Forget the Nintendo Switch – the world's smallest gaming laptop is a specs beast

GPD Win Max
(Image credit: GPD)

While the Nintendo Switch seems to be the handheld gaming console everyone is clamoring for (it’s pretty much out of stock everywhere right now), if you want some serious handheld gaming power, the new GPD Win Max could be for you – packing a quad-core Intel Core i5-1035G7 processor and 16GB of RAM into a tiny 8-inch design.

Those kind of specs blow the Switch out of the water, and it also features a 512GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, plus a load of USB ports, HDMI and even an Ethernet port for wired internet.

Meanwhile, the graphics is powered by the integrated Intel Iris Plus 940. While that’s not the most powerful GPU in the world, it’s understandable that the GPD Win Max wouldn’t go with a discrete GPU considering its size. 

The 8-inch IPS screen also offers a resolution of 1280 x 800. That low resolution helps take the strain off the GPU, and at 8-inches, it shouldn’t be too noticeable.

The battery life is said to be around three hours of heavy use.

For comparison, the Nintendo Switch has a smaller 6.2-inch screen with a 1280 x 720 resolution, just 32GB of internal storage, 4GB memory and an Nvidia Tigra X1 SoC that handles processing and graphics duty.

The Win Max’s design is basically that of a shrunk-down laptop, but it comes with a cool feature – a built-in gamepad. With dual-thumb sticks, XYAB buttons, D-pad and shoulder buttons, it’s essentially an Xbox controller built into the laptop.

Game performance

As PC Gamer reports,GPD has released benchmarks that show how the Win Max handles modern games, and the results are impressive. Fortnite hits 60 frames per second (FPS), FIFA 20 manages 78FPS, Red Dead Redemption 2 hits 50FPS and the Resident Evil 2 remake manages a huge 95FPS.

According to GPD, these games are at the default graphical settings. So not the highest settings, but not the lowest, either, so with a bit of tweaking you could get even better frame rates.

Still, those are pretty impressive results, and the idea of playing the graphically-demanding Red Dead Redemption 2 on a handheld device at playable framerates is certainly very exciting.

With the HDMI port and Ethernet connection, along with a streaming service like GeForce Now, the potential for the Win Max to be a fantastic gaming PC you can plug into your TV is also making us keen to get hold of one.

However, while the GPD Win Max product page is currently live, there’s no information on when you’ll actually be able to buy one, and what the cost will be.

The price will be a crucial factor in how successful the GPD Win Max is at competing with the Nintendo Switch. We’ve reached out to GPD for more information, and will try to get a unit in for review.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.