Get hands-on with Razer’s Snapdragon G3x handheld gaming device

2021 was a big year for gaming handhelds, between the announcement of the new Switch OLED model and the next Steam deck (now postponed to 2022). Of course, there are countless ways to play games over the cloud on your mobile phone or tablet. Qualcomm, the chip maker behind the Snapdragon processor found in most high-end smartphones today, has announced its intention to enter the gaming space. The first foray is the G3x, a high-end mobile processor designed for gaming. However, Qualcomm knew that chips alone weren’t enough to spin their heads, so they worked with Razer to create a device that could display the chips.

Razer Snapdragon G3x Gaming Platform-Hands-on Image

This is the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Developer Kit, a handheld mobile gaming device that Qualcomm hopes to be the beginning of a whole new platform. It features a 6.65 inch FHD + 120hz OLED display, tactile feedback, active cooling and, of course, a standard set of thumbsticks, buttons and triggers. Inside is the aforementioned Snapdragon G3x chip with an 8-core processor and 6GB of RAM running an Android-based operating system. To be clear, this is not yet a consumer product you will find on store shelves this Christmas. This is a developer kit that Qualcomm hopes to help both game developers and hardware makers expand their mobile games, as we know them.

I had the opportunity to experience the G3x and play some game scenarios, which I wasn’t necessarily impressed with, but definitely intrigued. In terms of size, the G3x is a bit larger than the Nintendo Switch, but smaller than the Steam Deck. Buttons, triggers, thumbsticks, Razer Kishi Phone controller attachment. However, Razer said it wasn’t exactly the same part. The face button can be used if it is a little sponge-like, but the trigger is very fluffy and there is no click feeling. That said, the G3x’s controller grips are much better than the Switch Joy-Cons and the smaller Kishi grips that were definitely comfortable with adult-sized hands.

I played three games while using G3x. Sci-fi racer Redout playing on Steam’s home streaming, Minecraft Dungeons playing on Xbox Cloud Streaming, and an aerial combat tech demo that runs natively on the device. Both Redout and Minecraft Dungeons played relatively smoothly, except for some minor issues and some graphic artifacts that could be caused by streaming. The aerial warfare demo went smoothly, but I’m not visually surprised. The background and model textures weren’t very detailed, and the explosions looked like blocks as they flew through them. That said, it was a tech demo aimed at demonstrating the tactile sensation and control of the device, not necessarily its graphic prowess.

These three scenarios are intended to show different use cases for G3x: a single device that can act as an all-in-one conduit to different different platforms. But more than that, giving them a sense of a device worth developing by a game maker is a proof of concept.

Of course, there are already many games available on Android devices, but many of them are designed for portrait orientation or touch control. The device, on the other hand, aims to provide a more traditional landscape orientation, a physical controller-based gaming experience. Android already has some such games, and G3x has a built-in touch mapping system, so it will continue to work with most games that don’t support native controllers.

The G3x Developer Kit is also an invitation to hardware manufacturers to develop similar devices. As mentioned earlier, this developer kit is not a product available for purchase. At the very least, you can buy it in its current form instead of the present. Razer, like other manufacturers like Asus, Acer, or many other companies that make gaming hardware today, has the potential to release something similar in the future.

That said, I have to say that I’m skeptical about how such devices fit into the current gaming environment, especially when it comes to pricing. A set of robust controllers for playing cloud streaming games is certainly better than current solutions for phone clips and controller attachments, but many are willing to pay for a pure cloud streaming receiver. I can’t imagine. Needless to say, the stability of the platform is in the hands of cloud streaming services.

Another option, of course, is games that run natively on Android devices. Among them, Genshin Impact, Pokemon Unite, and the next Diablo Immortal have come to mind as recent masterpieces, with more stable ports like Fortnite. , Stardew Valley, Dead Cells – But the overall library is inferior when compared to Switch and PC. Given that, I don’t want to pay more than switches and steam decks.

It’s up to the developer to do this. This is also the reason why this developer kit exists in the first place. According to Qualcomm, the G3x chip is more powerful than the top-end mobile processors currently on the market, which is certainly impressive. This could surpass the switch’s current ancient Tegra X1 and enter the realm of Steam Deck’s custom AMD APU, but it won’t be known until Qualcomm releases the full specs for the chip. In any case, Qualcomm’s hope is that the presence of such powerful mobile hardware will encourage developers to design with this platform in mind, or at least port existing games to it. ..

Of course, Android handhelds are already on the market. In addition to controller connectivity options like the Razer Kishi and Backbone One, gaming phones like the Asus ROG Phone and many of its gaming accessories, and Ein OdinA $ 200 Indiegogo product with a Snapdragon 888 processor and switch-like design. None of these devices have found a significant foothold in the market, at least compared to the highly successful switches. It will be interesting to see how it will change when major hardware manufacturers launch G3x-powered devices.

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