GPD Win Max 2021 Review
The next generation of Windows gaming handheld PC’s have arrived!
User Review( vote)
- Large 8″ IPS touch enabled display
- Backlit Keyboard is good for typing on for longer periods of time
- Gaming controls feel very comfortable
- Fast Intel or AMD processors
- Excellent for AAA Windows gaming
- Excellent for emulation with more modern
- Impossible to play games while the Ethernet cable is connected as the port is on the right side.
In our GPD Win MAX 2021 review we start with an unboxing and overview of the handheld gaming PC. We continue the review with system and gaming benchmarks, followed by gameplay and emulator testing footage. There is a choice of videos on our playlist, or if you prefer you can read the text version below. You can learn more and buy the GPD Win MAX 2021 here, or you can browse our range of gaming handhelds.
GPD Win MAX 2021 Review Video
Below you can find a YouTube Playlist of our GPD Win MAX 2021 review videos.
Let’s start with the unboxing. Inside we have the GPD Win MAX 2021 which we will show in more detail shortly.
Underneath is a user manual which is in Chinese and English.
Inside the box is a 65 watt USB Type-C charger. We will include the correct adaptor for your country when you order. And last but not least is a USB Type-C cable which you use with the charger and also data transfer.
GPD Win MAX 2021 Overview
We continue our GPD Win MAX 2021 review with a closer look at the device.
The 8 inch IPS touch enabled screen has a default resolution of 1280×800, with 189 pixels per inch (PPI). It is very clear and bright, we currently have it at 50% brightness.
Moving down to the lower half of the Win MAX. Along the top are a set of three buttons; SELECT, MENU and START. Below that is the clickable left analogue joystick and classic D-Pad.
In the middle is a tracking pad, with pressable left and right areas for mouse functionality.
Further to the right is the Power button. On the top right corner are three LED’s to show battery, fan and power statuses. Just below is the right analogue stick and four gaming buttons.
The majority of the GPD Win MAX base is taken up by the keyboard which is full QWERTY, it also includes standard F1 to F12 keys which can be used in combination with the Function key for shortcuts such as volume and screen brightness.
The GPD Win MAX measures approximately 8.1 x 5.7 x 1 inches when closed. It weighs around 790 grams making it extremely portable. (20.7 cm x 14.5 x 2.6 cm)
On the back from left to right you can find the right shoulder and trigger buttons. A full size HDMI port to connect to your TV or monitor. There are two USB 3 and two USB Type-C ports to connect peripherals to. And finally the Left shoulder and trigger buttons.
On the left side you can find a switch which changes the joystick functionally between Gamepad and Mouse modes.
And on the right side you can find the ethernet port and Micro SD Card slot.
Inside you can find a 3×5000mAh / 57Wh high-capacity polymer lithium battery which is good for between 3 to 8 hours depending on usage. GPD had originally decided to go a small steps backwards in terms of wireless connectivity, with WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2. This has now been updated to WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 based on customer feedback.
GPD Win MAX 2021 Technical Specifications
|PROCESSOR||11th Gen. Intel Core i7-1195G7||AMD Ryzen 7 4800U|
|BASE / MAX SPEED||5.00 GHz||1.8 GHz / 4.2 GHz|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe Graphics||AMD Radeon Graphics|
|EXECUTION UNITS (Intel) / |
|MAX SPEED||1.40 GHz||1.75 GHz|
Both models come with the below configuration as standard
|DISPLAY||8″ IPS touch enabled, 1280×800 default resolution, 189 PPI|
|RAM||16GB LPDDR4x @4266MHz|
|STORAGE||1TB M.2 NVMe|
|WI-FI||IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (WiFi 5), MU-MIMO Support|
|PORTS||2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 4) (Intel model only) |
2x USB-Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2) (AMD model only)
2x USB Type-A
1x 3.5mm headphone jack.
|OTHER||Backlit chiclet keyboard|
Controller/Mouse Mode Toggle Switch
eGPU Compatible (Intel model only)
GPD Win MAX 2021 i7 Benchmarks
We start the GPD Win MAX 2021 i7-1195G7 benchmarks with PassMark which stress tests the CPU, GPU, RAM and Storage to the maximum. It gives us a good look at artificial performance on the handheld gaming PC.
