The Smach Z, which we knew previously as the Smach Zero and the Steamboy has just hit kickstarter. This device is made to give gamers a dedicated PC handheld with the vast library of games available on Steam. The unit will come in at a very low cost of €299 ($325 USD) for the Standard version and €499 ($542 USD) for the higher specd Pro version. These will be available at a lower costs to “early birds” on their Kickstarter page.
The Smach Z will make use of AMD’s embedded G-Series SoC (formerly codenamed “Steppe Eagle”) with a “Jaguar”-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon graphics with 2 GB of dedicated GPU RAM, 4GB of memory (8GB on the Pro model), 64GB of internal memory (128 on the Pro model), a 5-inch touchscreen with 1080p resolution, and USB 3.0 type-C.
The Smach Z will have HDMI video output, WiFi as well as Bluetooth and the Pro model will also have 4GB mobile connectivity. The device will also support in-home streaming. It will be based on Linux and run SteamOS. Here are some of the main features the Smach Z team points out…
Play on the TV with the HDMI, using SZ as a standard Steam Machine. Connect another gamepad and play on Multiplayer!
Emulators: SMACH Z will be the best handheld device for emulation, and Retro Magic Z-Pads will bring your fingers back to the past. NES, SuperNintendo, Megadrive, Playstation 1 and 2, Nintendo 64, GameCube or even Wii will be in your hands.
Multimedia Center: We plan to integrate KODI (check Stretch Goals), an open source software for playing videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files.
SteamOS is based on Linux and allows users to develop their own features.
Open Platform: We want to keep SMACH Z an open console, if you prefer to install other OS (Windows, Android,…) you are free to do whatever you want with it (however we will give support on Steam OS). We will give to the community all the info a codes needed to support other OS or develop additional features.
Attachable extra battery: It ads +5h of gameplay outdoor. You can add a second battery in the back of SMACH Z.
Accelerometer & Gyroscope: A cool way to control racing or airships games.
There are a few issues I see with the Smach Z, the first is that much of its development is being held by stretch goals. Things like the 64GB of storage and 1080p screen and being held back by these goals.
The second thing is when the device is expected to come to market, October of next year. By that time we will see AMD’s Zen architecture and we could see a new SHIELD handheld from NVIDIA. The current specs could be very outdated by October.
If you want more information on the Smach Z check out the Kickstarter page.