It’s hard to get excited about the Logitech G Cloud, but it’s also hard to hate it. Basically, it’s a small Android tablet with a non-removable controller and a custom launcher; you can also run it as a generic tablet. On the other hand, a device like the nextis a similar small Android tablet plus an Xbox layout controller, but bundled rather than tethered. It doesn’t feel cheap, but it doesn’t feel premium, and ultimately, it doesn’t feel like something that entices you to play games.
The closest design to the G Cloud is the Nintendo Switch Lite, in that it’s an all-in-one device with standard controllers attached to either side of a screen and is best suited for fundamentally mobile gamers. The Steam Deck works along the same lines, but at least for now, it’s aimed at PC gamers who want to play on a smaller, more mobile device. Its dimensions are somewhere in between.
I have mixed feelings about running the G Cloud. Attaching any kind of controller to a phone is always a bit of a hassle, and even widescreen phones look a little small because they’re long and narrow rather than 16:9. But at its price, it rivals the Switch for your money, even though they are very different devices. And it’s spec’d for cloud gaming with the lowest common denominator, not something like GeForce Now’s 1440p high-refresh rate RTX 3080. Additionally, we have become accustomed to OLED screens on many devices. There is also no charging station.
- Less annoying than swapping controllers on your phone
- Micro SD slot for adding storage
Do not like
- Relatively expensive
- Little storage
- The screen is not very contrasty
- No camera
The custom launcher looks like a console dashboard, but just shows the most recent apps – like Xbox Cloud Gaming, but not the specific game you’ve been playing – and lets you pin apps to the main screen
The display is pretty basic: a 7-inch 1080p IPS display with a 60Hz refresh rate and 450 nits brightness. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G with 4GB of memory, has stereo speakers with an amp, a stereo noise-canceling mic, and 3.5mm and USB-C audio out (no video), plus than Bluetooth 5.1.
The controller aspects feel…good, or at least typical for a mobile controller. In other words, the buttons are a bit mushy, the triggers have less travel (but still more than you’d expect for quick response), the grips are textured plastic (less slippery than normal plastic but less grippy than rubberized), sticks really only understand four directions (i.e. they don’t register diagonals very well) and so on.
You can connect via Wi-Fi 5 only – there’s no Wi-Fi 6/6E or cellular support, which is disappointing, especially since I had frequent network issues. In my building with high signal density, Wi-Fi 6E greatly improved the speed and reliability of my connections, which would have made a big difference here.
G Cloud’s bandwidth was at least half that of my phones, tablets, and computers, and I experienced issues ranging from display artifacts to freezing with Xbox Cloud Gaming, GeForce Now, and Steam Link, even in relatively undemanding games like Pentiment, Shadows Over Loathing, and Dead Cells. However, playing local Android games went relatively well.
The built-in storage is only 64 GB, but it has a slot for a microSD/TF card. It also claims to have “linear haptics” for the controls, but that doesn’t seem to translate to anything noticeable. The company rates the battery up to 12.5 hours of playtime, but in practice it was more like 7 or 8. You could probably stretch that by leaving the ambient light sensor on, which brightens or darkens the screen. screen dynamically, but I find these never work well. In this case, it would reduce the brightness to 0 in a dark room – and I’m almost always in the dark – which was way too dark.
I could never forget that it was basically a modernized tablet, from its initial oh-my-god-get-out-of-my-way-Google setup (which at least lets you carry over some basics in order to access the game sooner) to his why-can’t-uninstall-Gmail-or-any-other-Google-apps trouble. Moreover, it’s only as a frustratingly console, as a single task; it can only load one app (or game) at a time, so you can’t pause your game to check your emails without stopping it.
That’s fine if you want something that can double as an Android tablet, but I have a phone with a better screen, faster processor, and 5G support, and it’s not another big device to throw in my bag. It would be nice if it was cheaper – say, under $200 – or if it came with a one-year subscription to at least one of the services. As it stands, it’s uninspiring at best and disappointing at worst.
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