Tech reviews

The New Cloud Handheld Soon To Be On Kickstarter

The abxylute handheld is the new cloud-based gaming system from Shanghai ABXY Tech Co. Ltd. and is set to compete with the higher-priced Logitech G Cloud system released at the end of 2022. While it shares many features with the Logitech G Cloud, it is more cost-friendly for consumers while offering the same experience. The company graciously sent us one of its DVT (Design Validation Testing) units to review, along with a list of notes that reveal some of the newer features coming in the future and some missing from this unit. We at Wccftech will do our best to review this system while comparing it with what we know in the media about the Logitech G Cloud for comparison.

abxylute Cloud Gaming Handheld Unboxing & First Impressions

Upon opening the packaging materials, we were presented with an eco-friendly cardboard box with the abxylute logo in the middle and various languages surrounding the logo, thanking us for choosing abxylute over the competition. It is a small gesture from a company, but it shows that this lesser-known company appreciates that you chose its brand above or with others.

Marketing is key in the current marketplace, and going for a more simplistic, albeit minimalistic, look to the packaging is brilliant for the company. There are two holes on one side of the box where the abxylute logo appears again, but this time on an applied sticker. I am unsure why the holes were necessary. If the package it arrived in was tampered with and liquids or other foreign substances entered, those holes would be prone to the device becoming affected. This could change when the final product is available to the public. The remainder of the box is free of images, so it is time to open the cover and look at the contents.

Inside is a hard mesh case wrapped in clear plastic to hold and protect the abxylute handheld system. With the model we received, the case is made by UGREEN, an accessories and electronics company with several products on Amazon. With the Logitech G Cloud and abxylute handheld systems sharing a similar design, this case is a perfect choice to pick up if unavailable after the final product launches. Taking the case with the product out of the box, a four-foot black charging cable uses USB Type-C charging. In our prototype, it is recommended by the company to fully charge the system as well as install any updates before use. The abxylute handheld only took an hour to set from 32%.

In our review notes, the company explains why consumers should choose abxylute over the competition:

Our philosophy is that cloud gaming is the future of gaming, providing access to a wide variety of games without the need for a dedicated CPU/GPU. And as gamers ourselves, we know handheld consoles are perfect for cloud gaming. We believe that gamers should have access to the essentials – a high-quality screen, intuitive controls, and crisp audio output – without the added bulk of a traditional gaming device. That’s why we created abxylute, an accessible and affordable cloud gaming handheld console that offers a wide variety of titles with no performance compromise.

Many startups and companies offer cloud services, claiming the future is on the cloud. With games becoming more complex and extensive in file size, considering cloud gaming as an option makes sense on paper. Essentially you connect to another service, and for a monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly, or yearly fee, you have access to a system on the cloud to play a lot of games available right now with the promises of low to minor lag (if not eliminated) while offering a picture/video quality that an expensive physical PC or home console can offer.

We recently had the chance to review the Amazon Luna service and controller, which offered a library of games while offering services like Discord connectivity or streaming directly to Twitch from the app. While the abxylute cannot propose streaming to Twitch, the ability to connect to a large amount of cloud services is fantastic. The library for this handheld and comparable cloud handhelds increased the number of games available to users.

The abxylute differs from the Logitech G Cloud with its initial design. The Logitech G Cloud has a height of 1.30 inches, a width of 4.61 inches, and a length of 10.11 inches. The abxylute has a size of 10 inches, a height of 1.13 inches, and 4.63 in width. The screen on the abxylute is 7.5 inches, slightly larger than the Logitech G Cloud’s 7″ screen. Regarding the display, abxylute incorporates an LTPS display, while Logitech G Cloud utilizes an IPS LCD. LTPS or Low-temperature PolySilicon displays offer a faster image rate with higher resolutions.

In contrast, IPS, or In-Plane Switching, displays have evolved for their viewing angles and color reproduction enhancement over the years. However, it is more expensive than LTPS. But, LTPS displays do deteriorate faster than IPS displays, so depending on the length of time used between both systems, the LTPS might decline more quickly than an IPS display. This could also explain the cost differences between the two manufacturers.

