The best phones for gaming are those that offer top software features along with cutting edge technology, to offer powerful performance. Many developers are offering top quality 3D games equal to console quality for smartphones. People who wish to play these games on their smartphones will have to opt for phones that offer excellent visuals. The phones of yesteryears will not be able to handle the features of the latest high-end mobile games being offered these days. You need a smartphone that is future proof for the next few years.
The features necessary for such phones capable of handling today’s and tomorrow’s high-end games will depend on the processor, the graphics card, the RAM and the general ecosystem of the phone. Here are the top options for gamers, based on factors like screen size and quality, the battery size, VR capabilities, the processing power and so on.
See also: Best smartphones under $500
Best phones for gaming
Future of Smartphones
It is a premium expensive handset with a solid build and is IP67 water resistant. It weighs 174g and the dimensions are 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm. The display is 5.8 inches Super AMOLED technology, with a resolution of 1125 x 2436 pixels. The home button is gone and the design has been altered, but it has paid off to offer the best iPhone so far. The phone runs on the stable iOS 11.3 version and is upgradable to iOS 11.4. The processor is Apple A11 Bionic clocking at 2.39 GHz combined with the Apple GPU. The RAM is 3 GB and the internal memory is 64 GB and 256 GB options. Apple has already done away with the conventional headphone jack in the previous version itself. Now, it offers different methods for navigating as well.
The back camera is 12 MP, whereas the front camera is the TrueDepth one of 7 MP sensors. Live photos feature allows looping and bouncing of photos for more fun while sharing. Video recording is 4K at 60fps offering fluid images. The battery is powered at 2716 mAh offering up to 21 hours of talk time.
HDR playback is a new feature showing movies encoded with HDR10 and in Dolby Vision format. Facial recognition feature is easy to start up and works flawlessly. Animoji with the Truedepth camera is another fun system for creating talking emojis and producing accurate facial mapping.
- Those who do not mind paying a high price for the best flagship smartphone in the world.
- Great for watching movies, with the HDR playback feature offering more richness and depth.
- Well suited for gamers especially for AR games with real-world surroundings. There are hardly any game titles that will not play well on the Apple iPhone X, it’s so powerful.
- Ideal for Selfie lovers, being one of the best selfies cameras available in the market today, using the new Portrait options for blurring the background or placing yourself against a black background.
Luxurious and Alluring
iPhone 8 Plus
The iPhone 8 Plus comes with dimensions of 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm and weighs 202g. It has IP67 certification for dust and water. The screen size is 5.5 inches and the resolution is 1125 x 2436 pixels. The phone runs on the iOS 11 that can be upgraded to iOS 11.4 and is powered by the Apple A11 Bionic combined with the Apple GPU. The RAM is 3 GB and the internal memory comes in two variants of 64 GB and 256 GB. The A11 Bionic is a beast and gamers will find plenty of games to show off its amazing performance for AR games. Excellent for watching videos, even in direct sunlight. AR technology is great for playing games.
The primary camera is a dual setup with 12 MP + 12 MP and the secondary camera is 7 MP. Bokeh mode or Portrait lighting has been enhanced. There is no traditional 3.5 mm jack. Instead, it comes with a Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter and USB 2.0 proprietary connector. The battery is powered at 2691 mAh offering 21 hours of talk time. It also supports quick charging with 50% charging done in half an hour.
It continues to sport the traditional home button and unlocking is through the usual Touch ID, fingerprint scanning method and not Face ID.
- Those not looking for any big change but want to upgrade from their iPhone 7 or 7 Plus.
- Those looking for an improved camera experience and better battery.
- Suitable for those looking for a great camera experience with the dual cameras allowing background blurring and excellent editing abilities after you capture photos.
- Ideal for those who want the convenience of wireless charging at great speed.
- Useful for those looking at a fast, futuristic phone with lots of power.
- Great for Apple fans who want a long battery life and a bigger screen without having to pay the price of the iPhone X.
Giving you the Speed You Need
OnePlus 6 can take on the competition capably with its new design and performance. This one is a Mirror Black version with other options in a matte Midnight Black and a white and pink gold version. The display of this dual SIM phone is an Optic AMOLED 6.3 inches with a resolution of 2280 x 1080 Full HD OLED display panel. The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset that clocks at a speed of 2.8 GHz and has an integrated, Adreno 630 graphics card. It has a RAM of 6 GB or 8 GB with an internal storage of 3 options: 64 GB / 128 GB and 256 GB.
