Console-quality gaming on a portable device has been something we’ve all dreamed about for decades. Now it finally feels like we’re basically 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 around Mexico or explore the massive Halo Ring on the go.
For the last couple of weeks I have been trialling a new gaming set up – The Pixel 6 Pro mounted to an Xbox gaming controller and streaming via Microsoft’s cloud gaming service Xcloud. I have to say the experience has been genuinely impressive.
I focused mainly on two Xbox Cloud Gaming titles during my time with the Pixel 6 Pro – Forza Horizon 5, and Minecraft Dungeons – both of which I have 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 really something 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 screen and 120Hz variable refresh rate is exactly perfect for this . The screen feels large enough to be immersive, while not too unwieldy to carry around – your gaming sweet spot.
High refresh rates like on the Pixel 6 Pro have been popular in gaming monitors for a while and have been an area that some have found lacking when it comes to gaming on your mobile. It can makes your games all feel smoother and can even give you a slight edge with your reaction speed.
To make the most of high refresh rates, you need some serious processing power under the hood, which the Pixel 6 Pro has in spades – with Google’s first ever mobile chipset called Tensor. The best compliment I give is that I didn’t even notice it – as in, games and apps all ran extremely smooth without any hiccups and just how I hoped they would.
Variable refresh rates are not only good for gaming but are also great for assisting with battery life, offering high speed when you need to tackle some bad guys with the Master Chief and low rates when you need to conserve power. It is definitely noticeable, and I was getting a comfortable full day worth of battery life without much problem.
Gaming on it constantly will of course, drain that faster, but you should still easily be able to play Halo on your daily commute with plenty left over.
The final piece of the gaming pie on a mobile device, especially playing Xbox Cloud Gaming, is having a great network connection.
Xbox Cloud Gaming streams your game to your phone kind of like Netflix does a movie, so a reliable and fast network connection with low latency makes a difference for a successful session on the go. The Pixel 6 Pro is compatible with 5G and so I spent a lot of time gaming on Telstra’s 5G Network.
What I noticed was, the speed at which you can load up Xbox Cloud Gaming, select the title you wish to play, and jump into the gameplay was super smooth. There was no long loading screens, no long waiting times for servers, mere seconds and you’re back into your game from where you left off on your console or PC. Overall I had a great experience.
Finally, my top tip: A bunch of these games are touch-friendly, and a large screen like on the Pixel 6 Pro’s helps, but you’ll get the most out of it with a clip on controller.