Mobile games have never been more alive or better than now with full Nintendo games like Mario Kart Tour, narratives like Florence and Fortnite being more popular than ever. At the same time, smartphones have improved and there are now even some phones designed specifically for games.
These iOS and Android phones made for gaming are a step up from your average regular phone and come with overclocked processors and high refresh rate screens of 90Hz and more. Some gaming smartphones even have specialized cooling systems, such as liquid cooling or internal fans. Gaming phones are a booming category in the smartphone world, IGN built a top-of-the-line smartphone:
These are the best gaming phones:
1. Asus ROG Phone 3
Asus made a strong entrance into mobile gaming with the original Asus ROG Phone, and things have only improved with the introduction of the Asus ROG Phone 3. To that end, it includes a 6.59-inch AMOLED screen for stunning images that can be run at a refresh rate of 144Hz. You’ll get your games with a high contrast ratio and a strong maximum screen brightness.
The phone itself is one thing, but Asus also supports it with a variety of accessories that can provide a Nintendo Switch-like experience or connect your phone to a TV to play your mobile games on the big screen.
2. ZTE Nubia Red Magic 5G
In many ways, the Nubia Red Magic 5G is a special kind of phone. It offers the latest specifications for an Android device, including the flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset with 5G connectivity, and yet it only costs over $600. It doesn’t make sacrifices like having a 60Hz screen or an IPS panel, but does everything possible with an AMOLED screen up to 144Hz. The storage, memory and battery are also respectable.
3. iPhone 12 Pro
So many great games come to iOS, you can’t blame yourself for wanting a great iPhone to play them on. The iPhone 12 Pro is the one you will want. It offers a 6.1-inch screen to give you plenty of room to play, and that’s a bright OLED panel for excellent visual quality. The new A14 Bionic chip inside will show you just how capable it is at gaming.
With at least 128GB of storage, you’ll have plenty of room to store your games on the iPhone 12 Pro. This will ensure that you can make the most of everything on offer in Apple Arcade. And, if you’re looking to play some games in the cloud, the iPhone 12 Pro’s support for 5G networks will help you do just that while you don’t have Wi-Fi.
4. Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Pro
It follows the Black Shark 2 as another high-end device with games at its core. You’ll find a Snapdragon 865 chipset that drives the experience, and there’s a 7.1-inch AMOLED screen, 1,440 x 3,120 to beat the competition’s screens, even beating the 6.2-inch Nintendo Switch 720p LCD. The screen operates at 90 Hz for fluid gaming and has a 270 Hz report rate for first-rate responsiveness.
5. OnePlus 8 Pro
It’s a really impressive phone. For $900, it offers an incredible smartphone experience that can rival the Galaxy S20, but offers it in the form factor of the larger, more expensive model. The OnePlus 8 Pro is packaged in a 6.78 inch AMOLED screen that can run at 120Hz and glow longer. And, while Samsung phones switch resolutions when they want to reach 120Hz, the OnePlus 8 Pro can reach 120Hz even with its full resolution of 1440 x 3168. That will give you crisp, fluid games on a big screen.
The OnePlus 8 Pro also has its own game mode that can be activated automatically every time you play mobile games. It works to improve the visual details in your games, strengthen haptic feedback and increase both hardware and network bandwidth performance. And, if you are trying to play on the go or enjoy games in the cloud, you will have access to 5G networks on this device.
6. Samsung Galaxy S20
The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 865 processor that has no problem under pressure, and there’s a sizeable battery inside that has no trouble getting used to the games. Samsung’s Dex mode makes it easy to connect the phone to a monitor or TV, so you can also enjoy some games on larger screens. And, when you’re done playing, you still have a stylish phone with excellent cameras, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, a sleek design and many other features to mention.
7. iPhone SE
The iPhone SE will allow you to access the treasure trove of games available on iOS, as well as the collection on Apple Arcade. The screen may be a bit small by recent standards and storage space is limited to 64GB, but otherwise there are not many other trade-offs. Pair it with a phone driver and you won’t lose the screen space you would normally cover with your thumbs.
What to look for in a game phone:
Choosing the right gaming phone is a little different from finding the best smartphone. With regular phones, you may be more interested in battery life, cameras, and a host of other specifications, but the best gaming phones are about their displays and processors, and everything else is less important.
That’s all you need to know about gaming phones for now. We will update this list periodically, especially since rumors suggest that we will see an increase in new gaming smartphones that may include the Asus ROG Phone 2. Xiaomi has also announced that it intends to introduce the Black Shark 2 Pro at the end of the year.