Best Phones for Xbox Game Streaming Windows Central 2021
Project xCloud and its home console Xbox Game Streaming counterpart goes live on September 15 across the world. So, what are the best phones to buy for it? The service is only available on Android as of writing, but it could go to iOS in the future. Our pick for "Best" phone for Project xCloud and Xbox Game Streaming goes to the OnePlus 8, balancing power, affordability, and features. However, there are also some great alternatives to consider, too.
Best Overall: OnePlus 8
The OnePlus 8 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 8 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 versions 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.
- Smooth 90Hz display
- Great gaming specifications
- Clean software
- Great value
- 4,300mAh battery
- Wireless charging comes in the more expensive "Pro" version
Best Budget Android: Google Pixel 4a
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 4a 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 3,140mAh battery in the Pixel 4a makes for relatively limited screen time. For longer sessions, you may want to throw in an external battery pack.
- Best camera below $500
- Mimics Pixel 4's premium touch
- Google's pure Android experience
- No water resistance
- Sub-par battery life
- No 5G
Best With 5G: Samsung Galaxy S20 5G
If you want to futureproof your XCloud device against the proliferation of 5G wireless, consider the Samsung Galaxy S20, which is arguably also the best premium handset on the market right now.
The Galaxy S20 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 Project xCloud and Xbox Game Streaming on a larger display.
The S20 also sports 5G, which will provide the best over-the-air connectivity for Project xCloud. It also has a large display option, screen, nice battery life, and huge amounts of power, making it a great gaming device.
- 5G connectivity
- Large display
- Powerful specs
- Very expensive at $1000 RRP
The OnePlus 8 remains the best all-rounder, when it comes to balancing power, price, and features.
What makes the OnePlus 8 is that it manages to cram premium qualities into a far cheaper handset than you might normally pay. For iPhone users coming into 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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