The GKD mini Is Another Portrait Mode Handheld

Hot on the heels of the other two recent vertical devices, here comes the GKD mini handheld from LaoZhang. The GKD mini is another portrait mode handheld that promises a boost in performance over the RG350 series from Anbernic.

The GKD mini is a follow up to the GKD 350h which came out last year. Housing an Ingenic X1830 processor, this CPU outperforms the JZ4770 despite its lack of GPU and IPU. The X1830 runs at 1.5Ghz and gives a reasonable boost to some harder to emulate SNES, PS1 and Arcade games.

Its older brother ran on OpenDingux and I would expect that this vertical version will run the same. Hopefully we will see a kernel source release this time around so that performance improvements can be made by community developers.

Details are thin, but we do know that it has 4 shoulder buttons. Looking at the top and bottom of the handheld it seems they must be housed on the back.

GKD mini retro gaming handheld
GKD mini gaming handheld

The LCD is 3.5″ and has a 320×240 resolution, and the 4 LEDs to the top right of the screen indicate current battery level. The handheld has stereo sound with an independent volume control, and two of the front buttons are dedicated to Menu and Exit. There looks to be dual microSD slots next to the power button on top. Size wise, it’s a little bigger than the LDK, but still a very pocketable device.

In the latest images to surface we can see they’ve swapped the standard D-pad present on the 3D print for a Sega style D-pad. An unusual decision, but I really like the Mega Drive D-pad so we’ll have to wait and see.

GKD Mini Handheld Different Colours

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

The GKD mini is due to retail in China for the equivalent of about $45. I would guess we’ll be able to pick this up for a very reasonable $55-$65 when it’s released. Its older brother, the GKD 350h, is around the same price.

Current images of the unit are limited to 3D prints in plain white and renders. Production has apparently started, so we can expect to see better photos before too long.

I will update this post as more info and images become available. You’ll be able to find it in the “Forthcoming Handhelds” menu.

25 thoughts on “The GKD mini Is Another Portrait Mode Handheld”

  1. If the final product looks anywhere near like the renders, I would consider it. Though I do agree with a lot of you, I would appreciate something more powerful to have the ability to play psp games. Then again, the lack of an analog stick would be problematic.

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  2. Hate to be negative, but this is just more rubbish. Screens need to be a minimum of 5.5″, a minimum of 1280×800 resolution, an SOC that can play PS1/2, Gamecube and PSP titles in widescreen, but still does 4:3 resolutions for older systems.

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    • I wouldn’t say rubbish, but the glacial speed of progress is frustrating. I’d love to see a handheld like you’ve described, but it’s going to take someone new to shake things up I think (similar to how HK did in January, but to a greater extreme).

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      • All i would want from these companies is a handheld with a built-in gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer (digital compass), and very fast (LPDDR4, 1.6 GHz, Dual-Channel) RAM. So much cool original games could be made for a device like this, even if it had a potato CPU and GPU.

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    • This is a wildly unrealistic expectation. Snapdragon 845 phones struggle to play many GameCube and wii titles well. Snapdragon 865 phones struggle to play PS2 well. Even if you paid over $700 for a phone for a snapdragon 865 phone you would not achieve that performance, so no idea why you would think a cheap Chinese handheld would get anywhere near that. Also no small manufacturers even have the buying capacity to access those types of high end cpu’s and certainly not for cheap. The closest available now is a moqi i7 or i7s. Which start at $200+ and wont play camecube well or PS2 at all and dont have L2/R2 or dedicated start/select buttons. Realistically next year if we are very lucky we may get something with very good PSP performance from a cheap Chinese handheld if we are lucky, certainly no gamecube or PS2. Also 5.5 is not a good size for a pocketable console and not sure why you would need 1280×800 for retro gaming either.

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      • The GPD XD+, GPD Q9+, Archos GamePad2 and JXD S7800B would all like to have a chat with you about your statement…

        Performance with all of them is excellent, portability good(especially with the XD) and all came in under $200. 1280×800(or 720p) makes scaling with filters possible without looking grainy.

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        • So for a start the Moqi i7 and i7s that i already mentioned perform better than all those consoles you mentioned, the older JXD, Archos and GPD q9+ dont even come remotely close, they are straight bad by todays standards. Secondly none of the machines u mentioned can even come close to playing GameCube or PS2 so not sure what point you are making. While the $195 Moqi i7 beats all of the consoles mentioned on performance, especially PSP performance, which is sub par on the XD plus and the XD plus actually costs more than the Moqi i7. Also $200 is not a cheap chinese handheld. Sub $120 is considered cheap.

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          • Clearly you do not own any of them. I do, all 4 of them. I also own the original Archos Gamepad, the GPD G7 and the JXD S7300C. With the exception of the Archos GamePad1, the performance offered by each of those devices is excellent for all emulation up to and including PSP. Dreamcast is doable for most and GC is passable depending on the title. However, PS2, Dreamcast and GameCube emulation are not a focus of this discussion as a comparison to the offerings described in this article. If I want that kind of emulation, I’ll do it on my PC. As for the Moqi devices, I don’t own one but have no doubts they are excellent performers. They are examples of devices that would be excellent for the kind of emulation tasks on offer by the types of device similar to what is in the above article. Additionally, inexpensive does NOT equate to “cheap”. To argue such point is snobbish and narrow minded.

          • And yes, I’m aware that I brought up PS2, DC & GC emu, but that was stated as a desired goal these makers should aim for.

    • I can’t believe you are still leaving the same kind comment on every new $50 handheld. Are you trolling? The thing you are describing would cost 3-4 times as much and is for a totally different market and use-case than a cheap chinese gameboy-esque handheld. It’s like you see a new entry-level sedan announced and complain it’s not a luxury SUV.

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      • Trolling you say? Yup, that’s got to be it. You win a gold star for your sticker book!

        As for the cost of what I’ve described, it’s already been done but not for a few years. I would love to see GPD do an updated version of their G7 Android gaming tablet. $150 was perfectly acceptable a few years ago, and it still is. These silly little $50 things are interesting, but at the same time very lacking.

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  3. Why they keep making this small portrait handhelds? It is not comfortable to play on it. If they want to make a portrait handheld why don’t they make one similar to the gameboy. It has enough space for the hand to grab the handheld while playing

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    • Not only Gameboy Classic, . For me, the Gameboy Pocket/color has the ideal size.

      The odroid go (not advance) is my favorite for Gameboy and 8 Bit Emulation.

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  4. I’m done with anything under 640×480 resolution – which means non of these new verticals cut the mustard. 640×480 is the minimum resolution to be able to display ALL retro systems with sharp pixels. Anything less and some games systems, usually GB/GBC and GBA look like arse – a blurry mess. I know this from direct experience from ownership of several systems now.

    Ah well, wait another year and see what comes along.

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    • Having a 640×480 screen is definitely a dream that would allow flexibility and probably nice scanline / dot filters.
      Another thing I really hope for is Compute Module 4 handhelds.

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  5. More power than the RG280V with about half the cost? If it is reasonably reliable this would be great to throw in the pocket for some on the go gaming.

    Reply

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