Cloud gaming is in an interesting place, at least for Android users. In our eyes, it doesn’t look great, as Google has announced the closure of Stadia and the issuance of refunds for games purchased. It’s not just a good, reassuring look for those who might consider spending money on a cloud-based version of their favorite game. While Google may take a step back, other companies are moving forward, with Logitech recently announcing J Cloud Portable gaming device.
Available later this month, but for pre-order now at just $299 (regular price $349), G Cloud is what NVIDIA’s SHIELD Portable should have eventually evolved into. It’s a relatively weak device that takes full advantage of the cloud-based systems that companies like Microsoft and NVIDIA are pouring a lot of resources into. Think of G Cloud as the Android Steam Deck, but with much less computing power on the board.
As for the hardware, we have a complete plastic body with all the triggers, bumpers and buttons one would need to play. It is a very solid body with a nice weight thanks to a large built-in 6000mAh battery and a 7-inch HD (60Hz) screen. The buttons, thumbsticks, D-Pad, triggers, and fenders all look solid. Simply put, it doesn’t seem like a $349 device, if that makes sense. On the inside, we’ve got a Snapdragon 720G processor and 4GB of RAM running Android 11, with a custom launcher created by Logitech to serve as the interface you mostly see for getting in and out of games. There’s also a tablet mode, if you’ve ever wanted to. A full list of specifications can be found Our original ad Mail. To anyone on the fence, it’s possible that the specs seem inadequate. After all, it’s the SD720G with 4GB of RAM that’s been running the Android version of over two years ago. I totally got it, and let me assure you, I felt the same way when I was first learning about this device.
Now that I’ve used the device for games from both the cloud and Google Play, I can honestly say that these specs work just fine for what most people would need, plus the overall experience in Early Bird at $299 is pretty impressive. Do I wish the device would support higher refresh rates? Yes, that’s my first complaint, but other than that, the performance is surprisingly good, which makes perfect sense when we consider that all this device has to do is have a solid WiFi connection to play the world’s most demanding AAA titles. We can all admit that this is what makes the idea of cloud gaming attractive, where all the graphical settings are set to ultra but you don’t actually need the thousands of dollars of hardware required to make it happen. The problem is that while this is possible on the G Cloud, you still can’t experience the absolute power of the cloud because we are still limited by the display specifications of the device. To reiterate, in the performance department, all this hardware needs is a 90-120Hz screen and I’ll be fully on board. Screen colors are good, brightness is very solid, and contrast levels are very impressive. It really just needs the higher refresh rate my eyes are used to.
Battery life is exceptional. To give examples, I tested a few things. For starters, I downloaded a lot of games from Google Play, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, GTA: Vice City, Alto’s Odyssey, Crazy Taxi as well as a few of my favorite games. For my gaming sessions, which lasted no more than an hour, this device lasted for several days. I would come back from time to time throughout the day, do a few games, and then put them on. Hours later, I was back and still had plenty of juice for more games. For cloud gaming, it was the same, if not better. Since all I do is stream the game, I felt like G Cloud was sipping on juice while I was deep in Cyberpunk 2077 via GeForce NOW or Xbox’s Trek to Yomi and Back 4 Blood. Logitech claims up to 12 hours of continuous gameplay, so as long as you separate that time, this device should have no issues giving you plenty of gameplay on a single charge. I was very impressed here.
To wrap this up, if you are a fan of cloud gaming, I have no problems recommending this device. If you’re looking for more Google Play Mobile Game Center to play your favorite mobile games, while they’re at work, I think you’d be better off sticking to your dedicated phone or tablet with a Bluetooth controller paired with it (if the game supports such a thing). G Cloud simply doesn’t have the processing power (or the chipset) to take us where we want to be with Android-based games. On the cloud side, though, the performance is ample and totally gets the job done. My only concern in this aspect is GeForce NOW. Will NVIDIA continue to support it? While I hope they do, with Stadia’s passing, I still feel like writing is hanging on the wall for other cloud gaming services.
TL; DR . version: At the Early Bird price of $299, the G Cloud has great battery life and components. It’s the perfect entry point into the world of handheld cloud gaming, as long as you don’t mind staring at a screen that can’t exceed 60Hz frame rate.