The score is a very impressive 3,703. With average scores on the CPU and RAM and above average on the storage.
PCMark performs tests that you would find in day to day situations such as web browsing, consuming media, working with office documents, media editing and much more. It gives a good indication of performance on what you may be using the GPD Win MAX while not gaming.
PCMark gives a score of 5,503. There’s a good jump in performance over the older 1165G7 processor of around 500 points which is good to see.
3DMark tests the CPU and GPU over a series of benchmarks. It gives us a good idea of what kind of performance we will see when they are working together.
The GPD Win Max gives us a score of 1,409. We run this test a few times as the score is showing lower than it should be. We were expecting more in the 1800’s score area. This might be a typical Intel driver issue or something with 3DMark.
GPD Win MAX 2021 Gaming Benchmarks
Continuing with our GPD Win MAX 2021 review with some AAA Windows gaming benchmarks. We will be comparing these gaming benchmarks results in a separate video and blog post once we have the AMD Ryzen 7 model, but in the meantime you can view the results for the Intel i7-1195G7 model.
Forza Horizon 4
The GPD Win Max 2021 scores an impressive 43 frames per second, with a low of 37 and high of the target 60. This is the highest score we have had on the handhelds, and this is expected as it is a faster processor.
Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker
Final Fantasy 14 benchmark is a good test to run as the expansion is out later this year so we can get a good idea of future games performance. We are running at 1080P on High desktop settings.
The Win MAX scores a very impressive 4,558. Again, this is the highest we have scored in the handhelds. It does show there is a good improvement in performance over the 1165G7 processor for example which scored in the low four thousands.
Street Fighter V
Street Fighter is set to 1080P at Maximum graphics to really push the CPU and GPU. We get an average of 40 frames per second which is very good! With a few changes to the graphics, or by simply lowering the resolution to 720P, we can get a stable 60FPS very easily.
Gameplay Tests Footage
Next up we have some gameplay footage from a bunch of games and after that, some emulators. We are running at the default 1280×800 resolution, or if that is not supported then we use 1280×720.
BloodRayne Betrayal Fresh Bites
BloodRayne is running on max settings and has a overall solid 60FPS. It’s not a highly demanding game as you can see from the CPU and GPU usage. It looks and runs great on the Win MAX 2021!
WRC10 is a very demanding game and as such the graphics settings are set to mostly low, with higher quality textures. Post processing effects are switched off. With some testing you could improve a few settings here and there. For most of the game the FPS is hovering around the high 50’s to 60’s depending on how busy the scene was at the time.
We have everything set to max for Quake Enhanced and it runs absolutely smooth. No stuttering or frame drops. I have turned up the in-game brightness settings as the game is naturally dark, otherwise it was very hard to see on camera with the screen reflecting.
Mass Effect Legendary
Mass Effect Legendary runs great on the Win MAX 2021. We saw with the 1165G7 processor on our ONEXPLAYER gameplay tests that it was not quite fast enough for a stable 60FPS, but with the 1195G7 it definitely remains more in that area. The game plays very well and I did not experience any major frame drops while playing.
I saw this quite fun shooter the other day and thought to give it a go. The game is not very demanding and you can essentially set everything to maximum and not have to worry about frame drops. RICO London plays very well on the GPD Win MAX!
Emulator Test Footage
On to some emulators now. The GPD Win MAX 2021 can easily emulate older retro gaming systems ranging from Atari 2600 up to PlayStation 1, so we will not cover those. Instead, we will be testing more modern console systems. Each emulator is configured differently and has different system requirements but generally we are running at 1280×800 full screen display.
PlayStation Portable Emulation
God of War is my go to game to check performance. We are running at 3x rendering resolution and the emulator remains at a solid 60 FPS. You could probably change a few more settings to increase the quality and still remain at 60.
