When GeForce NOW came out of beta just over a week ago, I initially had my reservations about how well the service would actually perform. Being a big fan of Stadia and the way it works, I expected NVIDIA’s service to perhaps work well on certain devices and fall flat on others. I realized almost immediately that those expectations were flat-out wrong and GeForce NOW has quickly become a daily go-to for gaming on a handful of devices I own.
We talked in another post about the inability to run the Android app on a Chromebook, so we won’t go into that for now. Just know that it isn’t worth getting and installing, but the upcoming web player – provided it works as expected – will grant Chromebook users access to the solid gaming experience that is GeForce NOW. For the purposes of this post and video, however, we basically left Chromebooks out.
What we did include is a sampling of GeForce NOW running on everything from a mid-range phone to a $2000 Macbook Pro. Specifically, we tested the Pixel 3a XL, the Lenovo Tab 4 10+ (an older tablet running Android 7), the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e (a mid-range, $400 tablet), the Surface Go, and a 2016 Macbook Pro. When you talk about a range of devices, I think this covers the spectrum.
For reference, the Lenovo tablet we’re using is three versions of Android behind the curve, can’t run PUBG Mobile at a playable rate, and struggles with most general tasks. The Pixel 3a XL and Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e are both decent performers, but not top-tier powerhouses by any stretch of the imagination. The Surface Go is running a Pentium Gold processor, so though the outer hardware is nice, the internals match up with an entry-level PC. And finally, the Macbook Pro is a high-spec device with a discrete GPU.
As you can clearly see in the video, GeForce NOW is silky smooth on all of these devices. It seems to matter very little where your starting point is: this service just works. While I’m still a bit curious about the reasons NVIDIA left Apple’s iOS and iPadOS out of the party, I’m insanely impressed by the fact that users can really leverage any existing hardware to get up and running. While I expected Windows and Mac OS to have very little issue with keyboard/mouse input, I was astonished by how well these same inputs functioned in the Android app. Whether on a phone or tablet, GeForce NOW understood and interpreted the mouse cursor and whatever connected keyboard I chose with ease.
The same was true with controllers. I hooked up a generic Logitech USB controller and my Stadia controller with the same level of acceptance across all devices. As a matter of fact, I could switch from keyboard/mouse over to controller input mid-game and run into no issues at all. From an input point of view, GeForce NOW is simply killing it.
Add to all this functionality the fact that users can pull up tons of games they already own from Steam, UPlay, Epic Games, and Battle.net and you now have a service that presents cloud gaming in some of the best possible light. No, every game you own won’t work and I’m sure there will be bumps in the road along the way, but game streaming is in a better overall place with the arrival of NVIDIA’s new service. I’m sure XBOX, Steam, Playstation and even Amazon are readying their counter attacks, but GeForce NOW is here now, ready to play, and impressive in all it offers. Grab whatever hardware you have laying around and give it a try for free. I promise you’ll come away impressed.