When Logitech introduced the G Cloud Gaming Handheld, it caught the attention of many people, including myself. The idea of a private cloud gaming device was certainly a tempting one; Being able to move around with instant access to thousands of high-quality games without waiting for download times, updating, or experiencing storage issues is a good goal for our future. But as of 2023, the cloud gaming landscape is somewhat mixed. While Xbox Game Pass continues to increase its subscriber base and expand to new platforms like VR, other cloud services like Google Stadia decided to shut it down after just a few years.
This puts Logitech G Cloud in an interesting position. The device sits between a dedicated controller and mobile gaming, and a device with more capabilities and power like the Steam Deck. However, the limited number of supported cloud services and the high entry price made it feel like G Cloud might be more of a concept than a real competitor.
Logitech G Cloud Design and Features
Logitech G Cloud is the core of a 7-inch Android tablet encased in a customized hardware shell, and features dual analog sticks, D-pad, four face buttons, bumpers and triggers, plus option buttons, home button, and a modern game controller called the G button by Logitech. It offers everything available.
Inside the G Cloud is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, a three-year-old midrange octa-core processor designed for efficiency rather than power. For cloud games, this is not a problem as most of the heavy processing is done by the server. However, if you plan to download and play games locally from the Google Play store, don’t expect cutting-edge performance. It also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage, with the option to expand further via a microSD card.
The 7-inch LCD screen offers good viewing angles with IPS technology and 450 nits brightness. It is quite adequate for cloud gaming as it has 1080p resolution and 60Hz refresh rate. The screen also supports multi-touch so typing on the onscreen keyboard isn’t a cumbersome experience and you can navigate menus with your finger if you prefer. Some apps don’t recognize the built-in controls anyway, so the touchscreen will be your only option in these situations.
You can expect about 12 hours of battery life from the 6,000mAh internal battery, as you will most likely be streaming games instead of running them locally most of the time. Using the Xbox Cloud Streaming app, we’ve observed that the charge drops by about 5-10% per hour. It supports Quick Charge 3.0 via the USB-C port on the bottom, so it only takes two and a half hours to charge from zero to 100 percent. G Cloud also claims to have around 830 hours of standby time, though that number may vary depending on how you use it. When using it regularly, if you remember to close any app after use, you will see almost no battery consumption between sessions.
G Cloud supports the somewhat outdated WiFi 5 (802.11/a/b/g/n/ac) standard and can connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. This product, released in 2022, may seem like a shortcoming given that it doesn’t support WiFi 6, increasing speed and overall efficiency. There’s no built-in 5G support either, so you’ll need a mobile hotspot or find WiFi to take the Logitech G Cloud with you and play. This is probably its biggest drawback.
Like many mobile devices like G Cloud, G Cloud has 3D gyroscope and haptic feedback feature, but this feature seems to only work with native Android apps and games.
On the underside of the Logitech G Cloud are dual speakers, a headphone jack, and a USB-C port for charging. It is also a port that supports USB-C digital headphones. It also supports Bluetooth headphones and has a stereo microphone that provides limited echo cancellation and external noise suppression.
The G Cloud is extremely light at 463 grams, with most of the weight being distributed between the left and right handles. That’s slightly heavier than the Nintendo Switch OLED, weighing around 422 grams with both Joy-Cons attached, and significantly lighter than the Steam Deck’s 669 grams. All things considered, the G Cloud is comfortable to hold for long periods of time, thanks to its rounded edges that conform to your hands and its textured ergonomic grip.
Logitech G Cloud Software
Logitech G Cloud comes with Android 11 operating system. Since Android 13 has been released, this may seem like an odd choice, but it’s not a major issue for most users who aren’t already looking for the latest Android features. G Cloud can use “Tablet Mode” to provide a full Android 11 tablet experience, but playing “Handheld Mode” is recommended. This mod overlaps a custom launcher similar to the Nintendo Switch home screen and is displayed horizontally in order of last use.
On first boot, you need to configure your device with my Google account and then it gives you the option to boot into one of the aforementioned Handheld or Tablet Modes. The Xbox Cloud Streaming and Nvidia GeForce Now apps are preloaded with a choice of four games alongside the standard Xbox and Steam Link apps for playing games locally. These four options include Google Chrome, Calendar, Contacts, Maps, etc. The standard Google application suite is also included and unfortunately these applications cannot be removed from the device.
