Project XCloud brings Xbox video game streaming to mobile devices, PCs, and tablets, with a broader rollout planned for the first half of 2020. As of right now, it's available as part of a limited preview, that you can sign up for right here. We're among the initial wave of testers, which has given me some ideas on how to enhance my
laziness gaming experience through various accessories and bits of gear. Here's my current Project XCloud setup, as someone who uses it primarily to play at home on a secondary device when the TV is in use.
- Affordable tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab A
- Case and stand: Samsung Galaxy Tab A Procase
- Split controller: Razer Junglecat
- Controller required: Xbox One Bluetooth Controller
- Getting lazy: Lamicall Tablet Mount
- Extend 'em up: Rampow USB cable
- My favorite thing ever: Cable ties
- More USB: Anker USB multiplug
- Power on the go: Anker battery
While the Amazon Fire HD tablet is cheaper, I wanted something with the native Google Play Store with more powerful, responsive internals. I found the Galaxy Tab A was the next-best option. It's cheap(ish), sleek, and has a decent 720p display, ideal for this earlier wave of XCloud, which is perhaps best experienced at HD or lower for best speeds.
I decided to grab a case for the tablet so that I'd have the option to stand it upright on a table or desk when I'm not using it attached to a stand. This case has a magnetic clasp for keeping the display safe in a backpack, while also having the capability to fold into a stand position for tabletop XClouding.
The Razer Junglecat is a nifty Nintendo Switch-like peripheral for mobile phones. It's great for mobile gaming, but for XCloud, full of Xbox games scaled for TV, I found Xbox Game Streaming on the phone to be a bit irritating. Still, you can use it with a tablet, too, and if you're lying down, sometimes it's more comfortable to split your Xbox controls across two joysticks instead of using a controller.
Project XCloud requires a controller to be paired for use, at least until the touch-based UI is ready to roll out. In the interim, if you don't want to shell out for the Razer Junglecat or simply want a larger, more ergonomic controller, picking up a spare Xbox One Bluetooth gamepad is your best option.
This is the tablet mount I'm currently using, and it allows you to maneuver a tablet around your current position easily. You can clamp it to a desk or any 3-inch surface. I'm currently using it against my bed, for maximum gaming laziness. The tablet mount is cheap, and there are probably higher-quality versions out there, but I didn't want to pay too much. It can be used with anything from a 5-inch phone to a 10-inch iPad, making it ideal for XCloud or even devices like the Nintendo Switch.
The standard cable that comes with the Samsung Galaxy Tab A (and indeed, most tablets and phones) is quite short, so I decided to buy a longer cable to accommodate my super lazy tablet mount. This one from Rampow does the job, but pretty much any similar USB cable will do. Just make sure you're picking the right type of USB for your device.
I love these things. One of the banes of any tech fan's life is cables. Cables quickly devolve from a dependable source of electricity into a mountain of plastic spaghetti. Cable ties can help keep all of your cables in check. I use these to maintain a constant connection to my Samsung tablet, tied up against my tablet mount atm.
All these extra USB devices start eating into your power socket availability, and you can offset that with a high-wattage USB multiplug like this bad boy from Anker. It comes with four ports for multiple USB devices, and enough power throughput to keep them all juiced simultaneously.
If you're planning to go on the road with your Project XCloud experience, all that screen-on time can gobble up battery life like no man's business. You can solve this pretty easily with a cheap and cheerful power bank. I tend to use solutions from Anker. The brand is well-known, and after years of use, they've never steered me wrong.
Top recommendations for maximum chilling
The reasons I chose the Samsung Galaxy Tab A over other similar tablets are numerous. The Amazon Fire HD is significantly cheaper, but I found the general experience to be incredibly sub-par. The OS on the Fire HD is sluggish, plastered with ads that are difficult to manage and control, and getting apps onto it requires additional hoops, given that Google Play isn't supported natively. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch model isn't crazy expensive. Still, for the additional investment, you get far better screen brightness and viewing angles, a speedier OS, and full Google Play integration out of the box. It's also just sleeker, with the better build quality and more useful features. Until Xbox Game Streaming comes to the iPad, this is probably the best value-for-money big-screen option for Project XCloud.
The Lamicall Tablet Mount is also an ideal option for angling your phone, Nintendo Switch, or tablet in any position, hands-free. Whether you're using it on a sofa, in bed, or even from a kitchen worktop, you can clamp this "gooseneck" mount onto any 3-inch surface and get your game on.
Finally, I have to recommend the Razer Junglecat for achieving true zen gaming. The Junglecat controllers are relatively small since they're designed to be mounted on the phone. Still, the ability to split each joystick across your hands makes it easier to lie down in various positions. Yes, we're pushing for maximum laziness here.
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