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Although phones aren’t a traditional games machine, with the increasing advancements in processing power and screen technology the smartphones have been elevated to new heights and become viable gaming devices alongside home consoles.
Powerful mobile phones provide console-quality experiences
Mobile gaming has come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Whether you need physical-style buttons or a display with a high refresh rate, a whole new class of smartphones has cropped up. Popular brands and dedicated gaming phones have brought higher refresh rates for screens, game-specific buttons, powerful features, and optimized performance into the mainstream. The best gaming phones combine top-tier components with the latest software to deliver amazingly immersive experiences.
Capable of playing graphically demanding, in-depth games, like Vainglory, PUBG Mobile, and Fortnite; smartphones have proven that they can also provide full console-quality experiences.
Traditional Mobile Brands are coming to popular gaming market
While there are dedicated gaming phones like the Asus ROG Phone, Razer Phone, and Xiaomi Black Shark, the gaming market is so widespread and trendy that traditional mobile brands like Apple, Samsung, and Oppo are making feature-riched mobile phones that are also capable of running the most demanding mobile games.
Whether you want a cool versatile smartphone that also tacks gaming or a dedicated mobile phone, there’s something for you here.
Best gaming phones at a glance:
- Asus ROG Phone 2
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
- OnePlus 8 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy S20 / S20 Plus
- Nubia Red Magic 5G
- RAZER PHONE 2
- Apple iPhone XR
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
- Black Shark 2
- Oppo Find X2 Pro
1. Asus ROG Phone 2 One of the best high-end gaming phone from Asus
Weight: 240g | Dimensions: 171 x 77.6 x 9.5mm | OS: Android 9 Pie | Screen size: 6.59-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 Plus | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 512GB / 1TB | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 13MP | Front camera: 24MP
Asus knows, what gamers want, and what makes a great gaming device. We have to give Asus a thumbs up for what it has produced in the form of the Asus ROG Phone 2. It packs in some excellent specs and throws in plenty of extras, designed specifically to appeal to gamers.
But where the ROG Phone 2 really shines is, it’s supersonic feature Air Triggers. These are the buttons on the side of the phone which are used when it is in landscape position. These buttons perform just like the bumpers we see in the controllers of Xbox One or PS4. This provides an easier and accurate control scheme that would otherwise be difficult without it.
Add to that truly high-end specs, 12GB of RAM as standard, along with 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage, and a massive 6,000mAh battery that lasts for ages, now combine that Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset, you’ll get an absolute beast that’s afraid of nothing, no task is too much, no game is too much.
The built-in software allows you to shape your gaming experience, for instance, you can overclock the already beefy CPU, and adjust the fan speed.
The device also stands out as one of the few phones packing an OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and Asus has put out a wide variety of mobile gaming accessories for the phone to make the experience even better.
The only thing that you might complain that it’s quite large and heavy. But when we talk from gaming perspective, you probably won’t mind it. If you game on your phone for hours on a very regular basis, and obviously don’t mind the sky-high price, the Asus ROG Phone 2 is made for you.
2. Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max The best gaming phone for Apple’s fans
Weight: 226g | Dimensions: 158 x 77.8 x 8.1mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 1242 x 2688 | CPU: A13 Bionic chip | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB / 256GB / 512GB | Battery: 3,969mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 12MP
If you’re an Apple admirer, then no gaming phone is better than iPhone 11 Pro Max for you. Along with the sharp screen and a top-notch camera, a major reason to go with the iPhone is the collection of excellent and latest games in Apple’s App Store.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the enhanced version of Apple’s newest flagship smartphone iPhone 11 Pro. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a vibrant, 6.5-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 2,688 x 1,242 pixels which is bigger than the one on its 5.8-inch sibling. It is better for playing games and watching videos than the smaller one. It only has a refresh rate of 60Hz but the display is bright with great color-accuracy.
The latest Apple’s A13 Bionic chip has made this iPhone 11 Pro Max a serious machine. It really takes advantage of this quite powerful processor. It features 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage which you can’t update later on, so be careful, while choosing one of them. The 4GB of RAM works fine due to the excellent memory management by Apple’s iOS.
The 3,969mAh battery doesn’t seem good but its larger than the standard iPhone 11 Pro and delivers excellent battery life. You can possibly go around two days before the next charge. There’s no 3.5mm audio port for headphones, so you’ll need to use Bluetooth or an adapter for the Lightning port.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max comes with an amazing, truly top-notch triple-lens rear camera. Which is probably one of the best cameras available right now. There’s also a 12-megapixel front camera.
