Best Phones for Xbox Game Streaming Windows Central 2019

Project xCloud and its home console Xbox Game Streaming counterpart are starting to hit public trials now. So, what are the best phones to buy for it? The trials are only available on Android as of writing, but are expected to go to iOS in the future. Our pick for "Best" goes to the OnePlus 7 Pro, balancing power, affordability, and features. However, there are also some great alternatives to consider, too.

Best Overall: OnePlus 7 Pro

The OnePlus 7 Pro is one of the best value-for-money flagships out there. A stunning edge-to-edge, notchless OLED display with 90Hz refresh rate must be seen to be believed, offering fluid motion for games that manage to achieve 60 frames per second (FPS) or above. The OnePlus 7 Pro also boasts decent screen time at around six hours permanently streaming video, although this will probably be around five hours when you factor in the additional data for controller inputs and Bluetooth connectivity.

The OnePlus OS is one of the best version of Android out there, offering subtle customization and Xbox-like accent colors, without piles of ridiculous bloatware like some of its competitors. OnePlus truly represents the best of Android right now, and is the perfect phone for newcomers and veterans alike.

Pros:

  • Smooth 90Hz display
  • Great gaming specifications
  • Clean software
  • Great value
  • 4,000mAh battery

Cons:

  • Lacks wireless charging

Best Overall

OnePlus 7 Pro

Project xCloud on an amazing device

OnePlus really is the "flagship killer," offering premium quality, features, and user experiences for substantially less than its competitors.

Best Budget Android: Google Pixel 3a

The Google Pixel range is designed to represent the best of Android, and when it comes to budget handsets, Google really nails it here. While the 3a is supposedly the "budget" variant of its Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 cousins, it still rocks a relatively polished experience across the board. There are some elements straight off the regular line, like the Pixel's excellent camera technology.

Google's efforts with its advanced camera tech and clean OS are exemplary, but the 3,000mAh battery in the Pixel 3a makes for relatively limited screen time. For longer sessions, you may want to throw in an external battery pack.

Pros:

  • Best camera below $500
  • Mimics Pixel 3's premium touch
  • Google's pure Android experience

Cons:

  • No water resistance
  • Sub-par battery life

Best Budget Android

Google Pixel 3a

The most affordable XCloud-ready phone

Thanks to its great price, the Pixel 3a will help the budget conscious jump into the Android ecosystem without issues.

Best Android for Gaming: ASUS ROG Phone 2

Although ASUS is most likely to be associated with Windows computers and parts, the manufacturer has actually put out a couple of decent gaming handsets in recent years. Razer might have previously held this spot with the Razer Phone 2, but it looks like the firm has thrown in the towel when it comes to its phone division.

ASUS ROG Phone 2 enhances your experience with an utterly ridiculous 6,000mAh battery, ensuring you'll have mammoth battery life while using Project xCloud. The 120Hz FHD+ AMOLED display will also make games stand out, whether playing over the cloud or locally. It's among the most powerful Android phones on the market as well, owing to its Snapdragon 855+ chipset. The design also lends itself well to horizontal handheld touch-screen gaming, which xCloud will be capable of when it rolls out in 2020.

Pros:

  • Rapid 120Hz display
  • Hardware built for gaming
  • Blistering speed
  • Advanced cooling and battery life

Cons:

  • Camera isn't the best
  • Design is very childish
  • Pricey

Game on

ASUS ROG Phone 2

Taking mobile gaming to another level.

The ROG Phone 2 is the most powerful Android phone available today. With a 6000mAh battery, you'll struggle to tire this thing out.

Best With 5G: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

If you want to futureproof your XCloud device against the proliferation of 5G wireless, consider the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, which is arguably also the best premium handset on the market right now.

The Galaxy Note 10+ also sports unique connectivity with Microsoft services, notably Your Phone for connectivity between your PC and mobile. It also supports Samsung Dex output to PC, which allows you to experience local mobile games on a larger display.

The Note 10+ also sports 5G, which will provide the best over-the-air connectivity for Project xCloud. It also has a gigantic screen, nice battery life, and huge amounts of power, making it a great gaming device.

Pros:

  • 5G connectivity
  • Large display
  • Powerful specs

Cons:

  • Very expensive at $1300

Best with 5G

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G

A huge phone with a huge price.

If you want to prep for 5G, the Note 10+ is your best bet. Buy oooh boy, it is not cheap.

Bottom line

The OnePlus 7 Pro remains the best all-rounder, when it comes to balancing power, price, and features. If you want ideal, though, you may have to spend a little bit more to grab the ASUS ROG Phone 2. Its mammoth battery will beat the OnePlus 7 Pro by a fair bit, and beat the Google Pixel 3a budget option by a mile.

What makes the OnePlus 7 Pro, or even it's non-Pro cheaper cousin so good, is that it manages to cram premium qualities into a far cheaper handset than you might normally pay. For iPhone users coming in to Android for the first time, it's an ideal device owing to the polished OS experience, too. If you're a current Android user looking to upgrade to something that will truly last, OnePlus is your best bet.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jez Corden is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing on Xbox, Surface, and Windows PC. He spends the vast majority of his time gaming, or writing about gaming, with a mission to provide gamers in the Microsoft ecosystem the best and most up-to-date info possible.

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