You might be asking yourself “what exactly is this LG Wing handheld?”, and you wouldn’t be alone…
We were also in the dark about this limited quantity custom game console that popped up on social media last week.
I first saw the custom metal shell on Instagram and my interest was on high alert.
As you probably know by now, I have been on the hunt for my perfect vertical game console with a metal shell.. and have recently decided I might have to make my own.
So when I saw somebody showing off their own custom metal shell design, I was quite impressed with the quality of the work and needed to know more.
I assumed this would be a one-of-one device…
But as it turns out, the developer Laozhang (who apparently is the designer for GKD) has made 50 of these custom consoles.
As a new member of the RG Handhelds Discord channel, I am now seeing some of the conversations happening about the LG Wing Handheld.
And it seems like a lot of this has been happening behind the scenes in the Chinese handheld community, and that is also where all 50 of these devices will stay.
So what do we know about the LG Wing Handheld console?
What is the LG Wing Handheld?
The LG Wing Handheld is a custom metal shell console that holds an LG Wing cell phone inside.
We initially were not sure what that meant exactly.
We couldn’t imagine that the custom button layout interacted with the touch screen for game play. So we estimated that it had to have a lot of custom PCB work inside.
This photo posted by its creator revealed the true wizardry happening inside:
As we can see, the LG Wing cell phone has been entirely dismantled and repurposed inside Laozhang’s custom metal shells.
A bunch of custom PCB boards and wiring has been done to make it all work.
I have very little idea what I’m looking at, and we can’t see how the PCBs are connected to the original phone internals. But videos of the device working show that is does, in fact, emulate and play retro games.
And let’s talk about these metal shells…
We have seen custom 3d designed shells in the past. These are typically 3d printed in resin. And while they might be interesting, none will really blow you away.
So when we see these shells designed by Laozhang, we are getting the total opposite reaction. These things are commercial quality production.
Knowing that Laozhang is the designer at GKD, and he worked on the GKD Mini as well as the new GKD consoles that are to be announced in about a weeks time…
It makes sense that the design of the LG Wing Handheld is top of the line.
Perfect machining on a really awesome design and some cool custom graphics printed on the exterior. All super high quality and very impressive.
Laozhang does share that it costs him about $60usd each for these shells. Which is actually quite cheap, compared to what most people outside of China can make low quantity custom CNC shells.
But being in China, working with GKD, and also ordering 50 of them has allowed him to get a good price for these incredible shells.
So what exactly is going into these custom metal shells?
LG Wing Handheld Specifications
Most of the specs of the LG Wing Handheld will come directly from the internal specs of the LG Wing cell phone:
- 3.9 inch (1080×1240) OLED Screen
- Android 10
- Qualcomm SM7250 Snapdragon 765G 5G (7 nm) Chipset
- CPU: Octa-core (1×2.4 GHz Kryo 475 Prime & 1×2.2 GHz Kryo 475 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 475 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 620
- Storage: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM internal
- Storage: External microSDXC
- Battery: Li-Po 4000 mAh
The LG Wing Handheld uses the secondary (bottom) screen from the original cell phones.
The design also retains the 64MP camera at the rear of the handheld.
And of course, the insides of this console is a super custom Frankenstein job of wires and custom made PCB boards that most of us will never understand.
But insanely impressive that he was able to make it all happen.
What can it emulate?
Knowing that the LG Wing handheld is an Android 10 device, we know that it will use some of the Best Android Emulators.
In video footage shared, we can see it has PPSSPP, DuckStation, Citra, Drastic, Dolphin, M64Plus FZ Pro… some of the emulation programs you’d expect on a capable Android device.
We should expect that this Android device will easily handle Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Playstation, Dreamcast, PSP, Nintendo 64, and is even handling some Nintendo DS and Game Cube with ease. Maybe even some Wii and Switch.
In fact, a lot of the shared game play footage focuses on Nintendo DS gaming.
With the unique screen dimensions, we can see how it makes for an interesting home to the Best Selling Nintendo DS Games emulation.
A lot of comments on Twitter, Instagram, and Discord all mention how great this device would be for some of the unique vertical shooter games we saw on consoles like the WonderSwan. And this device should have no problem running those games.
Why So Limited?
So many of you are probably wondering “how do I get one?!” and we were too.
Sadly, it is unlikely that any of us will ever see one of these limited quantity consoles. Why is that?
Well… since these are custom devices that are made by one person using the internals of an LG Wing cell phone… these things will never go into mass production.
He literally made them by hand, one at a time.
In an email exchange shared publicly by Discord user “Jutleys at www.rghandhelds.com”, Laozhang put it all in context for us:
“Why is this machine priced at 2100 yuan […] the cost of a mobile phone is around 1200 […] then the metal shell is about 400 yuan […] other printing accessories […] these add up to 200-300 yuan, and it takes me two months to make 50 sets […] each machine requires very complicated processing, LGWING mobile phones need to be completely dismantled and separated […] I only made 50 of them, because I found that it is too difficult to DIY […] Because some friends like it very much, I plan to do it. I didn’t expect so many players to like it […] I have basically done it for free and at a loss because of hobby.”
So as we learn directly from the LG Wing Handheld’s creator.. this thing ends up costing him about $300usd to make (sounds cheaper than we’d expect actually, but not in terms of mass production or profit to sell).
And he made 50 to give to his friends in the Chinese handheld community. It sounds like all 50 have already been made and given to their new owners.
Because it is based on the LG Wing cell phone, there would not be an option to mass produce these things at all.
Perhaps in the future, if the demand is still there, we may see an official GKD product that takes inspiration from what Laozhang created here.
And we do know that Laozhang has been very busy working on the new GKD Mini device, which is due to be shared with the public on August 31.
“Of course, my main work is next month. The GKDMINI PLUS to be released cannot support my DIY without enough funds. We all know that DIY is a very expensive hobby!”
Sadly.. none of us will ever get our hands on one of these LG Wing Handhelds.
Unless one of the owners in China decides to sell theirs, which seems unlikely. Especially since it would have been made by hand by one of your friends.
So we can only admire from afar and commend Laozhang for his awesome work.
If you want to show Laozhang some love, you can support GKD and the new GKD Mini Plus coming later this month.
Something we will absolutely be writing about, and purchasing as soon as they are available!
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.