All this is packed in Apple’s sleek and strong stainless-steel frame with a modern look. But, a steep high price also needs to be kept in mind.
3. OnePlus 8 Pro The flagship gaming phone by OnePlus
Weight: 199g | Dimensions: 165.3 x 74.35 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.78-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3168 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8GB / 12GB | Storage: 128GB / 256GB | Battery: 4,510mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 48MP + 5MP + 8MP | Front camera: 16MP
The OnePlus 8 Pro is the company’s real star, integrating the striking features like blazing display of 120Hz, IP68 waterproof rating, and wireless charging.
With a top-end Snapdragon 865 chipset inside this phone, up to 12GB of RAM, and 6.78-inch 1440 x 3168 screen with a blazing and smooth 120Hz refresh rate, it’s one of the most powerful multimedia smartphones you will find it perfect for gaming.
The strong 4,510mAh battery enables you to play games for hours in a single charge, and without playing many games it even lasts for days. Both fast (gets 100% charge in around an hour) and wireless charging is supported by OnePlus 8 Pro.
5G is also supported, so you can enjoy uninterrupted online games using blazing 5G speeds as long as you have 5G services.
You can also go for its predecessor OnePlus 8 if your budget allows for a lower price tag, or you don’t need the extra features (OnePlus 8 is available about $200 lesser rate than the pro version). OnePlus 8 is limited to 90Hz, without wireless charging and slightly declined camera setup. But Speed, Snapdragon 865 processor, 8-12GB of RAM, 128-256GB of storage, and 5G support are similar.
Both devices are incredible. Which one is right for you depends on you.
4. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Best All-Rounder Android Phone
Weight: 186g | Dimensions: 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3200 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 | RAM: 8GB / 12GB | Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB | Battery: 4500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP | Front camera: 10MP
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus has some convincing traits that would fascinate gamers. The credit goes to the 6.7-inch AMOLED screen, which possesses a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s also razor sharp at 3,200 x 1,440 pixels. It may possibly be the best display in smartphone so far in 2020.
Then there are the gears under the hood, which you’ll strive to get with any of the phones leaping in 2020. Inside is a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, or an Exynos 990 (if you’re not in the US), up to 512GB of storage (you can add up to 1TB through included microSD card slot), and a plentiful 12GB of RAM. That’s overegging the pudding for most people, but hardcore gamers will appreciate the raw power.
The 4,500mAh battery can be fast-charged via cable at up to 25 watts, or wirelessly at up to 15W.
Beyond the top-notch gaming performance, there’s 5G onboard, IP68 water resistance, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and a multifaceted camera suite. In terms of the best all-around phones out there, this is a very strong contender.
If you’re in quest of a high-grade phone that offers great gaming features, but doesn’t find the middle ground on other fronts — and of course, you don’t mind paying top dollar — the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is the one that ticks all the boxes.
5. Nubia Red Magic 5G Best games dedicated and affordable phone
Weight: 218g | Dimensions: 168.6 x 78 x 9.8mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.65-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8GB / 12GB | Storage: 128GB / 256GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP
The Nubia Red Magic 5G is the first one to offer a 144Hz display screen in this class. This silky smooth refresh rate and stereo speakers which are loud and clear, make it perfect to play games.
The Red Magic 5G is really designed with gamers in mind which makes it ideal for them. It has two customizable shoulder trigger buttons to give you easy access and control, a 6.65-inch AMOLED screen with an enormous 144Hz refresh rate, power of Snapdragon 865 processor, 8GB to 12GB of RAM, 128GB to 256GB of storage, and a 4,500mAh battery that runs and runs for long gaming sessions, in other words, you would experience a great gaming performance better than ever before.
There is a very decent cooling system with a fan that prevents the phone from overheating. Furthermore, Red Magic’s Game Space enhances performance augmentations, fan controls, a screen recorder, and other gaming tweaks and tuning all in one package.
It also supports 5G of course, — the latest generation in the mobile telecom industry — and has plenty of power. However, some aspects are less well suited to general users as this phone is targeted squarely at mobile gamers. This includes its some uninspiring software nips, and intruding industrial design. Still, at an affordable price tag, it’s one of the easy on the pocket and best-dedicated gaming phones out there.
