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To help you find the best gaming phones available on today’s market, we recommend looking for a device that offers an extra-powerful processor, high-quality display, and long-lasting battery. We also recommend finding an option that features an ergonomic and durable design with built-in cooling to keep your phone cool during even the most intense gaming session. We spent over 10 hours researching over 15 different gaming phones and ranked them according to the specs and feature sets they offered.
With these things in mind, we picked the Nubia Red Magic 5G as the best gaming phone available on today’s market. Keep reading below to learn more about this phone for gamers and the other best smartphone options on our guide.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the ultimate gaming phone with a gamer-targeted design that features shoulder buttons, an incredibly smooth 144Hz display, and a large battery. It also comes to the table with 5G connectivity, 8K video camera capabilities, and active liquid cooling.
There are no two ways about it. The Nubia Red Magic 5G is a smartphone built specifically with gamers in mind. Everything about this phone’s design proclaims to the world that it is meant for videos, which turns out to be quite the polarizing design amongst smartphone enthusiasts. However, if this is something you want, then you’ll be at home with the Red Magic. From its shoulder buttons to its active liquid cooling system to its dedicated Game Space software, this phone enables you to play games in the best way possible.
Related: If you have an extra sim card, take a quick look at the best dual sim phones available today!
Plus, the Red Magic 5G offers an incredible display, which is an essential aspect for any good gaming phone. To be upfront from the beginning, the Nubia gaming phone does not offer a 4K display resolution, but it still looks good overall in full HD. Where the display really shines is in its 144Hz motion handling. This makes games incredibly smooth, even during intense action. The Nubia Red Magic also features a powerful Snapdragon 865 processor for premium performance, whether you’re playing Call of Duty Mobile or Angry Birds. It’s great if you’re looking for the best 5G phones.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This powerful smartphone has long been considered one of the best options available for the vast majority of consumers, but it’s also an excellent mobile gaming device because of its powerful A13 Bionic processor. This gaming phone also offers a vivid display and long-lasting battery life.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max may not look like a gaming phone. It’s got a fairly standard smartphone design that tends to appeal to the broader masses. However, underneath all the flash and popularity lies a truly powerful machine. This is mostly due to Apple’s innovative A13 Bionic processor, which is much faster than any of Apple’s previous chipsets. This internal component runs even the most intense games with ease, including PUBG and Fortnite. Plus, with a bright and vivid display, you’ll get an immersive gaming experience every single time.
Related: Compare this device with the best iPhones out there.
What’s even better is the fact that once you’re done gaming, the iPhone 11 Pro Max performs just as exceptionally with the day-to-day smartphone duties. You’ll be able to browse the internet and scroll through casual apps without a hiccup, again due to the A13 Bionic chip. You’ll also get an excellent camera on this iPhone, with a dedicated Night Mode that performs really well in low-light situations. If you want solid performance both in-game and out, you can’t go wrong with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It’s also an incredible phone if you’re looking for one of the best low light camera phones.
Award: BEST FOR COMPETITIVE ENTERTAINMENT
WHY WE LIKE IT: This smartphone is another option dedicated specifically to playing video games, and the more premium features make it perfect for competitive mobile gamers. Features like the stellar 144Hz display, huge 6000 mAh battery, and AirTrigger shoulder buttons will elevate your gameplay in any game you play on this phone.
The Asus ROG Phone 3 is the pinnacle of mobile gaming technology. It’s the best option for competitive mobile gamers to its impressive specs and overall seamless performance. It takes everything the Asus ROG Phone 2 did right and improves upon it. This gaming phone is designed from the ground up with gamers in mind. For starters, the phone’s body features innovative AirTriggers, which are just shoulder buttons available when the phone is in landscape mode. They do need some setup for each game since they’ll need to be manually mapped to trigger an action in-game, but this is a fairly simple process overall.
The ROG Phone 3 also features an incredible display with 144Hz of motion handling and FHD+ resolution, measuring in at 2380 x 1080 pixels. With this display, you’ll be able to experience every game just as the developer meant. We were also impressed with the complex cooling system that this Asus gaming phone brings to the table. It keeps your phone cool, even during intense gaming sessions, with a graphite film layer and dual vapor chambers. With such advanced cooling, you’ll be able to play mobile battle royale games for extended periods of time without your hands ever burning up. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Asus ROG Phone 3’s powerful Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, which is the best processor for gaming phones. You might also be interested in the best gaming tablets.
Award: BEST EASE OF USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This gaming phone takes user-friendliness and seamless operation to the next level with its A13 Bionic processor and added compatibility with game developer tools. On top of gaming performance, this option also performs incredibly well as a daily driver phone.
The Apple iPhone 11 may seem like the underdog when compared to its Pro counterparts. However, don’t let the lack of the Pro moniker fool you. This is a more-than-capable gaming smartphone that will blow you away with how seamless its overall performance is. This is mostly due to the combination of Apple’s A13 Bionic chip and the Metal API, which is a developer’s tool for creating optimized games on the iPhone. This improved compatibility means you will always get optimized games on the iPhone 11 that run without lagging or freezing up. Yes, even with the more graphically-intense games like Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG.
