Logitech is building an Android Steam Deck version for portable cloud gaming

Logitech

Those leaks were real! Logitech is jumping into the mobile gaming console arena, is cloud gaming the primary platform? The company has announced the Logitech G CLOUD Gaming Handheld, a Steam Deck/Nintendo Switch-style Android handheld device that has a full array of control buttons, and is meant to take your cloud gaming collection on the go.

The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor – two Cortex A76 CPUs, four A55 CPUs and an Adreno 618 GPU all built on the 8nm process. This is a mid-range chip that’s pretty close to what you get on the Pixel 5a. It’s good enough for some native games, but it will be native Android games, and that’s not the focus of this device. Besides the “cloud” in the name, Logitech says the mobile device takes “huge libraries of AAA titles and advanced graphics from the cloud and puts it all in your hands. This allows you to play a massive amount of games from Xbox, now Nvidia GeForce, and even Steam Link.” (Logitech consistently ignores Stadia and Luna in its promotional materials, but presumably it will work, too.)

The spec sheet also includes a 7-inch, 60Hz, 1920 x 1080 LCD screen, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, plus 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 the buttons, you’ll get a pretty standard layout for 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 that video output is not supported, so there are no Switch-style TV connections.

Unlike the Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck, the Logitech portable device does not have a fan. This means that it wouldn’t really be great to beat its gaming graphics natively when compared to competitors. The plus side is that you get tablet-like battery life: Logitech claims up to 12 hours of game streaming from its 6000mAh battery.

There are no good answers regarding internet access for a portable cloud gaming device. Logitech’s Qualcomm chipset deal unlocks cellular connectivity with LTE or 5G via a Qualcomm modem, but there’s absolutely no cellular option for Logitech’s handheld device. Cellular will make the device more expensive, either up front or with a monthly cellular bill, but the lack of it means that your “portable” cloud gaming device won’t work unless you can find an easy-to-use, high-quality Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi Hotspot . You could never use the thing while on a road trip, at least not without it hooking it up to another device, and even then, streaming cellular games would be tricky. It looks like you will be constantly starving for the internet.

Logitech’s Portable Cloud costs $350, (but is on sale now for an introductory price of $300), which is a tough sell because that’s Nintendo Switch money. Steam Deck costs an additional $50. How much do you like AAA Xbox/PC games and keep asking questions online, when a whole local mobile 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 would like to license to third parties. The system comes with Google Play, so you will have easy access to all your favorite games, emulators, and streaming services. The press release says the Logitech handheld device was “developed in partnership with Tencent Games,” with the two companies teaming up “to combine Logitech G’s hardware expertise with Tencent Games’ software services expertise.” Tencent is a Chinese technology leader and the world’s largest gaming company, thanks to which it has a stake in a large number of development houses, such as Riot Games and 40% of Epic Games. Tencent also has many Android app experiences, while Logitech has none. Wondering if any Tencent software is built into the OS?

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

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