Dash Charge makes charging the phone really quick. The battery life is 3300 mAh and can make it through a whole normal day. The rear camera is a dual setup with a 16 MP and a 20 MP sensor for portrait modes. OIS feature is also present. As for the front camera, it is a 16MP one and comes with Portrait mode. The video recording is a 4K at 60 fps with the good footage. The device runs on Android Oreo 8.1 version with the Oxygen OS skin. The look of pure Android is retained with only a few extras from Oxygen OS.
- Excellent for gaming with a Gaming Do Not Disturb feature or the Gaming mode. You can block notifications while gaming. The AMOLED display is good for gaming even in sunlight and the sound is good. Heat management is excellent and the specs are powerful.
- Not fit for those looking for a water-resistant phone, as it does not have an IP rating, though there is some protection for water with seals along the ports.
- Also not suitable for those looking for wireless charging.
- Suitable for those looking for the rare 3.5 mm headphone jack, along with a USB C type port.
- If you’re looking for a steal, the OnePlus 6 is a phone that offers the best value for money.
- For those who want a fast and good-looking Android phone, with a superb screen and software, this phone is perfectly optimized.
- Even the 8 GB RAM is capable of playing games smoothly. Suitable for gaming as well as multitasking, with apps opening swiftly.
- Recommended for those who do a lot of e-reading. There is a dedicated reading mode turning the screen into black and white when you use Pocket/Kindle.
One of the Best Phones for Gaming Packed with Features
Samsung Galaxy S9+
The phone has a stunning display screen of 6.2 inches in AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with Infinity Display to enhance entertainment. The dimensions are 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm and the weight is 189g. It is a single SIM phone running on the Android Oreo 8.0 version. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 combined with Adreno 630 GPU. The RAM is 6 GB and the internal memory options are 64 GB / 128 GB / 256 GB. The primary camera is a dual setup with 12 MP and 12 MP sensors. The secondary selfie camera is 8 MP.
It comes with interesting updates and tweaks on the earlier S8 Plus. For instance, the fingerprint sensor is now placed below the camera sensor. It has an IP68 certification for water resistance. Both QI, as well as PMA, are present for wireless charging. It also comes with the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The phone supports HDR content from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video as well. The battery is powered at 3500 mAh, but it may not last the whole day due to the big screen. The phone also comes with an IP68 rating and can stand splashes and rain. The screen is gorgeous and the design is lovely on this high-end phone.
- Those looking for a strong and sturdy phone. The Gorilla Glass 5 offers ample protection along with a tough aluminum.
- Not suitable if you are looking for a phone to fit in your pocket.
- Great for those watching videos and movies with the full DCI P3 AMOLED cinema option, a video enhancer mode and Infinite Display.
- Ideal for those looking for wireless charging.
- Perfect option for those looking for a waterproof and spill-proof phone.
Simple and Solid
Sony Xperia XZ1
This phone is merely 7.4 mm thick and comes with a fingerprint scanner. It is a large device with a Full HD 5.2 inches screen supporting HDR, available in Black: moonlit Blue; Warm Silver and also in Venus Pink.
It has a metal chassis protected with Gorilla Glass 5. It is also protected by the IP65/68 rating and offers water protection. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with a RAM of 4 GB and an internal storage of 64 GB with storage that can be expanded using the microSD card.
The primary camera comes with 19 MP sensor, whereas the selfie camera is 13 MP. Predictive Capture is an interesting feature that ensures you don’t miss important moments. Other interesting camera features include 3D scanning; autofocus burst; Smile Shutter among others. The battery power of this phone is 2700 mAh that lasts a whole day. However, there is no wireless charging, so you have to be satisfied with the USB C type port and the Quick Charge 3.0. The phone runs on Android Oreo out of the box along with Sony’s own apps like Walkman etc.
- Those looking for a good gaming phone at a cheaper price.
- Those who want a strong and solid phone that cannot be twisted or bent.
- Ideal for those who want to watch HDR content on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
- Good for music lovers, with stereo speakers facing the front the music sounds much better than regular Bluetooth speakers. Mp3 files can be upgraded to offer improved quality.
- Also suitable for photography lovers. This is Sony’s key area and this device offers improved camera features with good performance in low light conditions.
- Suitable for those owning PlayStation, as it comes with Sony PS4 Remote Play.
