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[Computex 2024] The ZOTAC GAMING ZONE Handheld Proves Competition Has Truly Arrived
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[Computex 2024] The ZOTAC GAMING ZONE Handheld Proves Competition Has Truly Arrived

by Low Boon ShenJune 4, 2024
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Our First Impressions Of The ZOTAC GAMING ZONE

Computex officially kicks off today, which means all the booths are now set up and ready to showcase the best stuffs. We did a quick tour at ZOTAC’s booth N0507a in the fourth floor of TaiNEX 1 building, and obviously we’ll have to see the new ZOTAC GAMING ZONE handheld for ourselves.

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First things first – let’s start with hardware. The ZOTAC GAMING ZONE handheld is powered by AMD’s Ryzen 7 8840U processor, which is a refresh of, but functionally an identical chip as the Ryzen Z1 extreme found in handhelds like the ASUS ROG Ally and Lenovo Legion Go. It gets paired with a speedy 16GB LPDDR5X-7500 RAM, and the SSD supports the mainstream M.2 2280 form factor as well.

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From the outside, it shares a layout that is somewhat similar to Steam Deck: on both sides of the handheld you can find the touchpads, though touchscreen is available for this 7-inch 120Hz OLED display (which is rated for 800 nits of brightness). The controller is packed with goodies: there are plenty of buttons, and the joystick are Hall Effect-based which should promise good lifespan. The joysticks even comes with a built-in knob that rotates to adjust things like volume and brightness; and these controls are easy to reach by thumb.

Not enough display? A pair of USB4 located at the top and bottom of the chassis can get display outputs sorted. This also offers the benefit of plugging the charging cable in either side of the handheld for charging the 48.5Wh battery. Next to the bottom USB4 port is a microSD card – the placement should be able to avoid the issue plaguing ASUS’s ROG Ally where temperatures has caused the cards to fail over time.

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As for the chassis, while the ZOTAC rep notes that this is currently a prototype, I can say the product as it is right now is pretty promising. The ergonomics is excellent – the profile of the chassis completely avoids the palm from getting “dug in” by pointy edges, which is still present; but it’s recessed far enough that it doesn’t interfere with your palm. Additionally, behind the handheld you can find two separate trigger locks which cuts the travel distance to register a full press – useful if you need rapid button presses.

Interestingly, ZOTAC has also managed to snuck a webcam on the left side of the handheld, but we’re somewhat confident it’ll get smudged soon enough. Like the Legion Go, the ZOTAC GAMING ZONE has an integrated kickstand, though it’s not properly set up in this prototype (touchpads didn’t work, too). It’s a prototype, after all – which we were told was designed in a very short time. On that note, the company says a desktop dock will be available as well, though it’s not ready thus far.

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Elsewhere in the booth, you can find ZOTAC’s lineup of GeForce RTX GPUs, and a mandatory serving of GPU AI demos (mostly courtesy of NVIDIA, as we’ve spotted a lot of similar demos in other OEM booths). ZOTAC’s mini-PC is also showcased here, plus a workstation eGPU for these devices. Don’t expect ZOTAC to build a gaming eGPU in the immediate future though – there’s no concrete plans on their part from the conversations we’ve made, but it could be a thing if there’s demand for it.

Pokdepinion: Honestly, I’m pretty impressed even if there’s a few rough edges in the software right now. 

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Low Boon Shen
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