Logitech G Cloud handheld device puts a different spin on mobile gaming

For gamers, being able to play anywhere at any time is a bit of a dream come true. Of course, that has always been possible with certain game systems, like the Nintendo Game Boy, the Sony PlayStation Portable, or even smartphones, but a single device that is able to do all of these is still an unreachable goal. Thanks to advancements in technology, particularly in cloud computing, that dream is slowly becoming a reality. And it’s that kind of reality that Logitech’s latest device is trying to achieve with a gaming handheld that lets you play almost any game available, at least any game that’s available on smartphones or through the cloud.

Designer: Logitech

Logitech is best known for its line of computer accessories ranging from keyboards and mice to webcams. It doesn’t make nor sell computers, and this Logitech G Cloud handheld would be one of, if not its first, computing device. It’s a device aimed at a rather niche market that straddles the line between smartphone and gaming console, and it’s a market that it might have difficulty winning unless it plays its cards right.

This isn’t the first handheld gaming device to come in this form, after all, with the Nintendo Switch and Valve’s Steam Deck leading the market in terms of popularity. It isn’t even the first dedicated Android-powered gaming handheld to make its way to the market. And as those other attempts might have proven, it’s not an easy market to conquer. Then again, they might have just been ahead of their time.

In terms of design, the Logitech G Cloud aims for comfort and convenience to set it apart from both smartphones as well as other gaming handhelds. It’s relatively light, thanks to having nearly the same specs as a 7-inch mid-range Android tablet. Compared to a smartphone or tablet, however, it has dedicated physical controls that make playing many games easier. Logitech has even set its sights beyond just technical performance, boasting of the device’s carbon neutrality and sustainable packaging.

In terms of user experience, the gaming handheld is pretty much an Android tablet with a few built-in features related to gaming. In addition to a game launcher that takes a page out of the Nintendo Switch, it also has built-in support for cloud gaming services like Xbox Cloud Game Pass and NVIDIA GeForce Now. Additionally, it can also stream games running on an Xbox console or Steam PC at home, thanks to remote play functionality available on these platforms. In other words, the device can practically run any game from any platform except the PlayStation, presuming those services and features are available in the owner’s region, of course.

While it sounds like heaven for gamers, it’s still uncertain whether it will be a commercial success for Logitech. Many of these features can also be enjoyed on a large smartphone these days, so the Logitech G Cloud doesn’t really sound too unique. It does have the convenience of having a single device for gaming with built-in controls, but almost everyone has that kind of device in their pockets these days; they just need a good controller to go along with it.

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Gaming Box gives a whole new interpretation to portable gaming

Inspired by the Nintendo Switch’s success, there has been a rise in devices with somewhat similar designs running different gaming platforms. There’s Valve’s Steam Deck for PCs, of course, but there are also gaming handhelds running Android instead. Even computer accessory maker Logitech is getting its game on with a cloud-centric collaboration with gaming giant Tencent. Despite varying designs and sizes, the basic format of these portable gaming devices is the same. There’s a large screen in the middle flanked by the two halves of a typical gaming controller. That, however, isn’t the only way to design a portable gaming device, and this concept design tries to think outside the box to put gaming back inside the box in a slightly different way.

Designer: Eli Lan

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There’s definitely a good reason why these portable gaming devices are designed this way. Gamepad controls are easier to use without the support of a desk or any surface, unlike keyboards and mice, and they offer better haptics and tactile feedback compared to just a touch screen. That’s not to say it’s the perfect design or that there are no other possible forms a portable gaming computer can take.

At its simplest, the Gaming Box design concept is pretty much a mini PC with a screen on top. Mini computers, which include the likes of the Apple Mac Mini, have become more ubiquitous these past years. They come in a variety of designs, and some are portable, not just in form but also in operation. The one thing they all have in common is that they need to be connected to a monitor, at the very least, to actually be usable.

This gaming twist on that design puts an end to that problem and puts a screen on the top, or rather the front, of the box. Unlike typical mini PCs that lie on their larger face, the Gaming Box is designed to stand on one of its thinner edges. It’s a more precarious position, admittedly, but it’s the only way you’ll be able to view the screen anyway.

There are also other and probably bigger issues with this design. The display seems large enough, at least when compared to other objects around it, but its square aspect ratio doesn’t really conform to any of the conventions used in gaming and even in videos. There are no controls to speak of, either, so it’s presumed to be using a touch screen. You can attach or connect controllers, of course, but that won’t make it convenient for playing on the go, which isn’t its primary use case anyway.