The abxylute handheld has a MediaTek MT8365 processor powering the system, a quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 (with similar threads) that offers a maximum processor frequency of 2.0 GHz. There is also 4GB of LPDDR4 memory and a 64 GB storage drive. The system does not need to be incredibly powerful as most of what will be played on the device is streamed games.

The resolution on the abxylute hits a maximum of 1920 x 1080 px with 60 Hz refresh rates, an sRGB of 103.4% color gamut, 8-bit color depth, and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio. The Logitech G Cloud features the exact max resolution and refresh rate. Both offer a multi-touch screen for users needing display control over the standard button and joystick controls or for entering codes, passwords, and other secure information from an on-screen keyboard. Abxylute’s touchscreen report rate clocks in at 90 Hz, as reported by the company.

Abxylute has chosen to utilize Hall Effect joysticks that prolong the effects of joystick drift over time. The system also incorporates Hall Linear Triggers and Hall Rocker, identical to the current Nintendo Switch OLED system sizes. The company also provides dual speakers, dual z-axis linear motors, and a 5200mAh battery with eight hours or more battery life. Again, the battery life will vary depending on the tasks used on the device, which we will mention further down in this review. Initially, the software and cloud connection taxing the CPU will change the time the system loses its charge. After six hours, I have only installed a few updates to the design and controls, and the system has lost close to ten percent of battery life while remaining reasonably idle. I checked to make sure there were no added applications running in the background, and there were not.

Since abxylute is focusing heavily on cloud streaming with the new handheld, light emulation is possible. Most users will enjoy the experience of cloud gaming, however, especially with being away from their home PC or gaming rig.

The new abxylute handheld also offers 2T2R MU-MIMO Wi-Fi support, allowing for a strong connection with multiple active users. The company assures the system has been optimized for streaming to receive a better signal from the access point in your home, but that can be affected. Connections will always vary on the cloud when multiple users utilize the various connective streams.

Most current routers offer up to twelve devices (or more) at any given time, with most connections being 5GHz and a third of the links at 2.4GHz. For this review, the internet provider is Xfinity, and the router is the MSI RadiX AX6600. I verified the connection using the MSI Router application to ensure that the abxylute was receiving more priority in connecting to the router above other household products. The link accessed 5G frequencies during all tests and offered, at peak times, download speeds of 198 Mbps on average.

abxylute Cloud Gaming Handheld — System & Gaming Performance

The company mentions that the system was created for hardcore and casual players who can enjoy gaming in bed, living room, or in any other location. However, this is also a limitation. You have to have access to a fast connection for streaming. The harsh reality is that unless you are somewhere outside the home with the required dedicated link a home setting can offer, you won’t travel much with this. It does have connectivity to a mobile hotspot, but depending on your service will also depend on your connection.

“All Games. Now.”

— abxylute

Gaming performance varied but was also due to the service that we were accessing. Xbox Cloud Gaming offered good performance unless it was a popular title, and then we ran into a few snags with connection and screen artifacts/tearing. Fortnite and Atomic Heart through Xbox Cloud Gaming were the worst offenders during peak traffic hours through Microsoft’s dedicated Azure servers housing the Xbox Cloud system blades. Steam Play and Moonlight offered identical performance between both systems on games such as Forza Horizon 5, Marvel’s Midnight Suns, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and others. It does help that the system that we are connecting to is our testing unit that utilizes an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, Intel i7-12700K CPU, and 16 GB DDR4 memory. There are a lot of misconceptions about Moonlight over Steam Play, and the difference between was nominal.

In FPS games, the system was very responsive to some users, if not overly responsive. The company currently uses KeyLinker to map controls on the device, which can be adjusted as necessary. It is unknown if the software will be replaced with a proprietary option, but it did help with some minor fine-tuning of the joysticks. It depends on the type of RPG, but for your standard JRPGs or tactical RPGs, the abxylute shines with its bright screen. MOBAs were also quite good, with games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 looking great on the decently large screen. Fighting games will vary per user, in this reviewer’s opinion.

Having a thicker controller to grip with, such as the Amazon Luna’s or Xbox’s current controller, is my preferential choice for fighters, being more comfortable in my hands. I am also a button masher in games like Street Fighter and more, so when I accessed JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R on Xbox’s cloud service, I was putting a fair amount of stress onto the buttons. However, I noticed very little to zero lag in the game against the AI, but I found the thinness of the outer shell’s design on the abxylute to be uncomfortable in those situations. Again, my experience will differ with players who have learned the correct combinations that I have not (and may never will).

