Skip to main content

The dream of owning a pocket-sized handheld gaming PC is almost a reality

Even though Alienware’s vision for what a pocketable gaming PC with a form factor like Nintendo’s Switch had come and gone without the concept UFO going into production, the reality of having a gaming rig that you can take and play anywhere is getting closer to becoming reality. Following the Alienware UFO at last year’s CES, Lenovo partnered up with NEC at this year’s CES to showcase the LaVie Mini PC. Like the Switch and the UFO before it, the LaVie Mini PC come with detachable gamepads that can transform the 8-inch convertible PC into a handheld gaming console that’s powered by Intel’s 11th-Gen processor and integrated Xe graphics.

Related:

Though the future of concepts like the Alienware UFO seeing the light of day is still uncertain, we’re beginning to see enterprising companies, like GPD, bring their concepts to life through crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo. Best known for its line of miniature UMPC — known as Ultra-Mobile PC — GPD’s take on the Switch-like gaming PC involves creating a UMPC with non-detachable gaming controllers on the side. The company claims that its Win3 handheld gaming PC is capable of playing AAA PC titles.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Unlike the Lenovo LaVie, which has a convertible hinge and attachable side controllers, the GDP Win3 relies on a screen that slides over the backlit keyboard, and the company claimed that it took its inspiration from Sony’s now discontinued UX series of UMPCs. When opened, the Win 3 doesn’t look like a larger version of T-Mobile’s defunct Sidekick.

“However, many users did not like the combination of keyboard + clamshell, and strongly asked us to launch a unibody type handheld game console,” GDP said on its Indiegogo crowdfunding page for the Win3. “For our users, after exploration, we referred to the design of the sliding mechanism of the Sony UX series, incorporated the new backlit touch keyboard, and finally designed the WIN 3. It allows us to renew the design of our Win original handheld game console and break the boundaries with the common clichés of clamshell form factor devices.”

Image used with permission by copyright holder

While GDP is turning to Indiegogo to crowdfund its Win3, the company has already exceeded its modest goal of $25,795 at the time of press by attracting 2,086 backers who have collectively put nearly $2 million into the project.

The highlight of the Win3 is that it comes with an array of USB-A and Thunderbolt 4 over USB-C ports. And like Lenovo’s LaVie concept, you’re getting the latest Intel 11th-Gen Tiger Lake processor with integrated Xe graphics, but you can also add an eGPU for even more robust discrete graphics performance through the Thunderbolt 4 port or by adding the optional dock, which gives you access to even more ports.

Essentially, with specifications that include 16GB of RAM and a 1TB solid-state drive, you’re getting the power of a thin and light notebook inside the form factor of an 8-inch slider complete with a battery and gaming control. GDP stated that battery life should go up to 11 hours for light computing tasks, or 2 to 3 hours for gaming.

Funding for the project starts at $799, and GDP anticipates a shipping date of May 2021. However, as with all crowdfunding campaigns, plans can radically change or get canceled before the product ships, so there is some risk involved.

A Ryzen-powered PC Switch

Image used with permission by copyright holder

And if you’re a Team Red gamer who prefers AMD’s silicon over Intel’s 11th-Gen processor, Aya’s Neo is another handheld to keep an eye on, according to The Verge. With an early bird pricing offer of $699 once it goes live on Indiegogo, this one looks and feels more like a Switch — it’s not encumbered by the thickness of a sliding or transforming keyboard mechanism like some competing PC handhelds — and is powered by AMD’s six-core, 7nm Ryzen 5 4500U processor and integrated Vega graphics. The Aya Neo comes with a slightly smaller 7-inch display, but the company also promises smooth AAA gaming, like its competitor.

Gaming battery life is rated for approximately 5 hours on average with gaming.

One big difference — especially where enthusiasts are concerned — between the Neo and the Win 3 is that the Neo only supports USB-C connectivity, which could limit its appeal with serious gamers. Whereas Thunderbolt 4 allows gamers to upgrade their graphics when docked at their desk with an eGPU, USB-C doesn’t offer the same flexibility.

Still, both handhelds are a promising look at the future of portable, ultra-mobile gaming PCs if they ever come to the market.

Editors' Recommendations

Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
It’s time to stop settling for a noisy gaming PC
The Hyte Y40 PC case sitting on a table.

I wouldn't blame you if you've learned to live with your loud gaming PC. I certainly have in the past. You spend all the time picking out your parts, putting everything together, and setting up all of your software. Once you're done, it's easy enough to throw on a pair of headphones and drown out the screaming fans in your case while you get sucked into a game. But there is a better way.

With a little bit of planning, a touch of software tweaks, and a sprinkle of know-how, you can make your gaming PC run cooler, quieter, and more efficiently. Although upgrading some hardware can make a difference in how loud your gaming PC is, there are plenty of things you can do right now, for free, that will transform your setup.
An airflow primer

Read more
Is Stardew Valley cross-platform?
Stardew Valley Multiplayer Fishing

Stardew Valley is a game made by just one person, but it has seen more success than most games made by dozens, or even hundreds, of people. It's even one of Digital Trends' top 50 video games of all time. Since its release in 2016, the game has been updated regularly with new features and content to keep its avid fans coming back. This includes an online multiplayer component that allows you and up to three friends to hang out on each other's farms. And with the recent trend of games allowing players on different platforms to join together, you may wonder if Stardew Valley offers cross-platform functionality. Here's everything we know about cross-platform support in Stardew Valley.
Is Stardew Valley cross-platform?
Stardew Valley does not offer cross-platform support, meaning you can't play online multiplayer between any of the systems the game is on. So if you want to team up with some friends, make sure you all are playing on the same platform, such as the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, or PC. Also be aware that whoever starts a multiplayer game is saving that shared world locally, meaning no one else can reenter that world without the host present.

The sad fact of the matter is there doesn't seem to be any indication that crossplay will come to Stardew Valley. The game's official Reddit still lists it as not being supported, and there was only one mention of it by the developer on Twitter back in 2018, when he responded to a question asking if crossplay would come to the game. He replied, "Unfortunately, there will not be crossplay. Apparently, the technical barriers are very high. It's still something I really want to add and I promise to look into it more closely, but first priority is getting the update out there." This was many years ago, and there has been no further information about cross-platform play since, so it seems very unlikely that we will see support for this functionality come to Stardew Valley.

Read more
Hyte made me fall in love with my gaming PC all over again
A PC built with the Hyte Nexus Link ecosystem.

I've never seen anything quite like Hyte's new Nexus Link ecosystem. Corsair has its iCue Link system, and Lian Li has its magnetic Uni system, and all three companies are now offering ways to tie together your PC cooling and lighting devoid of extraneous cables. But Hyte's marriage of hardware, software, and accessories is in a league of its own -- and it transformed my PC build completely.

I've been using some of the foundational components of the ecosystem for about a week, retailoring a build inside of Hyte's own Y40 PC case to see how the system works. It doesn't seem too exciting at first -- Hyte released an all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler, some fans, and a few RGB strips, who cares? But as I engaged more with the Nexus Link ecosystem, I only became more impressed.
It all starts with the cooler

Read more