In truth, the Gaming Box is probably better as a Media Box, allowing owners to enjoy videos or maybe even social media anywhere inside the house. It is more like a home console or gaming PC that you can move around inside the same space rather than something you’d use outside, so it complements rather than replaces designs like the Steam Deck.

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This wooden arcade cabinet puts a beautiful twist to a gaming classic

Gaming today may be happening mostly on smartphones and consoles that have started to look alike, but the video gaming industry’s history is full of interesting devices that look quirky and sometimes adorable by today’s standards. We’ve seen many of these “old school” designs surface in the past few years, thanks to successful “retro mini” revivals of popular consoles from a few decades ago. Of course, not all revivals have to stick to those same old designs, especially when there’s plenty of room to see these old giants in a new light. This arcade cabinet, for example, offers the same functionality as its predecessors but puts it inside a bare, minimalist wooden structure that looks stylish and perfect for a luxurious room.

Designer: Del Bianco Jody

Although they’re considered to be novelties in many markets in the West, arcade cabinets still have a strong following in other places, particularly in Asia. There are even some games today that are best enjoyed using a large joystick and equally large buttons, to the point that there’s a market for arcade controllers you can hook into a computer or console. The authentic experience, of course, involves mashing those buttons while standing up, but this arcade cabinet concept also stands out in a special way.

Unlike conventional arcade cabinets, this design can hardly be called a “cabinet” because of its shape. Instead of a large box, this arcade cabinet only has the outer “skin,” showing only the silhouette of the gaming contraption. In fact, it also has its sides left out so that you’ll only see the outline of its profile when seen from the sides. Unlike a typical cabinet as well, this interpretation has its back tapered a bit, streamlining the design and minimizing space.

The arcade cabinet concept also takes a few liberties when it comes to the design language of the housing. Instead of hard edges and sharp corners, it has plenty of curves that give it a softer personality that contrasts with the harsher appearances of typical arcade machines. It is made of multiple layers of birch wood divided into six different pieces that can be assembled like a piece of IKEA furniture. If not for the functional hardware you can play on it, this arcade cabinet almost looks more like an art piece paying homage to the golden age of arcades.

Of course, it’s easy to make it work like a regular arcade cabinet, thanks to off-the-shelf products like the Raspberry Pi single-board computer and plenty of arcade controllers. The concept even has an option to have a shelf inside for consoles and their controllers, which can be connected to the cabinet’s screen and used normally. While the design is definitely eye-catching and elegant, it does raise some concern about whether it can withstand the rather harsh treatment that arcade cabinets get, especially when very passionate gamers start mashing those buttons.

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Roccat Vulcan II Mini gaming keyboard gets world’s first dual LED smart keys

If you are on the lookout for a compact gaming keyboard with unique features, then Roccat has got your wish granted. The German computer accessories manufacturer has released the first small gaming keyboard in the Vulcan series with some features that have never been seen on a keyboard before.

The small size of the Vulcan II Mini brings big innovation to the fore that people who are creative, perform editing or professional gamers are going to find ultra-resourceful. The robust accessory is definitely going to set a new precedence for the compact gaming keyboard market.

Designer: ROCCAT

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The demand for compact TKL (Tenkeyless) keyboards sans the numeric keypad is high – for example the likes of Logitech G915 TKL or Razer V2 TKL boards. Smaller keyboards in the 65 or 60 percent class are also gaining popularity like the Cooler Master SK622, K70 Pro Mini Wireless Razer Blackwidow V3 Mini or the Huntsman Mini. The Roccat Vulcan II Mini in the 65 percent form factor retains the arrow keys and weighs just 500 grams.

On top of everything else gamers cherish, the keyboard has the first ever Dual LED Smart Key technology. This brings 30 multi-function Smart Keys having Dual LEDs to keep a tab on the active status of secondary functions. This way, users can program a secondary function layer on the mini keyboard to retain the functionality of a standard-sized keyboard.

The Vulcan II Mini also gets the brand’s new TITAN II Optical Switches which is an evolution of the optical switch. That means the keyboard gets the light speed actuation and 100 million keystroke durability rating. It will also make the accessory compatible with third-party keycaps, so you can pair it with you old gaming keyboard’s keycaps too.

