Handheld gaming consoles are always changing, which might make them a bit confusing, but there’s one aspect of handheld gaming that has always prevailed, they’re always underpowered, and they have to be to make a console small enough to fit in your hands.
But with recent technological advancements, mainly in processing capabilities, companies are now able to make handheld consoles that are more capable than ever, I’m talking about the likes of the Steam Deck or the Aya Neos. But in a time where a world had a shortage of silicon and computer chips, I think other solutions are more than welcome.
In this article, we’ll take a deep look at probably the most surprising piece of tech to come out in 2022, the Logitech G Cloud, and yes, it’s the same Logitech that makes mice and keyboards!
Logitech G Cloud Specs and Features
I want to start by quickly glancing over the G Cloud’s internals because it hints at what the G Cloud truly is. It has the Snapdragon 720G as the CPU with an Adreno 618 GPU, 4GB LPDDR4X RAM, and it has a 64GB internal memory capacity (a third of it is occupied by the OS).
A lot of people might argue that even though the G Cloud has a great CPU and GPU combo, it might look like 4GBs isn’t enough, and you’d be right, but you have to consider that this console is specifically designed for cloud gaming, and cloud gaming it would do. It’s just a bit disappointing when you consider that this is essentially an Android tablet where you can do a lot of things more other than Cloud gaming (more to that later) and 4GB might hinder the G Cloud’s ability to crank out more performance on some games.
For connectivity, the Logitech G Cloud has WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1, and that’s pretty much it. it’s a bit underwhelming I know, but we’ll talk about that later and determine if WiFi 5 is good enough for something running cloud games almost exclusively.
Design and Ergonomics
Enough with the G Cloud’s internal capabilities, what about its external capabilities? How well would you interact with this gaming device? Well, I’ll be happy to report that it’s great! It has a thin design, so you can bring this wherever you can also bring a Nintendo Switch, but more importantly, it has great ergonomics, which I can safely say is better than the Switch; it has a palm grip design so you can play this without getting carpal tunnel syndrome, and that palm grip also has a slight texture to it so you actually have something to grip onto the G Cloud when your gamer palms get sweaty.
To sum up the design and ergonomics of the G Cloud, I would simply say that the build quality on this thing is great! And some of you know what that means, great design and ergonomics pave the way for great…
…Controls and Feedback
The controls in the Logitech G Cloud might be polarizing for a bunch of people because of the buttons, they have shallow key travel, although, Logitech (as a mouse and keyboard maker) made a good call making the keys clicky and tactile so despite not having the best amount of key travel, key presses are still instantly recognizable.
The buttons aren’t the only confusing aspect of the controls but also the triggers and shoulder buttons, they work well, especially with the triggers being fully analog making the G Cloud able to play racing games and such. But the problem doesn’t lie with the function, it lies with the size, it feels too thin for me, and I bet a lot of other people can say the same thing about it just by looking at it.
The G Cloud also has great joysticks and motion control capabilities. Lastly, the G Cloud also has haptic feedback which will work great with the controls.
The screen on the G Cloud is remarkable, it has a Full-HD (1920×1080) IPS LCD touch display that’s 7-inches in size, and yes that resolution for this size makes everything look so good and sharp, it honestly beats the Steam Deck’s display in a lot of ways (perhaps, in every way). To make it better, the display can also output up to 450 nits of peak brightness which makes it easily viewable outdoors, but not so much in direct sunlight.
One minor gripe I have though is the refresh rate, I couldn’t help but think that they could’ve and should’ve put a 120Hz display on this device, it might not run things too well natively, but with 120Hz, but it would still make things seem much smoother.
Overall, I think I can say that the G Cloud has the best display compared to other handheld gaming devices today, I mean, it’s certainly not great by 2022 standards, but it’s still better than the Switch and the Steam Deck.
Well, folks, we are about to step into the muddy area that is the software and OS of the Logitech G Cloud. I’ll be straightforward, it’s restrictive in design, and some parts of it don’t feel as good or polished as you would expect.
So to explain it a bit further, the Logitech G Cloud is essentially an Android tablet that’s put together with built-in controllers, and as you would expect, you can just use this in “tablet mode” where you can run basically anything that a normal Android can run. To help it run any game you’d like, the G Cloud has a built-in key mapper so you can use the built-in controller with everything. If you’re not satisfied with the key mapper, you can download any key mapper you like.
