Since we all first booted up our Nokia 3310s for hours on Snake, before our iPhones became jammed with hours of Candy Crush Saga, gaming on phones has been a thing. However, cellphones are gradually becoming viable gaming devices in addition to home consoles, and these are the finest ones you can buy. Such is the capability of today’s devices. Fortnite and Call of Duty Mobile may thank their mobile platforms and mobility for their ridiculously fast success. And it’s no surprise given the power packed into the greatest cell phones on the market.
While the most recent Apple and Samsung phones are capable of operating the most demanding mobile games, the market is so large that specialist gaming phones such as the Asus ROG Phone 5, Red Magic 7, and Black Shark 4 Pro are available. Because there are just a few of them, we’ve also listed ‘regular’ phones that provide a fantastic gaming experience.
Below are our recommended best phones for gaming. Take some time to consider which has the best features at the best price for you, for the games you want to be able to run.
Asus ROG Phone 5
Hands down, the Asus ROG Phone 5 is the ideal gaming phone. With a hefty, gamer-esque appearance, it may not appeal to a broad audience, but that is not the goal here. The emphasis here is on gaming, and Asus has pushed things to the next level with a 144Hz AMOLED screen, two 3,000mAh batteries, the top-tier Snapdragon 888, and up to an eye-watering 16GB of RAM. It can handle almost any game available on Android right now, with enough power left over to keep the phone running for a long period – all at a lower price than big-name flagships.
Even though they aren’t linked to gaming, the cameras are great, which is rare for a gaming phone. We can only truly complain about the size and weight, which are 10.3mm thick and 238g, but that isn’t that relevant in the gaming industry.
Red Magic 7
Nubia’s Red Magic smartphones have a reputation for having some of the greatest gaming-focused screens available, and the Red Magic 7 is no exception. At the core of the device is a fast 6.8in 165Hz OLED display with an astonishing 720Hz touch sample rate that outperforms almost every other smartphone on the market. Though you won’t notice much of a difference in real-world performance, it will surely fulfill gamers’ need for the finest of the best.
This is combined with top specifications like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 12/16/18GB of RAM, 128/256GB of storage, and an improved three-fan cooling system to keep everything running smoothly during extended gaming sessions. The rear-facing triple camera configuration is unchanged from the Red Magic 6S, which was identical to the Red Magic 5S, but software upgrades mean it performs somewhat better this time around. The only significant letdown is the battery life, which is lower than that of its predecessor at a very mediocre 4500mAh and drains much faster when coupled with a 165Hz display.
iPhone 13 Pro Max
When it comes to iOS gaming, the 6.7in iPhone 13 Pro Max is unrivaled. Apple’s 5nm A15 Bionic chipset is one of the most powerful on the market right now, and it can handle almost everything you throw at it without stuttering or lag – and our benchmarks back that up. Importantly, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a stunning Super Retina XDR display, which makes games on the iPhone appear fantastic, whether they’re free-to-play or the latest Apple Arcade exclusives.
It’s also one of the first iPhones to use a variable 120Hz refresh rate, providing the buttery-smooth refresh rate – and enhanced reaction time – that makes Android competitors so powerful. There’s also up to 1TB of storage available, allowing you to carry a complete library of mobile games in your pocket, and the battery life is the best of any iPhone to date, allowing for extended play sessions.
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