The mini keyboard is crafted out of anodized aluminum, thereby making it very durable. That 1.8 m long USB-C to USB-A 2.0 cable is detachable too. The keyboard can store up to 5 profiles with custom RGB lighting and button assignments which is great for geeks. Roccat Vulcan II Mini is available for pre-order at a price tag of $149.99 in two color options – Ash Black or Arctic White. The look can be further customized by adding third-party cross-mount keycaps or colorful USB-C cables. The mini keyboard is all set to launch on September 29, 2022, and it’s going to ship worldwide after that time.

 

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This shapeshifting Game Boy console has the soul of a Nintendo Switch

It’s a Game Boy, it’s a Switch, it’s… both?!

Meet the Game Boy Famicom, a conceptual gaming console that pays tribute to the handheld console, the modern-day modular Nintendo Switch, and most importantly, the consoles that came before it – namely the cassette-based consoles like the SNES, SEGA Genesis, etc. It’s handheld, but features a modular design that lets you simply plug the screen into a dock the way you would a cassette (or even the Switch) for a more console-style gaming experience. The Famicom offers a landscape style gaming experience, but in a device that’s portrait in its orientation. This breaks away from the Switch’s elongated profile, giving you a console that’s more compact and easier to carry around with you. One could argue that it’s cooler too?!

Designer: Dopamine Design

The Game Boy Famicom is basically a tablet gaming device with a modular base. You can either use it with its plug-and-play controls, or swap the controls out for an adapter that lets you plug the Famicom into a rather retro-inspired dock that lets you beam your game to a larger screen like a TV or projector. It’s a conceptual successor to the Nintendo Switch, or rather, feels more like a Nintendo Switch from an alternate timeline in which the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP didn’t exist!

I just love the Game Boy Famicom’s overall vibe. It’s understated yet expressive. Minimalist yet functional and non-compromising. There’s nothing about it that makes it feel ‘lesser’ than the Switch, just because the Famicom’s design pretty much dots all I’s and crosses all T’s. Its controls are minimalistic yet detailed. You’ve got a D-pad on the left, XYAB controls on the right, and a speaker in between. A ring around the D-pad also doubles as a volume knob, letting you crank the volume on high or mute gameplay depending on where you are.

The dock is a retro icon too. The white and grey color scheme with accents of orange gives the Game Boy Famicom a major Teenage Engineering appeal that elevates the concept to another level entirely. Sigh… if only this existed!

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LG unveils world first bendable OLED TV with 20 curved level settings for personalize viewing experience

Curved screen displays have been in trend for the last couple of years, and now we are looking up the horizon for the next big move. LG has just announced a cool OLED TV that is capable of bending on demand to morph into a curved display. This announcement comes on the back of Corsair showing off its 45-inch bendable gaming monitor at Gamescom just a few days ago.

Dubbed the LG OLED Flex – a.k.a LX3 model – it is touted to be the first bendable OLED TV on the market. The 42-inch display is targeted at gamers and professionals who demand the next level of immersion, and also want the flexibility to have a normal flat screen TV. The transition between the two modes happens seamlessly with remote control.

Designer: LG

Even better the display can be set anywhere between the twenty levels of curvature. That means, the bendable feature is fully customizable to a maximum of 900R curve. I can think of scenarios where the screen bend can be toggled for strategy, FPS or racing games for maximum gaming prowess.

The 4K display comes with a 0.1 millisecond response time, 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, HDMI 2.1, ALLM (auto low latency mode) and support for VRR (variable refresh rate). This display is also G-SYNC compatible and AMD FreeSync Premium certified for a smooth viewing experience. Thus, making it ideal for pairing with the latest gaming consoles like Xbox Series X or PS5.

Another feature that’s very useful is the anti-reflective coating for minimum distraction in a bright environment. The stand on the display is height adjustable – 10 degrees towards or 5 degrees away from the gamer, and tilt adjustable – up and down by 140 millimeters. It also gets dual front-firing speakers for ultra-premium immersive sound output. Therefore, it can be used for other purposes like video editing or binge watching too.

There’s no word on the pricing or availability of this amazing display yet, but it should be positioned competitively to capture the chunk of geeky buyers. As per LG, the Flex bendable display is going to be on display at the IFA 2022 in Germany this week, so better keep an eye!