Most native Android games do detect the controllers and adapt to them automatically, but the key mappers are still a welcome addition if you found yourself playing a game that doesn’t have controller support.
The G Cloud in tablet mode is great. However, Logitech also included a “handheld mode” which is essentially a launcher (or a skin) that makes the G Cloud behave more like a game console, it has a home screen with your apps and games, and you can also access your settings and a bunch of apps where you can tinker and tweak the console with.
There’s a problem with the handheld mode though, it feels half-baked, or in other terms, unfinished. It can be buggy as some people reported with touch controls not working as intended, which is understandable, but the handheld mode is notably missing some functionalities in the first place.
One of those is gesture controls, I mean, did you get used to swiping on the edges to get back on a previous screen? Well, it doesn’t really work on handheld mode, and not just that, you can’t also swipe down to access your notification and quick settings. I mean, for Nintendo Switch players, it really isn’t anything new, but considering this is an Android? It’ll take a lot of getting used to, and I’ll remind you, there is still an Android mode so no need to freak out.
What is the Logitech G Cloud For?
Now that we know what the Logitech G Cloud is, what can it do and who is it for? Like a lot of other reviewers, the G Cloud is a bit hard to justify getting for a lot of people, so here are some of the things that the G Cloud can do to give you a bit of an idea.
The main purpose of the Logitech G Cloud, as the name suggests, is cloud gaming. I mean, the G Cloud itself is backed by Microsoft to work with their Xbox Cloud Gaming platform, and to no surprise, you can even get the G Cloud on the Microsoft and Xbox stores online.
But there’s a problem, cloud gaming needs the internet to work, and it’s not like any wifi will do, you need to have low latency and high-bandwidth internet connection to get things working.
Not to mention, depending on the cloud gaming service you use, it might not even be available outside the US, so if you travel outside the US or live someplace else, cloud gaming on the G Cloud might not even be possible.
But, if you do get things working, the G Cloud can play cloud games with minimal input lag and as much performance as the Cloud can give, it certainly does look trippy seeing Forza Horizon playing and looking so well on such a small device.
Handheld and portable gaming
The reason why the G Cloud is ‘cloud only’ is because it’s really meant to be portable. So, is it a great portable console?
There are several things I look for in a portable/handheld console. First is the battery life, and second is usability which includes its capability of running games and how it feels while running those games.
So, first off, as an Android tablet that doesn’t have a lot of native processing power under the hood, the G Cloud will have great battery life at a promised 9-12 hours of playtime. It also has good controls and a great lightweight but sturdy design and great ergonomics as we established earlier, but the painful thing is that if you’re playing cloud games you really can’t bring this to a lot of places since there is no cellular connectivity or even Wifi 6. So unless your phone can serve as a great wifi hotspot, you can kiss portable cloud gaming goodbye.
Some people (especially PC gamers) just want to play on their beds or a couch from time to time, and of course, the G Cloud can do that! You can use Xbox Remote Play or even something like Steam Link. Playstation on the other hand is a bit weird, we already know that their Remote Play app sucks, and I just wish that they would optimize it for the likes of the G Cloud, or at least, optimize it to run well on Android.
A lot of Android handhelds came out recently to be an emulator to play games from older consoles, and yes, the G Cloud does fit the emulator role quite nicely, so if you want to have the best android based portable emulator, then yes, the G Cloud is great for that. It can emulate and play games for PS2 and Gamecube, and anything older than that can and will work great!
But then again, while the G Cloud is better in a lot of ways compared to other dedicated Android emulators, it is also higher priced especially if you just want to use this as a dedicated emulator console.
Should You Get The G Cloud?
Personally, the short answer is no. Now don’t get me wrong, the G Cloud is a wonderful device, some (including me) might even say that it’s one of the best hardware to come out this year. But I think the problem still lies with the software, it doesn’t feel fully baked especially with the handheld mode in the G Cloud, and on top of that, Cloud Gaming services are still not fully ready to be used by a lot of people, and it’s not even available in a lot of countries.
If you’re in the US (or in a country where cloud gaming is available), or if you love emulating, remote playing, and even natively playing Android games, then you should go ahead and get the G Cloud. The only problem that I can see with the G Cloud, is that you can’t fully point out who’s it for or what’s it best for, that’s why I think it’s confusing, but what do you think? Can it be a jack of all trades? Or is it useless to most people?