Best Budget Phones for Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) 2021

Xbox Cloud Gaming
Xbox Cloud Gaming (Image credit: Windows Central)

If you're looking to get into Microsoft's Project xCloud or the soon to be called game streaming for Xbox Game Pass, there's one big common denominator: Android. If you're looking to enjoy it on the go, there are no two ways about it, you need an Android phone or tablet. If you already have one, great, but if you're looking to get a new phone and don't want to spend a ton, these are what we currently recommend.

If we had to choose

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When looking for an excellent quality phone at an affordable price, it's tough to look beyond the Google Pixel 4a right now. It's not just good if you want to play games on xCloud, it's a great phone, period. Google puts out some of the best cameras you'll find on any smartphone, and you'll not have to worry about being left out of software updates for the next few years. It's well made, has good battery life, and is an easy recommendation.

If you're not drawn to the Pixel 4a, or, if you're outside of the few places you can get one, then some alternatives are attractive in their own rights. All of the phones here are perfect for xCloud, with excellent displays, solid battery life, and of course, a low asking price.

Our favorites would be the Realme X50 5G and the OnePlus Nord. These phones are very similar inside, quite similar outside, and both have 5G support if you're looking to go truly mobile with your xCloud gameplay in the future. Neither are available officially in the U.S., which is sad, but they're both genuinely excellent phones that don't cost a lot of money.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at