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SMACH Z [Official Site], the gaming handheld that will give you the option of running either Linux or Windows (Windows costs extra) is heading to E3 this year. Hopefully they will have a few fully-working and complete units to show.

Details right now are quite light, as they haven't sent any special press info out that I am aware of. Their own newsroom on their website hasn't been updated since September last year and their Twitter is also rather quiet. However, they did slip out this video below today:

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I genuinely hope this is a properly real device that's actually going to work out, as it could help push a few more to make comparable devices. Imagine a small revolution of gaming handhelds that let you just boot up whatever you have on Steam—that idea is why I want SMACH Z to actually succeed.

Quite expensive though, the top-end model costs more (without the current pre-order discount) than the full Valve Index kit and I know which one I would prefer…

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43 comments
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Ananace 4 June 2019 at 9:06 pm UTC
Well, I'm most definitely going to have to give this a second look. Back when I first saw it I didn't really feel like there'd be that much of a need for a handheld Linux gaming machine for me, but today - with Steam Play and the general improvement in Linux releases - I'm most definitely going to want to have the ability to play games on the go like it offers.

And of course, the fact that it basically integrates a Steam Controller as well is just amazing.

I looked at doing the Steam remote streaming before, but as I play most of the games I'd use this for on various public transport and on countryside trips, the connection just would not be good enough for even the very lowest of quality. So something that can play the games directly is a real godsend, especially since it seems far nicer to carry around than a gaming laptop.
Dragunov 5 June 2019 at 12:39 am UTC
More rich people toys...Price is outrageous
TheRiddick 5 June 2019 at 1:50 am UTC
DragunovMore rich people toys...Price is outrageous

yeah that's kinda what I was thinking, I mean you could get a switch for cheaper, aren't Nintendo allowing steam streaming on the switch soon via app?
TheSHEEEP 5 June 2019 at 6:21 am UTC
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Purple Library Guy
TheSHEEEPNot to downplay the device, but a feature like that should simply become available via tablet/smartphone (+ controller attached, of course). I don't really see the need for an extra piece of hardware here, to be honest.
I don't personally expect it to be a success. But consider trying to play games on a tablet/smartphone while holding a controller--you can't also hold the tablet/smartphone, so you will need to put it somewhere and that somewhere will have to allow it to be propped up in a stable way where you can see it properly while gaming and the controller itself won't block your view of the screen. Even with one of those little prop-up-a-tablet thingies, that lets out planes, trains, and automobiles, not to mention buses and many coffee tables (too low). With this you would presumably be able to play on the go, with real PC games, plausibly even continuing the same game you were playing on the PC at home.
So there's at least one use case. Dunno if that's going to be enough, though. If nothing else, to sell something like this in big numbers what you need is a big advertising/marketing budget to prompt people to think they should buy it because it is a new shiny electronic thing. I don't think they have that budget.
There are controllers (and/or frames) that attach the controller firmly to the smartphone/tablet, so you do not have to hold two devices. Stuff like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Bluetooth-Android-Controller%EF%BC%8CBRHE-Controller/dp/B0772SXD12

Maybe that one isn't optimal, but what I'm saying is that a more optimally designed controller-for-smartphones/tablets sounds like a better idea to me than extra display hardware when all you really do is stream image/audio to and input from the device. Two things smartphones are already capable of.

MaathRegarding the alternative via phone, does this really work well? I tried Steam Link maybe over a year ago. My Linux PC is directly wired to my 5Ghz Wi-Fi router, and my phone was about five feet from it, and it's simply unusable. It was like VNC at its worst. If this has changed and now I can even play over LTE then WOW, times have changed and I need to catch up.
The main point here is that the technology for this is software. What you need here is good video and audio compression to send and receive the data as quick and small as possible. This only relies on hardware insofar that the receiving device has to be able to decompress the data fast enough to present it in a quick manner. If you had problems with this before, then that problem was either a too-slow smartphone or an insufficient compression.

