Smartphones have almost entirely replaced handheld consoles for gaming, and with good reason – they often have excellent screens and plenty of power, while the App Store and Google Play Store both have a large and ever growing selection of games.
But not all smartphones are good for games, and there’s more to consider than just raw power – though that’s certainly a factor.
There are phones like the Asus ROG Phone 5, Lenovo Legion Phone Duel, and Nubia Red Magic 5G, which are all built specifically with gaming in mind, meaning they have things like extra high refresh rates, touch-sensitive triggers, cooling systems, and more.
On the other hand, there are also excellent gaming phones that aren’t aimed specifically at that market, with many top flagships like the iPhone 12 Pro and OnePlus 9 Pro also doing a superb job, thanks to their stunning screens and high-end specs.
We’ve included all the best options below, ranked from best to worst, but you’ll find those designed specifically for gaming at the top, while standard handsets that happen to be good for gaming are further down.
1. Asus ROG Phone 5
Its main features include best-in-class power from a combination of the Snapdragon 888 chipset and up to 16GB of RAM, as well as a 144Hz refresh rate and 300Hz touchscreen sampling rate – both higher than most phones and beneficial. to the games.
This screen is large too and is backed up by two front-facing speakers, which are some of the best you’ll find on a phone.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 also has a huge 6,000mAh battery, so you can play for longer, and with 65W charging, you won’t be out of work for long when it runs out.
Combine that with responsive shoulder buttons, programmable RGB lighting, and compatibility with a range of gaming accessories, and the Asus ROG Phone 5 truly becomes a complete gaming kit.
It’s not exactly a versatile flagship (its starter cameras aren’t as good as the rest of the hardware), but if gaming is your priority, then this phone should be at or near the top of your list.
2. Lenovo Legion Phone Duel
Lenovo’s first gaming phone, the Legion Phone Duel, combines great gaming features with some other core specs and features.
The phone supports 90W fast charging and has a pop-up camera so the screen remains intact. It also has a top-end processor and software optimized for landscape mode. All this makes it great for gaming.
Our problems with the phone are not about its gaming prowess, although its high price tag, software issues, and mediocre camera may affect some.
If you’re looking for one of the best gaming phones right now, then it’s here; If you’re looking for a great smartphone that’s also good for gaming, this is a good choice, although you should check the others on this list before purchasing.
3. Nubia Red Magic 5G
The Nubia Red Magic 5G features the world’s first 144Hz smartphone screen, making it ideal for gaming with a silky smooth refresh rate.
But that’s not the only thing that makes it ideal for gaming. In fact, it’s designed specifically for this pastime, with shoulder triggers for increased control, a fan and liquid cooling system to keep the phone cool under pressure, dedicated gaming space to customize gameplay, and 4D Shock that adds vibration to games.
This latter feature is not supported by many games at the time of writing, as is the 144Hz display, but if game developers take advantage of it, it could be one of the most robust phones of the future.
Of course, it also supports 5G and has a lot of power. It is only slightly let down by the 1080 x 2340 screen, which is not among the harshest, along with some bugs in software and design that will cause controversy.
4. Black Shark 3
The Black Shark 3 is the best gaming phone from the Xiaomi sub-brand, although it doesn’t quite outperform its modern gaming phones from several other brands.
The phone is big, bold in design, with LED backlighting, and the specs are everything you’d expect from a gaming phone – that’s where they are. The cameras were surprisingly effective too, especially in low light conditions, although sometimes the optimization could be overkill.
The reason this phone isn’t higher is because of its 90Hz refresh rate, which is lower than other phones higher on this list, and because it doesn’t have as many specialized gaming features as the others.
5. Razer Phone 2
The first Razer Phone was a solid first attempt at bringing a gaming brand to a mobile device, but it had a few flaws that pushed it lower on our list. The second version is addressed to some and offers a more powerful device for it, although it is still aimed primarily at gamers.
What does it mean? The camera and display aren’t quite as impressive as other phones that cost that much, so casual gamers might want to look elsewhere. But if you are more serious about mobile gaming and can afford it, this is a good choice.
Externally, the Razer Phone 2 hasn’t changed much from its predecessor, although it has been upgraded to a Snapdragon 845 chip and switched to a glass back for Qi wireless charging. Also added a smooth steam chamber to cool the device during gameplay.
In the end, the phone’s powerful chipset, 8GB of RAM, great speakers, a 120Hz screen and 4,000mAh battery, and extensive tweaks to tweak battery life and performance make it a great choice for gaming.