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Opinion | The GPD Win Max is an ambitious but oversized mess

A look at the final design of the GPD Win Max. (Image source: GPD via Liliputing)
A look at the final design of the GPD Win Max. (Image source: GPD via Liliputing)
The GPD Win Max has been in development for a while now, with leaked images of the device first appearing online almost a year ago. GPD has overhauled the Win Max since then, and while its Ice Lake processor and bevvy of ports are impressive, its unwieldy size is not. Best of luck using the device's built-in controllers, folks.

The GPD Win Max has come a long way since leaked pictures of it appeared online last April. While it started out life as a Ryzen Embedded V1000-powered device, but it has evolved into a Core i5-1035G7-powered unit. Now, it seems that the final design has been signed off, too.

Published by Liliputing, the photos show that GPD has done away with the dedicated mouse buttons and pointing stick that we saw in last year's mockup. Instead, GPD has pushed the keyboard to the edge of the frame. The built-in controllers remain though, as does what looks like a small trackpad.

The Win Max is packed to the brim with ports, too. From the photos, we can see a full-sized HDMI, two USB Type-A ports and two Type-C ports. Ethernet and a microSD card reader are onboard too, as is a curious-looking oval-shaped switch situated on the left-hand side of the device. According to Liliputing, this allows the Win Max to switch between gamepad and mouse modes. The website states that the d-pad can be used as a cursor in mouse mode, for instance.

Liliputing has also confirmed that the display will have a 1,280 x 800 resolution, although its size is yet to be confirmed. Apparently, the Win Max could either have an 8- or 9-inch display. Incidentally, the device will have a backlit keyboard, an M.2-2280 slot and dual-fans. The latter two were present in last year's prototypes too, for reference. There is still no word on availability or pricing, though. Word is that GPD will announce a crowdfunding campaign later this year.

While the Win Max impresses us from a technological perspective, it is an ergonomic mess. As Liliputing notes, the only way to use the built-in controllers is to hold the device by the back, with the keyboard protruding past your wrists. Quite how you are supposed to use the trackpad while holding the device is a mystery to us, too. The same applies to the d-pad. Hopefully, the final unit proves us wrong.

(Image source: GPD via Liliputing)
(Image source: GPD via Liliputing)
(Image source: GPD via Liliputing)


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Alex Alderson, 2020-02-20 (Update: 2020-02-21)