most styluses with it.

But a gaming machine is nothing without power, and the GPD Win Max 2 comes packed with AMD’s latest eight-core Ryzen 7 6800U processor and Radeon 680M graphics. That will get you 60 frames per second on most games. You can choose between 16 GB and 32 GB of RAM, and from 1 TB to 2 TB of SSD storage.

There’s also an Intel version of the Win Max 2, packing a 12th gen 12-core i7 processor and Intel Iris XE graphics. Although the Iris XE isn’t as power-efficient as the Radeon 680M, it performs well and handles 4K games somewhat better. The choice comes down to which chipmaker you prefer.

The GPD Win Max 2 uses a large PC-grade turbo fan for cooling and draws heat away from the processors with a dual=pipe system. GPD claims it has an intelligent heat monitoring system on board to control fan noise, but that is yet to be seen under real-world loads.

Add on Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, four super-linear surround-sound speakers, dual vibration motor, a backlit keyboard, and a 2-million-pixel ultrawide web cam, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a powerful little machine. A 67 watt-hour battery powers the entire thing for up to five hours.

All of this comes packed inside an all-metal body, which GPD calls “Apple-style.” It is made with aluminum-magnesium alloys and the bottom half has comfortable resin grips for your hands. There are also plenty of ports, including SD and micro-SD slots for photographers, and USB-C slots.

The GPD Win Max 2 isn’t on sale everywhere yet. GPD is currently crowdfunding the production of the Win Max 2 on Indiegogo. It’s hoping to reach $20,000.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for handheld gaming power now, check out our review of the Valve Steam Deck or the mini Playdate.

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