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This is Pico-8 on the GamePad Digital GPD-WIN palmtop gaming computer. I won't give this a detailed review because there are better sources of info on this machine, and it's no surprise that it can run Pico-8. But since I posted pics of RaspiBoy I thought it'd be fun to show it off in comparison.

GPD-WIN is a bit famous for being surprisingly good at what it does, but if you haven't seen it before: 5.5 inch touch screen, Intel Atom processor, teeny keyboard, built-in game controls (including shoulder buttons), and it runs Windows 10. Install the Windows version of Pico-8 and not only can you play games, but you can make games as well. The keyboard is implausibly small, but it compares favorably to a PocketChip. The whole thing folds up to the size of a 3DS.

I made a half-hearted attempt at setting up the game controls with Pico-8. You can choose between three controller modes using a hardware switch, including a mouse-and-keyboard emulation mode for regular Windowing. I ended up using this mode and Pico-8's keyconfig to get a reasonable result with the D-pad and buttons. I bet another mode and proper SDL controller set-up would also work. Mouse-and-key mode is also plausible for the editors: left stick to move the mouse, left shoulder button to left-click, etc. Touchscreen mousing is surprisingly good in general, but I personally would prefer the stick for drawing. There is one (and only one) USB-A port for external peripherals. It also supports Bluetooth.

The GPD-WIN sells for ~$400 USD, so a bit pricier than a RaspPi set-up (or any handheld game machine subsidized through licensing). It's also a plausible option (only option?) for playing Steam games in a handheld-like, which appears to be its chief purpose. I don't think I'd use it for apps unless I were desperate, or could use its mini-HDMI out and peripherals.

GPD-WIN has a subreddit of devoted fans, and the subreddit has a FAQ.

P#46896 2017-12-01 00:06 ( Edited 2018-02-12 07:54)

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P.S. The subreddit sometimes finds better deals. This NewEgg price of $299 with offer code ends in two hours. (Don't rush on my account, just saying. :) )

P#46897 2017-12-01 00:12 ( Edited 2017-12-01 00:12)

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Yeah, this was one I was ultra tempted with, but I just couldn't risk taking the plunge when hearing WAY too many reports of build/QA inconsistencies (or even some design faults).
If I had the money to burn, I'd probably just go for it - coz even though I'd probably only use it every once in a blue moon (as it seems more like a neat gadget really), it's just so COOL!

P#46904 2017-12-01 01:14

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I'm also very tempted by this little device for quick on-the-go pico8 stuff (tweetcarts and such). Potentially a little aseprite pixel art here and there. I have a PocketCHIP, but I was very disappointed by the keyboard and the fact that I'm not a Linux guy doesn't help either.

Steam games would also be very nice (specially all those nice 2D indie games). Although, even tho I have hundreds of steam games, I usually despise having to configure the games to run well on my computer (which I assume will also be an issue with this device).

So, after a couple of months since your review, what are your thoughts on the device nowadays, dddaaannn?

P#48418 2018-01-20 19:06

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I haven't used it much at all, though that's no fault of the GPD.

I can add that Steam runs great, as do games that fit within the hardware profile. The kinds of old low-fi games I like to play work well as long as they don't make text too small. Configuring the controller buttons is fiddly.

It is quite good for playing most Pico-8 games. I wouldn't want to do extensive coding on the keyboard, but it's better than the PocketCHIP, so cases where the PocketCHIP sounds handy might be cases where the GPD would excel. The price is a tradeoff in that regard.

P#48502 2018-01-24 01:34

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Thanks for your reply dddaaannn! I bit the bullet and ordered one. Tweetcarting on the go, here I come! :D

P#48525 2018-01-24 18:56

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I really kinda want one of these, even though it's a bit spendy. Out of stock on Amazon UK, though. Perhaps I'll wait.

P#48543 2018-01-25 06:30

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I've just bought one of these yesterday, should be arriving tomorrow :) I couldn't stretch to the GPD Win 2 though for such a niche device. I'm looking forward to doing PICO-8 on the bus :D

P#49110 2018-02-09 03:36

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I've had it for a couple of weeks now, I don't use it as much as I would like but for pico8 I've used it to playtest the game I'm currently working on and for that it's pretty awesome.

P#49119 2018-02-09 12:42

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I've had about a day playing with this thing and it's actually better than I thought it would be. It's definitely impressive for it's size. I got about five hours on a charge. The keyboard is as good as it could be for it's size although I probably wouldn't want to do full-time development on it :D I've got a mini bluetooth keyboard somewhere so might try hooking that up. But all in all it's pretty amazing. I've got PICO-8 and a C64 emulator on it at the moment. And I'm installing TES: Oblivion to see how it handles that.

P#49159 2018-02-11 08:19

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I see there's a GPD 2.0. Oh great, now I feel like I need a $650 device to run my $12 software.

P#49181 2018-02-11 17:39

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There is a version 2 which is better in all regards apparently, but it's exponentially more expensive and I couldn't quite justify stumping up "full-laptop" kinda cash for such a device. The GPD WIN 1 ticks all the boxes for me so far, though :)

P#49211 2018-02-12 07:54

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