This well-designed machine is nice for taking part in cloud video games (or streaming native PC video games). But it’d be simpler to suggest if it have been both less expensive or if its {hardware} might run video games higher once you’re away from Wi-Fi.

Logitech’s G Cloud Gaming Handheld is a heartbreaker. It’s a pleasure to recreation on: it’s way more comfy to make use of than the Nintendo Switch, and when the circumstances are proper, it really works like a dream.

With connection to a cloud gaming service, it typically felt like I used to be utilizing a conveyable Xbox, or had one way or the other crammed a $1,500 gaming PC right into a tiny footprint. The remainder of the time, it’s a mediocre Android pill with a controller grafted on. It’s simply not enjoyable to make use of. Sure, it may well entry an enormous library of Android video games, however attempting to play the likes of Fortnite or Genshin Impact on its sluggish {hardware} was an train in frustration.

At $349.99, the G Cloud Gaming Handheld prices as a lot as a Nintendo Switch OLED and nearly as a lot as a Steam Deck, each of that are nonetheless good gaming machines when the web goes down. (Note: the G Cloud Gaming Handheld is $299.99 throughout its preorder section, however the value will soar up by $50 on October 18th.)

These flaws wouldn’t disappear with a decrease value, but it surely’d at the least be simpler to suggest to extra individuals, just like the work-from-home crowd who’s at all times round Wi-Fi or those that have already got gaming PC and desire a comfortable handheld to stream their video games regionally. It’s excellent at that.

Logitech isn’t simply competing with Nintendo, Valve, or the myriad different area of interest handheld makers, like Aya, OneXPlayer, or GPD; it’s competing with the cellphone or pill you already personal. This handheld’s marquee apps — Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now — run on just about any Android or iOS machine (in some instances, they’re progressive internet apps — glorified webpages). It’s simple to then join a controller that you could be already personal, like an Xbox controller, Backbone One, or a Razer Kishi V2, and begin gaming.

The G Cloud Gaming Handheld is a extra comfy and intuitive technique to play cloud video games than cobbling a controller and a smartphone collectively. But except these phrases resonate deeply inside you, I don’t suppose that’s a adequate motive to justify shopping for one.

Cloud gaming and handheld consoles appear to be an ideal match. Instead of ponying up hundreds of {dollars} for a gaming PC or being constrained by the {hardware} that may match within the handheld, you pay a subscription payment to dump the heavy lifting.

Relying on cloud providers to carry up your platform is a belief fall, however Logitech’s platform-agnostic strategy isn’t almost as dangerous a wager as, say, the Google Stadia model. The cloud recreation providers that Logitech is banking on are excellent (so long as your Wi-Fi is, too), and so they present no indicators of winding down. Xbox Cloud Gaming is on the market to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers ($14.99 per 30 days), and it comes with entry to over 200 Xbox video games, from AAA titles from Microsoft’s studios to buzzworthy indie video games. Nvidia GeForce Now is much less like Netflix and extra like Movies Anywhere in that it collects lots of the PC video games you already personal on Steam, Epic Games Store, or Ubisoft Connect (plus some free-to-play video games) in a single place. The base tier is free, although it limits you to one-hour-long 720p streaming periods. The subsequent tier is $9.99 / month and permits for four-hour periods at 1080p / 60 frames per second, which match the specs of the G Cloud Gaming Handheld’s display.

The Google Play Store offers the G Cloud Gaming Handheld much more methods to play PC video games you already personal. For occasion, the Steam Link app, which is preinstalled, permits you to stream video games out of your PC both regionally or away from residence so long as it’s on and working Steam. If your PC has an Nvidia GPU, I extremely recommend attempting out Moonlight, a free open-source app that gives a handsome, shockingly responsive gaming expertise. Both Steam Link and Moonlight can work over a neighborhood community, which requires good networking {hardware} (not quick web speeds) to have an pleasant session.

Sadly, whereas you should utilize Sony’s PS Remote Play app to stream video games out of your PS4 or PS5, the app doesn’t acknowledge the G Cloud Gaming Handheld’s built-in controls. Touchscreen controls are the one choice except you tether a DualShock 4 or a DualSense through Bluetooth, which defeats the aim of utilizing this handheld as a substitute of your cellphone.

The spring yellow G button brings up the Xbox dashboard inside Xbox Cloud Gaming, but it surely’s much less helpful in different apps.

