Logitech today unveiled a brand new device that is both intriguing and easy to understand. The Logitech G Cloud is a handheld console that focuses primarily on cloud gaming services, such as Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now.
While Logitech is better known for its computer peripherals, webcams and gaming accessories, the company is entering a new market with the Logitech G Cloud.
If you look at the photo at the top of this article, you think it looks like a Nintendo Switch or a Steam Deck. That form factor has been wildly successful in recent years, and Logitech isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. The Logitech G Cloud has a medium-sized screen surrounded by gamepad-like controls.
But the device philosophy is drastically different from other handheld consoles. The Logitech G Cloud runs on Android and offers deep integrations with Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now.
Logitech has worked with Tencent to develop the launcher, conduct usability tests, and optimize how to pause games and move them to the background. But it remains a real Android device with Google Play.
In other words, gamers now have a third type of handheld console. With the Nintendo Switch, you get the Nintendo experience with great first-party games and a console that just works. With the Steam Deck, you get a portable PC that can run PC games.
The Logitech G Cloud is different from the Switch and the Steam Deck. It allows you to access your favorite cloud gaming service without having to rely on a TV or a computer. Steam Deck owners may think they already can. That’s true, but the Steam Deck is designed to run games locally.
“They’ve done a phenomenal job. But it’s less about cloud gaming — it’s more about ‘how can I have a PC in my hands,'” VP and GM of Logitech Gaming Ujesh Desai told me. It has a powerful AMD processing unit, a fan and plenty of onboard storage.
The Logitech G Cloud is relatively cheaper, considerably lighter and has a long battery life. When it comes to internal specs, it has just the right amount of computing power to run cloud gaming services, but nothing extra.
The Logitech G Cloud will be available in October for an introductory price of $299. After a while, the company plans to increase the price of the device to $349. It will initially only be available in the US and Canada, but there are are plans to release the device in more markets where cloud gaming services are available.
Buying a Backbone gaming controller and using it with your phone is a cheaper option. But chances are your phone has a smaller screen and you may want to use your phone while you play.
“I’m a fan of Backbone, I love the team there,” said Logitech’s Ujesh Desai. “But my phone is my business. That’s how I talk to my family. I’m afraid my battery will run out.” Phones are also a source of distraction.
What you get for $350
Modern smartphones are much more powerful than the Logitech G Cloud as the company has opted for a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G system on a chip with 4GB of RAM. There is 64 GB of storage that you can expand with a microSD card.
And yet, with cloud gaming services, most intensive computing tasks take place in data centers near you. You don’t need a powerful GPU for gaming in the cloud.
When it comes to wireless connectivity, the G Cloud only supports WiFi 5. It would have been nice to get WiFi 6 support since latency and internet bandwidth are so important for cloud gaming.
Everything else seems more or less standard for an Android device: Bluetooth 5.1, a USB-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers and stereo microphones.
Logitech chose the Xbox gamepad layout with A/B/X/Y buttons, two analog joysticks, two analog triggers, two bumper buttons, and haptic feedback. There are a handful of extra buttons to go back home or launch the Xbox overlay menu when playing a game on Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Where the Logitech G Cloud stands out is the screen and battery life. The console has a 7-inch screen with a 1080p resolution, and the company says you can expect up to 12 hours of cloud game playtime. Overall, the console weighs 463g – that’s about 30% lighter than the Steam Deck and a bit heavier than a Nintendo Switch with Joy-Con controllers attached.
In addition to cloud gaming services, gamers can use the G Cloud to stream games from their consoles or PC using, for example, the Xbox or Steam Link apps. You can also install apps from the Play Store, meaning you may be able to use Shadow to access a gaming PC in the cloud.
Logitech isn’t going to sell tens of millions of G Cloud devices. It’s not the next breakthrough console as cloud gaming is still relatively new – there aren’t tens of millions of people playing games on cloud gaming platforms.
But it’s nice to see something different that opens up new opportunities to play games. It will become more and more popular as cloud gaming services become more mainstream. If you are already familiar with cloud gaming services, the Logitech G Cloud can be considered a physical extension of those services.