I tried a few Xbox games and overall the ones that are compatible work very well. Mashed performs very well on the emulator and you can increase the upscaling for improved visuals. It does however depend on the game, if the emulator is compatible and how well it works.
PlayStation 2 Emulation
With PS2 emulation you should have no issues. I tried a number of different games and they all had solid frame rates. You can increase the graphics quality settings for a lot of games. Overall PS2 emulation works very well and the GPD Win MAX 2021 is the best I have seen it running on a handheld.
PlayStation 3 Emulation
My go to PS3 game Skate 3, seems to be having some graphics issues. It is definitely not down to the Win MAX as the latest version of either the emulator or graphics drivers is also causing problems on the ONEXPLAYER I was testing it on. You can however see we are getting a nice 30 to 40 FPS, which again is very good!
Quickly switching over to Duck Tales, we get a solid 60FPS throughout the time spent playing. While it’s not as demanding as Skate 3, it is extremely playable as are a fair few games on the emulator.
We conclude our GPD Win MAX 2021 review with a summary. The GPD Win MAX 2021 is a bit of a dark horse in the current hype of gaming handhelds. The GPD Win 3 and ONEXPLAYER have been very popular and then the Win MAX 2021 from GPD turns up and blows them away with the faster 1195G7 processor. Both the Win 3 and ONEXPLAYER will also be receiving an upgrade to the newer processor, so it will be a nice full comparison to make in a future video.
GPD Win 3 vs ONEXPLAYER vs GPD Win MAX 2021 Comparison
|GPD Win 3 1165G7||ONEXPLAYER 1165G7||GPD Win MAX 2021|
|FINAL FANTASY XIV||4191||4037||4558|
|FORZA HORIZON 4||31 FPS||31 FPS||43 FPS|
Overall I am very impressed with the GPD Win MAX 2021 i7 version. That extra boost in performance does make a noticeable difference in a lot of games, especially where they may not have been quite fast enough to get a stable 60FPS. Mass Effect is a very good example of this!
Where to buy the GPD Win MAX 2021
GPD WIN MAX 2021 FAQ – Everything you need to know about the 2021 edition GPD WIN MAX
Originally posted by benjamin on: 03/08/2021
Hello! Welcome to our FAQ for the GPD WIN MAX 2021! Recently, GPD have announced their intent to release a new revision of their popular GPD Win Max gaming laptop. At this point in time, both fans and GPD alike have taken to calling this new revision the GPD Win Max 2021.
What IS the WIN MAX 2021?
The Idea behind the GPD WIN MAX was to take the concept of a gaming laptop, and shrink it down into a more portable form-factor; something with GPD themselves are very familiar with, having made multiple small-form-factor electronics in the past.
The WIN MAX 2021 is essentially a do-over of this concept. Featuring more powerful processors and being capable of playing games (both newer and old) at higher framerates. Outside of that, there’s no physical difference to the unit from it’s 2020 predecessor.
Is WIN MAX a handheld?
While classified as a gaming handheld in many spaces spaces, the GPD Win MAX is better described as a device that occupies a space between gaming handhelds and gaming laptops. Combining the performance and feature-set of the latter with the portability of the former.
GPD WIN MAX 2021Technical Specifications
The specifications for the GPD WIN MAX 2021 are as follows:
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 4800U (Quad-core, 1.80-4.20GHz)|
Intel Core i7-1195G7 (Octa-core, 2.9-5.0GHz)
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe Graphics [INTEL ONLY]|
Radeon 8 Graphics [AMD ONLY]
|RAM||16GB LPDDR4x (@4266MHz)|
|Storage Options||1TB M.2 NVMe|
|Wi-Fi||IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (WiFi 5)|
|Controls||A B X Y buttons|
L & R analog triggers
L & R bumpers
View & Menu buttons
2x analog sticks; clickable (L3/R3)
Start & Select buttons
|Ports||2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 4) [INTEL ONLY]|
2x USB-Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2) [AMD ONLY]
2x USB Type-A
1x 3.5mm headphone jack.
|Other Features||Backlit chiclet keyboard|
Controller/Mouse Mode Toggle Switch
eGPU Compatible [INTEL ONLY]
|Battery||~57Whr; approx. 3-8 hours of gameplay.|
|Size||207m x 145m x 26mm|
When looking at the WIN MAX 2021, the thing that immediately sticks out is the choice between two different processors.
