Console-grade gaming on a portable device has been something we’ve all dreamed of for decades. Now we finally feel like we’re there – and Google’s latest handset, The Google Pixel 6 Pro is a perfect example of a phone that really shines when you just want to drive a McLaren Senna in Mexico or explore the massive Halo Ring on the go.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been testing out a new gaming setup – the Pixel 6 Pro mounted on an Xbox game controller and streamed through Microsoft’s cloud gaming service Xcloud. I must say that the experience has been truly impressive.
I mainly focused on two Xbox Cloud Gaming titles during my time with the Pixel 6 Pro – Forza Horizon 5 and Minecraft Dungeons – which I also played on my high-end PC and Xbox console. The fact that you can play these games from almost anywhere on the Pixel 6 Pro with little to no compromise is something really special.
The first thing we need to talk about is the screen.
When it comes to playing console-quality games, you want something big, clear, and responsive. The Pixel 6 Pro with its 6.7-inch display and variable 120Hz refresh rate is exactly perfect for that. The screen is large enough to be immersive, while not being too bulky to carry – your sweet spot for gaming.
High refresh rates like on the Pixel 6 Pro have been popular in gaming monitors for quite some time and have been an area some have found lacking when it comes to gaming on your mobile. It can make your games run smoother and may even give you a slight edge with your reaction speed.
To get the most out of high refresh rates, you need some serious processing power under the hood, which the Pixel 6 Pro has in spades – along with Google’s very first mobile chipset called Tensor. The best compliment I give is that I didn’t even notice it – as in, the games and apps all went extremely smoothly, without any issues and as I hoped.
Variable refresh rates are not only good for gaming, but are also great at helping battery life, delivering high speed when you need to tackle baddies with the Master Chief and low rates when you need to save energy. It’s really noticeable, and I was getting a comfortable full day of battery life without too much of a problem.
Of course, playing it all the time will deplete this faster, but you should still be able to easily play Halo on your daily commute with a lot of extra.
The last piece of the gaming pie on a mobile device, especially for playing Xbox Cloud Gaming, is having a great network connection.
Xbox Cloud Gaming streams your game to your phone much like Netflix makes a movie, so a reliable and fast network connection with low latency makes the difference for a successful session on the go. The Pixel 6 Pro is 5G compatible, so I spent a lot of time playing on Telstra’s 5G network.
What I noticed was that the speed at which you can load Xbox Cloud Gaming, select the title you want to play, and jump into the gameplay was super smooth. There were no long loading screens, no long waits for servers, a few seconds and you’re right back in your game where you left off on your console or PC. Overall I had a great experience.
Finally, my best advice: A bunch of these games are touch-sensitive and a big screen like the Pixel 6 Pro’s helps, but you’ll get the most out of it with a clip on controller.