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Almost everyone has something from Logitech at home: a mouse, keyboard, or perhaps a webcam. The company has been making devices that are ubiquitous, but perhaps also unobtrusive since 1981. The company clearly wants to change that: Logitech has to go ‘big’ and what better way to do that than organize a two-day event that is all about the brand? Logitech invited us and we traveled to Berlin for Logi Play, an event to celebrate “gaming and streaming culture”, but most importantly where Logitech showcased new products, including Logitech’s first cloud gaming handheld.

Because let’s be honest: you don’t just organize such a two-day event just for a new keyboard. At the end of August, Logitech had already given the world a small taste of the G Cloud and a day before the official announcement, we had a brief introduction to the G Cloud. We also spoke with Ahmed Riaz, the global head of design, and Robert Carter, the technical marketing manager from Logitech Gaming.

Logitech G Cloud

To start at the beginning, what is a cloud gaming handheld? The G Cloud looks most like a Nintendo Switch, but the idea behind it is different. Where a Switch is intended to run games yourself, the idea behind the G Cloud is that you use streaming services and let servers in a data center do the work.

Logitech G Cloud
socialQualcomm Snapdragon 720G
Random access memory4GB
Storage64GB (expandable with microSD)
Screen1920×1080, ips, 450cd/m², touch

That has its advantages, because if you don’t have to do all those calculations for running a game, you can do with simple hardware without extra cooling, and that ensures a low weight. Despite its 7″ screen, the G Cloud weighs 462 grams. That is much less than, for example, Valve’s Steamdeck, which also has a 7″ screen, but weighs 669 grams. The Nintendo Switch OLED is a bit lighter at 421 grams, but just like the Steamdeck it has a fan that you can hear when the hardware gets hot. That fan is missing from the Logitech console.

Football Highlights

You don’t have to worry about overheated hardware with the G Cloud. We’ve been gaming on the G Cloud for a while and the only noticeable warming you can feel is on the side of the console, where your hands are. Speaking of which, it’s not a punishment to hold onto the G Cloud. There is a light ribbed pattern on the back and where the ball of your hand wraps around the console, it has been made a bit thicker, so that it fits comfortably in the hand.

The layout of the buttons and joysticks seems like a cross between that of the Nintendo Switch and the Microsoft Xbox. Just like a Switch, there is a joystick in the top left with a d-pad below, while you have the A, B, X and Y buttons on the right, with another joystick below. The placement of the A, B, X, and Y keys is like the Xbox and those who are used to the console from Microsoft can blindly find their way on G Cloud. If you can’t get used to that layout, you can swap buttons in the settings of the G Cloud and set up the functions the way you want them.

Those buttons and joysticks feel good quality. For example, you can’t press the buttons too deeply, the joysticks rotate smoothly in each direction and the triggers are small, but give enough resistance to be able to dose. Of course, that observation at the moment says nothing about how the buttons will withstand years of intensive gaming sessions, but at least the first impression is good.

Software

The G Cloud runs Android 11, over which Logitech lays its own shell. Tencent is largely responsible for that software. “We use Tencent for the software, but we also have our own software and design department,” explains Riaz. That software department gives feedback to Tencent, which comes from knowledge about the wishes of gamers that Logitech gains from their G Hub software.

For tweakers, the choice for Android 11 may be disappointing, because at the time of writing the first devices are already equipped with Android 13. Riaz and Carter were still a bit vague about a possible upgrade to Android 12. “I’m not sure [of er een upgrade naar Android 12 komt]but I suspect a lot of future decisions will come from feedback from our users,” said Carter.

