Smartphones have changed everything. No longer are you confined to the desktop for gaming – top titles and action-packed gameplay are only a swipe away. However, the best gaming phone is a must if you want a truly immersive experience with vivid graphics and stellar performance to match.
Fortunately, smartphone prices have gone down over the years, and you now have a range of stellar options to choose from. Whether you’re into battle RPGs, competitor shooters, or down-to-the clock strategy games, the best gaming phone offers an experience like no other. To that end, we’ve curated a list of the top 5 gaming phones, and we’ll take you through the ins and outs of the platform. Ready to experience real mobile entertainment? Let’s get started.
5 Best Gaming Phones in 2021
We’ve assembled this list of the top 5 gaming phones of this year. Have a look and see if you can find the perfect match.
Our pick for best mobile phone for gaming
The Razer Phone 2 is the best mobile gaming device thanks to its large 6 inch touchscreen and QHD 120hz Ultramotion Display. Moreover, this smartphone rocks a top-notch Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that’s accentuated by 8 gigs of built-in RAM. As for storage? You’re looking at 64GB as is, with a micro SD slot that can hold an additional 2TB. The Razer 2 truly levels the playing field with Color Chroma technology and dual speakers, delivering a breathtaking immersive experience for casual and hardcore gamers alike.
- 5.72” QHD Ultramotion Display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
- 8GB RAM/64GB storage w/ 2TB micro SD slot
- Razer Chroma, dual speakers, multiple cameras, and more
Our pick for best smartphone for gaming
If you’re looking for a phone that’s marketed exclusively toward the gaming crowd, look no further. The Asus ROG Gaming Smartphone is a machine with a 6” IPS FHD AMOLED display that offers unrivalled immersion. And – it’s loaded with a 90hz refresh rate and 1ms response times. In other words, it rivals the most powerful gaming monitors around. It’s built with the Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 for a CPU that can handle every game you throw at it with blazing fast speeds. RAM ships at 8 gigs and 128GB of storage comes standard. Hands down the best Android phone for gaming.
- 6” IPS FHD AMOLED display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
- 8GB RAM/128GB storage
- 90hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, dual cameras, handheld mode, and more
Our pick for best budget gaming phone
If you’re seeking the best cheap gaming phone, nothing compares to the 7.1 by Nokia. It’s got a 5.84” FHD screen and 19:9 aspect ration made entirely of Gorilla Glass. As for the interior? Performance is stellar thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor and 4 gigs of RAM. Storage is built-in with 64GB of space, and it can be expanded up to 400GB with the handy micro SD slot. This phone utilizes Android One to bring a streamlined ecosystem that integrates beautifully with Google Play. A fantastic option at an even better price.
- 5.84” FHD display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor
- 4GB RAM/64GB storage
- A stylish option built atop Android One; ships at an affordable price
Our pick for best Samsung gaming phone
We couldn’t create a list of the best gaming phones without mentioning the Samsung Galaxy S9+, the South Korean giant’s mega-hit smartphone. In fact, it’s the perfect choice for gaming on the go thanks to the 6.2” edge-to-edge Infinity Display that makes getting into the game a cinch. Plus, the 3000 mAH battery life lasts all day (and then some), ensuring you’re set to play wherever you’re at. Topping it off? This phone sports the world’s first 10nm processor for lightning speeds and exceptional performance, and it’s backed by a reasonable 4GB of RAM.
- 6.2” HD AMOLED Infinity Display
- Exynos 9810 processor
- 4GB RAM/64-256GB memory
- 960FPS camera capture speed, surround sound, and durable build
Our pick for best Apple gaming phone
Ah yes – Apple’s newest addition to the lineup. The Apple iPhone XS is the best phone for gaming when considering everything it has to offer. It features a nearly 6-inch OLED display, a pro-grade A12 Bionic processor, and 4GB of RAM. Plus, it can hold your entire games library thanks to the huge range of storage options, from 64GB to 512GB. As for the games themselves? Apple’s App Store is packed full of the world’s top titles and even features some exclusive to the iOS platform. Enjoy them all with immersive surround sound and a display that captures the true gaming experience.
