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Smartphone gaming is a thing especially when you are on the go. Such is the potential offered by modern devices that have nothing to envy from video game consoles when it comes to enjoying advanced titles such as Fortnite or PUBG Mobile, among many others.
Of course, not all models are made to support games with a high demand for performance. That is why many brands have chosen to launch mobile phones focused on gaming such as the Asus ROG, the Razer Phone or the Xiaomi Black Shark.
More often than not these gaming phones have dedicated hardware or support for accessories that help offer you better gaming experience. Internally, they come with a big chunk of RAM, and the most powerful CPU and GPU.
It is also interesting to see the implementation of liquid cooling systems in order to help combat thermal throttling and keep the device cool while you handle it.
Since there are still a few of these dedicated devices on the market, we have decided to also include standard phones that can still offer a solid gaming experience.
Specifications are very important if you want to play the latest and most demanding games out there, but If you prefer arcade or puzzle games, you may not need a high-end phone or spend a fortune.
Below, you will find our complete selection of the best gaming phones that you can buy this year.
Razer Phone 2: best HDR gaming phone
The first Razer Phone () was a solid effort in introducing a gaming brand to the mobile world, but it had some problems and failed to make our list. The second version has resolved most of them and it is also a good all-round smartphone, although it is still aimed primarily at gamers.
Why is that? The camera and screen are not as impressive as those of other phones that cost the same, so casual gamers would want to consider other options. But if you take mobile games seriously and you can afford it, this is a very good option.
The Razer Phone 2 () hasn’t changed much compared to its predecessor, but this time around is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and is wrapped in glass in order to offer wireless Qi charging. Razer also gave it a great vapor chamber to cool the device down while playing.
The powerful SoC, 8GB of RAM, excellent speakers, a display with a refresh rate of 120Hz and a 4000mAh battery, as well as dedicated software capable of improving performance and autonomy make this an excellent choice for gamers.
OnePlus 7 Pro: the best smartphone
If the “infinite screen” mobile game experience is what you are looking for, the OnePlus 7 Pro () is the best gaming phone for this purpose. It dispenses with the notch (classic or hole-punch) intended to house the selfie camera and uses a pop-up slider (retractable camera) to give you an all-screen display of 6.67’’ with a resolution of 3120×1440 pixels.
This new “flagship killer” also comes equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, which can handle even the most demanding mobile games. In addition, you can also activate Fnatic mode to prioritize processing power and network speed while playing. There is also a Game mode that blocks notifications, improves haptic feedback and enables HDR screen mode that features brighter tones and darker blacks.
What more could you ask for?
Asus ROG Phone: crazy performance and gaming accessories
Asus really seems to have achieved with the ROG Phone () what other brands have been pursuing for quite some time now. This is a device that by design and functions seems to give most gamers what they were asking for.
It doesn’t have a 120Hz screen, like the Razer Phone 2, but a 6-inch AMOLED display, a 90Hz panel and a response time of just 1 millisecond make it crystal clear that you will have smooth gaming experience.
You also get an overclocked Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and many other extras focused on gaming, such as the AeroActive fan, the AirTriggers, and a solid 4,000mAh battery.
All the above, together with clever software customization grant it a clear advantage over its rivals even if you consider the high price that places it in the premium range of smartphones. If you can afford it, go for it.
iPhone XS / XS Max: best gaming iPhones
The 6.5-inch screen of the iPhone XS Max (Check on Amazon.com) is larger than that of its 5.8-inch sibling and has a larger battery that offers a full more hour of autonomy than the standard XS ().
These benefits give it a clear advantage over the iPhone XS, but both devices are equipped with the best feature that is the Bionic A12 processor.
Combined with Apple’s excellent iOS that better optimizes apps, games, and security, picking an iPhone for gaming is a no brainer if you can afford one…
Read more: Apple iPhone XS review
Xiaomi Black Shark 2: made to game
The Xiaomi Black Shark 2 has been built for gaming, and you can see it clearly in its design. In hand, it is clear that it was shaped intentionally to be held in horizontal mode. This smartphone also features a big and beautiful 6.39″ AMOLED display, with a Full HD+ resolution (2340×1080), although with a 60Hz refresh rate.
The Black Shark 2 also features dedicated gaming software, with a range of options that can adjust the performance, customize the screen, touch sensitivity, audio and connectivity options. Like the Asus ROG Phone, Xiaomi also offers a multitude of gaming accessories designed specifically for the Black Shark 2, including a controller and a TV dock.
Samsung Galaxy S10 / S10+: best gaming Android phones
Don’t be so surprised to see Samsung in this list. The latest iteration in the Galaxy family features Qualcomm’s new and powerful Snapdragon 855 processor, which can handle any modern game and probably all the ones to come in the near future.
But, the processor is not the only thing that makes these phones good for games. They also feature a crisp Super AMOLED display compatible with high dynamic range (HDR), so you’ll get excellent graphics in both movies and games.
With a Galaxy S10 () / S10+ (), you get both an excellent phone and a powerful gaming device all in one.
What makes it even better, is the fact that VR fans can use their new phone with an existing VR Gear headset. This allows them to enjoy a new and immersive gaming medium that others simply cannot offer.
- Samsung Galaxy S10 review: finally complete
- Samsung Galaxy S10+ review: the definition of top-of-the-range
Apple iPhone XR: “budget” iPhone gaming
iOS is still a better gaming system, and this is clear if you consider titles, like Asphalt 8 and 9, that run at 60 fps on an iPhone XR (Check on Amazon.com) while all Android phones are limited to just 30 fps.
The iPhone XR’s processor is the same as Apple’s XS and XS Max models and its battery lasts a little longer. Considering all this ends up being the better choice for us if you want both an iPhone and a gaming phone without spending a fortune.
ZTE nubia Red Magic 3: best budget gaming phone
This is one of the most recent devices on this list and heir to a lineup that already reached its third iteration. In its top version, the Red Magic 3 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal memory. This would be enough to make it a great gaming device, but Nubia has also added a 6.65″ Full HD+ AMOLED display, with HDR support and a 90Hz refresh rate; two front-facing stereo speakers, two shoulder triggers on the sides and RGB LEDs throughout the body.
In addition, there is also a dual dissipation system, which combines active liquid-cooling with an internal turbofan. The huge battery measures 5,000mAh but also increases the weight considerably.
The price starts at for the basic model.
Read more: ZTE nubia Red Magic 3 review: the integrated “triggers” make all the difference
Honor Play: the most affordable gaming phone
Monster power despite its low price, the Honor Play is the best gaming smartphone if your budget is limited. During our review, we appreciated its fine metal design, its beautiful bright screen, and good overall performance.
This smartphone is also distinguished from the competition thanks to its fluid interface, intuitive and very pleasant, its autonomy and the effectiveness of its fast charging.
The icing on the cake? The Honor Play is equipped with Huawei’s Turbo GPU technology, which grants it with even more graphics processing power.
Sold at just , this is an excellent device that will delight gamers.
Read more: Honor Play review: ideal for playing PUBG Mobile
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