Ambitious handheld gaming PC fuses Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Surface

PC gaming is taking on a rather interesting turn in terms of design, with the rise of handheld gaming devices. Valve’s Steam Deck fired the opening salvo, and soon the likes of ASUS, Lenovo, and now MSI have followed suit. While the big brands took their sweet time joining the bandwagon, other manufacturers have already been playing this game for quite some time and have even iterated over a few unusual designs. One of those happens to be arriving soon, with what could only be called the love child of the Nintendo Switch and the Microsoft Surface tablet, offering a single device for both work and play that stretches the definition of what “handheld” really means.


To be even considered gaming-worthy, these handheld computers need to pack enough power to satisfy the greed of AAA titles. Of course, that power can also be used for other activities, but the design of a relatively small handset device isn’t exactly conducive to anything but gaming. You can, of course, connect the handheld PC to a dock and other peripherals, but you can only do that at home or in the office.

In order to satisfy the needs of both entertainment and productivity, the OneXPlayer X1 shatters a few conventions, especially when it comes to screen size. If you think the Lenovo Legion GO’s 8.8-inch screen is already massive, then you’re jaw will probably drop at this 10.95-inch 2.5K screen. That’s pretty much “netbook” size, which means it’s a little bit more comfortable to view documents and spreadsheets, especially when you have to type them out. Of course, that does also mean you have a larger view of your games, but it comes at the price of portability, though ONE-NETBOOK advertises the device will only be 789 grams thanks to the use of 6000 series aviation aluminum.

The OneXPlayer X1’s inspiration can clearly be seen from the detachable controls. Flanking the sides of the large tablet are removable controllers clearly inspired by the Switch Joy-cons. When it’s time to start typing, however, the keyboard cover, ala the Surface Pro, comes into play. While the laptop use case is a proven design, it remains to be seen whether the promise of lightweight handheld gaming will actually be delivered.

It’s interesting to see how the OneXPlayer X1 combines multiple designs gathered from computing history, from the canceled Razer Edge Pro to the unexpected Microsoft Surface Pro to the successful Nintendo Switch. Of course, simply combining successful designs doesn’t guarantee the same successful outcome, especially when that combination itself is still unproven and almost questionable. With an Intel Core Ultra processor and Intel’s ARC GPU, there might be some doubt as to its actual gaming chops. And with a price tag that starts at around $950 for the baseline specs, that’s too expensive a risk to take as well.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 could be the beginning of the end for the hardware brand

Microsoft hasn’t had a lot of good fortune when it comes to its own hardware, at least outside of the Xbox consoles. Its first attempt at an iPod killer turned the Zune into a laughing stock, and its efforts to create its own mobile platform as well as adopt Android both ended up as market failures. Surprisingly, it struck gold with the Surface, particularly the Surface Pro line of 2-in-1 detachable tablet PCs that challenged the iPad and offered an even more versatile working experience on the go. That gave birth to a family of products ranging from computers to accessories and some hope that Microsoft has finally succeeded after all those years. Last week even saw the announcement of a new Surface Laptop Studio 2, but reception has been a little bit lukewarm and even doubtful of the future of these portable computers.

Designer: Microsoft

It’s not that the new Surface Laptop Studio 2 is terrible, just that it comes two years after the very first model. The Surface Laptop Studio definitely turned heads with its unique design in how it combined laptop and tablet forms in a way no other manufacturer has done before. It’s still a single piece of hardware, unlike the detachable Surface Pro, but part of its display detaches from the back and can be tilted at different angles, transforming the computer into a tablet or entertainment center. It practically combines the Surface Laptop and the larger Surface Studio to create a portable creativity powerhouse like no other.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 upgrades that design from the inside, with newer options when it comes to specs. There are also some changes from the outside, like the addition of a full-sized USB-A port and a microSD card slot, but the overall form remains the same. It’s more of an incremental step forward, which might sound a bit disappointing considering how much time has passed between the two generations.

What has some Microsoft fans more concerned, however, is what the company wasn’t saying or showing during that event. The Surface Pro 10 was nowhere to be seen, which was strange considering it is the poster child for the brand. Even the smallest Surface got an upgrade, though the Surface Go 4’s middling specs and business-oriented rhetoric might make it less interesting for consumers. The Surface Laptop Go also arrives with a third-gen model, though this is also the less powerful version of Microsoft’s self-branded laptop.

Instead, Microsoft’s event seemed to focus more on its AI-powered Office features, which isn’t surprising considering how it’s a very hot topic and how Microsoft has invested heavily in this technology. But along with the departure of Panos Panay, considered to be the face of Microsoft Surface, there have been murmurs and doomsayings about the future of this product line. After all, the design of the Surface devices hasn’t change that much over the years, and, save for the Surface Laptop Studio, hasn’t seen much innovation either. It remains to be seen if Microsoft has lost its touch and, just like its previous hardware products, put the Surface to pasture soon.