I recently read an article on a website where a guy explained how he went from PC gaming to smartphone gaming.
It made me think about my own opposite progression from console playing as a teenager to brief PC gaming in my early/mid twenties (on an Acer laptop that got quickly obsolete in terms of graphics performance with its Geforce 7200).
I switched to portable gaming with the PSP Slim which had good multimedia capabilities (pretty much the best polyvalence at the time I guess): video player (though somewhat limited as it could only decode mp4 files), music player (though no bluetooth headphone support), GPS module (expensive, no updatable maps, random GPS-fix issues), web-browsing (slow as hell and not at all optimised) but even though it wasn't perfect, I guess in those days this device really combined a little bit of everything and I could enjoy titles like Silent Hill Origins, Tomb Raider Legend and Anniversary and some PSX emulated titles.
But the PSP aged rapidly and by lack of interesting titles, and mostly the rising of post-iPhone-release smart devices, I eventually got a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone which really had everything I could hope for: it was the ultimate multimedia hub with camera, camcorder, web browser, GPS, music/video player, and, of course, gaming capabilities.
I guess the first game I tried was Asphalt 5 which really blew my mind by its quality. Then I did a little bit of casual games (Angry Birds, Cut the Rope...) and got onto the best "mobile AAA games" available: Shadowgun, Dead Space, and of course the Gameloft titles (to name a few: Avatar, N.O.V.A. 1, 2, Backstab, Spider-man...).
When the Galaxy S couldn't keep up anymore, I got myself an LG Nexus 5 at the end of 2013 (which is still my current phone) and could then tackle the likes of N.O.V.A. 3, Dark Knight Rises (...).
The Nexus 5 has DisplayPort output, so when you plug it to a TV and use a bluetooth gamepad, you pretty much get a decend PS2-ish console experience.
Still something was missing, the games had good graphics, but really lacked narrative...
Then a friend of mine parted with his Alienware M15x in 2015 and gave it to me so I could keep up with the titles I had wanted to play for such a long time. This hocked me back to PC gaming, so much so that I got myself a not-notch Asus laptop in early 2017.
Now, let's get back to the topic here after this looooong digression
So this dude explained how he liked smartphone gaming over PC gaming, and I was thinking I could never revert back to android games after the likes of the latest Tomb Raider and Batman Arkham series, just to name them.
In fact, the best compromise for me would be to play my PC games on
I had heard of Android apps like Kainy or Remoter but all those are either not free of charge or contain in-app purchase for full-feature unlocking and require client/server combo.
Then, I came across Moonlight which exploits the capabilities of native Nvidia gamestream protocol without relying on a server application...
So I figured I should give it a try, considering my laptop has a GTX 1070 which is more than capable for everything and my "not-so-aging" LG Nexus 5 is doing pretty good too.
I didn't really know what to expect from Moonlight and after a brief configuration, I launched it... and it worked!!
Kudos here to the devs who offer a free, open-source, straight out-of-the-box game streaming solution. Pair the device with a bluetooth gamepad and that's it, you're good to go!!
I have more than enough data plan from my mobile carrier for my smartphone (150 GB, so on-the-go game streaming shouldn't be a problem), but my DSL home connection is just plain terrible, I can't stream decently over the internet, even at 720p30 and 2Mb bitrate.
Just so you know, the theoretical bitrate from my ISP line is 5,01 Mbit/s DL and 0,62 Mbit/s UL which gives a good 625 ko/s tops when I download files and (brace yourselves) 77,5 ko/s when I upload files.
Oddly, when both my laptop and smartphone are connected to my home Wi-Fi, I can stream 1080p60 with 10M bitrate without problem even though it can get messy if IPTV is on (the bitrate is basically cut in half).
I should be getting FTTH optical internet in about a year and can't wait...
So here I am, currently only able to stream games at home, which is really convenient since you can leave your PC in a room and basically go wherever you want with the smartphone and gamepad (even the restroom!), but being limited to a 4.95 inch display is really frustrating, especially with full HD res...
So I got my hands on my Dad's old Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 P5110 and purchased the ipega PG-9023 gamepad which can cradle devices from 5 to 10 inches (I had an ipega PG-9025 bluetooth controller and though the small size is a good argument for mobility, the trigger positions is quite awkward and hard to reach when the phone is docked in the bracket, and somehow L1 and L2 are inverted, as well as R1 and R2 on mine, so not very practical).
Two annoying things about the PG-9023:
- the right analog is above the A, Y, X and B buttons which gest quite tiresome compared to the Xbox 360 pad which I find way better
- you have to do the bluetooth pairing from scratch each time you switch to another device
The tab is old, gets very laggy when you open multiple apps, but from what I understand Moonlight is not very demanding in terms of CPU/GPU since all the heavy-lifting is provided by the computer, but the most important thing is good stable network capabilities and here the tab doesn't do too good: I can only connect via the 2.4 Ghz band (even though the WiFi is supposed to be "n" type and dual-band) which could explain why I have to reduce the bitrate in moonlight and limit to 30fps (since the tab res is 1280x800, 720p scaling suffices for me).
So I'm currently looking for an affordable tablet as you might have guessed.
The most wanted specs are the following:
- 10 inch display
- full HD resolution
- front facing stereo speakers
- Wi-Fi ac dual-band (obviously duh!)
Can you suggest any tab that would meet those prerequisites?
Thanks for your time and patience for reading this long message.