Late last year, I was able to get my hands on the Shadow Ghost. I have always wanted to get one since I started using Shadow in May of 2019. Using a low-energy device to access Shadow caught my attention, and thus, once it was available, I quickly ordered one.
Fast forward to today, and I decided to shelf my Shadow Ghost and switched back to using my laptop as my daily driver, and here is why.
Using the Shadow Ghost
Over the six months that I used the Ghost as my primary device, I loved it. In fact, I still do love it.
It gave me a quick way to access my Shadow directly, without the annoying fan sounds of a PC/Laptop, and best of all, it only used 7watts of power at full load.
For $106, I couldn't ask for anything better!
The Shadow Ghost allowed me to experience what it would be like to use only a PC in the cloud. After six months, I can say that it is almost the same.
The Shadow Ghost has four available USB ports. Two of them being USB 2.0 and the other two being USB 3.0. With how the design of the Ghost is, both the USB 3.0 ports are the "USB-over-IP" ports. Thus, if you want to use anything that requires installed drivers, you will need to use these ports. The USB 2.0 ports are for your standard peripherals like a mouse and keyboard. However, they are only local to the Shadow Ghost and can not utilize installed drivers on your Shadow PC.
This multiport design is both good and bad. If I wanted to utilize the drivers for my Corsair Scimitar, I would need to use a USB 3.0 port. However, because all USB 3.0 ports are the passthrough ports, any blip in my network latency would cause my mouse to lag.
This brings me too audio. I have some excellent headphones. They are the Sennheiser HD558's. These are standard headphones with a 3.5mm headphone cable. Using them with the built-in audio port worked perfectly fine. However, if I wanted to use them with my USB soundcard, I was limited by my network connectivity in terms of audio stuttering.
Using the built-in audio connection vs. USB resulted in vastly different results. Both sounded okay, but using USB 3.0 resulted in more stuttering.
As an avid music listener... this was not ideal.
Using the Shadow Ghost also limits you to one monitor. Yes, I know you can hook up multiple devices to separate monitors to simulate dual monitors, but using numerous devices defeats the purpose of having multi-monitor setups in the first place.
For the longest time, I have used two to three monitors and switching to the Ghost lowered that to one. That put a little limitation on my productivity when working on content for Luro.io. It also hindered gaming a little bit as I couldn't look at a guide or have Discord open in a second window while gaming.
When Shadow breaks...
Another thing to note about the Shadow Ghost is that it can only be used with Shadow. Thus, if your Shadow PC is having some issues and you need to reset it or are unable to access it at the time, the Shadow Ghost becomes a sleek looking paper-weight. But, no matter how cool it looks, it is still just a paper-weight.
It did not happen often, but when it did, having to pull out my laptop and switch over all the connections from my Ghost to my laptop was... annoying. And then, of course, having to switch back once my Shadow was working again just repeated the annoyance.
Why I switched back
Ever since the pandemic started, I have been working from home for my day job. This change also meant that I needed to use my work laptop at my home desk. Can you guess what that meant?
Yep... every day I would have to disconnect everything from my Ghost and connect it to my laptop dock. And then the same thing when work would end, I would have to switch everything back to my Ghost.
It started to become a time-waster, and with how my desk is set up, a pain.
So, after a few days of weighing the pros and cons, I decided to switch back to just using a laptop at my desk. This change minimizes the time I have to spend moving cables back and forth, and it allows me to use dual monitors again!
I continue to use Shadow for pretty much everything, but I also have the opportunity to work on this blog even if I am having connection issues with Shadow.
Would I still recommend the Ghost?
Absolutely! It is a fantastic device that will give you quick and easy access to your Shadow. I personally have moved it to my living room TV, where it still gets used quite a bit.
It is excellent for those who want to dive into the world of Cloud Gaming via Shadow, and it is excellent for those who want a small device to use in other areas of their house that they do not want to lug their PC/Laptop too.
Still a great device, and I wonder what the next version of the Ghost would be like when they announce it :).