If you're frustrated by the long estimated shipping times for Valve's Steam Deck or you just want something with more flexibility, GPD's upcoming WIN Max 2021 mini gaming laptop could fit the bill. A sequel to the current GPD WIN Max, the WIN Max 2021 begins a funding round on Indiegogo tomorrow for a starting price of $999, with a post-campaign price of $1,250. That's way more expensive than the $399 entry starting price for the Steam Deck, but the WIN Max 2021 does have some tricks up its sleeve, including 1TB of SSD storage and an optional Intel Core i7-1195G7 CPU that can boost to 5-GHz.
Unlike the Steam Deck, the GPD WIN Max 2021 is a clamshell-like device. When you lift up the screen, you're presented with not only the usual gaming console controller buttons (a pair of joysticks mimicking the Xbox 360 controller design, arrow buttons, ABXY inputs and shoulder buttons are available), but also a backlit QWERTY keyboard and trackpad. This means that you can use this as a pure handheld console or even as a stop-gap for actual productivity, until you can get to your laptop or desktop PC.
The H-IPS screen features a default resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, which might seem on the low side, but do remember the 8-inch screen diagonal, meaning that there's roughly 188 Pixels Per Inch (PPI). The screen also features a maximum brightness of 500 nits for more comfortable outdoors usage, 90% DCI-P3 color coverage, and is protected by Gorilla Glass.
There will be two different CPU platforms for users to choose from: one with an AMD Ryzen 7 4800U low-power APU (8 physical cores,16 threads and Radeon Vega graphics) or an Intel Core i7-1195G7 solution (4-core, 8-thread Tiger Lake with Iris Xe Graphics).
GPD says that the Intel version will offer offer increased gaming performance due to its higher single-thread performance and overall higher graphics oompf, though the AMD solution should offer a more balanced gaming and productivity experience compared to the Intel version whilst offering longer running times due to its higher overall efficiency.
The WIN Max 2021 will also offer user-definable TDP settings; 20 W, 25 W or 28 W limits are available, and there should be a 7 W profile available also for more battery-conscious moments. There is no DDR5 here for increased integrated graphics performance, so the WIN Max 2021 will make do with 16 GB of LPDDR4 dual channel memory. Integrated storage is 1TB of the NVMe flavor, which is twice what you get with the Steam Deck, which currently tops out at 512 GB. I/O is provided by 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports (for the Intel-based version), whilst the AMD one adjusts that to 2x USB 3.2 Type-C. There are a further 2x USB 3.2 Type-A ports, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, and 1x 3.5 mm audio output.
One final trick up the GPD WIN Max 2021's sleeve is the capability for users to upgrade from previous WIN Max releases to the new components. For $699, users holding a previous-gen WIN Max handheld can purchase a mainboard upgrade, which includes the users' choice of either the AMD or Intel solution and memory (the NVMe itself is user-repleaceable, and thus not included in the mainboard upgrade bundle).
Outside of the crowdfunding campaign, GPD will sell these mainboards for $837 (for the Intel version) and $937 for the AMD one. What this does mean however is that there is a good chance that users can further upgrade their WIN Max 2021 down the line with a similar mainboard upgrade strategy, though it has to be said that GPD isn't announcing such upgrade paths right now.
Please remember that participation in crowdfunding campaigns does not equate to a product purchase; there are times when the company may not ever release the hardware to market. The GPD WIN Max 2021 currently features a $200,000 flexible crowdfunding goal, meaning that proceeds from crowdfunding will be given out to the manufacturer irrespective of them reaching the crowdfunding goal.