GPD haven’t had much competition when it comes to clamshell handhelds. Over the past few years they’ve done an excellent job of cornering the market with high quality devices spanning most niches from Android gaming and Windows gaming to general computing and even IT support with the upcoming GPD Micro.
It’s long been said that GPD most likely won’t release another XD successor, and with the XD+ due to go out of production soon it could be that the market is open for someone else to step in.
Who are Powkiddy? No idea, but the X18 name makes me wonder if they’re affiliated with CoolBaby and/or CoolBoy. Whilst the latter 2 are apparently not recognised companies in China, PowKiddy do in fact have a Chinese language website and the X18 Black Lion has been on it for a couple of months now.
Their X18 Android clamshell is inferior in spec to the GPD XD+, but the price is set lower to compensate. The X18 runs on a MediaTek MT8163 which is a 4 core ARM A53 chip at 1.5Ghz. Compared to the XD+ MT8176 ARM A72 at 2.1Ghz, it is certainly a step or two back. In fact even the original XD beats it in single and multi core performance, though the X18 MT8163 has the advantage of being 64bit and running on Android 7 out of the box.
With that said, the jump in performance between the original XD and the XD+ wasn’t particularly impressive. The XD+ was reaching for the dizzying heights of Gamecube emulation, but never really made it. For all intents and purposes both machines were perfectly capable of emulating your favourite retro emulators just fine. And I’m going to guess that the X18 will be perfectly capable of that as well, as long as their software implementation is good enough and the control mappings work OK.
I can’t find any actual review footage of this machine on Youtube yet, but the listings on Aliexpress only appeared a couple of days ago so it’ll be a little while yet.
At time of writing the Powkiddy X18 costs around £93/$120 shipped. If you’re in the market for an Android handheld and can’t afford an XD+, this might be exactly what you’re after. It might be advisable to wait for a couple of reviews first though.