GPD XP Plus Review -The Best Android Retro Gaming Handheld?

  • Design
    (4.5)
  • Build Quality
    (5)
  • Display
    (5)
  • Performance
    (5)
  • Features
    (4.5)
  • Software
    (4.5)

Summary

The GPD XP Plus is a great revision of the original model with a faster processor.

Overall
4.8
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User Review
0 (0 votes)

Pros

  • New faster MediaTek Dimensity 1200
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB Internal Storage + Micro SD Card support
  • Dual SIM support for data
  • Great performance for retro and Android games
  • Built in screen mapping

Cons

  • Modular controls seem a bit pointless

Today we are checking out the new revised model of the GPD XP that launched last year, it’s the GPD XP Plus. In our GPD XP Plus review we will be unboxing it, running some system benchmarks, and then running a whole bunch of emulators, ranging from Mega Drive to PlayStation 2 and more! And if that is not enough, we will be checking out some native Android apps games to see how well they run. Grab a cuppa tea, it’s a long one!

GPD XP Plus Review Video

Unboxing the GPD XP Plus

We start the GPD XP Plus review as always with the unboxing. Lifting up the first part of the packaging we get straight onto the GPD XP Plus Android handheld itself. We will be showing it in more detail shortly.

GPD XP Plus - Unboxed
GPD XP Plus – Unboxed

Underneath the second part of the packaging is an envelope containing a screen protector and the user guide which is in English and Chinese. There is a USB Type-C charge cable and it will also come with a power supply for your country.

GPD XP Plus - Modular Controllers
GPD XP Plus – Modular Controllers

And we have two modular joystick connectors which can be attached to the right side of the GPD XP Plus. We will also show these shortly.

Overview of the GPD XP Plus

Visually the GPD XP Plus is the same as the original. It measures 9.17 x 3.2 x 1.6 inches (23.3 cm 8.3 cm 4.1 cm) at its largest thickness including the grip. And it weighs 370 grams with the Xbox style modular controller. 

GPD XP Plus - Dimensions
GPD XP Plus – Dimensions

It has a 6.81″ display which is 10 point touch supported. It has a maximum resolution of 2400×1080 when in landscape orientation. In the corner of the display you will notice a small circle. This is a front facing 5 mega pixel single lens camera . It’s fine for taking selfies 🙂

On the left side of the GPD XP Plus retro gaming console we have a clickable left analogue joystick and classic D-Pad. Between the two, is a screen mapping button which I will demonstrate later in the video. Below are three buttons which are used for back, home and tasks operations.

On the right side we have the modular controller with four gaming buttons and the clickable right analogue joystick. And on the bottom are the SELECT and START buttons.

GPD XP Plus - Top View
GPD XP Plus – Top View

On the top of the GPD XP+ you can find left and right shoulder and trigger buttons. There is also a volume rocker and power button. 

GPD XP Plus - Bottom View
GPD XP Plus – Bottom View

On the bottom is a 3.5mm headphone port, sim and SD card slot. There’s a USB Type-C charge port. This can also be used with a Type-C to HDMI convertor to connect to your TV or monitor which we will show a bit later.

Controller overview

The modular controllers can be removed and swapped when needed. They are held to the GPD XP+ with magnets and are quite strong. You can be sure they will not disconnect while playing and require a bit of force to remove them. 

GPD XP Plus - Modular Demo
GPD XP Plus – Modular Demo

The controller you will use the majority of the time is the standard Xbox style controller. There is one with five buttons that can be used for shortcut style buttons in games.  There is an end cap if you do not wish to use either module. 

GPD XP Plus Technical Specifications

CPUMediaTek Dimensity 1200, 8 Core
GPUARM Mali-G77 MC9 @900MHz
RAM6GB LPDDR4x @4266Mbps
ROM128GB UFS 3.1
COMMUNICATIONS2.4 G / 5 G dual-band Wi-Fi 6, 2.4 G / 5 G dual-band Wi-Fi 6
MEMORY CARDmicroSDXC, microSDHC, microSD (not included)
BATTERY7000mAh
Idle: 9+ hours tested in office closing time, 13+ hours reported
Full Load: 4.5 hours running benchmark on a loop
GPD XP PLUS Technical Specifications

XP Plus TV/Monitor Output

Using an appropriate USB Type-C to HDMI adaptor you can output the GPD XP Plus retro gaming handheld to your TV or monitor and transform it into a retro handheld console. There is no need to go into any settings, simply connect the adaptor and it will display automatically. You could also connect a wireless gamepad and use that instead of the built in controls so you are not limited by the cable length.

GPD XP Plus - Output to TV
GPD XP Plus – Output to TV

System Benchmarks

GeekBench

As part of our GPD XP Plus review we perform a few system benchmarks to see the performance and when possible compare with other similar devices. We start the system benchmarks with GeekBench which runs a series of tests across single and multi-core operations. 

