Kickstarter – SMACH Z Hand Held Gaming PC

Hand held devices.  It seems everyone is getting in on the action of on the go gaming.  Nintendo is trying to bridge the gap between console and hand held with their upcoming Nintendo Switch.  Many clone makers have released Sega Genesis licensed hand held devices, to varying degrees of success.  We have covered the GPD XD Android gaming device ourselves (article here) and it seems there are more on the way.  One interesting upcoming hand held device is the SMACH Z hand held gaming PC.  If you love PC gaming this is the device for you.

First of all, this is not an Android device running a Windows emulator or anything.  This is a full-fledged Windows device with a six inch screen.  Under the hood is enough power to run quite a few AAA titles from the Steam digital distribution service.  You won’t be fragging away with Battlefield 1 on ultra-high, make your eyes bleed, resolution but you can still game quite well on this hardware.

Some of the highlights you can enjoy on the SMACH Z include Portal 2, DOTA, Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Civilization V, Metro: Last Bronx, Borderlands 2 and the Witcher 2.  The SMACH Z is going to probably be your easiest way of playing any of those titles on the go.  Console gamers will be right at home with using the right analog stick to move the camera while computer gamers may have to make use of the touch screen to look around.  The controls are apparently going to be fully customizable by you so if you don’t like the default setup – change it.

The SMACH Z comes with the AMD Merlin Falcon RX-421 System on a Chip running four cores at 2.1 GHz each.  There is going to be at least 64 gigs of hard drive space (128 if you go for the SMACH Z Pro model) and 4 gigs of RAM (8 gigs in the Pro).  The screen is six inches with a resolution of 1920×1080 (trust me, on a small screen like this that is going to be plenty).  For those that like to game on their TV’s there is an HDMI out and Bluetooth available so you can hook the SMACH Z up to your TV and play with your wireless controller on the couch.

Okay, you may be thinking is Windows the only operating system this thing will run?  Nope.  You can get the SMACH Z with the SMACH Z OS (customized Linux distribution just for this device).  Keep in mind there are not as many games available for Linux as there are Windows.  Thankfully there are lists available for Steam releases (Windows and Linux respectively).

Over on the Kickstarter page for the SMACH Z there are a few more games listed and their graphic settings and the performance achieved.  This should help potential backers to better understand what they are backing here.

Like what you see?  Hit their Kickstarter page and pledge.  You won’t be alone.  As of this writing they have already smashed their goal and have plenty of time left to reach stretch goals.

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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  • shadowhedgehogz

    So it can be upgraded eh? That’s decent if it can be upgraded for some years to come and accept newer chips, though i would prefer 2 proper thumb sticks over touchpads.

  • OniKyanAE86

    Cool idea, but it looks like a big pile of poo. The touch controls as joysticks is a really bad decision. If you have used a Steam controller, you know what I’m talking about. The design of the device looks horrible. They do mention that it will be streamlined and made thinner, hope the final version looks at least half decent. One major thing that might give many troubles is that storage space is weak. Install a few games (depending on game size) like 2-5 at most and all your space is gone. Guy mentions it’s a “fu@king” awesome Steam box, that’s all it’s pretty much good for. If so, I would rather play my PC games using my Nvidia Shield Portable and Shield Tablet from home or any place, any time….

    • Rodolfo Ferreira

      I’m sorry, but if STREAMING is your thing, then you should stick to your nVidia Shield and your PC and not even bother to come here.
      The Smach Z will render its own games. No more having to keep a giant ass PC turned on and have a working internet connection to join PC gaming on the go. THIS is what the Smach Z is and differs from a “big pile of poo” that the PC can be. Seriously, dude? You got a problem with Steam controllers? Well guess what, they added those “magical addons” that you can install on top of the trackpad which supports analog stick. There, problem solved. And WHO THE F CARES about big resolution while gaming on the go? Is anyone in this comment section going to pause their game in order to count the frames per second manually?
      You just can’t go wrong with 720p@30FPS ON-THE-GO! And while the initial storage is crappy, still it’s WAY BETTER than owning a Vita. if you run out of space, you’ll have to buy a 32GB proprietary card from sony, for more than $70. So the Smach Z is a much better and viable option because it supports micro SD cards and Steam games. And people who had pre-ordered the Switch and cancelled it are making their research and turning their heads to embrace the Smach Z’s idea. At least they know by the time it is released, it’s going to support WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more than just 5 or 6 games. Have fun with your Shield.

