GPD Pocket Review (long term)

By May 02, 2018

Ι will review GPD POCKET after several months of use as my daily driver for various tasks.

I am using GPD POCKET mostly for troubleshooting networking appliances, servers and I use it as an emergency workstation when needed (on the road) to edit photos, office documents, admin web sites - blogs, compile code, do some cad/3d design and finally some light video editing.

Most of the above applications make the modest intel Atom x7-Z8750 to come easily to its limit.

Aside the performance of the CPU another factor that limits your experience in some applications is the tiny screen.

7” is the minimum for working fluently in desktop operating systems (I have used many UMPCs from 4.8” and up) and the default 200% scaling is fine for office productivity tasks or some photo editing.

Many applications are not “stretching” correctly in terms of the UI and they require to scale down to 150% or even to 100% for having the UI properly displayed.

Scaling down creates usability problems because everything becomes super tiny and gives you a lot of eye strain when you are trying to focus on the ultra-small texts of the menus.

GPD Pocket Photoshop 1

 

Screen clarity and touch sensitivity are excellent. The only downside worth mentioning, is when you need to install android or other OS that does not support screen rotation out of the box. It needs a lot of effort and expertise to achieve that. Apparently they are using a tablet screen that has different orientation and you can easily understand it when entering the BIOS as the screen is rotated 90 degrees and makes it difficult to change settings.

 

GPD Pocket 5a Serious Techie

 

Another annoying flaw is the wifi performance because the antenna is not properly positioned in the magnesium aluminum chassis. Even a couple of meters away from the access point the signal quality degrades heavily.

I used POCKET for 2 months exclusively as my only computer. I couldn't believe how many daily tasks I was able to accomplish without having my 17” laptop with me.

There are plenty of scenarios that GPD POCKET can be used as the only computer that you need to have in your possession, combined with external monitors at home and office.

I am sure that after you have read the intro of the review you are asking your self “ ok mr Serious Techie you just have given to me briefly the negatives. Are there any positives about that device ?”

Yes there are and they are plenty.

The first and most important factor to a person that is interested in a UMPC like this is the ultra-tiny size combined with the superiority of a desktop operating system. You can perform computing tasks that mobile operating systems are incapable to perform because there are no such applications for them.

GPD POCKET is the smallest and fastest device in the market of its class. All the other 7” alternatives (there is one that is a GPD POCKET clone with a hinge that folds like a lenovo yoga) they are using slower versions of the Intel Atom.

It is fantastic to have in a small waist bag your smartphone, charger/power bank, wallet and a full Windows / Ubuntu PC combined with the wall charger, a USB 3 Lan adapter, a retractable UTP cable and a small Bluetooth mouse.

 

Pocket 3

 

That gives you the freedom to be able to work anywhere without the need to carry a bulky bag with a regular sized laptop.

For frequent travelers (especially when travelling abroad) is also safer to have a GPD POCKER instead of a big laptop because you can avoid to get to much attention and get mugged. No one can imagine that you have a full-blown computer with you in your pocket or your waist bag. GPD POCKET is the perfect flight companion especially when used with a proper power bank.

Some people are complaining about the keyboard. I needed a 10 day adjustment period especially with the letter “A” that is positioned awkwardly next to the “CAPS” key with virtually no space between them. In general, I have no major problems. I type easily and I do not need to look at the keyboard at the same time.

 

GPD Pocket 4b Serious Techie

 

Now let’s focus on some applications that I have tested on the device.

For browsing the web, you can run whatever browser you want and the performance is very good (the 8GB of Ram helps a lot). It is awesome that you can use a desktop browser on the road when you need to do something that a mobile browser cannot.

If you like Chrome, Firefox or Opera (especially is you have fat fingers) you need to use the TrackPoint or an external mouse as the menus are tiny. Another problem is text scaling. I am using “Zoom Text Only” and other scaling browser plugins.