6. Razer Phone 2 One of the best Android phone for gamingv
Weight: 205g | Dimensions: 158.5 x 78.9 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 9 Pie | Screen size: 5.72-inch | Resolution: 2560×1440 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6GB / 8GB | Storage: 64GB / 128GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP f/1.75 wide angle / 12MP f/2.6 telephoto | Front camera: 8MP f/2.0
Razer has improved its original device by upgrading to the Snapdragon 845 chip and switched to a glass back for Qi wireless charging. But it retains that 5.7-inch 120Hz LCD screen (QHD), and customizable RGB strips.
Bringing with it 64GB to 128GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, toss in a 4,000mAh battery, dual 12MP+12MP rear camera setup paired with and an 8MP front camera, resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels, a super-sharp at 513 pixels-per-inch with a 120Hz refresh rate, Razer Phone 2 won’t let you miss any action.
Plus, a vapor chamber cooling system and a solid heat-pipe inside the chassis help keep this complete package staying cool while running.
Razer Phone 2 also features an IP67 water-resistant design, a wireless charging, a built-in 24-bit DAC that enhances your audio, making it quite a solid combination.
Coming to hitches, all that comes at a high price, this thing is expensive, and the camera and display aren’t just about as inspiring as other phones that cost this much. But at the end of the day, overall, this is a great choice especially for high-end gaming.
Read Also: Best Gaming Laptops In 2020
7. APPLE IPHONE XR Apple’s best economical gaming phone
Weight: 194g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 828 x 1,792 pixels | CPU: A12 Bionic chip | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB | Battery: 2,942mAh | Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 wide | Front camera: 7MP f/2.2
The Apple iPhone XR is the most economical phone by Apple which delivers a great versatile usage experience. More explicitly, the A12 Bionic processor has sufficient horsepower to get you through anything you want to play on the App Store that makes the iPhone XR a great gaming phone choice for Apple fans.
It has decent features in other things, too. Its 6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina screen looks crunchy and flawless. It derives a durable 12-megapixel rear camera as well as a 7-megapixel front camera. The 2,942mAh battery runs so enough that you won’t be wandering about to charge it all the time.
You can get it with a storage capacity of 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB which is great for everyday usage. The 3GB RAM apparently doesn’t seem good but Apple’s iOS memory management capabilities make this 3GB RAM well enough to play most of the games without any problem and open other applications quickly.
Certainly, it misses those dual cameras and an OLED display that comes with other Apple models. But when we talk about gaming, the Apple iPhone XR comes to be worthwhile. And the best part is that you’re getting a high-quality Apple experience without much expense.
8. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus The best Android gaming phone by Samsung
Weight: 175g | Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 8GB / 12GB | Storage: 128GB / 512GB | Battery: 4,100mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP | Front camera: 10MP + 8MP
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is a next hop of the standard S10 with more power and features. It hosts a sharp Super AMOLED display with support for the high dynamic range to let you enjoy outstanding visuals on both games and videos, and wireless power share is very useful if your family member, friend, or colleague’s phone is running out of battery.
The S10 smartphones were the foremost in the Galaxy family to carry Qualcomm’s powerful new Snapdragon 855 chipset, which boosted their performance and stand them out of the crowd. It comes with 6.4-inch ultra-wide display, resolution 1440 x 3040, up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, and the triple-lens of a 12MP main, ultra-wide, and telephoto camera. So you’ll enjoy a muscular gaming device and an outstanding smartphone all in one.
But that’s not all, the existing Gear VR headsets can be used with this device, so it will let the VR lovers enjoy the enticing game channel on the phones’ sharp screen display.
This is a well-rounded gaming phone that is worth every penny you spend on it.
9. Xiaomi Black Shark 2 The best budget-friendly gaming phone
Weight: 205g | Dimensions: 163.6 x 75 x 8.8mm | OS: Android 9.0 Pie | Screen size: 6.39-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 12MP | Front camera: 20MP
What Black Shark 2 offers to gamers is stirring. It is the improved version of its predecessor with more power and a better screen.
The Black Shark 2 comes features the Snapdragon 855, a beast of a processor, 8 GB of RAM and a storage capacity of 128 GB. Combining a great double lens rear camera with 48 and 12 megapixels and front camera with 20 megapixels, excellent internals, industry-leading cooling technology, and improved gaming capabilities over the original, the Black Shark 2 springs superior gaming experience than its gaming phone competitors.
However, there are niggles to dampen the party of course — a rather dim display being chief among them — and hit-and-miss controller design. But even with those accounted for, the bang for buck it delivers is beyond imagination. The only thing to look out for is its availability. It’s challenging to find in some countries, such as the US.