GPD XP Plus - GeekBench Benchmark
GPD XP Plus – GeekBench Benchmark

We get scores of 952 for single core and 2,765 for multicore. In comparison to the original GPD XP we got scores of 501 and 1,601 respectively. And for the Anbernic RG552 we got 266 and 714. So there is a very good increase in performance for both single and multi-core processing on the GPD XP Plus retro console.

3DMark 

Next we are running 3DMark. Like its PC equivalent, it runs a benchmark on the CPU and GPU to see their performance working together.

GPD XP Plus - 3DMark Benchmark
GPD XP Plus – 3DMark Benchmark

On the Wild Life benchmark we get a score of 4,147. Comparing the scores with other mobile devices shows well above average performance, and compares to the performance found in higher end range of mobile devices.

Antutu

And in our final system benchmark we are running Antutu. Antutu benchmarks the performance of the CPU, GPU and RAM across a series of tests.

GPD XP Plus - Antutu 1
GPD XP Plus – Antutu 1

We get an overall score of 660,134.

Emulator Testing

Next in this GPD XP Plus review we are testing many different emulators performance on the GPD XP Plus. 8 and 16-bit systems such as the Mega Drive will run absolutely fine with no issues at all. So we won’t cover them in much detail. There are some individual emulators pre-installed as well as RetroArch with emulator cores available for many retro game consoles.

VBA-M Emulator

Contra Advance on VBA-M
Contra Advance on VBA-M

The VBA-M emulator on RetroArch runs with no issues or slowdown. We are checking out Contra Advance here and it scales up nice to the display resolution, although not to the ultra wide resolution. You could stretch it if you wanted to but it wouldn’t look nice.

Yabasanshiro Emulator – Saturn

GPD XP Plus - Saturn Emulation
GPD XP Plus – Saturn Emulation

Next is the turn of the SEGA Saturn emulator Yabasanshiro. We tried a few different games and the performance is very good. Playing through the race we, are getting 60 frames per second with no visible slow down. We did see the frames drop very rarely to say 58 for a split second, but you would not notice unless you had the FPS showing.

Mupen64Plus Emulator

It is the turn of Mupen64Plus with Body Harvest running on it. We tried various first and third party games and did not have any issues at all with frame drops or performance in general. Everything should work great!

DeSmuME- Castlevania Portrait of Ruin

Now time for some Dual Screen action with DeSmuME running Castlevania Portrait of Ruin. We did notice one or two minor drops in games now and again, but definitely nothing that would affect your playing of the game.

Vertical orientation is also playable
Vertical orientation is also playable

As suggested by Gadgetoid on twitter, he wanted to see Might & Magic when played vertically. You will need to redefine the controls to match the orientation, but it runs and looks just fine. I have no idea how to play the game though 🙂

Flycast Emulator – Dreamcast

As expected the Dreamcast flies along at full speed for every game we tried. There are some minor dips on loading screens but nothing that will affect gameplay which is generally a solid 60 FPS. If you enable the widescreen resolutions in the settings it looks great on this display.

DuckStation Emulator – PlayStation

Moving on to the PlayStation, we are using Duckstation and are currently playing the awful game Driver, which was suggested by Steve-0 on twitter. At least now we have shown it, we never have to play it again! 🙂

PlayStation will work with no issues at all on the GPD XP Plus retro games handheld. There are different RetroArch cores you can use which have all kinds of filters and upscaling which you can use to improve the visuals.

PPSSPP Emulator – PlayStation Portable

Next we have the PlayStation Portable and PPSSPP. As a standard we are trying God Of War. We are getting a solid 60 frames per second and you can increase the resolution and other improvements to make it look great on screen.

PSP emulator on GPD XP+
PSP emulator on GPD XP+

And as requested by TheBoyDips on Twitter, we have the classic Vice City which runs perfectly. If it can run God of War with no issues then everything else on the PSP will be a piece of cake.

AetherSX2 Emulator – PlayStation 2

Moving on to some higher powered consoles now. We start off with the PlayStation 2 and the AetherSX2 emulator. Do bear in mind that this emulator is very much work in progress so performance can change between releases.

PS2 emulator on GPD XP Plus
PS2 emulator on GPD XP Plus

Gran Turismo 3 initially starts off a bit laggy when there are a lot of cars on screen, but once things settle down it’s mostly running at full speed. With some settings tweaks you can probably get it running a bit smoother overall.

Pro Evo 2010 on the other hand runs just fine and is extremely playable. We did try some other games and it’s definitely a mix of what works and doesn’t. Some of this is down to the emulator compatibility and performance, and some is simply the XP Plus is not powerful enough.

