With all due respect to the almighty and fearsome PC Master Race, portable computer gaming has been saddled with an important inherent limitation: aside from usually gargantuan laptops with price ranges topping what some teenagers’ first rust-bucket cars cost, PC are usually enjoyed strictly wherever there’s a fully loaded, hardwired desktop available. With a tremendously received Kickstarter poised to close with 122% (and counting) of their goal funded in November, the makers of the SMACH Z Handheld Gaming PC want nothing more than to change that forever.
Promising more than 10,000 games ready to play out of the box and the substantial muscle to natively play any AAA game, the SMACH Z has attracted buzz ranging from Forbes and PC Advisor to venerable gaming community voices including Kotaku, The Escapist, and IGN with the promise of powering anything available on Steam with the potent power, efficiency, and lightning performance of AMD’s embedded low-powered SoC. While its Kickstarter campaign primarily highlights the merits of its two slick haptic touchpad controls, clickable joystick, two rear-back action buttons, and four trigger and face action buttons each, the classic appeal of customizable Z-Pad control options is bound to appease old-school PC veterans.
This apparently isn’t exactly a battery-eating machine on par with Sega’s insatiable Game Gear, either. For a handheld device with these specs, it’s no small feat that the SMACH Z reportedly offers over five hours of battery life:
CPU: AMD Merlin Falcon RX-421BD (12-15w) SoC at 2.1 GHz
iGPU: Radeon R7 at 800 MHz
RAM: 4GB (SMACH Z) || 8GB (SMACH Z PRO) DDR4 2133 MHz
HD: 64GB (SMACH Z) || 128GB (SMACH Z PRO)
Screen: 6” FULL HD (1920×1080). Capacitive touch-screen.
Battery: 5 hours of gaming.
MicroSD Card Slot.
USB 3.0 type C.
HDMI video output connection.
Wi-Fi connectivity 5.0 Ghz. 4G LTE mobile network connectivity (PRO model only)
Front-camera 1.3-megapixels (PRO model only)
Good gravy. That’s some serious muscle for surprisingly little drain. Not convinced? Consider these benchmarks:
SMACH Z PRO: Merlin Falcon RX-421BD (12-15w) SoC at 2.1 GHz with Radeon R7 at 800 MHz and 8 RAM, running on Windows 10.
Metro: Last Light Redux (720p. High settings) ~ 35 FPS
Company of Heroes 2 (720p. Medium settings) ~ 25 FPS
Jotun (1080p) ~ 45 FPS
Skyrim (720p. High setting) ~ 25 FPS
Just Cause 2 (720p. Medium settings) ~ 35 FPS
Spiral Knights (1080p) ~ 50 FPS
Overwatch (720p. Medium) ~ 30 FPS
Torchlight II (1080p. Very high settings) ~ 35 FPS
Xcom: Enemy Unknown (720p. High settings) ~30 FPS
Civilization 5 (1080p. High settings) ~ 28 FPS
Tomb Raider: Survivor (720p. Medium settings) ~ 40 FPS
Alien: Isolation (720p. Ultra settings) ~ 35 FPS
Pre-ordering backers can choose between the more extensive variety of compatible games and programs available with the Windows 10 version or the purported superior UX and performance of the modified and better-adapted Linux interface. For those keeping score at home, with 23 days remaining in their funding drive as of this writing, the SMACH Z is funded to the tune of $348,970 after launching with a $272,257 goal with 18 days to go still.