The iPhone 11 also features plenty of other features that propel it to the top half of our ranks. It features a bright and colorful display, as well as an excellent camera array. The iOS operating system is incredibly easy to use. You’ll also get a long-lasting battery. Plus, the iPhone 11 is much more affordable than its fellow Pro alternatives, making it an excellent choice for anyone interested in getting more into mobile gaming. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for one of the best phones for kids.
Award: BEST DISPLAY
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for a gaming phone that offers an exceptional display with fast motion handling and QHD+ resolution, then you’ve come to the right place. This flagship gaming smartphone also features a powerful internal processor and 5G network compatibility.
The OnePlus Pro 8 gaming phone does its best when it comes to display technology. If you enjoy playing games in the highest resolution and quality possible, then this phone is a great choice. For starters, it features a high-resolution QHD+ display. With a 3168 x 1440 pixel resolution, HDR10+ support, and added brightness, the OnePlus 8 Pro displays games, movies, and other content in stunning quality. We were most impressed by the high refresh rate, at 120Hz, which smooths out gameplay and eliminates pesky stuttering and display lag.
This gaming smartphone also features a powerful Snapdragon 865 processor, which is one of the fastest options available today. This processor gives you the power you need to play both casual and competitive mobile games. It, of course, also powers everything else on the phone, with a smooth, responsive result. Overall durability is excellent with the OnePlus 8 Pro, as well. You’ll get IP68 water resistance and a shatter-resistant display. We were also impressed by the phone’s fast wireless charging and all-day battery life. Plus, you’ll even get reverse wireless charging so you can charge up your other mobile devices with the OnePlus. If screen size is important, you might also be interested in the best large screen phones.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you want the premium design of a flagship phone for your mobile gaming phone, then this option is a great choice. With a high-quality Infinity display, 5G network compatibility, and ergonomic design, you’d be hard-pressed to find a gaming phone with better quality than this.
The Samsung Galaxy S20+ is an affordable gaming phone that offers high-end functionality that works well for mobile gamers. For starters, the S20+ features a powerful Snapdragon 865 processor, which serves as the basis for its smooth and reliable performance. This is incredibly helpful for competitive and casual gamers alike. Plus, the processor helps power the phone’s other impressive features, like the quad-lens camera and 5G network connectivity.
As soon as you hold this Samsung gaming phone, you’ll notice just how high-quality it really is. The outer casing is made from premium materials and looks really sleek. This is a phone that will appeal to gamers and casual smartphone users alike. The AMOLED screen features a nearly-bezel less design and an impressive 3120 x 1440 pixel resolution. The phone is also durable with IP68 water and dust resistance as well as Gorilla Glass on the screen, making it one of the best rugged smartphones.
Award: BEST EXPANDABLE STORAGE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This impressive gaming smartphone features a smooth, responsive display, fast Snapdragon 845 processor, and durable design with IP67 water resistance. It’s also best for storing a lot of games with its expandable storage of up to 2 terabytes.
The Razer Phone 2 is a powerful gaming phone with an impressive Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, beautiful display, and overall durable design. The octa-core processor does incredibly well with gaming, and you’ll experience minimal lag or delay when playing games or browsing throughout your other apps. The other thing that makes this phone a solid gaming option is its display. The Razer features a QHD screen with 120Hz of motion handling and a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution. Ultimately, the Razer looks great, especially during games.
However, the best part of the Razer Phone 2 is its expandable storage options. The gaming smartphone is built with an impressive 128GB of internal storage, but with the included microSD card slot, you’ll be able to expand its overall storage up to 2TB. Expandable storage is becoming more uncommon in premium smartphones today, so this is a welcome addition. We were also impressed by the Razer’s durable design. It offers IP67 water and dust resistance, as well as Gorilla Glass 5 for extra drop protection. Another feature you might enjoy is the dual-speaker setup. These are powerful stereo speakers that output sounds directly toward you when in landscape orientation. No need for the best wireless speakers buying guide.
Award: BEST LARGE DISPLAY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This impressive gaming phone offers an extra-large OLED display with a 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution and exceptional color reproduction. Plus, this option features a snappy Kirin processor and a stellar quad-camera setup.
The Huawei P30 Pro gaming phone doesn’t disappoint in either its design or its performance. This phone features a large, 6.47-inch display with a curved design and slim bezels. It’s also extra-tough with Corning Gorilla Glass for shatter resistance and drop protection. The Huawei’s display quality comes in at 2340 x 1080 pixels, which is more than enough for most gaming applications. The rest of the phone is designed incredibly well, too. It sports a metal frame for added durability and unique gradient coloring that’s sure to look good in your hands.
