Shadow Ghost is a quiet, sleek and futuristic game streaming box.
Shadow’s streaming service has already made an impact on the gaming industry. The premise is you pay $34.95 a month for access to a high powered gaming rig that you can connect to from almost any device. Those range from a Mac to a PC, and even an iPhone, through an iOS app.
Virtually any of those devices act as a host, allowing you to connect to your Shadow for a low-latency computing or gaming experience. You can see our full review of the Shadow service here, but today we’re switching gears to hardware.
The Shadow Ghost ($139.95; shadow.tech) is the company’s latest game streaming box. It has a futuristic design that looks like a high-tech cloud and boosts the tech to let you connect to your Shadow from anywhere. Shadow Ghost is meant to be the best way to game on your TV.
How does Shadow Ghost handle streaming?
I’ve been testing it out for a few weeks and am impressed. For starters, it is a silent operation. Most gaming rigs can be noisy, especially when the fan starts. Even when streaming Shadow on my Mac or a Windows laptop, it can cause it to heat up a bit. However, with Ghost, this wasn’t an issue. It’s an entirely fan-less product, and surprising, there are no moving parts inside.
In terms of connectivity, it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips, which means it’s fully wireless. You can connect to the internet and pair a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. Once done, you’re off and running.
Plus, it has an Ethernet port, four USB-A ports, an HDMI, an audio jack and a power port. It’s a plastic build that is super lightweight at just under 7 ounces. In comparison to a typical gaming computer, it’s no competition at all.
Since Shadow envisions consumers using this on a big screen, that HDMI port can support 4K UHD at 60 frames per second or 1080p at 144 frames per second. With either resolution, you can expect it to be a low-latency experience.
In my testing, I tried “Fortnite,” “Orcs Must Die 2,” “Far Cry 5” and “AirPort Madness 3D” on both a 4K and a 1080p TV. I was connecting via Wi-Fi to a Verizon FiOS Gigabit connection that was being broadcast from Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi. The results were impressive. I experienced only a few frame rate drops and lag during peak times of internet usage in high intense gameplay.
I believe this mostly falls on the game’s servers, rather than on Shadow Ghost or the streaming service. The internal dual-band Wi-Fi chip is more than enough to power it since essentially the Shadow Ghost is running the stream and letting you connect peripherals like a keyboard and mouse.
The Ghost uses only 5 watts of power. That’s the same as the charging brick that Apple includes when you buy an iPhone. So it’s safe to say that while the upfront cost is cheaper than a gaming PC, it’s also much more energy efficient.
The Shadow Ghost is a super simple and relatively affordable way to have a dedicated machine for your game streaming. When paired with a Shadow streaming service, it’s still cheaper than buying a gaming PC and the maintenance costs that will arise down the line.
From a futuristic and epic looking design alone, I think Shadow ultimately wants to provide its users with more ways of using its service. Whether or not you use your Shadow for gaming, storing files or even photo editing, the Shadow Ghost is an easy way to access it. Moreover, rather than running an app on your computer or tablet, it’s a standalone dedicated device for that platform. There’s something to be said for that.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.