With Google Play Store available, you can download almost any app like Netflix, Disney+. However, even though it’s marketed as a cloud streaming device, apps like PlayStation Remote Play and Amazon Luna don’t recognize the built-in controller and recommend just using the touch controls or pairing a separate Bluetooth controller for gaming. It’s hard to say whether other cloud or local game streaming apps will be supported in the future, but you’re currently limited to just the four aforementioned apps.
Even with the included apps, there doesn’t seem to be any deep integration by Logitech to make these experiences feel customized for the unique device. For example, the Xbox Cloud Streaming app pre-installed on G Cloud is actually a shortcut to the browser version available at xbox.com/play, there’s also the Xbox Game Pass app designed for mobile devices with a different user interface on the Google Play Store. Clicking any link at the bottom of the page will disable the app because there is no back button and you will have to either close and restart the app or manually navigate back to the Xbox Cloud Streaming (beta) page on Microsoft’s website.
The Nvidia GeForce Now app isn’t very good either. When the app opened and I logged in with my Nvidia account, I was told I didn’t have a subscription and sent me back to the login screen with no option to try a free trial. Instead, I have to go to the Nvidia website and sign up there, go back to G Cloud and log back in to start gaming. For a device designed around sudden movements, it feels like you have to overcome a lot of hurdles to really get to your games.
The Settings app offers limited customization options in Hand Mode, for example you can choose a light and dark theme and four background images. However, there doesn’t seem to be any more customization options or an option to add your own custom backgrounds. There is also a section for remapping every button except the G button.
Logitech G Cloud Games
We would like to point out to this section that as this device is primarily designed for cloud gaming, your personal experience may vary depending on many factors. Especially depending on factors like your network speeds and location.
For the most part, we had no trouble recognizing the built-in controller when we tested a variety of games via the pre-installed Xbox Cloud Streaming app. Starting a game took about 20-30 seconds as it connected to the Xbox servers and then we were in the game.
Handling big, gorgeous games, like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 for example, still seems like magic in the palm of your hand. Gaming via Xbox Game Pass is very similar to the experience of testing many mobile game controllers, but this device feels much more robust and has a significantly larger screen. While it’s a minor issue, we’d like to point out that we weren’t bothered by notifications at all times, and the controls are aligned with a console-like experience, so it feels like a more private experience.
While the G Cloud is mostly made of plastic, it feels tough and solid. The controls are also comfortable to use, with comfortable thumb sticks, a clicking D-pad and sensitive face buttons. The triggers are a little wider and shallower than you’d find on a traditional gamepad, but they’re analog so they give you more control over your speed in a game like Forza Horizon 5. The only problem was that the A button was too close to the right analog stick. Since the analog stick is directly under the A button with about half an inch of space, it wasn’t difficult to accidentally tap the stick when playing in a fast-paced shooter or action game, which can impair your aiming ability.
While Doom Eternal is ideal for fast scrolling gameplay, it consistently hits the target of 60fps with no noticeable lag with the controls, while the text and icons on most screens become almost illegible because when you stream gameplay over Wi-Fi you lose some clarity and everything. You shrink it down to a 7-inch screen. When navigating other fast paced shooters like Deathloop and Halo Infinite, there’s quite a bit of distortion to deal with everything on the screen.
It turned out definitively.
Currently, being limited to only two cloud streaming services (Xbox Cloud Streaming and Nvidia GeForce Now) and two native options (Xbox and Steam Link) seems a bit disappointing given the intended use of this handheld.
What’s even more surprising is that none of the games I downloaded from the Google Play Store, such as Apex Legends Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile, recognized the built-in gamepad, and we’re stuck with touch controls, which isn’t very practical given the device’s breadth. We understand this to be a cloud-focused device, but limiting the native options to touchscreen only further reduces its usefulness when used in an area without WiFi connectivity.
Another small problem is: the inability to uninstall any of the pre-installed Google apps. Because this is a core Android experience, it feels like a lot has been overshadowed by Google. More than 15 Google apps are updated frequently. The last thing I want to check the messages folder on its home screen is to find the emails I’m interested in. While in handheld mode, I looked for an option to disable Google services or certain apps so I could shift my focus more towards games.
Logitech G Cloud
The Logitech G Cloud comes with the promise of streaming games from a handful of services in the cloud or locally, and it does it well. However, the barrier to entry is quite high. It charges a fairly high $350 price compared to other alternatives, and to take full advantage of all cloud streaming you have to spend money on additional subscription services and you need fast enough internet to enjoy all of this. Added to the lack of support for other remote playback services and downloadable games, it’s debatable how ready the Logitech G Cloud is.