Can’t wait for Nintendo Switch Pro? Onexplayer handheld PC is the answer


The Nintendo Switch has stolen all the headlines when it comes to handheld gaming in recent years – so much so that at times it seems its only rival is that of its rumored upcoming successor, the Nintendo Switch Pro. But there’s a small army of handheld PCs rising through the ranks, ready to challenge the Nintendo Switch’s portable dominance, with all the flexibility that PC gaming comes with. The Onexplayer is one such upstart, and makes the best case yet for bringing PC gaming to the palm of your hands.

Looking like an oversized Switch, with split Xbox-like controllers attached to either side of its 8.4 inch display, the Onexplayer ships with a significant, key difference compared to the Nintendo Switch – it’s running full-fat Windows 10 as its operating system, powered by an Intel Tiger Lake processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics.

In other words, so long as you’re ready to accept some visual compromises, you can fire up your entire existing library of PC games, be they from Steam, Epic Games, GOG, or elsewhere on the go with the Onexplayer. 

Onexplayer

(Image credit: Future)

The guts

It’s quite a remarkable piece of engineering, and the Onexplayer designers (the One Netbook team, which has previously built a number of ultraportable laptops), have made some clever design decision to make Windows 10 almost feel built for the form factor.

Onexplayer

(Image credit: Future)

Let’s first take a look at what’s happening under the hood. Beneath that 8.4 inch IPS LCD touchscreen display (notably larger than the Switch’s 6.2-inch LCD, and sharper too at a 2560 x 1600 resolution), you’ll have the option of kitting out the Onexplayer with either a Core i5-1135G7, Core i7-1165G7 or Core i7-1185G7. These are Intel’s top-of-the-line mobile CPUs, with the Iris Xe integrated graphics the company’s most capable yet.

16GB of DDR4 RAM comes as standard, while you’ve the choice of 512GB, 1TB or 2TB flash storage. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 connectivity is onboard, while a rear-side power button also houses a finger print scanner. In terms of ports, you’re looking at 2 x USB4 (40 Gbps), 1 x USB 3.0 Type-A, a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card reader. These are placed smartly along the Onexplayer’s top edge, while there’s a magnetic connection along the bottom edge for a sold-separately keyboard.

Onexplayer

(Image credit: Future)

It’s a busy machine when it comes to fans, as you’d imagine given the compact nature of the components. Rear vents pull cool air in and pump it out of the top of the device, placed in such a way that it’s unlikely your fingers will cover them. The Onexplayer seems set up to be very cautious when it comes to fan settings – in our testing, they appear to be set up to cycle at a high speed on and off every couple of minutes, regardless of load.

The controllers

What’s most striking of course is the form factor. With two full-size split controllers either side of the display, just like with the Nintendo Switch, you’ve an all-in-one machine ready to play your favourite PC games.

Onexplayer

(Image credit: Future)

An analogue stick sits either side of the display in an offset, Xbox-like configuration, comfortably sized and with just the right amount of resistance. A cross-D-Pad sits on the left side, while X, Y, A and B buttons sit on the right. You’ve got four shoulder buttons, including two triggers that are pressure sensitive, letting you fine tune acceleration in racing games or quick fire in FPS titles.

All this however makes for quite a large and heavy device. You’re looking at overall measurements of 280 x 128 x 25mm and a weight of 825g. That’s the trade off for that big screen, but the Onexplayer at least offers a kickstand on its rear for propping up on a table. You’ll probably find it most comfortable to use stretched out on a sofa resting on your lap.

Onexplayer

(Image credit: Future)

There are a handful of other buttons here too. As well as standard Start and Select / Back buttons, you’ve also got a key that brings up the touchscreen keyboard (which also acts as a toggle to use the control sticks as a mouse alternative), and a Turbo button, which lets you boost the 20 watt chip configuration to a more powerful 28 watts. You’ll find volume controls and a button to mute the built-in mic within easy reach on the rear of the device.

Onexplayer

(Image credit: Future)

The performance



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