The dream of any hardcore game: A handheld gaming PC powerful enough to play AAA titles. With the Smach Z, that elusive dream has finally come true.
The lightweight portable device looks like a cross between a laptop and an old-school Sega Game Gear, but with all the functionality and power of a gaming PC. The Smach Z comes in two versions: A regular version and a Pro version. Both share an AMD Merlin Falcon CPU clocked at 2.1GHz, a Radeon R7 GOU clocked at 800MHz, a 6″ 1080p touch screen, an accelerometer, gyroscope, a Wi-Fi module and five hour battery life, but differ on RAM, internal memory, and the presence of a front-facing camera for Twitch streaming and a 4G LTE connection. (The regular version sports 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, while the PRO ups its to 8GB and 128GB.) All together, this unassuming device can play almost any game on Steam at high to medium settings, including the latest AAA titles.
And while it has a haptic touchpad to play these games with, users can also plug in a keyboard and a mouse for the classic experience if needed. Since the Smach Z is a computer at its core, it can do things like stream games from a PC or PS4, browse the internet and use emulators, all from a Windows or Linux environment. The regular version of the Smach Z is going for $328 and the Pro version is $548. They’re both slated to ship in April 2017 should the Smach Z Kickstarter campaign raise about $275,000 by November 20th, 2016.
While Nintendo recently unveiled its long-await new console in the Switch, there’s still room for a true portable PC that can power the latest titles and — crucially — access Steam. While Nintendo and other companies may have some some first-party titles to fall back on, working well with Steam guarantees the Smach Z to be hit with many PC gamers, and can serve as a bridge to those who aren’t willing to shell out gaming PC-level money.
Nicholas Echevarria currently calls Shanghai home but is a Brooklyn native at heart. He writes about lifestyle, tech, and design and, whenever he gets the chance, indulges his addiction to biking and Hearthstone. Check out some more of his work at https://clippings.me/nicholasechevarria.