As smartphones have improved, the gaming experiences they offer have continued to improve, along with other advances. The past few years of chipset and hardware development have overseen the growth of a new category related to gaming. For phones that have pressure-sensitive buttons on the side rails or sensors that can sense the pressure on the screen, choosing a phone is harder than ever. In this guide we have nine of the best smartphone options to help you make a decision.
Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate
As the name suggests, this smartphone aims to deliver the ultimate gaming experience that a user can ask for. It bundles an FHD + sAMOLED display that is updated at 144 Hz and has a Delta-E value of less than one. Other hardware features include an additional USB-C port on the side, a stereo speaker setup, four capacitive buttons – two on the side of the phone and two on the back. The unit also comes with a cooling fan accessory that adds two to the four that are already there. As if that weren’t enough, Asus added a tiny black and white screen on the back that can play GIFs, show who’s calling, and more. All of these components depend on a Snapdragon 888 and a 6,000mAh battery.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate is the smartphone to choose when budget is not an issue and you want the best gaming experience on the go.
Asus ROG Phone 5
If the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate is a little over the top for you, the next best thing is the ROG Phone 5, which still supports the same set of accessories and has a similar FHD + 144Hz sAMOLED display. This model is also powered by the Snapdragon 888 and has a 6,000mAh battery. If you click on pictures, several reviews have found this smartphone’s camera system to be great compared to previous generations of gaming phones. To cut costs, Asus removed the two buttons embedded in the back of the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate and replaced the ROG Vision display with a glowing ROG logo.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 is a toned down version of the Ultimate and perfect for gamers who don’t want to spend too much.
Nubia Red Magic 6
The Nubia Red Magic 6 is a smartphone to choose when you need the fastest display on the smartphone market. It has a 6.8-inch FHD + AMOLED panel that updates at 165Hz, has a touch sample rate of 500Hz and a response time of just 8ms as Nubia claims. Its design is as “gamer-y” as gaming phones can get. The phone has a cooling system with a fan, vapor chamber, and copper foil that help keep the Snapdragon 888 operating at full throttle. The phone is powered by a 5050 mAh battery, which also supports 66 W charging.
The Nubia Red Magic 6 is the smartphone for gamers who want the absolutely fastest display on the market. Its 165 Hz refresh rate and 8 ms response time ensure that you won’t miss a beat in games that support this level of performance.
Nubia Red Magic 6R
Nubia Red Magic 6R (the R stands for Racing) is another phone with gaming at its core, but branches out into a more “normal” design. Up front is a 6.67-inch FHD + AMOLED display that updates at 144 Hz and has a touch sampling rate of 360 Hz, powered by a Snapdragon 888, which in turn is powered by a 4020 mAh cell , which supports charging speeds of up to 30W. While this phone uses some components that are a step below the Nubia Red Magic 6, it introduces a slightly better quad rear camera setup and 16 MP front camera, indicating that it is better suited for mainstream users .
Nubia Red Magic 6R is a smartphone for gamers who prefer a device with a subtle design and still show their passion for gaming when it matters.
Asus ROG Phone 3
If you’re determined to buy an Asus device, the ROG Phone 3 is another option to consider. Being a year older also means it is easy on your wallet. The device has a 6.59-inch, 144 Hz FHD + display powered by the Snapdragon 865+ and a 6,000 mAh battery. This particular model features one of the nicer designs among ROG phones to date.
The last generation ROG Phone 3 is the smartphone to choose when you need Asus hardware without hurting your wallet.
iQOO 7 legend 5G
So far, every device listed has had a touch of gaming-centric design, but with the iQOO 7 Legend 5G we are moving to phones that are more suited to mainstream consumers. This model of the Vivo subsidiary is equipped with a Snapdragon 888 to power the 6.62-inch 120 Hz AMOLED display, which also has pressure-sensitive sensors on the screen. So if you press firmly on these areas, they register a tap that can be assigned to the controls in the game. This phone’s hardware uses a 4,000 mAh battery that relies on a 66W charger to charge in a claimed 22 minutes under controlled conditions.
iQOO 7 Legend 5G is a phone from one of the newer players in the smartphone market. It’s perfect for those who want to play on the go and are looking for extra features – like the pressure sensitive areas of the screen.
iPhone 12 Pro Max
The introduction of Apple Arcade and the iPhone’s computing power package make it one of the best devices for enjoying games. The A14 Bionic in the 12 Pro Max guarantees the smoothest performance of any iPhones that came out before, and the bright graphics on the 6.7-inch OLED screen (Super Retina XDR, according to Apple) make for a great experience. iOS 14.5 also added support for new generation controllers such as the PS5’s DualSense and the Xbox Series X | S gamepad.
The largest iPhone available is perfect for enjoying titles available on Apple Arcade or otherwise. Its A14 SoC ensures that you never drop a frame and keep the efficiency at the maximum level.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is another mainstream device that has arguably the best display on this list. This device has a QHD + AMOLED panel with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. The North American devices have a Snapdragon 888 that can easily handle the most demanding titles like Genshin Impact and PUBG, and a 5,000mAh battery will keep you going for hours let play. If you’re looking for more of that best Samsung smartphone, the top-of-the-line camera system, and S-Pen support are features you will appreciate.
Samsung’s best smartphone will end up leaving you playing for hours. The large 6.8-inch screen brings you the best fidelity of any smartphone on this list.
Last on this list is the OnePlus 8T, which includes a Snapdragon 865 and a 120 Hz FHD display powered by a 4,500 mAh battery with 65 W fast charge – and comes with a building block that meets this specification achieved in its retail box. It also features one of the best skins available on all of them Top Android phone on the market. You may be wondering why we recommend this over the OnePlus 9, which has a better processor, wireless charging, and a camera system that leverages the Hasselblad partnership. The main reason for this is that the 8T gives you more storage and RAM at a lower cost to ensure your gaming needs don’t go unmet.
This model from the OnePlus 2020 line of products is the right choice as it offers a 120 Hz FHD + screen supported by a 4500 mAh battery that can be charged at 65 W. The additional storage and RAM available at a lower price compared to the newer OnePlus 9 add value to gamers.
That concludes our list of the best gaming smartphone options that you should consider buying. If you’re ready to spend your money without hesitation, the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate is the no-compromise option we recommend. But if you look at devices from Nubia while the Red Magic 6 has a 165Hz screen, there are still no mobile titles that can make the most of the hardware available. As such, we’d happily recommend the RedMagic 6R for its lower cost and cleaner design.
For those looking to buy a mainstream device, you can’t go wrong with the S21 Ultra, but if you’re planning on buying an iPhone and think the 12 Pro Max is too big, consider the iPhone 11 for its more affordable but powerful Hardware.
A 21 year old who is most interested when someone says the word “ecosystem”. When you’re not writing about technology, Aryan can be found filming videos, doodling, or immersed in RPGs.