Logitech creates Android-based Steam deck clone for portable cloud gaming

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Logitech

These leaks were real! Logitech jumps into the handheld gaming console arena and cloud gaming is the primary platform? The company has announced the Logitech G CLOUD Gaming Handheld, a Steam Deck/Nintendo Switch-style portable device that runs Android and has a full suite of controller buttons, designed to take your cloud gaming collection with you on the go.

The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G with eight cores – that’s two Cortex A76 CPUs, four A55 CPUs and an Adreno 618 GPU, all based on an 8nm process. That’s a mid-range chip that’s very close to what you get in a Pixel 5a. It’s good enough for some local gaming, but those will be local Android gaming and those aren’t the focus of this device. Along with the “cloud” in the name, Logitech says the handheld “takes massive libraries of AAA titles and advanced graphics from the cloud and puts it all in your hands. This allows you to play a ridiculous amount of games from Xbox, Nvidia GeForce NOW, and even Steam Link.” (Logitech constantly snubs Stadia and Luna in its promotional materials, but presumably they’ll work too.)

The spec sheet also includes a 7-inch, 60Hz, 1920×1080 LCD, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, as well as a MicroSD slot. There’s a USB-C port for 18W charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers and Wi-Fi 5 (aka 802.11ac) support. For buttons, you get a fairly standard layout, with a D-Pad, two joysticks, ABXY face buttons, four shoulder buttons (two analog), and then four system buttons for things like “Home” and “Menu”. Logitech’s FAQ goes out of its way to say it doesn’t support video out, so no Switch-style TV ports.

Unlike the Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck, Logitech’s Portable doesn’t have a fan. That means it really isn’t great for cracking your own game graphics locally compared to its competition. The upside is you get longer battery life, like a tablet: Logitech claims the 6000mAh battery will give you up to 12 hours of game streaming.

There are no good answers regarding internet access for a portable cloud gaming device. Logitech’s Qualcomm chip deal opens up the possibility of cellular connectivity with LTE or 5G via a Qualcomm modem, but there’s no cellular option at all for Logitech’s handheld. Cellular would make the device even more expensive, both upfront and with a monthly cellular bill, but not having it means your “portable” cloud gaming device will work out of the box if you can find friendly, quality WiFi – fi hotspot. You could never use the thing during a road trip, at least not without tethering it to another device, and even then, streaming mobile games will be difficult. It feels like you are constantly starving for internet.

Logitech’s cloud handheld costs $350 (but is now on sale at an introductory price of $300), which is a tough sell given it’s Nintendo Switch money. A Steam Deck costs $50 more. How much do you love AAA Xbox/PC gaming and endure constant Internet questions when a fully local handheld can be had for the same amount of money?

Somehow this device only ships with Android 11, which at two years old is probably close to the age limit of what Google is willing to license to third parties. The system comes with Google Play, giving you easy access to all your favorite games, emulators and streaming services. The press release states that Logitech’s handheld was “developed in partnership with Tencent Games,” with the two companies joining forces to “combine Logitech G’s hardware expertise with Tencent Games’ software expertise.” Tencent is a Chinese tech juggernaut and the world’s largest gaming company, thanks to stakes in a ton of development houses like Riot Games and 40 percent of Epic Games. Tencent also has a ton of experience with Android apps, while Logitech doesn’t. I’m wondering if there is any Tencent software baked into the OS?

The handheld is available for pre-order now and will be available on Amazon and Best Buy in October.

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