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This modular controller comes with a built-in projector for gaming anytime, anywhere

Gaming has evolved from the plain simple maneuvering of the pixelated characters on the screen to something that’s ultra-immersive. The end game, well, a metaverse reality that blurs the lines between the real world and the more lucrative virtual reality where you can be a jacked-up dude with the sexiest bikes on the planet.

A multipurpose gaming controller that is equally good for casual gaming and Metaverse adventures is what the industry demands. Concepts like the Modulus Controller or the MOZER Gamepad bring an added dimension of functionality to gaming exploits, and another one joins the ranks for its unique proposition.

Designer: Hayong Kim

Vi-Con controller is a concept gaming accessory targeted at geeks who love an all-in-package to enjoy gaming anywhere, anytime. The USP here is a controller that’s capable of projecting gaming action onto any wall without the need to buy any dedicated projector. The idea makes logical sense in times where cloud gaming is picking up pace, with Metaverse entertainment joining the ranks pretty aggressively.

This gaming controller has the gamepad buttons and joysticks just like the popular Xbox and Sony options. The similarity ends there as the detachable controller separates into two halves to be used for AR and VR applications, just like the HTC Vive, Sony PS Move, or the Samsung Gear VR controller does. Even better, the middle half is a portable projector to beam gaming content onto any plain surface for gamers to enjoy.

If you want to keep the controller in a completely tethered position – just like the Xbox 360 – it just works fine to perform double duty as a projector too. The controller has built-in OIS and EIS functionality to keep the beamed projection as stable as it could be. For added flexibility, the angle of the projector can be adjusted via the rollable structure and the slide button. The Vi-Con also stacks in speakers to eliminate the need for a portable speaker to carry in your backpack when heading over to your buddy’s place for a gaming night out!

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This gaming handheld wants to be the Nintendo Switch of Android

Handheld gaming devices have exploded in popularity after the success of the Nintendo Switch. None of the other console makers, namely Microsoft and Sony, seem to be eager to jump on that train yet, but PC makers have started to show interest, particularly with the launch of Valve’s Steam Deck. Of course, when it comes to being a portable gaming device, nothing really beats a smartphone, especially when you’re talking about games that are designed from the start to be enjoyed in bite-sized parts while on the go. It is arguable, however, whether a smartphone is a proper gaming handheld, considering its multi-functional nature, so Logitech is attempting to solve that by creating an Android device designed and dedicated solely to gaming.

Designer: Logitech (via Evan Blass)

Mobile games have been around ever since Snake first appeared on Nokia handsets, but truly immersive and addictive ones didn’t appear until smartphones did. There are hundreds of games today that you can play on smartphones, plus a thousand more copycats and malware-bearing Trojan horses. What all these games have in common is that they were developed with a touch screen in mind as the primary input method. In fact, many titles don’t even work with a controller, even a Bluetooth gamepad connected to the phone.

That’s what makes the idea of a dedicated Android gaming handheld in the style of the Nintendo Switch a bit less exciting than it is for Steam Deck PC. What would be the point of having physical gaming controls flanking a big screen if the game being played only responds to touch input? That doesn’t seem to worry Logitech, who partnered with Chinese gaming giant Tencent to create a “cloud gaming handheld” device. A leak of the device shows a rather uninspiring design that houses a curious gaming experience.

The white Logitech G Gaming Handheld, as it is being called, easily resembles a Nintendo Switch Lite, which doesn’t have the removable Joy-Cons. While it looks more like a tablet than a phone, it’s what’s running on the screen that makes it really interesting. It shows not just Google Play, which would be a no-brainer for an Android device, but also Xbox, NVIDIA, and even Steam, suggesting it can handle those brand’s cloud streaming services. It seems that Logitech and Tencent are aiming for an all-around handheld gaming device, which would make those buttons and joysticks more useful indeed.

Designer: AYN Technologies

Of course, Logitech is hardly the first to try making an Android-based gaming handheld, and it definitely won’t be the last. The past two years alone have seen a sudden rise in gaming handhelds running Android inside. To some extent, that’s unsurprising because Android is the easiest and cheapest operating system to put on any device. It’s arguable, however, if it has the best selection of mobile games.

The bigger question, however, is whether it actually makes sense for an Android device to have permanent controllers flanking the screen, even if one of them can be removed. Android can be used for more than just gaming, of course, but the fixed controller almost limits how the device can be used for a single purpose only. That’s why Bluetooth controllers that can be attached to smartphones and then removed as needed have somewhat become more popular, offering that same gaming experience without imposing arbitrary limitations.

