Hands-on 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 17 (until then, it’s $50 off pre-order). Today I have 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 what it felt like in my hands. We will have a full review in the coming weeks.

Arriving at the test station, Death Loop (newly available on Xbox Game Pass) was streamed over Wi-Fi to the handheld’s Xbox Cloud Gaming app. Unfortunately, it was the intro sequence with no action, but I was still able to sprint and jump. While not a fun killer, like all of my experiences with cloud game streaming, there was just a whiff of input lag that, for me at least, is hard to ignore. On the plus side, the G Cloud’s buttons, triggers and analog stick layout feel good. When it comes to visual fidelity, it’s hard to know what you can fault a crowded Wi-Fi network for, but dark gaming environments looked a little blurry on its seven-inch 1080p IPS panel.

Hold the Logitech G Cloud Gaming handheld in one hand.  It displays the game Fortnite, in which a character looks at a cliff on the horizon.

The cloud version of Fortnite was quite enjoyable to play on the handheld, even with a hint of input latency.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner/MovieBeat

This was not the case when I switched to Fortnite through the Nvidia GeForce Now app. Leaving Xbox Game Pass and booting into a new app was quick enough. My first impression is that if your base expectation of speed in a handheld consists solely of the Nintendo Switch, I think you’ll probably be impressed with how responsive the performance and interface navigation is – maybe- be not so much if you come from a Steam Bridge. To his favorite, Fortnite on the G Cloud Gaming Handheld looks better and runs smoother than on the Switch (not a very high bar, I know), though that’s entirely dependent on your Wi-Fi network capabilities. Of course, since it’s of an Android-based handheld, it’s probably possible to get real Fortnite loaded on this thing and don’t care about the whole cloud aspect. However, I don’t know how well it would perform with its Snapdragon 720G and 4GB of RAM.

The rest of my time with the G Cloud Gaming Handheld was spent getting lost in its Android launcher that Tencent apparently helped develop, which seems ripped from the days of Android Honeycomb (even though the unit I tested was running Android 11). It’s pretty easy to find all of your apps, except for the gaming-focused ones it puts front and center. When 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 pretty much anything, I imagine. Aesthetically, the UI tries to have a gamer vibe which I didn’t quite agree with.

An overhead view of the Logitech G Cloud gaming headset showing its shoulder buttons, which are covered in a textured plastic.

Shoulder buttons and handles are covered in textured plastic to provide extra grip.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner/MovieBeat

The G Cloud handheld is comfortable to hold. The built-in grips offer a good amount of palm support, and the textured plastic around its back and on the triggers feels great to the touch. In terms of ergonomics alone, I would definitely rather waste a few hours playing on it than on Switch. At the bottom, there’s a headphone jack next to a USB-C port that’s primarily used for charging. It can’t support video output to external monitors – I asked – although it does work with USB-C audio transmitters for headsets that offer that sort of thing. At the top left of the handheld rail, there’s a volume rocker next to a sleep switch (you can also turn it off through software). And finally, there’s a microSD card slot on the right side, next to the right shoulder buttons.

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

There’s a power slider next to a volume rocker along the handheld’s top rail.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner/MovieBeat

This handheld feels and looks well designed, and it didn’t take me long at all to feel like it’s a gadget I want to spend a lot more time testing. Although, like most Logitech products, no matter how fancy, spending time with it hasn’t changed that I’m not a fan of its $349.99 retail price. You need to be totally convinced not only by this handheld but also by the services you want to play on. So the cost only goes up 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 output via USB-C, but you can plug in USB-C audio transmitters for wireless headphones, in addition to charging.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner/MovieBeat

Outside of this handheld, it’s really hard to underestimate the value that some of the other popular handheld consoles currently offer, including the $199 Switch Lite or the more capable $299 Switch that can connect to a TV. Not to mention, the Steam Deck’s $399 starting price is a tempting alternative if you want to play PC games on the go. Even so, Android tablets turned handhelds readily available for purchase are just rare enough for the G Cloud Gaming Handheld to be a hit. We will have to see.

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