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Since learning about the GPD XD (Android gaming and emulation handheld) a few years ago, I thought about buying one but held off. I've been using PCs, RPi, and PSPs for emulation and didn't feel the need for yet another emulation device. But over the last year, I've found myself wanting an emulation handheld that had a little more power and better compatibility.


So this month I finally got a GPD XD and I love it. So far it has played everything I've thrown at it including 32X, N64, PlayStation, and Dreamcast. The controls are good and the hardware feels solid. I easily get 10+ hours of gaming on a battery charge.


There are a few quirks.

  • You can't power it off while plugged into the charger because that can damage the screen, it's just a hardware flaw.
  • The default Android skin is pretty awful, but that's easily fixed by using other Android launchers or installing the "Legacy" custom firmware.
  • There are several third party apps preinstalled that some may consider bloatware, but most can be uninstalled. The "Legacy" custom firmware gets rid of those as well.

I haven't bothered with the Legacy custom firmware yet, mainly because I'm happy with using it as is with Smart Launcher. I'll probably try the custom firmware down the road because it's highly recommended, especially for increasing clock speeds.


Anyone else have a GPD XD?

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I have one and love it as well. I do worry about the buttons though. I'm not sure if I'm too rough on them or if they are just getting super squishy.


I'll have to check out this Legacy custom firmware, although nothing is wrong with my current setup.


Only issue I've had so far is AppleWin doesn't like the resolutions on it so the viewable screen is super duper small. That's not the GPD Win's fault though.

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I have a GPD XD. I like the form factor better than the Nvidia Shield, and the controls are quieter. It's not quite as powerful as I would like, but it's totally fine for emulating old things. It's better than RetroPie in most respects, I think.


I tried the Legacy custom firmware, and it was a minor disaster. Lag and skips everywhere, not optimized in any way. I have one of the original hardware run, so it's possible my CPU is slower than what this firmware was intended to run on, but yecccch.


It was a total pain in the ass to flash it back because the Rockchip drivers don't play well with Windows 10. I ended up using a Windows 7 virtual machine on a Macintosh to flash it back to factory stock and then up to the latest GPD official firmware. I'm not going to try any other community "tweaks" on mine.

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Wait, what? Where did you hear this? It makes no sense to me.


My second week of ownership (only a week ago) I powered it off while plugged in (which I had already done many times before). I picked it back up an hour later and the screen had a strange halo that looked like LCD burn-in. I went to the dingoonity.org GPD forums and discovered others had experienced the same thing. Solution: unplug from the charger, leave it running on battery until the battery discharges, and don't power off a GPD XD while plugged into the charger again. My screen returned to normal after about 15 minutes running unplugged from the charger.


If you leave it plugged in but never fully turn it off, just leaving it on standby, this isn't a problem. It's only a problem when fully shutting down the device while plugged in, and even then the problem is random.


Now it's week 3 and I haven't had any more problems like that.

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It's a nice handheld, but it's made me appreciate the hardware and software of the iPhone, Vita, and 3DS quite a lot.


Agreed. I've also got an older HP Slate Extreme tablet, basically a rebranded Shield tablet, that I've used in the past with a Bluetooth controller. Even though it's now ancient by tablet standards, it's still great for emulation. The only problem is the micro SD max is 32GB, pretty limiting storage for those later systems with optical drives. There's also something really nice about having an all-in-one device instead of a separate tablet and controller. I have an iPega Bluetooth controller that cradles the tablet, which is very nice except the tablet USB port is blocked by the controller so charge during play is impossible and the battery life is pretty limited.


For a few years I also enjoyed an Xperia Play, but the internal storage of 400MB just crippled the thing too much. And of course, being from 2011 it was only ever marginally better than using a PSP for emulation.


I wouldn't call the GPD XD perfect, but it's much better than I expected. RetroArch runs very well on it, much better that I've experienced on some other systems.

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That "aura" problem is new to me, too; never had that issue.


I too love the GPD-XD. The only real issue I have with it are that 4-way games can be a challenge at times, as the thumb sticks are better suited for 8+-way games, and the D-pad isn't the most precise thing in the world.


Big wish for me: Atari 5200 and 7800 emulation. Haven't figured that out yet.

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  • 5 years later...



Had to replace my GPD XD battery earlier this year.  The battery swelling damaged the motherboard so I had to replace that, too.  Once it was working again I was disappointed that the Android 4.4 LegacyROM felt so ancient.  A lot of stuff didn't work anymore, like apps and media streaming, because 4.4 has been deprecated for a long time.


It took me a while to discover this, but Black Seraph has released Android 9 for the original GPD XD.  You have to become a Patreon for $10/month for access, but I think it was well worth it.  Flashing the new firmware was easy and only took 20 minutes from start to finish.  The result is that all of the tablet apps that no longer worked in 4.4 all now work fine.  I also tested Moonlight to stream PC games from a PC and it was pretty good.  It's also nice to have better versions of the emulators.


I found it's best to install RetroArch *not* via Google Play, but download from their website and install the APK.  The Google Play version is strangely buggy, something I verified on another device running Android 11, but the downloaded APK runs much better.  Everything up to Dreamcast worked great.


N64 performance is much better with the standalone M64Plus FZ emulator.  Even Saturn is playable with the Yaba Sanshiro standalone emulator.  PSP wouldn't run in RetroArch at all, but it plays incredibly well in the PPSSPP standalone emulator.  I installed all of these via Google Play and set framerate to 30FPS to avoid stuttering.


With the ATV Launcher, my XD feels like a modern emulation handheld.


It's really crazy to me that all of these years later the XD is still a great emulation and Android gaming device with Android 9.  I expect that I'll be using it a lot more now than I have for years because of the firmware upgrade.

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