The Logitech G Cloud threatens to fall between two stools

With the gigantic mobile games market, the success of the Nintendo Switch and the rise of cloud gaming, playing on the small screen is bigger than ever. Logitech’s G Cloud is fully committed to the latter, but for the time being it seems to offer little added value in the current gaming landscape.

Logitech unveiled the handheld this week at LogiPlay, a new annual event where it unveils new products. It comes with impressive new steering wheels and pedals, the Blue Sona-XLR microphone for streamers and podcasters and introduces the G Fits: earplugs that mold to your ear in minutes. However, it was clear that the G Cloud had to be the main highlight of the presentation.

The power of the cloud

The fact that the G Cloud was developed together with the Chinese Tencent says a lot about the target group of the handheld. In a Q&A, a spokesperson indicated that he had high expectations for both the European and American markets, but it is obvious that the G Cloud should appeal to Asian countries in particular, where mobile gaming is much larger than here.

The G Cloud is entirely intended for cloud gaming. To that end, Logitech has partnerships with Microsoft for Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia for GeForce Now. Both apps are therefore installed on the device itself to easily switch between the libraries – if the user has the correct subscriptions. Furthermore, Xbox Remote Play and Steam Link are also integrated into the operating system and Logitech says it will add more platforms in the future.

Switching and starting games works great. The handheld’s operating system is fluid and the Android 11-based launcher is uncluttered. For example, it is possible to remap the buttons. Users can also switch the handheld to tablet mode to take advantage of all of Android’s capabilities – from Chrome to all apps from the Google Play Store. So downloading other streaming applications is possible.

The user experience of the G Cloud is pleasant. The device fits well in the hand and the buttons feel quite premium. In fact, it is a thin tablet, integrated in a handheld housing.

Wi-Fi only

That is also the pitfall of the G Cloud: there is little difference with cloud gaming on a phone and a mountable controller. Logitech’s arguments for preferring the handheld to smartphones are that the 1080p and 60Hz screen has the perfect specifications for streaming, that users are not distracted by other apps while playing and that the housing is much more comfortable.

In addition to the fact that the G Cloud is indeed comfortable to hold and has a great screen, many phones and controllers also meet the above requirements. In addition, the handheld runs on the Snapdragon 720G chip from 2019, with which many new phones even have an edge.

The biggest shortcoming of the G Cloud, however, is that it only supports WiFi. Users who want to game on the go – especially on a handheld – are therefore dependent on Wi-Fi and mobile hotspots. Logitech itself indicates that research shows that many users like to use a handheld in different places indoors, and that WiFi offers the best streaming experience. That is true as a bus, but is actually not a good reason to remove SIM card support.

Not in the clouds yet

So who is the G Cloud intended for? For now, that’s a tough question to answer, even for markets where mobile gaming is bigger than here. Apart from the above, there is little wrong with the device itself. The specifications are well suited to cloud gaming for a longer period of time, which in itself works better and better. But with a pre-order price of $299 and a final price of $349 in the United States, the Logitech G Cloud doesn’t impress yet.

The Logitech G Cloud will be released in the United States on October 17. It is still unknown when the handheld will come to Europe.

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