G Cloud Gaming Hardware

The G Cloud Gaming Handheld appears loads like a Nintendo Switch besides that it has a D-pad on the left moderately than 4 separate buttons, and its proper ABXY buttons are organized Xbox-style. There are clicky shoulder buttons and analog triggers which have a satisfying stage of journey. Logitech did a fantastic job with the structure, consolation, and design of the inputs. I solely wish it have been accessible in colours apart from all white with spring yellow accents.

The residence button and spring yellow G button require somewhat rationalization. Pressing residence will at all times take you on to the hand-held’s app selector, and holding it brings up a shade containing fast settings, like brightness and quantity dials. The G button’s objective is typically contextual. It makes good sense within the Xbox Cloud Gaming app, the place urgent it’s going to convey up the Xbox residence interface to point out what your pals are as much as, to verify achievements, or to stop a recreation. Pressing it throughout the GeForce Now interface takes me residence, but it surely’s ineffective in-game throughout a cloud session.

Two tiny speaker slits flank the USB-C charging port and three.5mm headphone jack on the underside of the console. Unsurprisingly, headphones sound higher than these audio system. You can both use wired headphones, go the Bluetooth route, or insert a USB-C audio transmitter that some gaming headsets embody lately. In case you have been questioning, the USB-C port can’t ship video; it’s restricted to charging, knowledge connection, or audio passthrough.

The G Cloud Gaming Handheld runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 720G — sans mobile functionality. It’s a midrange chipset announced in 2020 that’s additionally discovered within the Samsung Galaxy A52 and a bunch of telephones launched outdoors of the US. It’s quick sufficient at launching apps, loading new pages within the Google Play Store, and working video games that aren’t tremendous resource-intensive, like Dead Cells. But most graphically intensive video games run sluggishly. It can’t multitask, which is disappointing; each time you launch a brand new app, it asks you to shut the one you have been simply utilizing.

There’s 64GB of storage inbuilt, and it helps microSD storage enlargement. Battery life stands as much as Logitech’s claims, lasting for a dozen or so hours of gaming per cost. Unlike the expertise of utilizing a handheld that’s really working video games off the {hardware}, it’s cool (albeit anticipated) to spend an hour in a recreation with out taking an enormous chew out of the battery life.

The Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld is shown sitting next to a Nintendo Switch. Logitech’s handheld is bigger, but not by much.
The G Cloud Gaming Handheld is larger than a Nintendo Switch, but it surely doesn’t really feel cumbersome.

Its seven-inch show is similar measurement because the one on the Steam Deck and Switch OLED console, although Logitech’s IPS panel is clearly nowhere close to as good as an OLED. Even so, video games look attractive in the best Wi-Fi circumstances; small textual content is legible, and graphics don’t look too aliased. (Though, when streaming from the cloud, darkish environments and objects are liable to visible gradation.) It was a adequate expertise that I generally forgot that I used to be enjoying video games hosted on distant servers, with solely a handful of moments when fuzzy, distorted picture high quality ruined that phantasm. Streamed video additionally appears nice in case you can deal with the general public embarrassment of holding the hand-held in portrait mode to navigate Netflix and the like. Yes, it felt bizarre to observe Cyberpunk: Edgerunners on the subway whereas holding the console with two arms, but it surely labored.

The Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld’s user interface is shown, revealing the most commonly used apps, including Gmail, Genshin Impact, and more.
The handheld’s interface exhibits your most recently-used apps close to the entrance. It additionally permits you to avoid wasting favourite apps beneath the oblong tiles for simpler entry.

The customized Android 11 interface is viable however nothing particular. It organizes apps in horizontal tiles throughout the display, with current ones close to the entrance. You can hit the choices button situated close to the highest proper aspect of the hand-held’s entrance aspect to create a everlasting spot for a favourite app, which can be added beneath the scrolling tiles. There are simply two coloration schemes and backgrounds provided by the software program, every of which delivers a fairly sturdy gamer-y look. It’s fairly primary stuff. You’ll get the identical set of default apps that come preinstalled on each Android machine that helps Google Play (Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive, and many others.).

Logitech’s efforts to cover the truth that you’re utilizing an Android pill don’t go far past the floor. For occasion, it kicks you over to Google’s very plain settings interface for extra in-depth choices, which is jarring. Instead of letting you get notifications, the hand-held vibrates, but it surely hides them in a setting alongside the highest drawer of choices known as “Messages.”

