Recently, I purchased the GPD Win Max 2, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. This UMPC is exactly what I have been longing for over the years. While it is slightly heavier and larger than its predecessor, the Win Max 2020 (WM1), everything else about it is significantly improved.
The first best part is the improvment of the keyboard and the layout. I am a keyboard guy and I basically type on every keyboard if possible, real or virtual. The WM1 has a not-very-normal layout keyboard and it took me a year to get used to it. Some keys are hard to find and locate when fast typing. The Tab and the Backspace and the Delete key (these are keys I often use) are in very weird places. The ten Number keys and twelve Function keys are extremely smaller than other keys. The tab key is not to the left of Q key. No need to mention some of the Symbolic keys. I can point out many keys that are not where they should be normally.
Now I had the WM2, I need to get myself back to be used to normal layout keyboard (which is a nice thing). It also has 2 level backlit and the lightness is better than WM1 too. I enjoy typing on this keyboard very much. This is how a nice UMPC should be. I can even hit FN plus some Alphabet keys to type numbers! By the way the right Alt and right Control keys are back on WM2 even though I don’t know what they are for. The Function keys of lightness and volume adjustment are placed differently from WM1. It takes time to get used to. The Arrow keys stay the same, and I wish that would be better if they are the same height.
The second best part is the display. WM2 has a bright large 10.1 inch bezel-less(almost) IPS display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution which is super beautiful and is good for eyesight protection. This makes the WM2 look like a modern device. By contrast, the WM1 has an 8 inch 1280 x 800 screen with wide bezels, which makes it not that pretty. The color is not accurate due to the quality of the panel. It kind of makes the device look retro. And for that small resolution, you can not always read everything clearly in a web page or some software that are designed for high resolution. The WM2 fixed that problem.
Furthermore, the display panel is finally landscape rather than portrait. That means you will not run into any issue when reinstalling OS or playing retro games. Anyways the display is way much better that I can stop looking at it just to find the pixels. It is even good for reading a book! The brightness and the response time is just that wonderful. I thank to GPD that they keep the display ratio at 16:10 which is perfect for read documents or write contents and will not affect to watch a movie. This is the perfect ratio for me.
The display supports 10-point capacitive as usual and a pen support. It seems nice for someone who would write notes or drawing on it.
Although there is an AMD R7 6800U, the fan is unexpectedly good. It does not run loudly and high-pitched like the one on WM1, I can totally live with it even when I am gaming. The WM1’s fan is sometimes a nightmare when you are using it in a silent environment. This is a great improvement too.
The Hall Sensor Control Sticks (I actually don’t know what that means) are great. The ones on WM1 is pretty nice already, but this one is even better. The primary update are the analog triggers (I drive better in Dirt 3 now!). The clicking feels great and you don’t feel tired soon when you play games like Sifu. I worried about the size and weight of WM2 that it would be held uncomfortable, but it turns out holding it is actually more comfortable than expected. The WM2 is indeed heavier but it is also wider than WM1 (22.7 cm to 20.7 cm), so holding it feels more ergonomical than WM1.
Comparing to WM1, the mouse-xbox controller switch is moved to the left of the trackpad. The SELECT/MENU/START buttons are to the right of the trackpad and placed vertically. This design is much more reasonable than WM1(these buttons placed on the hinge and are very thin to press). The ABXY buttons color removed(they are black and white now). These satisfied me a lot. The trackpad is larger and feels smoothier than WM1, and easier to use.
One pretty design is that the WM2 comes with two metal covers for covering the control sticks! This is REALLY a deal breaker for people who would use it as productivity device and have it taken everywhere. I have always wanted something like that since I had my WM1, now the dream comes true! Besides the covers could easily slide into two ports in the back of the device. What an interesting design!
Then there is an AMD R7 6800U CPU. That thing is a monster. It comes with a AMD Radeon 680M Graphics so that we can play AAA games easier. Other than those, there are lots of hardware updates I can’t show them all.
I don’t really need that performance much. I often do some web browsing, writing, media watching and play some games like Dirt 3 and Sifu. Sometimes Arkham Knight and something like that. I would like to set the TDP lower in order to increase battery life. I would use Office and Photoshop on WM1 since it was my working device, I may not use WM2 as my productivity tool but it definitely will do the job well. A PC with a great performance always lasts longer, I have used my WM1 for over 2 years, the WM2 will only last longer.
The memory is 16GB LPDDR5 6400Mbps. There is a 32GB version available but it is out of my budget. I searched for some info says that there are some memory are used as GPU memory and I checked that in task manager. I don’t see any reduction on performance.
There are 9 ports in the WM2. I don’t need to point them all out, I basically use each one of them. The AMD version does not support Thunderbolt but USB4 instead.
I am a long-time GPD product user. From GPD Win1, Win 2, Win Max 2020 to Pocket 1 and MicroPC. There products are not that good at first, then they just become better. I never stop loving UMPCs since I had a Fujitsu LifeBook U1010(U810). I’ve always wanted a portable solid little device like that. It was the Pocket 1 then MPC, then Max 2020, then here we are, the GPD Win Max 2.
So far, everything is just great. There are some cons below:
- The keyboard is way better when touch typing because of the normal layout, but thumb typing become a bit harder also because of the layout. I have normal human palms (20cm from wrist to fingertip) and still find it hard to type keys like YGHB56 with my thumbs. That is not a very big deal. I mostly touch typing when I am writing long content (like this one) and thumb typing when gaming or doing some web browsing. Anyway I think the improvement on touch typing is always better than on thumb typing when you have a handheld device size like 10 inch.
- The size and weight shorten gaming time. It is also not a big deal because it is not healthy gaming too long on this device for myself. I consider it as a reminder of time control.
- Lacks of RJ45. This is a very useful port for IT manager or people who need faster network. I use it sometimes when I have a WM1. Now there is no longer RJ45 but I find it ok though.
- Weird front camera. I don’t need that and I don’t care if it is clear or not. I just don’t use it. But here it is and it makes me wonder if my device’s camera got hacked, someone may see me. It may sound sensitive but that’s who I am. I would like to cover it with a bandage tape or something.
- The USB-A ports are up-side down. I sometimes fail to plug things in because of that. Maybe there are some adjustments to the motherboard. I wish they stay the same but they don’t.
I can’t not think of more cons of the WM2 by now. I am going to use it longer to understand more about it. So far it is the best UMPC that I ever had.
2023-03-25 update: I missed the SD and MicroSD slots. That is something I really need when I use the WM1, I often store movies, TV series and softwares in MicroSD card. I even bought a 512GB one. The speed is ok for watching a movie, 100MB/s give or take just to save room for the SSD. The WM2 even comes with an SD slot, the big one. I thought that would be great for people who take photos or videos and edit them right away.
There is also a thumb fingerprint unlock function on the power button, right in the front of the device. But I find it not very sensitive, it doesn’t recognite my fingerprint everytime. So I mostly just type in my password.
The speaker is better too. I watched some Youtube videos without headphones and it sounds nice. The speaker is better too. I watched some Youtube videos without headphones and it sounds nice. I didn’t even notice there is a fan spinning because of the fan is not loud at all.