Designer: GPD

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GPD Win 4 is a nod to the past of ultra-mobile PCs

Just as the Nintendo Switch kicked up a storm with its modular design, Valve’s Steam Deck sparked a revolution that made handheld computers hip again. Of course, these portable gaming PCs aren’t exactly new, and some more daring Chinese companies have been trying to grow that market long before the Steam Deck or even the Switch. And computers small enough to hold in your hands go back even further, with the brief period of UMPCs or ultra-mobile PCs. Those might have been too far ahead of their time, however, and it’s only now that the dream of a powerful handheld computer is finally becoming a reality. Now that past technological hurdles have been resolved, some are starting to revisit those old designs, such as this upcoming handheld gaming PC.

Designer: GPD (via Liliputing)

Ever since personal computers became mainstream, there has been this vision and fantasy of a computer that you can hold in one or two hands and can be carried anywhere. To some extent, today’s smartphones actually meet that criteria, but the difference made by a desktop operating system like Windows is still substantial, especially in terms of gaming. That’s why this new bread of handheld PCs like the Steam Deck and its ilk are trying to target gamers who are more receptive to the idea of being able to play games almost anywhere.

There are limitations to the current design of something that resembles a gigantic game controller with a screen in the middle. At least for something purely dedicated to gaming, that might be fine, but these computers have enough horsepower to actually support almost anything you can run on a regular laptop. Yes, you can use these handheld gaming PCs are regular desktop computers once you connect them to a monitor and keyboard, but you can’t easily do that on the go, especially when it comes to typing something.

The upcoming GPD Win 4 tries to solve that problem in a way that might be familiar to PC historians, particularly those who fondly remember the Sony VAIO UX. Actually, this device would be the Chinese brand’s second to sport this design, presenting a display that can slide up to reveal a keyboard underneath. The GPD Win 4, however, makes one important change that significantly makes it better for use as more than just a gaming device.

The GPD Win 3 launched last year used a flat capacitive surface for the hidden keyboard. Its experience was no better than typing on a smartphone or tablet without the advantage of being able to change the keyboard layout or design. For slowly pecking letters to enter passwords or to chat, that would be fine, but it severely limited the device’s potential to be a true handheld computer.

The next iteration that could be coming in a few months corrects that misstep by using actual physical keys instead. They are, of course, tiny compared even to the smallest laptop, but they provide better haptic and tactile feedback than a rigid flat surface. There have been devices with keyboards as small as these, and some users have been able to master them and improve their accuracy and speed over time. It’s a bit too early to say how good it will be, but it will definitely help make the GPD Win 4 more usable as the all-purpose computer of past dreams.

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This Xbox controller accessory adds extra buttons to the back, upgrading it to an Elite Controller

Casually sitting on the rear of your Xbox controller, the ARMORX Pro gives you a secret set of keys and controls that allow you to execute more efficient gaming maneuvers that put you ahead of the pack. Equipped with 5 functions, 4 remappable buttons, 3 memory profiles, and an internal gyroscope for motion-control, it’s safe to say that the ARMORX Pro gives the Xbox controller a hefty set of upgrades. Yes, it has programmable lights too.

Designer: BIGBIG WON

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Sitting rather covertly on the underside of your controller, the ARMORX Pro really upgrades your regular Xbox Controller into an Elite Wireless Controller. The four extra buttons allow you to access a variety of features and functions and are mappable based on the game you’re playing. The ARMORX Pro also has a built-in gyroscope that gives your gaming quite literally another dimension. To that end, the ARMORX Pro works not just with Xbox consoles (the Xbox Series X/S and One), but with the Switch and Windows platforms too.

The four mappable buttons provide a variety of options, from turbo to macro-level mapping, and the 3 onboard profiles mean you can set the buttons to perform different functions in different games. There’s even an app that lets you control/configure the ARMORX Pro, and program its lighting effects and even motion sensitivity.

The ARMORX Pro comes with its own 1,300 mAh battery that gives you a solid couple of hours of gaming. The controller connects wirelessly thanks to a companion wireless adapter (which lets you use it with the Switch and PC), and a ribbon cable that plugs right into your Xbox controller’s USB-C port.

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