One model contains an AMD Ryzen 7 4800U as the core of the unit, and the other model contains an Intel i7-1195G7 instead. Each supported by Radeon and Iris Xe integrated graphics respectively.
The AMD Path – The Ryzen 7 4800U
While no price has been stated yet, one would expect the AMD offering to be the cheaper of the two. While there’s very little video footage out at the time of writing, due to the 4800U already being out in the wild in a variety of existing gaming laptops, it is possible to get a loose idea of how it will perform in games.
The performance is what you may already have come to expect from these gaming handhelds. For BRAND NEW AAA games (1-2 years old at most), the device will at best manage on 720p with low/medium settings. Older than that, and you’ll start seeing improved performance (higher-framerates, higher settings, etc.).
That’s not to mention that the device itself will likely be an emulation monster.
The i7 is not expected to be as energy-efficient as the 4800U either, so for longer bouts of gaming at lower TDPs, AMD might be the better choice here.
The Intel Path – The i7-1195G7
The Intel processor is a little harder to judge. The i7-1195G7 is a cutting-edge CPU as far as consumer models go, only being officially “launched” in Q2 of 2021, and at the time of writing, not available in any other device on the market.
GPD make a series of claims about performance on their webpage, which we’ve gathered below:
The problem here is within the details. GPD do not explain their testing methodology very thoroughly, meaning we do not know if these tests were at 720P on low settings, or 800p on medium settings, etc.
Given the benefit of the doubt, one would assume both the AMD and Intel CPUs were tested under the same conditions. If so, then the i7-1195G7 represents a big leap in performance in many games, around 20-25 FPS.
Note that both game settings, individual optimizations, and the device’s TDP (power consumption) settings can all have an impact on how games perform. Couple this with the fact that the drivers for the model will not be mature, and you’ll likely be able to get even better performance out of the Win Max 2021 than is shown.
External GPUs & The WIN MAX
When you opt for the Intel version of the WIN MAX 2021, you gain the ability to connect the laptop to an external GPU (eGPU) through the USB-C ports (which are Thunderbolt 4 compatible in the Intel model).
Using an eGPU allows you to functionally use the WIN MAX like a fully-fledged gaming PC. For those who already have an eGPU enclosure + GPU, or have the money lying around for such a thing (as it will not be cheap), this is an attractive proposition.
GPD WIN MAX 2021 – Benchmarks
Fortunately, we’ve been able to obtain a table containing a more comprehensive list of tests that GPD have carried out for the WIN MAX 2021, feel free to take a look below (as taken from the FAQ/presentation for the GPD WIN MAX 2021):
Thankfully GPD are more concise here with their testing methodology, letting us know that these benchmarks were performed at 1280×800. It doesn’t say what the individual games settings’ are, but we’ll take what we can get!
From this, it can be gleaned that, if it’s older than a year, you will probably be able to hit 60FPS through some means without much difficulty, such as lowering the resolution or lowering the graphics settings.
We can also glean that the i7 represents a big jump in performance, offering improvements of 20FPS and more in a variety of games. With the drivers becoming more mature overtime for both models however, who knows if this gap will widen or shrink. One thing for sure is that they will likely be even higher in the future.
The Physical Details
The WIN MAX is no different than it’s 2020 predecessor in terms of physical features and design, but for the sake of convenience, we’ll go over the design once more in our GPD WIN MAX 2021 FAQ.