Powerful and Impeccable Graphics but Pudgy
Sony Xperia XZ2
It is a waterproof phone with Gorilla Glass on the back and coming up towards its middle. The thickness is 11 mm and the screen is 5.7 inches LCD display with a resolution of 1080 pixels.
There is no 3.5 mm headphone jack, but instead a USB C with a headphone adapter. The phone runs on Android Oreo OS and has modern menus. Most of Sony’s customizations are gone. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset and has a RAM of 4 GB with an internal storage of 64 GB that can be upgraded using the microSD slot. The battery is powered at 3180 mAh and can easily make it through one whole day. Battery health is preserved with slow charging.
The rear camera is 19 pixels and can give the iPhone X camera a run for its money. However, there is no second rear camera on this phone. The selfie camera comes with 5 MP resolution and takes decent pictures. Videos can be recorded at 4K and 30 pixels along with 10bit HDR.
- Those on AT&T or T Mobile as it does not work on Sprint or Verizon.
- Those who want a powerful, waterproof, Android phone that they can use worldwide.
- People who want a rather thick phone that fits fully in your hand.
- Music lovers might like the Dynamic Vibration feature on the speakers, as it makes songs more immersive.
- Perfect for photo nuts for a kickass camera with manual modes.
- Very suitable for gamers, as it uses Qualcomm’s latest, most powerful chipset combined with impeccable graphics.
High End Specs Dedicated to Gaming
Razer is well known for its laptops and other peripherals dedicated to gaming. This is an Android phone that focuses on the sound and the screen. The display screen is a 5.7 inches LCD, IGZO, QHD with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels and a refresh rate of 120Hz, capable of upto 120fps. The stereo speakers are Dolby Atmos tuned, with the combination offering great visuals and audio with a lot of power.
It is a little heavy at 197g and is 8 mm in thickness, feeling a little chunky in the hand. There is no headphone jack and it has instead a USB C port at the bottom, along with audio adapter and built-in DAC, 24 bit with support for Dolby Atmos. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm, Snapdragon 835, comes with RAM of 8 GB, an internal memory of 64 GB and a battery powered at 4000 mAh.
The battery lasts a whole day quite comfortably. It has dual speakers facing the front, each with its own amplifier and they are THX certified with a 3D visualization sound.
- Created for gamers with top specs, excellent stereo speakers combined with the display focused on gaming making it an ideal phone for 3D gaming and entertainment.
- May not be suitable for gamers who want a 3.5 mm headphone jack, though there is an adapter.
- Very comfortable for gamers who want to play for a longer time, as it makes use of a cooling technology seen in laptops preventing hot spots on the phone.
- Suitable for entertainment and video viewing with crisp, clear, immersive stereo quality sound that fills the room.
Nearly Impossible to Destroy
Moto Z2 Force
It is powered by the Snapdragon 835 clocking at 2.35 GHz with 6 GB or RAM. As for graphics performance, it comes with Adreno 540 graphics card. The internal storage is 64 GB and can be expanded up to 200 GB using the microSD card. It has a 5.5 inches Quad HD, screen display phone with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. You can snap the phone to the Moto GamePod, which comes with 2 analog sticks, D pad and other buttons useful for gaming. It also comes with 3.5 mm headphone jack as well as USB Type C port.
It is a VR ready smartphone with certified Google Daydream capable of delivering the best mobile Virtual Reality. The battery is powered at 2730 mAh. It has a 12 MP primary camera and a 5 MP front camera. It runs on Android 8.0. The dimensions are 155.8 x 76 x 6.10 mm and it is 6.1 mm thickness, with a weight of 143g.
- The powerful processor and the HD display make it ideal for gaming. The bonus lies in the physical controls. Games run smoothly on this powerful phone.
- Suitable for those looking for a strong and durable phone. The display is a shatterproof one.
- Those looking for a powerful battery to last them a weekend. Though the battery power is 2730 mAh, Motorola is offering a TurboPower mode for battery charging, which means the effective battery power is 6000 mAh, easily lasting 24 hours.
- Suitable for those looking for a slim phone that they can easily wield in a single hand.
Many top companies have recently released several phones that are focused on giving a great gaming experience to users. This makes perfect sense as developers are now creating more mobile games that are pushing graphics to its limits. These high-end smartphones have what it takes to tackle even the most demanding mobile games smoothly and with ease, without any stuttering. The display is good, the processor is powerful, the battery life is excellent and the graphics card has what it takes. All this goes towards making the performance fast and the display bright for giving mobile gamers an all-around excellent experience.