The Compal Rover 2-in-1 gaming laptop concept makes me want to cry

Compal's 2-in-1 gaming laptop concept Rover
(Image credit: Compal)

Design firm Compal has unveiled a 2-in-1 gaming laptop concept called "Rover" which pushes the limits of handheld gaming. The laptop can become a gaming tablet with hand-held controls on the back side for a handheld gaming experience that just makes my hands ache looking at it.

While the idea of a gaming laptop 2-in-1 is intriguing, we still think fondly of the Asus ROG Flow Z13, we do have to wonder what is the point of the Compal Rover?

Can concepts go too far?

Compal's 2-in-1 gaming laptop concept Rover

(Image credit: Compal)

Design concepts are intended to push boundaries and show us glimpses into what the future could look like. But they very rarely get put into production as we originally see them. So the Compal Rover concept is unlikely to see the light of day in its current form. And it does have some compelling design features, particularly the touch controls on the back of the tablet. 

While touch controls for gaming aren't a new concept, putting them on the back of a tablet is a new take. However, with such a sharp grip shape and a flat control panel, they may be difficult to use. Of course, this is just a concept and not a working model so we cannot say for sure how the experience would feel. But judging by the concept photos of the laptop in handheld mode, it does look pretty uncomfortable.

As someone on the shorter side, and with tiny hands to boot, the idea of holding a tablet like this annoys me right off the bat. Large smartphones and foldables already cause me to do an awkward one-hand juggle, so I just know my hands will struggle to hold the Compal Rover and also game at the same time. Seeing the concept model also struggle to pinch the grips makes the design decision even more questionable. Sure, flat panels that fold out into grips are the only real way to make a gaming laptop become a gaming handheld, but perhaps we have flown too close to the sun with this one.

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Madeline Ricchiuto
Staff Writer

A former lab gremlin for Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, and Tech Radar; Madeline has escaped the labs to join Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer. With over a decade of experience writing about tech and gaming, she may actually know a thing or two. Sometimes. When she isn't writing about the latest laptops and AI software, Madeline likes to throw herself into the ocean as a PADI scuba diving instructor and underwater photography enthusiast.