10. Oppo Find X2 Pro The best gaming phone from Oppo
Weight: 217g | Dimensions: 165.2 x 74.4 x 8.8mm | OS: Android 10 with ColorOS 7.1 | Screen size: 6.7-inch, QHD+ | Resolution: 1440 x 3168 pixels| CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8GB / 12GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 4,260mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 13MP + 48MP | Front camera: 32MP
Oppo has surprisingly produced an outstanding phone by any aspect, making its place in the list of best gaming phones.
The 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED screen is the best display in any phone right now, supported by the fastest wired charging around at 65W which gets the battery topped up in less than 50 minutes and a high-end camera setup that brags dual 48Mp lenses and up to 10x hybrid zoom.
With all of the above add power of Snapdragon 865, 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, 4,260mAh battery, this Oppo Find X2 Pro has been created for pure performance.
You would also get the advantage of its 5G blazing speeds while playing online games without any delays and jitters as long as you find the 5G signals.
But you have to pay a steep high price for the package, it doesn’t come cheap.
Specifications to keep in mind when buying a gaming mobile
Specs are pretty important if you want to game to the highest level on a phone, but it does depend on which games you want to run smoothly. If you are more into an arcade or puzzle games, then you might not need to splash out on a high-end gaming phone. However, the following specs are important to consider while looking for a gaming mobile.
Chipset or CPU (Performance)
If you love to play high-end games on the phone then, of course, you would require a powerful enough phone to run the latest in-demand games. It is the powerful chipset (CPU) that lets your mobile to play graphically demanding, in-depth games, like Vainglory, PUBG Mobile, and Fortnite. So you need to look for the latest top-notch chipset. For Android Qualcomm’s flagship chipset Snapdragon 855 and updated version 855 plus and 865 are giving outstanding performance. Most of the top brands and dedicated gaming mobile host these chipsets. Apple uses A13 or A12 Bionic chip.
The refresh rate is a measure for the number of times a screen redraws an image. It is measured in Hertz (Hz). In simple terms, a higher refresh rate means lesser motion blur and considerably clearer image quality. Most smartphones today are equipped with 60Hz screens, but now you can get phones that offer higher refresh rates of 90Hz and 120Hz. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the gameplay.
Resource intensive games can cause your phone overheated in long sessions. Which may affect the performance, stuck your phone in the middle of the game, or even shorten the lifespan of various components. Moreover, it becomes difficult for the gamer to hold on the mobile phone for longer time. Best mobile phones incorporate some sort of thermal technology to combat this heat. Most manufacturers have included some type of liquid cooling tech in their phones. Even Nubia has taken things a step further by adding an internal fan.
Decent battery and fast charging technology
As stated earlier, gaming on a smartphone is a very resource-intensive task. It can discharge the battery quickly. That is why you need to have a large battery, which can let you game for extended periods of time.
If you do not wish to run out of juice even at the end of the day, go for 4000 mAh or more battery. 3000mAh to 4000mAh battery is useful if you only use your smartphones for basic tasks like browsing social media and replying to messages. Now, if you are happy with a small battery, it becomes important to have a fast charging solution available.
Fast charging has been getting faster and more widely available even on more affordable smartphones. There are smartphones available that would allow you to top up a phone in less than an hour, or even as fast as half an hour. It will lead to change your charging habits entirely.
Most flagship smartphones available in the market right now pack an AMOLED display.
AMOLED is an ‘active-matrix organic light-emitting diode’. It adds a layer of semiconducting film behind the OLED panel which allows it to more quickly activate each pixel. That increased speed makes it ideal for larger, higher definition displays with a lot of pixels
AMOLED Displays feature remarkable colors, deep blacks, and eye-searing contrast ratios
Another important factor to consider is resolution. It determines the quality of the footage. You’ll normally come across various terms when looking for a gaming phone such as 1080 x 2340, 1242 x 2688, or 1440 x 3168
Resolution measures the number of pixels in a digital image or display. It is defined as width by height, or W x H, where W is the number of horizontal pixels, and H is the number of vertical pixels.
Whichever smartphone you will splash out on, will play games, of course, but the top hardware available is built up to play the very best, graphically intensive, power-hungry titles to their full capacity. Remember that the more advanced phone would go a long way with you while remaining capable of doing so. Anyways, any of the phone you decide to pick up, have fun enjoying the rising world of mobile gaming.