Those leaks were real! Logitech is jumping into the portable game console arena and is cloud gaming the primary platform? The company has announced the “Logitech G CLOUD Gaming Handheld,” a portable Steam Deck/Nintendo Switch style that runs on Android, has a full suite of controller buttons, and is designed to take your cloud gaming collection on the go.
The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G with eight cores – that’s two Cortex A76 CPUs, four A55 CPUs and an Adreno 618 GPU, all built on an 8nm process. That’s a mid-range chip that’s very close to what you get in a Pixel 5a. It’s good enough for some local games, but those will be Android local games, and that’s not the focus of this device. In addition to the “Cloud” in the name, Logitech says the handheld “takes huge libraries of AAA titles and advanced graphics from the cloud and puts it all in your hands. This allows you to play a ridiculous amount of games from Xbox, Nvidia GeForce NOW, and even Steam Link.” (Logitech constantly ignores Stadia and Luna in its promotional material, but presumably they’ll work too.)
The spec sheet also lists a 7-inch, 60Hz, 1920×1080 LCD display, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage plus a MicroSD slot. There’s a USB-C port for 18W charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers and support for Wi-Fi 5 (aka 802.11ac). For buttons, you get a pretty standard layout of a D-pad, two joysticks, ABXY face buttons, four shoulder buttons (two analog), then four system buttons for things like ‘Home’ and ‘Menu’. Logitech’s FAQ goes a long way to say that video output isn’t supported, so no Switch-style TV connections.
Check it out: Xbox Cloud Gaming, Nvidia Geforce Now, Xbox Weather, and Steam Link. That’s all cloud streaming services, right? Nothing is missing.
In addition to that custom game launcher interface, there is also a normal Android home screen.
The top has four shoulder buttons (two are analog), a power switch, a volume rocker, and what looks like the MicroSD slot cover.
The bottom has two speakers, a USB-C port and a headphone jack.
The back is just for grip. There are no triggers here.
Someone to hold the thing. It is smaller than a Steam Deck.
This built-in button remapper looks handy.
Unlike the Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck, Logitech’s portable doesn’t have a fan. That means it really won’t be great for cracking its own game graphics locally compared to its competition. The upside is that you get a more tablet-like battery life: Logitech claims up to 12 hours of game streaming from the 6000 mAh battery.
There are no right answers regarding internet access for a portable cloud gaming device. Logitech’s Qualcomm chip deal opens up the possibility for cellular connectivity to LTE or 5G via a Qualcomm modem, but there’s no cellular option at all for Logitech’s handheld. Cellular would make the device even more expensive, both upfront and with a monthly mobile bill, but not having it means your “portable” cloud gaming device will work instantly if you can find friendly, high-quality Wi-Fi. -Fi hotspot. You could never use the thing on a road trip, at least not without pairing it with another device, and even then streaming mobile games will be difficult. It feels like you are constantly hungry for the internet.
Logitech’s cloud handheld costs $350 (but is on sale right now for an introductory price of $300), which is a tough sell because that’s Nintendo Switch money. A Steam Deck is $50 more. How much do you love AAA Xbox/PC games and putting up with constant internet queries, when you can get a fully local handheld for the same money?
Somehow, this device only comes with Android 11, which at two years is probably close to the age limit of what Google is willing to license to third parties. The system comes with Google Play so you can easily access all your favorite games, emulators and streaming services. According to the press release, Logitech’s handheld was “developed in conjunction with Tencent Games,” with the two companies collaborating to “combine Logitech G’s expertise in hardware with Tencent Games’ expertise in software services.” Tencent is a Chinese tech juggernaut and the world’s largest gaming company, thanks to owning stakes in a bunch of development houses, such as Riot Games and 40 percent of Epic Games. Tencent also has a ton of Android app experience while Logitech has none. I wonder if there is Tencent software baked into the OS?
The handheld is available for pre-order now and will be available on Amazon and Best Buy in October.
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