Any modern smartphones of the higher end should be more than capable of that, so that really leaves software as the only problem. And that leads to the question of why you'd need extra hardware that goes beyond that of a controller(-frame)?
It's not like you can use the thing as a smartphone, you'd instead be carrying both. And it looks way more bulky than a DS.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 5 June 2019 at 6:22 am UTC
Purple Library Guy 5 June 2019 at 6:37 am UTC
TheSHEEEP
Purple Library Guy
TheSHEEEPNot to downplay the device, but a feature like that should simply become available via tablet/smartphone (+ controller attached, of course). I don't really see the need for an extra piece of hardware here, to be honest.
I don't personally expect it to be a success. But consider trying to play games on a tablet/smartphone while holding a controller--you can't also hold the tablet/smartphone, so you will need to put it somewhere and that somewhere will have to allow it to be propped up in a stable way where you can see it properly while gaming and the controller itself won't block your view of the screen. Even with one of those little prop-up-a-tablet thingies, that lets out planes, trains, and automobiles, not to mention buses and many coffee tables (too low). With this you would presumably be able to play on the go, with real PC games, plausibly even continuing the same game you were playing on the PC at home.
So there's at least one use case. Dunno if that's going to be enough, though. If nothing else, to sell something like this in big numbers what you need is a big advertising/marketing budget to prompt people to think they should buy it because it is a new shiny electronic thing. I don't think they have that budget.
There are controllers (and/or frames) that attach the controller firmly to the smartphone/tablet, so you do not have to hold two devices. Stuff like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Bluetooth-Android-Controller%EF%BC%8CBRHE-Controller/dp/B0772SXD12

Maybe that one isn't optimal, but what I'm saying is that a more optimally designed controller-for-smartphones/tablets sounds like a better idea to me than extra display hardware when all you really do is stream image/audio to and input from the device. Two things smartphones are already capable of.
Hang on, I thought it was supposed to run the games itself, not stream them.
ageres 5 June 2019 at 6:55 am UTC
UltraAltesBrotWhy purchase an expensive new device when you already have a smartphone or tablet?
Say this to Nintendo.
Eike 5 June 2019 at 7:27 am UTC
ageres
UltraAltesBrotWhy purchase an expensive new device when you already have a smartphone or tablet?
Say this to Nintendo.

Their answer is "Zelda".
But what's Smach Z's answer...?
Liothe 5 June 2019 at 8:18 am UTC
EikeTheir answer is "Zelda".
But what's Smach Z's answer...?

Every PC game


Last edited by Liothe at 5 June 2019 at 8:18 am UTC
Eike 5 June 2019 at 8:25 am UTC
Liothe
EikeTheir answer is "Zelda".
But what's Smach Z's answer...?

Every PC game

Well, you can play that on every PC...

Yeah, I understand, not in the bus, but still... IMHO, it's way too much money to play what you can play elsewhere as well. While many people say Zelda alone is worth the price of the Switch.
TheSHEEEP 5 June 2019 at 8:26 am UTC
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  • Supporter
Purple Library Guy
TheSHEEEP
Purple Library Guy
TheSHEEEPNot to downplay the device, but a feature like that should simply become available via tablet/smartphone (+ controller attached, of course). I don't really see the need for an extra piece of hardware here, to be honest.
I don't personally expect it to be a success. But consider trying to play games on a tablet/smartphone while holding a controller--you can't also hold the tablet/smartphone, so you will need to put it somewhere and that somewhere will have to allow it to be propped up in a stable way where you can see it properly while gaming and the controller itself won't block your view of the screen. Even with one of those little prop-up-a-tablet thingies, that lets out planes, trains, and automobiles, not to mention buses and many coffee tables (too low). With this you would presumably be able to play on the go, with real PC games, plausibly even continuing the same game you were playing on the PC at home.
So there's at least one use case. Dunno if that's going to be enough, though. If nothing else, to sell something like this in big numbers what you need is a big advertising/marketing budget to prompt people to think they should buy it because it is a new shiny electronic thing. I don't think they have that budget.
There are controllers (and/or frames) that attach the controller firmly to the smartphone/tablet, so you do not have to hold two devices. Stuff like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Bluetooth-Android-Controller%EF%BC%8CBRHE-Controller/dp/B0772SXD12

Maybe that one isn't optimal, but what I'm saying is that a more optimally designed controller-for-smartphones/tablets sounds like a better idea to me than extra display hardware when all you really do is stream image/audio to and input from the device. Two things smartphones are already capable of.
Hang on, I thought it was supposed to run the games itself, not stream them.
You might be onto something, there. I think I misunderstood the entire project. Oops

So it's basically a handheld gaming device, like a DS, just with desktop games running on it.
That does seem a bit more usable, though I still don't think many would choose this over just doing their "gaming on the run" via smartphone.
I can't really look at screens for a longer time while in a bus, train, etc. as it makes me dizzy so it's not for me anyway.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 5 June 2019 at 8:53 am UTC
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