Who Is The GPD XP Really For?

The successor to GPD’s XD Plus has been a long time in the making. For a while there it seemed GPD had moved on to new pastures with their Windows based mini laptops and gaming devices. But here we are, the handheld once rumoured to be the XD2 has been officially announced, and will be known as the GPD XP.

MODULARITY AND CONTROLS

The GPD XP’s most novel feature is perhaps the modularity of the controller. As rumoured last year, the controller on the right hand side is detachable, and the reason for this seems to be for better support of MOBA style games. MOBAs are apparently often played using the touchscreen on the right side for camera controls. The modular slimline controller allows easy reach to the screen, as well as providing five additional action buttons. Alternatively, a blanking plate allows full use of the right side of the screen including any on screen buttons. Thank you to The Phawx for the explanation, I am old and haven’t a clue.

GPD XP Modular Handheld

Of course, the GPD XP also has a conventional controller option, providing an additional analog stick, ABXY and start/select buttons. For Android gaming, the built in mapping software allows you to configure the physical controls to replicate inputs ordinarily done by touch. This mechanism for configuring physical controls for Android is well established already, and GPD implemented similar software into their GPD XD and G5A.

LCD AND EMULATION

At first glance, the GPD XP looks a lot like a mobile phone slotted into a snug fitting controller. The superfluous hole punch front facing camera certainly adds to that aesthetic, as does that crazy wide LCD. We know that the LCD is 6.81″, and looking at some phones with the same size screen it seems likely to be a 20:9 aspect ratio. Not all games machines make good emulation machines, and we already know that Android MOBA gamers are one of the target demographics for this handheld. For games such as those, having a wider screen is perhaps very beneficial, allowing a wider view of the action around you.

GPD XP Prototype

For emulation though, 20:9 is a really unfortunate choice. In traditional 4:3 aspect games, only 60% of the LCD would be used. This would leave 20% blanked out on the right and left side of the image. Even the few emulated systems with a 16:9 mode (PSP and some GameCube for example) would need black bars to display correctly.

Given that, it looks as though the GPD XP isn’t really designed with emulation in mind. Rather for native Android gaming and in particular FPS and MOBA type games. It’s a shame, even a 16:9 screen could have helped to bridge the disparity between these two gaming worlds. However, if you’re part of the target demographic then this form factor is probably quite enticing.

GPD XP Modular Controllers

GPD XP SPECS

The GPD XP is due to run on the MediaTek Helio G95 SoC. This is an octacore processor and is far more powerful than the RK3326 found in the majority of current handhelds. Equipped with 6GB of RAM and a 7000mAh battery, the GPD XP can apparently run for up to 12 hours. It is worth noting that this CPU is probably not as powerful as those due in the KT-R1 and Odin. Whether either of those ever see the light of day is another matter!

Some more roughly translated specs, including the apparent inclusion of active cooling in the image below.

GPD XP Translated Specifications

And in table form if you prefer.

GPD XP SPECS 
Battery7000mAh
Data4G SIM support (for data only)
LCD6.81" (probably 20:9)
OSAndroid 11
ProcessorMediaTek G95
RAM6GB LPDDR4x
Storage128GB USF 2.1
Storage expansion2TB MicroSD
AudioStereo speakers

PRICE AND RELEASE DATE

The GPD XD is due to go on pre-sale through an as yet unknown channel in September 2021. The price hasn’t been announced yet, but don’t expect RK3326 prices. I will update this article when more info is available.

7 thoughts on “Who Is The GPD XP Really For?”

  1. I don’t understand why the left controller isn’t detachable too. Then, you could go without controllers and use the device as a chunky phone in a pinch. Or you could rotate the device so that the punch hole camera would be in the upper-right, which may work better for certain games.

    Or would it be too much like a phone if they did that, so they want to discourage that comparison? Or is it a patent thing?

    Reply
  2. I’ve seen the unboxing video on GPD’s Youtube channel, the form factor is extremely close to the Odin, even more grip, which is good. GPD have also announced on the FB page that there will be a software switch for rescaling the video output for various usages (source https://www.facebook.com/4GPDWin/posts/3057811714540074?__cft__%5B0%5D=AZWAI5Us3JnRrbe2QKV5Lgg4csh6F9WltJchqQGfNKYcfNEjxoYibpqYOGKAiVTZqwnpzpE5XnjIvYIrJIzwQu6DLGZ2CjvM7k7t0RmH2Pr5eJWh7kLrterVUZVyUlBogorxgo1OJy_KeQyL9pjaXFL7&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R).

    Also they’ve juste released a first emulation testing video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_leA2E78SWY

    Personnally I’m really hyped about this device, I’d rather trust GPD (I’ve owned a bunch of their devices and I had the XD then XD+ be my daily driver for years) and buy the XP than trust Ayn and their Odin, that could very well be pure vaporware.

    At least GPD is a trusted brand with a proven track of record, and though their high-end recent devices are expensive, they’re absolutely great.

    Reply
  3. I think it’s misleading to sell this under the “X_” banner, as like you said this really isn’t a cost effective or even practical means of playing emulated games, which the XD certainly excelled at and saw use because of it. This is for “competitive mobile gamers”, of which, if they exist, I’m sure already have a powerful device with some controller attached, therefore making this redundant.

    I’ve seen some professional Clash Royale, but that’s a game which is touch only, and spending more basically means buying a big tablet to play on over a smartphone.

    Is there really a big enough market of people playing mobile MOBA’s competitively to facilitate this existing? I can’t really say I’m disappointed, there are more than enough devices I own which do portable emulation excellently. This just looks confusing is all.

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  4. I really wish they stuck with the 3DS style clamshell, it’s far more aesthetically pleasing to me and offers protection for the screen when carrying it around in your pocket.

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  5. This thing better be relatively cheap because I don’t see what this can do that you can’t already do with a phone and controller of some type.
    This is a really weird piece of hardware and don’t see it selling well outside of China.
    GPD should of just put those same specs in a updated XD Clamshell with newer Dpad, analog sticks and buttons. I will pass on this easily.

    Reply
  6. I will pay $300 for a high specs 5 inch 4:3 handheld. That would mean $200 pure profit for the chinese company. And it would sell one million units!

    Reply
    • A 5″ 4:3 screen would result in either a laughably massive handheld, or one with extremely peculiar proportions. I just don’t see that particular combination ever happening, and I’m quite confident that it wouldn’t sell anything close to a million units.

      Reply

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