The GPD WIN MAX 2021 adopts a standard “clamshell” style laptop appearance. With two halves that close together to both save on space and protect the device’s screen/keyboard. The WIN MAX 2021 is definitely larger than most conventional “handhelds”, sizing up at 207m x 145m x 26mm when closed. Larger than it’s most immediate relative, the GPD WIN 3.
The top half of the device is cast from an aluminium alloy material. Meanwhile, the bottom half of the case is a plastic resin.
The device opens up to reveal a beautiful 8-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1280x800p (and a non-standard aspect ratio of 16:10). The bezels are a little larger for our liking though.
The Buttons, Keys, etc.
Much like the other members of GPD’s “WIN” family, the WIN MAX 2021 features built in controls. with shoulder bumpers and triggers (L1/L2/R1/R2), dual clickable analogue sticks (L3/R3) and your standard arrangement of a D-pad, A/B/X/Y, and start/select buttons, the device is equipped for gaming out of the box.
The WIN MAX 2021 also features a physical chiclet-style keyboard, which, thanks to the larger size, provides a surprisingly comfortable typing experience. You might still wish to use a dedicated full-size keyboard if you’re doing long stretches of typing, but it’s not as “urgent” a matter as it is on other mini laptops.
A standard laptop touchpad is also present, bolstering its functionality as a regular gaming laptop.
The WIN MAX is no slouch when it comes to physical interfaces either. Featuring a full-sized HDMI port and two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports. There’s also two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, which become Thunderbolt 4 ports in the Intel model. There’s also a microSD card slot built-in, which is nice.
For good measure, there’s also a gigabit ethernet (RJ45) port as well. Because why not?
Much like every other GPD “WIN” device, the WIN MAX 2021 also features a hardware switch to change between “gamepad” and “keyboard” modes. With the device in “keyboard” mode, the bumpers, sticks and buttons will emulate various keyboard/mouse functions. In gamepad mode, they function as direct Xinput (Xbox) controller inputs.
What about the WIN MAX 2021’s Temperatures?
Given the WIN MAX’s larger size and reduced emphasis on hyper-compactivity, it is capable of fitting a larger cooling system in it than is normally seen in GPD devices.
Essentially, this means it can more comfortably run at higher TDPs and perform more demanding tasks without delving into the “danger zone” for operating temperatures.
The fans will of course be somewhat loud under load (if you’re looking for a “silent” model, look elsewhere), but it is possible to switch them to a quieter setting, useful for when you’re not doing intensive tasks (playing older games, browsing the web, etc.).
[FAQ] Can I upgrade my GPD WIN MAX to the GPD WIN MAX 2021?
Given that the WIN MAX and the WIN MAX 2021 are identical outside of the internals, one would wonder if you can upgrade the former to the latter.
The good news is that it seems you can upgrade the GPD WIN MAX to the GPD WIN MAX 2021.
While it will require disassembly of the device, GPD are offering to sell just the motherboard for the unit, cutting down on costs for those who wish to upgrade themselves.
As outlined on the official GPD WIN MAX 2021 kickstarter’s FAQ, a package containing an instructional video, a USB flash drive with the firmware, a screwdriver, and some thermal paste will be provided alongside the motherboard, at a reduced overall price than if one was to buy a brand new WIN MAX.
If you’re unfamiliar with this kind of thing though, we’d advise against it. No soldering will be required, but you will need to disconnect/reconnect the battery, install the SSD again, and apply thermal paste to the unit. So if anything goes wrong during the installation, GPD will not be held liable.
When is the GPD WIN MAX 2021’s Release Date? Where to buy?
UPDATE: It is now launched and you can buy the GPD Win MAX 2021 here.
The official Kickstarter claims that shipping for devices will begin in September 2021, meaning backers can expect to begin receiving their models in Q4 2021 at the earliest. Prices start at £480 for the motherboard-only option, and and go as high as £717 for a full unit.
That’s all for now on the WIN MAX 2021! For the latest updates on the WIN MAX 2021 and other gadgets, please make sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube! Leave a comment below as well if you have any thoughts, we’d love to hear them!
Until next time!