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Handheld with Logitech’s new G Cloud gaming handheld

Yesterday, Logitech announced its $349.99 G Cloud gaming handheld, which will be released in the US on October 17th (until then, $50 off for preorders). Today, I got to test it briefly. It was only a 10-minute demo, but it was long enough for me to take a few photos, launch a few apps, and see how it felt in my hands. We’ll have a full review in the coming weeks.

When I reached the examination station, Deathloop (newly available on Xbox Game Pass) streaming over Wi-Fi to the handheld’s Xbox Cloud Gaming app. Sadly, it’s an action-less intro sequence, but I still got to sprint and jump around. While it’s not a fun killer like all of my experiences with cloud game streaming, there is a bit of stuttering in the input lag that’s hard to ignore, at least for me. On the plus side, the G Cloud’s buttons, triggers, and analog stick layout feel good. As for visual fidelity, it’s hard to know how much of the blame can be laid on a congested Wi-Fi network, but the game’s dark environments looked a little blurry on its seven-inch 1080p IPS panel.

Holding Logitech's G Cloud gaming handheld in one hand.  It's showing a game of Fortnite, in which a character is looking out into the horizon from atop a hill.

The cloud version of Fortnite is great to play on a handheld, even with a hint of input lag.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

Not so when I moved Fortnite Via the Nvidia GeForce Now app. Exiting Xbox Game Pass and booting into a new app was satisfyingly fast. My initial impression is that if your baseline expectations for speed on a handheld are just the Nintendo Switch, I think you’ll probably be impressed with how responsive the performance and interface navigation feels – maybe not so much if you’re coming from one. Steam deck. at best, Fortnite G Cloud Gaming looks better and runs smoother than on a handheld Switch (not a very high bar, I know), but that’s entirely dependent on your Wi-Fi network capabilities. Of course, since it’s an Android-based handheld, it’s probably possible to get real Fortnite Loaded on this stuff and don’t worry about the whole cloud thing. However, I’m not sure how well it will run with its Snapdragon 720G and 4GB of RAM.

The rest of my time with the G Cloud gaming handheld was lost in its Android launcher, which Tencent clearly helped develop, and it feels like it’s been removed from the Android Honeycomb days (although the unit I tested ran Android 11). It’s easy to find all your apps, aside from the gaming-focused ones it puts front and center. When you’re looking at your full app library, you can click a face button that acts as a portal to the Google Play Store, where you can download practically anything, I imagine. Aesthetically, the user interface is trying for a gamer-y vibe that doesn’t quite click with me.

A top view of the Logitech G Cloud gaming headset shows off its shoulder buttons, which are covered in textured plastic.

The shoulder buttons and grips are covered in textured plastic to provide more, well, grip.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

The G Cloud handheld is comfortable to hold. The built-in grips offer a good amount of palm support, and the textured plastic on the back and triggers is a nice touch. In terms of ergonomics alone, I’d definitely rather lose a few hours playing these games than on the Switch. At the bottom, next to the USB-C port is the headphone jack, which is mainly used for charging. It doesn’t support pushing video to external monitors — I asked — but it does work with USB-C audio transmitters for headsets that offer that sort of thing. At the top left of the handheld rail, next to the sleep switch is the volume rocker (you can also power down via software). Finally, on the right side, next to the right shoulder buttons is the microSD card slot.

This image shows the volume and power buttons on the Logitech G Cloud gaming handheld

Along the handheld top rail is the power slider next to the volume rocker.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

This handheld feels well designed and it didn’t take long for me to feel that this is a gadget I’ll be spending a lot of time testing. However, like most Logitech products, as polished as it feels, spending time with it didn’t leave me a fan of its $349.99 retail price. You have to purchase not only for this handheld but also for the services you want to play the games. So, the cost will only increase from there.

This image shows the charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the Logitech G Cloud gaming handheld.

The handheld doesn’t support video over USB-C, but you can plug in USB-C audio transmitters for charging as well as wireless headsets.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

Looking outside of this handheld, it’s hard to underplay how much value some other popular handheld consoles offer right now, including the $199 Switch Lite or the more capable $299 Switch that can connect to a TV. Not to mention, Steam Deck’s $399 starting price is a tempting alternative if you want to play PC games on the go. However, Android tablets designed as handhelds are readily available for purchase Just The G Cloud gaming handheld is almost as unusual as a hit. We have to see.

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