- 5.6” HD OLED display
- A12 Bionic Chip
- 4GB RAM/64-512GB storage
- Face ID, dual 12MP cameras, IP68 durability, wireless charging, and more
Gaming Phone Guide Part I: What is a Gaming Phone?
Gaming phones are simply smartphones that excel at operating video game software. In other words, they’re loaded with powerful internal hardware and large screens optimized for modern-day gameplay. Vivid graphics, excellent response times, and crystal clear audio are all staples found in top gaming phones. And as the gaming scene continues to grow, mobile devices are following suit.
No longer are you confined to a tiny screen with 320×480 resolution and single-core CPUs backed by floppy disk flash memory. In fact, some of the the best gaming phones now boast QHD resolution with blazing-fast CPUs, oodles of memory, and enough RAM to play top triple-A titles. How’s that for mobile entertainment?
Gaming Phone Guide Part II: Benefits of Gaming Phones
Let’s take a look at a few of the top benefits found in good gaming phones:
- Brilliant displays. The best gaming phones boast vivid displays with LCD and OLED screens, offering the highest quality graphics. In fact, HD and QHD displays are common, and they’re usually equipped to display minute graphical details and pixel-perfect color.
- Powerful hardware. Multiple cores, cutting-edge RAM, and large storage capacities are all common in the best gaming phones. Expect incredible performance and reliability as you traverse your favorite games.
- Immersive sound. The best gaming phones sport dual speakers from top brands like Dolby and AKG. This ensures an immersive gaming experience with powerful basses and heartstopping high notes.
- Optimized for gaming. Hardware isn’t the only upgrade found in the best gaming phones. The top options on the market feature software that can register the slightest touch, deliver flawless WiFi & LTE connectivity, and optimize your gaming performance.
Plus, that’s not to mention all the unique features that make each mobile device unique. Be on the lookout for extras like full screen displays, long battery life, and gaming-oriented software that enhances your experience.
That said, it can be difficult to choose the best gaming phone with so many options available. Let’s zoom in for a closer look.
Gaming Phone Guide Part III: Choosing the Best Gaming Phone for You
With so many phones on the market, how do you sort through them to find the best gaming phone? Not only that, but how do you choose one that works for all your day-to-day needs as well? Let’s look at the major considerations:
- Screen size
- Graphics capabilities
- OS & Software
- Storage & RAM
- Price & Extras
First off, it’s important to determine the type and size of your preferred gaming screen. The options on our list all feature an HD or better display with screen sizes between 5.5-6.5”. This is a great starting point for mobile gaming.
Additionally, consider whether you want to play on the standard Android OS or the Apple platform. Both offer advantages and disadvantages for gaming and everyday use. Fortunately, modern processors on both sides of the isle deliver incredible performance and can all handle the strain of most mobile games. Still, a multi-core CPU with cutting-edge tech like those by Samsung or Apple will present a noticeable performance boost.
High RAM is important for gaming, and you’ll need plenty of storage to house your favorite titles. The prices on our list start at a modest $350 and head north of $1000, so think carefully about what you want from your gaming phone before you make a final decision.
Gaming Phone Guide Part IV: How to Play Games on Mobile
Playing games on mobile can be a bit tricky. Compared to the larger screens that PC and console users enjoy, mobile gamers are restricted to a few inches of real estate. That said, there are many popular titles on the App and Play Stores that deliver exceptional game mechanics for action-packed gameplay.
Moreover, many of the top mobile titles are ports from desktop or console, and they’ve been adapted to work on a tiny screen. That means you get to enjoy the most popular games all from the palm of your hands!
Intrigued? Just check out your app store and navigate to the “games” tab. Once you spot one you like, a quick download is all you need to hop in the game fast.