E3 2019 | GPD Win Max and One-Netbook OneGx competitor Smach Z debuted, but it already looks DOA
Smach lived up to its promise of bringing the Smach Z to E3 2019, and a few people got their chance at trying out the belated handheld games console. Spanish video games magazine Hobby Consolas has published a hands-on video of its experiences with the Smach Z, while Tom's Hardware got a chance to play a few games on it too.
According to the latter, the Smach Z weighed about 600 g (~1.3 lb) and felt "a bit heavy when playing". This makes the Smach Z around 200 g (~0.4 lb) heavier than a Nintendo Switch with its Joy-Cons attached, for reference. The console looks well-built and has a 1080p 6-inch touchscreen, which is powered by a 15 W AMD Ryzen Embedded V105B SoC.
Theoretically, the Smach Z can connect to two 4K monitors simultaneously with its DisplayPort and Type-C ports, but heaven knows why you would want to do so. Smach were not allowing anyone to tinker with graphics settings at the conference, so it is unclear in what resolution or graphics levels demo units were playing games, but the console already looks to be showing its age.
Tom's Hardware reports that units at E3 2019 were only averaging around 17 FPS in Monster Hunter World and 30 FPS in Doom, while simpler games like Rocket League hovered at approximately 50 FPS. The hands-on video published by Hobby Consolas supports this experience, with an undemanding section of Monster Hunter World looking sluggish and borderline unplayable.
Smach has been telling people that the CPU in the Smach Z is upgradable. The console has a motherboard for the CPU and RAM, with a second containing all its other components. But at a starting price of US$699 that rises to US$1,299 for the most expensive model, which is extraordinarily expensive. Its performance presents an uncomfortable question for Smach too; who is going to buy a US$700 handheld that can only run three-year-old triple-A titles at around 30 FPS? Ultimately, the Smach Z looks at least 3 years late to the party.