We could not access PSPlay for this review as it was unavailable to us now. Hopefully, this will be something that we can test in future studies. Speaking of NVIDIA, we also tried out NVIDIA GeForce NOW with its free service that allows access to an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU system. The experience was quite good, especially after waiting for the queue to open up for us to gain access.

We installed the Amazon Luna UI to see if it would handle cloud gaming through its platform, as we have access from our recent review. The Amazon Luna app installed fine but was incompatible with the abxylute handheld, which was unsurprising as Amazon only supports specific significant controllers and its proprietary products. In two other tests, we accessed Twitch streamer LiveOpenMike (with their approval) to determine how the system handled streaming video from the Chrome browser application. We also accessed our video coverage of Hogwart’s Legacy to see the stats for the browser. Since Google Chrome on the abxylute handheld recognizes the browser as the mobile version, we did two tests with mobile browser and desktop site functionality.

Battery life was checked using two available tests. In the first test, we accessed YouTube from the Chrome browser found on the abxylute system. Looking for a long enough video to test with, we started the video and the stopwatch to see how long it would take for the system to go from full charge to dead battery. In the video streaming test, with the system’s brightness at 100% and the volume up to level 100, the system lasted 6:22:27 (hours/minutes/seconds). In the second test, we entered into Marvel’s Midnight Suns through the system’s Steam Link, attached a rubberband (a lose enough band not to cause any damage to the system), and had the playable character (The Hunter) run around in circles in the forest.

We ensured all settings were maxed out and the handheld’s volume and brightness were again at the highest levels. The abxylute system lasted 4:46:01 (hours/minutes/seconds) and increased in heat, but only slightly. Of course, each person will experience a different time frame than we might have tested. Still, it is safe to say, on average, that you can watch one to three movies through your favorite streaming service and expect it to last between six to seven hours. At the same time, in playing games, you will probably experience up to four to five hours of gameplay before needing to recharge. Other applications might change that number depending on the resources used to stream the game.

Thanks to The Retro Tech Dad on YouTube for the idea of passively testing Marvel’s Midnight Suns. You can check out his channel here.

abxylute Cloud Gaming Handheld — Final Thoughts and Conclusion

The abxylute cloud handheld is definitely for a niche market. Is it capable of being used outside of the home? Sure, but most people will experience a better quality gaming experience while still in their homes. I am one of the older members of the Wccftech “family” and grew up having handhelds that used everything from cartridges to discs.

Now, we are living in a world where almost everything is slowly transitioning into a “digital-only” lifestyle, and being at the dawn of this change is interesting. At first, the abxylute seemed unnecessary as a gaming handheld with a connection to your home system to play the games you already own and game on. But, having the luxury of sitting on the couch in another room of the house, sitting outside with my dogs in the cool winter months, and in the kitchen, while my family makes dinner and not feeling entirely tethered for my office/game room/workspace was nice.

I would like to see background applications, such as Spotify, play in the background while I stream a casual or cozy game where I could care less about the music and sound effects. Most modern phones have this accessibility, and for the system to need to halt one application to start another takes away from that usability. I also ran into issues with certain cloud services, namely the accessible version of NVIDIA GeForce NOW, which is far from the abxylute system’s problem. The only significant cloud issue I ran into was with Xbox Cloud Gaming. I consistently would have the occasional graphical errors, but that has plagued the UI for quite some time, depending on the system, game, and connection utilized. But these are minor complaints as I am getting to play a game that I never owned.

I would have to say that if you are looking for a system that allows you the freedom to be anywhere in your home or connected to your mobile device for a short time, this is the handheld to get, especially around the anticipated price point that the company is shooting for, which should be near $200 to $249, once they launch their Kickstarter campaign. For those interested in learning more about the product, you can check out the company’s YouTube channel for examples of gameplay on several AAA titles, join their Discord to get up-to-date information (sometimes before the general public) or check out the official abxylute website for more information and release dates.

Please note that the company does not have a permanent Discord community link, which was not provided as they have a fast expiration date.


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