I'm writing this post on a laptop slightly smaller than a standard (U.S.) trade paperback. Tiny Laptop, as I've been referring to it.
GPD's Pocket 3 comes in at just 8 inches wide. It is comically small, looking more like a toy replica of a laptop than a functional productivity device at first glance. But when GPD announced this latest addition to its Pocket line of teensy computers late last year, I — a person obsessed with gadgets of the miniature variety — had to preorder it. Was I broke? Yes, but look how small it is! That somewhat irrational, spur-of-the-moment decision has turned out to be quite the rewarding one.
The Pocket 3 in action
Tiny Laptop comes with me everywhere. And why shouldn't it? It fits in my Tiny Backpack. I expected to get the most use out of it in situations of after-hours editing when I'm not home at a desk or the odd urgent post when I'm out otherwise enjoying life, and I have ended up doing these things, but I've found myself mostly using it recreationally.
Its compactness makes it perfect for distraction-free writing (yes, I write for fun). I can't keep a million different windows and apps running simultaneously like I do on a bigger computer because it ends up cluttering the screen too much to really work with any of them, so I stick to the activity I'm actually doing at that moment. When I'm out and a short story idea or random topic I'm struck with the sudden need to research hits, I've grown accustomed to jotting as much as I can down in the Notes app of my phone, which is pretty annoying when it's something rather involved. Now, I pull out my lil Pocket and get clack-clacking away. It's serving the purpose I'd hoped my Freewrite Traveler would.
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Sure, the super-crunched keyboard layout takes some getting used to, but the keys themselves are large enough to not feel that abnormal under your fingertips. And I really like the placement of the trackpad at the top right corner with the mouse buttons opposite, on the top left. It’s exactly where your hands should comfortably go on a build this small.
Most unexpected, though, is how it handles games. Now, while GPD has made its name in the gaming space, Pocket 3 isn't a gaming device. It's a work-oriented laptop/tablet. But I really wanted to see how it would handle certain games that I just wished I could take with me on something a bit larger than a phone, like, specifically, Inscryption. And it worked... So. Well. No lagging, no noticeable frame dropping, just regular, uninterrupted gameplay. It was all over from there. Now I'm obsessed with trying every game on this thing. Right now, I'm working through Don't Knock Twice — so far with zero issues.
The display is super crisp, and it's got ports galore; three USB 3 ports, a USB-C, HDMI-in, and ethernet. It puts the M2 Macbook Air to shame, as far as ports are concerned.
The swivel-to-tablet function is great, too. I've been a Surface Pro user for years, so the 2-in-1 thing isn't at all new to me, but it's just so smooth with the Pocket 3. Rotate the display and close it right-to-left like a manga book, and you've got yourself a neat little tablet. The stylus has a great feel to it, and the whole package used together is very responsive when writing or sketching.
I love the GPD Pocket 3 — and I love talking to people about it. Random people ask me about it all the time, and it's such a fun device to geek out with absolute strangers over. It also feels worth mentioning that the company is extremely quick to answer and help if you have any problems with the product. Mine arrived with a faulty charging block and the GPD team got back to me the same day I emailed them about a possible issue and had a replacement in the mail to me right away.
Of course, it's not without its little quirks and flaws. The battery life is fine, not amazing but not terrible either, and it can get pretty hot even in sleep mode (shut down all the way before packing it up in a case or it'll for sure overheat). But for what it is — a truly TINY laptop — it really delivers in all the right places.
"Just get an iPad," they (cough Ray Wong cough) said. It's dumb, you'll never use it, they said. Well, look at us — me and Tiny Laptop — now.