      • OniKyanAE86

        Hahaha, chill dude, forgot to take your chill pill, WTF! Why you so hyped on this “Pile of Poo”? You say “The Smach Z will render its own games,” yeah if you like playing games that came out like 3-7 years ago, more like a retro “PC Game” machine… this is a quote from the article, “Some of the highlights you can enjoy on the SMACH Z include Portal 2, DOTA, Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Civilization V, Metro: Last Bronx, Borderlands 2 and the Witcher 2.” Looks like you will be able to play newer games on the Smach Z by “STREAMING” them to the device, something I’m doing already with my Shield devices. Oh and I do have a problem with Steam Controllers, I own a couple, after a couple months use and many issues, conclusion is that they suck. Looks like you have not had any issues with yours (just a wild guess). I never mentioned anything about resolution, but “WHO THE F CARES” right…. As for storage it’s still a big issue, memory cards will never be as fast as an SSD or Nand storage, so expect to see games saved on memory cards to have a bunch of issues with slowdown, studdering, etc. Oh, I did do my research and I’m waiting for my Nintendo Switch. I’m getting it because of the games that will be coming out for that platform, I’m not buying it to play PC games (totally different comparison you are making). I don’t know of anyone getting the Smach Z other than you (just a wild guess again). I have Gaming Laptops and Gaming PCs to play PC Games as intended, not at lower settings to be able to get it to run decently enough on a portable device…. here are the benchmarks (guessing again that you already knew this info)…. SO much money for SO much performance….

        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: Survival Edition (720p. Medium settings) ~ 40 FPS
        Alien: Isolation (720p. Ultra settings) ~ 35 FPS

        I am having fun with all my Shield devices (Portable, Tablet, and Android TV), and soon, my Nintendo Switch.

        Hopefully the Smach Z comes out and doesn’t disappear, the shipping date in April of this year is coming up soon and no updates on its progress since the campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo closed for it, lets see how many times it gets pushed back. Here is some more research of concerned backers…

        “Guys just remember, the smach team went silent for a whole year between this campaign and the last, and then out of nowhere BOOM! they were showing off a prototype and launching the campaign… i still have 100% faith in the team, thats why i pledged €900… if something was to go wrong with the project they would’nt leave us in the dark. The smach team is doing what they can, it would be unfair for the team to wast time reassuring everybody that this thing is real, they allready have the crowdfunding money, they dont really need massive amounts of publicity right now, trust me, that will come when reviews of this revolutionary gaming device hits the internet.
        Stay awesome smach team!!!”

        “It’s now January 11th, and April is fast approaching. There has been hardly any REAL communication about progress of the product. We know that they had to change the battery to make room for the cooling system, and the form factor will change. That’s all we’ve been told since this campaign has closed. I don’t care if it’s delayed, but I would like to know about it. Just keep us in the loop is all I’m asking. Like @Chaho said, the investment in this wasn’t small for any of us (although what we’re supposed to be getting is awesome), but at the same time when there is no communication it does make people nervous.

        I’m not the guy who complain, but it’s true! Smachteam doesn’t give enough update.
        This situation is not plaisant we could be worried… My invest is 400€ and it’s a huge financial effort for me, the least you can do, it’s a comment time to time maybe a picture of the new prototype or anything for our curiosity
        I’m 100% with you for this project but please give us more consideration.”

        “@AVassor. I am calm, thanks. But in fact, do you realize that upon the successful funding of the project, no significant update on the development status has been ever made? I have “invested” 400€ like most of backers here, one meaningful update per month about the project status is not too much what I ask. it is not about my chillness or calmness, it is politcs.

        It is the common pitfall that most KS projects fall. After getting the funds, teams stop post updates. That’s bad, backers are investors and makers have the obligation to inform them.

        Plus 3 months have passed after this campaign ended. If smach team works on the project I am sure there are some nice news to share with us.”

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