We all know that Steam Machines are coming. Not those gigantic things bellowing with well, hot steam, but gaming computer running Valve’s SteamOS based on their hugely popular Steam game store. These devices are predominantly designed to be machines used in the home, plugged to a screen or a TV. But not anymore. A device called the Smach Zero is now destined to transform PC gaming on the go. If you are like me, you can be forgiven for thinking that this device was going to be some sort of a laptop, but you’d be very very wrong. This device was dubbed the Steamboy for its close resemblance to the original Gameboy Advance in shape.
The device is supposedly based on an AMD G-series processor, something along the lines of the Jaguar CPU design used in the Xbox One and the PS4. The screen is reportedly a 5 inch touchscreen 720p display which is rather meh when you consider the QuadHD display that has almost become a standard on a smartphone. Inside we shall most likely find 32GB of storage which is worryingly little when you think about PC title that it should run. This storage is of course expandable via a SD card slot so I guess we could almost be heading back to the times where one game was found on one cartridge, much like a Gameboy. The control methods shall be pretty similar to the Steam Controller with two tactile gamepads, a D-pad and the usual YBXA buttons as well. The device shall run your standard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity as well as 4G on the PRO edition when it comes out. The Zero shall also have HDMI out connectivity to connect to a bigger screen. The device is set to go on sale November 2016 for a reported $299.
It is difficult for me to comment on the viability of this device. I am not that big on PC gaming, I play the usual crop like Minecraft and GTA V but not that much besides. Whether this device takes off or not, I do not know. To be fair it is a good alternative to the likes of a Razor laptop or an Alien Ware which you would probably need to run computer games sufficiently. $300 is a bargain when you compare that to $700+. Then again, I don’t think that the Smach will be able to run all of your latest games so don’t be disappointed if your favourites don’t turn up. But I guess that’s the sacrifice you make for a $300 device. Personally, if I was that big on portable PC gaming, I’d consider a proper laptop, even for double the price, mainly because you get what SteamOS cuts out, the PC part. You get a proper workstation, and a games console. Yes, portability is sacrificed a lot, as I don’t think you could fit a laptop in your pocket. I see the tablet as the perfect solution here, but as far as I can see here, we may need to wait for someone to make one of these.