Citra Emulator

Citra emulator
Citra emulator

I was not getting great performance with Citra. We did update to the latest version and noticed in a few games there were graphics issues, so maybe the update is a bit rubbish. It is a work in progress emulator, but either way, the GPD XP Plus is not quite powerful enough to run everything at full speed. 

Dolphin Emulator

And next we have the Dolphin emulator with Burnout 2. We are getting overall 60 frames per second with barely noticeable dips that you miss without the frame counter. We found many games there that are very playable and the compatibility is good.

GPD XP Plus - Dolphin emulator
GPD XP Plus – Dolphin emulator

But thanks to Dankey Kid on YouTube who suggested we check out Ultimate Spiderman, we can see that this game is very demanding. We are getting around 19 frames per second with some occasional freezes in gameplay. So there’s good performance but it’s not quite perfect for this system!

We finish up with some more Dolphin action and Sonic Colours. The performance is pretty much spot on with some very minor drops in frames. This is a good game to test as you can set it up as a to play with a GC controller, and not the Wiimotes emulation which can be a pain to get running well. Unfortunately not every game works as well as this, many are very slow and some do not work at all. But the less demanding titles are playable so don’t fully discount it.

Dolphini emulator
Dolphin emulator

Overall the level of emulation is very good on the GPD XP +. There are plenty of PlayStation 2 games to enjoy, and I think with Citra that may be an issue with that version of the emulator rather than performance of the GPD XP Plus. Don’t forget there are alternative emulators out there, some of which may work better than others for certain games.

Android Games Performance

We continue the GPD XP Plus review with native Android apps and games to see how they perform. 

Game Streaming Performance

Xbox Cloud App running Forza Horizon 5
Xbox Cloud App running Forza Horizon 5

We tried the Xbox Cloud Gaming beta for Android and it works great with high end games such as Forza Horizon 5. You do need a subscription to Xbox Game Pass to use this. It essentially lets you stream games from the Microsoft servers to your GPD XP Plus gaming handheld. We had no problems with the streaming quality or drops in WiFi speed, especially with the router being around 15 metres across the office. It all works great!

Screen Mapping Software

Next we are trying some native Android games and we will start by showing the screen mapping feature. By pressing the screen mapping button it will bring up icons for all of the controls. You simply drag the icons to the corresponding area on the screen where you would normally touch as input. Once that is done, you can use the controls to simulate screen presses and not have to mess around with poor onscreen controls. 

Screen mapping Call of Duty Mobile
Screen mapping Call of Duty Mobile

It overall works extremely well, you may find on some games that the sensitivity or accuracy is a bit high, but you do get used to it after a few minutes. And now on to some Android games.

Call of Duty Mobile

Playing Call of Duty Mobile
Playing Call of Duty Mobile

Call of Duty Mobile works great on the GPD XP Plus and as you saw you can configure all of the controls for the in game gameplay. You will still need to use the touchscreen for the menus, gunsmith and so on. I did not see any issues with the performance, no frame drops or lagging. And having controls does make the game very easy!

Carmageddon

Carmageddon is another game that you can map the game buttons to. It plays very well and the controls are responsive.

Virtua Tennis

GPD XP Plus - Virtua Tennis
GPD XP Plus – Virtua Tennis

Virtua Tennis has built in gamepad support so you do not need to set up screen mapping. Everything works great with no slow downs during gameplay.

Horizon Chase

Horizon Chase is another game that has built in support for gamepads. The game blazes along at a great frame rate and I did not have any issues at all.

Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact Mobile with controller support
Genshin Impact Mobile with controller support

Genshin Impact does require screen mapping to play the game with the gamepad. There are plenty of buttons for the gameplay, but you will need to use the touchscreen for the menus and maps for example. The start of the game is a bit quiet for action, but everything seems to be running very smoothly, and it also looks amazing on the display.

Final Thoughts

Overall the GPD XP Plus is a great improvement over the original model in terms of performance. We saw from the benchmarks that there is around a 50-60% difference in single and multi-core performance. This gives us a much faster overall experience both in emulators and Android games.

I would have liked to have the modular control system dropped for this model and just stick to traditional controls. It still feels like a gimmick to me, but do let us know in the comments if you use the other controller.

Mega Drive emulator playing  Comix Zone
Mega Drive emulator playing Comix Zone

The GPD XP series are for me the best Android based gaming handhelds available. The Plus model has a nice boost in performance, and the TV output is great. If you were previously on the fence when the original was released, it is definitely worth reconsidering now.

You can learn more about and buy the GPD XP Plus here. You can browse our range of handheld gaming consoles here.

That wraps up our GPD XP Plus review, we hope you have found it useful. And thanks to everyone who suggested games to try. We couldn’t try them all as some did not work, but we appreciate sending in your suggestions!

DaveC
Bringer of videos, text and images! AKA the social media guy at DroiX. Massive retro gaming fan and collector, with a far too large collection of consoles and computers from 1970's to modern.
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