Does 60Hz or 120Hz impact Xbox Game Pass for Android?

XCloud running Gears 5
XCloud running Gears 5 (Image credit: Android Central)

Best answer: Yes! If you're planning on making use of Xbox Game Pass for Android, the faster refresh rates are ideal for optimizing your gaming experience. Higher frame rates cut down on visual latency and make gameplay smoother. Just remember that the higher frame rates come at the cost of battery consumption.

Xbox Game Pass for Android brings Xbox to Android devices

Conversations around refresh rates, a discussion once reserved for the PC gaming faithful, have become increasingly common, particularly when it comes to high-end phones. On paper, it's another way for smartphones to attempt to differentiate themselves from one another. In practice, it varies. If you're using your phone only to call people or to check email, the display refresh rate should mean nothing to you. However, if you're gaming, it makes all the difference.

With the release of project xCloud, mobile gamers received their first taste of the cloud gaming service that Microsoft has been working on for some time. When it officially releases on September 15th, the service will be another feature within Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. It will allow players to stream a library of over 100 games, including some of Microsoft's biggest first-party titles, directly to their Android device. As gamers gear up with the necessary accessories to game away from their console, the question remains: Does having a phone with a higher refresh rate impact Xbox Game Pass? The answer is yes.

Why is refresh rate important for Xbox Game Pass for Android?

Xbox One Project Xcloud Games Library

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Refresh rate measures how quickly the screen display updates or refreshes. For example, it takes 16.6ms to fully refresh a 60Hz display. In comparison, a 120HZ display can refresh at just 8.3ms — double the speed. Higher refresh rates make moving images look smoother, and content with a lot of graphic motion benefit greatly. Your inputs will also be registered faster.

Faster refresh rates are most noticeable when you're gaming. Gamers on PC have been championing screens with higher refresh rates for years, and now mobile gamers can enjoy it too. When picking a phone to use Xbox Game Pass for Android with, the refresh rate is just one of many things to consider.

Having a 120hz screen is not necessary to enjoy the xCloud. While 120hz displays are becoming more common, especially in premium phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20, you can still enjoy Xbox cloud gaming on a 60hz display. A higher refresh rate also comes at the expense of your phone's battery life, which is something to keep in mind while you're playing on the go.

The best way to play Xbox Game Pass for Android

If you're willing to spend the extra cash on a premium phone, a 120HZ display will deliver a noticeable difference to your game streaming experience. Cloud game streaming is Microsoft's latest (and most ambitious) venture into gaming. It's part of their self-proclaimed "multi-year journey." They are committed to bringing a quality experience to mobile gamers that's consistent with the speed and high-fidelity players expect on their PCs or consoles. Whether they're able to make good on that promise remains to be seen.

Zackery Cuevas
Zackery Cuevas is a writer for Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. I like playing video games, talking about video games, writing about video games, and most importantly, complaining about video games. If you're cool, you can follow me on Twitter @Zackzackzackery.