Given that it’s an Android machine, it wants the most recent updates to remain safe. As talked about earlier than, it’s two variations of Android behind, which is irritating. What’s disconcerting is how outdated its safety patches are. It has the June fifth, 2022, safety replace, although it’s lagging additional behind with its Google Play system replace from November 1st, 2021. Derek Perez, who handles communications for Logitech G, informed The Verge that there can be a Day One patch that addresses this.

The G Cloud Gaming Handheld is designed to stream video games from the cloud, however I couldn’t resist putting in the Android model of Fortnite, one of many world’s hottest video games, to see how it might run. It ended up taking an hour to launch right into a spherical as a result of it was so gradual at making use of an replace. Once in-game, the graphics defaulted to medium settings, capped at 30 frames per second. It ran far worse than it does via the cloud with a mediocre Wi-Fi connection. Genshin Impact might at the least run at a steady-ish 25 frames per second, but it surely was a subpar visible expertise, too, and it didn’t acknowledge the hand-held’s devoted controls.

Cloud gaming is nearly as good because the Wi-Fi connection

The Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld is shown running Fortnite over the cloud.
Playing Fortnite through Xbox Cloud Gaming runs and appears excellent.

Gaming efficiency is considerably higher whereas streaming from the cloud, however you’ll want a reasonably sturdy and dependable 5GHz Wi-Fi connection. I largely performed the G Cloud Gaming Handheld at residence about 10 ft away from a Google Nest Wifi router in line of sight. My web connection significantly exceeds the necessities (226Mbps obtain, 23Mbps add), although I nonetheless skilled occasional blips within the picture high quality. But for essentially the most half, I had a good time. Xbox Cloud Gaming boots into video games shortly, and it felt like I used to be enjoying a conveyable Xbox console.

Nvidia GeForce Now requires a obtain pace of at the least 15Mbps to stream video games with the free tier or 25Mbps for the 1080p / 60fps tier that prices $9.99 per 30 days. Plus, you want low latency between you and the closest knowledge heart. (You can run a community check by making a free account and installing the app on any supported platform.) Microsoft says you may play video games on Xbox Cloud Gaming with a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection of 7Mbps or increased. If you’ve got an information cap, it’s best to know that GeForce Now’s computerized high quality streaming mode makes use of roughly 6GB of information per hour of gameplay.

Out of curiosity, I attempted to play Slime Rancher 2 whereas the hand-held was linked to my cellphone’s Wi-Fi hotspot, which itself was getting a robust 5G sign in decrease Manhattan. The visible constancy seemed implausible, although the latency was drastically worse than once I used my at-home Wi-Fi community. This may sound apparent, however you in all probability shouldn’t count on to play fast-paced video games or multiplayer titles over a hotspot.

The Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld is displaying the Steam Big Picture interface while running Nvidia GeForce Now cloud game service.
During some GeForce Now streams, it kicks you over to a virtualized Steam Big Picture mode. And generally, it hangs there when it should not.

Even when web circumstances have been good, the quirky interior workings of virtualized cloud recreation situations generally grow to be uncovered. Some PC video games, like Cyberpunk 2077, would require you to button-press via a bunch of prelaunch home windows. I’ve had Nvidia GeForce Now grasp when it’s attempting in addition a recreation from Steam. It spun up a digital gaming PC working Steam Big Picture mode, however I needed to faucet the maximize button on a minimized window earlier than I might proceed with the sport. I don’t suppose these points are distinctive to this handheld, however some individuals may get caught in a troubleshooting rut there. With GeForce Now, issues could not go completely a number of the time. Launching video games from Xbox Cloud Gaming was far much less finicky.

This handheld is restricted in some unacceptable methods given its $350 value. It suffers from weak {hardware}, and it’s not pleasant to make use of except you’re linked to Wi-Fi. But when the circumstances are proper, and with providers nearly as good as Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now, Logitech’s imaginative and prescient for a cloud gaming handheld is smart. Fun video games are nonetheless enjoyable to play right here, and its design improves on the consolation of the Switch. So lengthy as you’re in an umbrella of fine Wi-Fi, life with this gadget is fairly good.

But as somebody who loves enjoying video games in all places I’m going, whether or not I’m at residence or using on the prepare, I can’t settle for Logitech’s handheld on its phrases as a result of it refuses to work on mine. $350 is simply an excessive amount of for a gadget with nearly the identical utility — and limitations — as a set-top streaming field.

Photography by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

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