Imagine, for some reason, a Nintendo Switch, but running Windows; detachable controllers, HDMI connectivity, kickstand, and a tablet at the center of all of it. Now take what you’re imagining, and stop imagining because it really happened. Dell and Alienware have unveiled a prototype handheld gaming PC and its name is Concept UFO.
As of now, Concept UFO is a bit more than a concept. Reviewer Tech Plays were among the CES 2020 attendees to get their hands on the little machine, and as demonstrated in their video below, Concept UFO looks like a finished product. Its primary function is that of a gaming PC: you can run games from an interface similar to Steam’s Big Picture mode. The surprising thing though, is that it is actually a full fledged PC with a Windows installation. It comes with the option to connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse if needed, and you can use a USB-C to HDMI connection if you’d need a larger picture.
The tablet itself features an 8-inch 1900x1200 display. It has a USB-C port and headphone jack, and is decked out with Alienware designs and even RGB lighting.
Unoriginal but not unimpressive
Tiny handheld computers have been in the market for quite some time already. Those are usually just the system itself, still requiring power at all times, as well as a visual output. Up until now, tiny PC’s were relegated exclusively for work and light tasks. Making one for gaming requires stronger hardware, and probably a hell of a cooling system.
As of yet, we don’t have much more info on the inner workings of the Concept UFO. I would seriously like to know what kind of processor and graphics capabilities it boasts, as well as how they manage to keep it cool over long gaming sessions. I mean, what good is a handheld gaming computer if it’s just going to overheat and shut itself down?
The thing I love the most about this little thing, though? It being a full Windows system means I can have access to any game across any launcher or storefront -- theoretically. As excited as I am for something like this to come to market, I’m not sure how to take it.
If like me, you have already spent hundreds on a gaming rig, and your day-to-day doesn’t involve being away from it for extended periods of time, then Concept UFO might be redundant. I suppose it’s a valid purchase for travel, but I personally wouldn’t want that to be the only time I use it. It could replace a gaming laptop, but carrying around a keyboard all the time doesn’t sit well with me either.
I still think it’s a great idea if you’re looking to get into PC gaming, or if you travel constantly. The price will likely be very high, all things considered. And it may just be me, but it sounds pretty hard playing certain games on such a small screen. I struggled to play Breath of the Wild on the screen of my Switch, so I only ever played while docked.
Me being a baby aside, I think this definitely can serve some purpose with the way gaming is headed. Google Stadia and Apple Arcade are out, and now is truly the time to experiment with new ways to game.