Excellent gaming performance is part of this smartphone with its snappy Kirin 980 processor. It offers more than enough power for FPS and RPG games, as well as casual puzzle games. You may notice some heat after playing intense games for a few hours, though, but it shouldn’t ever become a big enough problem to worry about. When it comes to standard features and functionality, you’ll probably be most impressed by the Huawei P30 Pro’s camera array. With four separate lenses and 4K video recording capabilities, you’ll get some of the sharpest and most detailed photos around. It’s one of the best phones for vlogging on our list.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for the best budget gaming phone, you’ll be impressed by this option. With a 90Hz refresh rate, extra-colorful display, and 5G network connectivity, you get an impressive amount of functionality for a really affordable price.
The Motorola Edge brings extra-smooth gaming performance to the table at an extra-affordable price, making it an excellent pick for budget-conscious gamers. For starters, it features a respectable Snapdragon 765 processor. While this isn’t the fastest processor available on the market, it’s by no means the slowest. It does well for most mobile games, which is impressive for the phone’s lower price point.
You’ll also get a variety of additional gaming features that even the most hardcore gamers will appreciate. The Motorola Edge features a bright and colorful 90Hz AMOLED display, which produces accurate image quality and smooth motion handling. You’ll also get a proprietary Moto GameTime software, which allows you more easily adjust performance settings for a better gaming experience. The Edge also features a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can listen to the game’s audio through your favorite pair of headphones. No need for the best portable chargers with this phone!
Award: BEST FOR CASUAL ENTERTAINMENT
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re a fan of casual mobile games, but still want top tier smartphone features, then this is the phone for you. With an amazing, large screen, excellent camera setup, and good battery life, this smartphone is a great choice.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is an affordable gaming smartphone that offers plenty of gaming power and performance. The OnePlus’s display is its best feature, especially when it comes to gaming. With 90Hz of motion handling, the OnePlus can handle most games available on the app store, but it does best with casual mobile games. The display also looks really great with other forms of entertainment, as well, like streaming movies and TV shows. It features a QHD+ resolution with HDR+ support. Even better, the display stretches across the entire length of the phone with virtually zero bezels.
This impressive gaming smartphone features a generally powerful Kryo 485+ octa-core processor. It’s not the fastest option in this guide, but it does really well with basic and mid-tier mobile games. Other than this, the OnePlus 7 Pro features an excellent camera array. The front-facing selfie camera features an incredibly unique pop-out design, which prevents the display from having an annoying notch on it. The rear camera setup captures excellent images and videos with minimal effort on your part. One design factor we wish the OnePlus offered is water resistance, but it’s also still durable enough to handle daily use. It’s a fun option if you’re looking for the best selfie camera phones.
As we started ranking the best gaming phones available today, we first took some time to determine which features were most important. Then, we based our ranking on those features and functionalities. Performance is the most important piece of the puzzle for gaming phones, so the weighting for ranks fell heavily on the internal chipsets and components each phone offered. We only included phones on our list that could play both casual and competitive games and ranked phones higher if they could play graphically-intense games with ease.
Next, we looked at the overall design of each phone and how it either enhanced or detracted from your overall gaming experience. This score was based on a number of different features, including display quality and form factor. We gave preference to gaming phones with high-quality displays and high resolutions. However, the ultimate test was in each phone’s refresh rate. We awarded bonus points to phones with at least 90Hz of motion handling, as these options were the best at displaying high-octane games. We also ranked phones higher if they fit comfortably in your hands for long periods of time.
Finally, we looked at phone durability and battery life. You’ll want your gaming phone to last you a long time, which is why durability is so important. We ranked phones higher if they included some kind of water and drop resistance. We also preferred gaming phones with long battery life. You don’t want to get caught with a dead battery in the middle of a game.
Mobile phones aren’t often considered the pinnacle of gaming prowess. However, if you’re purchasing a phone for the express purposes of playing video games, you can certainly find an option that’s powerful enough. Look for internal chipsets that are optimized for gaming performance. You should also consider purchasing a phone with a more streamlined user interface, without all the added bloatware that is so common on modern smartphones. This way, your processor won’t have to work to keep up with the UI and can instead focus on giving you more gaming power.
Playing video games on a smartphone can be just as immersive and high-quality as it is on a big screen TV. However, you’ll need to get the right kind of display to make it happen. This is why we recommend purchasing a gaming phone with at least a full HD resolution. However, you’ll get an even better gaming experience if you buy a smartphone with a display resolution in the 4K Ultra HD range. You’ll also want to consider each option’s brightness and pixel density. Higher measurements in these areas mean you’ll get a much more detailed picture.
Playing video games on your phone takes a lot of processing power, which can drain the battery incredibly fast. This is why it’s important to buy a phone with a large battery so you can play for hours on end without interruption.
Durability and Ergonomics
Gaming on a mobile phone can get intense, without question. As such, the likelihood of dropping your phone increases, especially during intense games. That’s why we recommend purchasing a durable gaming phone with added drop protection and even water resistance. You should also consider the overall ergonomics of your gaming phone’s design. If it’s easier to hold, you’ll be more comfortable over extended gaming sessions and less likely to drop your device.