Office Suites (I used Microsoft Office and Libre Office) and productivity applications like accounting are running fluently. You can do whatever you are doing on your desktop pc (without the limitations of the mobile OS versions) but you need to play with the scaling to feel more comfortable with the smaller screen. You might feel a slight performance impact if you are working with "heavy" spreadsheets but that is not a big issue.

For photo editing I used trial versions of paid apps like Photoshop and plenty of free apps like GIMP and Paint.net . For making simple edits the performance is fine. If you want to run many filters in photoshop then you will have to wait long in comparison to your laptop or desktop.

 

GPD Pocket Photoshop 2

 

Video editing is feasible for short clips but limitations in terms of storage and performance in video rendering will stop you soon and will force you to seek a faster computer for a larger project. I have tried all the major trials of the known video editing applications.

For CAD/3D design and rendering applications I used Freecad and Blender. I also installed trial versions of AutoCAD, Rhino, C4D, Maya, 3Dmax and the same principal applies after testing them extensively on GPD POCKET. You can run small projects but screen scaling (that is the greatest problem as you can see from the screen captures bellow), CPU performance and storage speed/size will limit you very soon.

 

GPD Pocket 3d max

 

GPD Pocket C4D

 

GPD Pocket Rhino 3D

 

In general when someone from office need to share with you a CAD file and need to make a small adjustment on the road is awesome but working continuously for hours without an external Monitor (even if we put aside the lack of performance) is a no go. As a tip if you are in a hotel and you need a bigger monitor you can plug your GPD POCKET with an HDMI cable to the TV of your room.

For networking applications administrators will find it very attractive either with windows or ubuntu as the size is very appealing and the battery endurance is fine. The luck of backlit keyboard in dark server rooms is not helping and is the only disadvantage that I have spotted.

Also for web developing or tech support is fluent with no problems running remote desktop applications.

For game development I used Unity and Unreal and it works fluently. With unity it feels snappier and the export times are shorter in comparison to Unreal. In both engines baking can take too long if you have the quality settings too high. You can do a lot of work if your project is not so demanding (as gpu limits you soon) and is super cool if an idea comes up when on the road and you want to have a try.

 

GPD Pocket Unity

 

Gaming is possible with older titles but that is it. If you need a pocketable pc just for gaming there are better alternatives like GPD WIN 2 that has better GPU performance but you have to sacrifice the screen size.

Lets sum it up.

If you need a desktop operating system for productivity and portability is a crucial factor this tiny laptop is the only way to go for the meantime.

If you are using CPU intensive applications for your workflow you should look elseware. For every day tasks that an average person has to perform is fine.

Feel free to leave a comment if you want to try for you an application on GPD Pocket.

pocket ports

GPD POCKET
Category / type : UMPC
Screen : 7", 1980x1920 pixels, 16:10, 267ppi, Gorilla Class 3
CPU : Intel Atom X7 Z8750 (14nm), 64 bits Quad Core, 1.6GHz~2.56GHz
GPU : Intel HD Graphics 405, 16 execution Units, 200-600Mhz Freq
Ram/Storage : 8GB DDR3-1600Mhz, 128GB eMMC
Wireless : 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth V4.1
I/O Interfaces : 1 x USB Type-C 3.0 slot, 1 x USB 3.0 slot, 1 x micro HDMI slot, 1 x 3.5mm Earphone port
Battery : 7000mAh with estimated battery life 10 hours
Input Device : Trackpoint
Size / Weight : 180x106x18.5mm, 450gr

 

Serious Techie

Charalampos Moraitis: Computing Specialist with multiyear experience in the fields of 3D and VR, Networks and infrastructures, Mobile Applications, Web development, CAM and CNC machining.

1 comment

  • Joseph Raffa
    Comment Link Joseph Raffa Wednesday, 13 June 2018 18:37

    Great review, thanks! Perhaps this is an unreasonable question, but have you tried installing Exchange Server on it to use in the field as an emergency system for mailbox migration, etc? I have seen Atom-based systems used successfully as web-tier platforms (Apache, etc.) but Exchange Server may be too extreme. Thank you.

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