Zotac Zone official: this handheld has twin trackpads, jog wheels, adjustable triggers and OLED SuperNayr

Zotac already teased that the Zone would have an OLED screen, something that only the Steam Deck OLED has managed in PC handhelds before — as well as two-stage adjustable triggers like an Xbox Elite gamepad and drift resistant Hall effect joysticks. But did you know it’ll also have symmetrical PlayStation-esque joysticks, programmable dials around each one, twin Steam Deck-like trackpads, a small built-in kickstand, a Windows Hello camera instead of a fingerprint reader, and both top and bottom USB4 ports?

The handheld’s powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 8840U chip, and you shouldn’t necessarily expect a lot from it — it’s largely the same as the 7840U that powered prior handhelds, with the same Radeon 780M iGPU inside. But like the ROG Ally X and Lenovo Legion Go, it does upgrade to LPDDR5X-7500 memory, which seemingly gave the Legion a slight performance bump over the original Ally — and at a more modest 1080p resolution.

Less pleasingly, Zotac appears to have outfitted it with a modest 48.5 watt-hour battery pack as well, smaller than that of the Steam Deck OLED and vastly smaller than the 80Wh packs that Asus and MSI just announced — and its 7-inch 120Hz OLED screen doesn’t support variable refresh rate any more than the Steam Deck’s one did. It does sound nice and bright at 800 nits, however, and I’m intrigued by the programmable jog dials.

Zotac’s Zone one-pager.
Image: Zotac

As you may know, Zotac was one of the first companies to try AirJet’s intriguing solid-state cooling tech in a mini-PC, and PCWorld’s Adam Murray took the opportunity to ask if Zotac was planning to use the tech in a handheld, too. But while AirJet maker Frore Systems seems to think it’d work, Zotac suggested the current AirJet isn’t yet designed to cool chips as high wattage as the 8840U — and that cost might also be a concern. For now, the Zone has a single traditional fan and a couple of smallish vents to help keep it cool.

According to Geeknetic, the Zone should cost around $800 in September of this year. That’s on the high end of consumer gaming handhelds, though the Ally X, with its dramatically bigger battery, is also launching at that price.

Zotac, if you’re reading this: we’re happy to get the details from you next time!

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