In any case, the current interface works well on the game console. You scroll horizontally through the most important apps, such as in WebOS on LG televisions, or as with the menu on the Xbox. While scrolling through the interface, we occasionally saw a small hitch. Probably not pure coincidence, because the processor is already an oldie, but more on that later. The Xbox cloud streaming app and the Geforce Now app from Nvidia are pre-installed, which is no coincidence, as Logitech collaborated with Nvidia and Microsoft to develop the console. For example, the collaboration with Microsoft gave the G Cloud the yellow G button, which does the same as the “guide” button, the button with the Xbox logo, on a regular Xbox controller, Riaz said.

In addition to the apps from Xbox and Nvidia, Steam Link and the Google Play Store are also preinstalled on the G Cloud, so you can also install Android games on it. As far as Riaz is concerned, it doesn’t stop there. “We have the opportunity to be very Swiss and neutral and to be able to say we are the home for all game libraries.” With that attitude, Logitech hopes to be attractive to other cloud gaming platforms, because they want to support as many as possible, even if they are mutual competitors.

Gaming

It’s time to game, because this is what the G Cloud was made for. Unfortunately, we were soon done with that. To start with, we started the Xbox app for a game of Forza Horizon 5, which you play via Xbox game streaming. Fortunately, FH5 is the kind of game that is forgiving if you make a mistake and even awards you points if you mess up. That is exactly what happened. The G Cloud was so slow in streaming that the game was barely controllable. That was not due to Forza or Xbox, because the same problem was with the Geforce Now app. Fortunately, the opening part of the single player campaign of Destiny 2 is a tutorial and therefore very easy, but here too the lag it’s almost unplayable. Did I just set my sights on an enemy, he was already a meter away. I also ran into a wall quite often, even though I felt I had pushed the joystick to the left a long time ago.

Can the G Cloud be charged for that? Probably not, because Logitech demonstrated about fifteen G Cloud consoles in the same room and on the same WiFi network. These were the large consumers of bandwidth, but probably not the only devices on the Wi-Fi network that could not handle the load.

Hardware

Blaming the Wi-Fi network entirely is too easy, because the G Cloud’s hardware isn’t the latest either. Under the hood of the G Cloud is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G soc, which is a midrange processor that was introduced in 2020. It was, for example, in the Samsung Galaxy A52, a smartphone introduced in March 2021 for just over three hundred euros. So it is anything but an impressive chip, which in itself should be suitable for game streaming, but falls short for the heavier Android games. The relatively small RAM of 4GB does not contribute to this either.

Perhaps the most notable choice is the network card that supports up to 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The G Cloud derives its right to exist from Wi-Fi, but Wi-Fi 6, which has been on the market since 2020 anyway, is not supported. In principle, a bandwidth of 25Mbit/s is enough to stream games in 1080p60 quality, and even the cheapest Wi-Fi 5 routers at 2.4GHz have yet to achieve that, but just when the network gets busier, Wi-Fi offers -Fi 6 many benefits by serving clients more efficiently.

Use case

A stable, smooth WiFi connection is therefore a requirement to be able to enjoy gaming on the G Cloud, something that most people have at home. But when you’re at home, you might as well play on an Xbox or gaming PC. Despite its low weight and compact dimensions, the G Cloud is not intended for gaming on the bus or train, so when should you actually use the G Cloud? Finally, we put this question to Riaz and Carter. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s not an on-the-go device,” says Riaz. He sees the G Cloud as a device that you can use in places with a good internet connection; this can be at home if you do not want to sit behind your desk, but also, for example, when you are traveling and staying overnight in a hotel. While it’s not the primary use case, you can still use the G Cloud on the go, if you install Android games on it.

Preliminary conclusion

The G Cloud will initially launch in North America in October for $349. That is, based on our first impression, a lot of money. The console is nicely finished and feels good in the hand, but the parts that you don’t see, specifically the soc and the wireless network card, are outdated. Our first impression of the game streaming was also not positive, but we’re pretty sure that was due to the congested Wi-Fi connection. So for the time being, we are not getting excited about Logitech’s new cloud gaming handheld, but if we can use it again in the future on a quiet WiFi network, the G Cloud may be able to convince.

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