To find the best phone for gaming, it's always best to do your homework especially as we motor through 2021 and head closer to even more exciting announcements from the world of mobile gaming.
As our friends at OMG: Only Mobile Gaming will tell you, thanks to the surge in popularity and advancements in technology, we're seeing more incredible titles than ever make their way onto equally outstanding handheld devices.
But which phone is best for gaming? Well, we've done some of the legwork for you and selected a number of standout phones based on specs, reviews, and features they offer.
Best Phone for Gaming
- Asus ROG Phone 5
- Motorola Edge
- Nubia Red Magic
- Lenovo Legion Phone Duel
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Black Shark 3
Best Phone for Gaming Asus - Asus ROG Phone 5
OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.78-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2448 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 | RAM: 8/12/16GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 13MP + 5MP | Front camera: 24MP
This Asus ROG Phone 5 boasts an impressive resume across the board and could be a great go-to for serious mobile gamers out there.
Under the hood, you're getting one of the latest CPU's, the Snapdragon 888, which was introduced only late last year.
It also boasts some standout front-facing speakers and a staggering refresh rate of 144hz - great for fast-paced, fluid gameplay.
Up there with some of the best phones for battery life, it hits the mark with a whopping 6,000mAh, in addition to 65W charging.
There's even more to the Asus Rog Phone 5, including programmable RGB lights, that we'll leave you to discover, but all-in-all, we think this phone could take your gaming to the next level.
Best Phone for Gaming Budget - Motorola Edge
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.78-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 765 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4,500 mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 16MP | Front camera: 25MP
One phone that provides a great alternative to some of the more expensive options on the list is the Motorola Edge.
First off, you've got that fantastic waterfall screen that doubles up as two digital triggers when gaming and the screen itself is OLED and even supports HDR10.
It has an older Snapdragon CPU, the 765, compared to the more recent Motorola Edge Plus, but for the price, you're still getting a great all-rounder phone for gaming here.
A decent-sized battery, 3.5mm audio jack, 90hz refresh rate and even expandable storage make this Motorola Edge a good go-to for mobile gaming.
Best Phone for Gaming All-Rounder: Nubia Red Magic
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.65-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP
The Nubia Red Magic is another great phone which has some serious stopping power when it comes to gaming.
This Android phone has a large 6.65-inch screen with 1080 x 2340 resolution to boot, and its 144hz refresh rate makes it an awesome choice for high-octane titles.
Shoulder triggers and a liquid cooling system go further to enhance your gaming experience, as does the abundant RAM, which should keep things running smoothly.
You're also getting a substantial 4500mAh battery, which should be more than enough to keep you going.
Overall, it's easy to see why the Nubia Red Magic is a popular choice for mobile gamers.
Best Phone for Gaming Lenovo- Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 6.65"
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.65-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus | RAM: 12GB/16GB | Storage: 256/512GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 16MP | Front camera: 20MP
The Lenovo Legion phone ticks a load of boxes when it comes to finding a great gaming phone.
It's got a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ 5G processor for super-fast gameplay and an impressive 144hz refresh rate to keep up.
16GB of memory, 5000mAh battery, and a full HD AMOLED display so you can see everything in vivid detail.
And when it comes to the camera, you'll actually find that it 'pops up' so you have a completely unobstructed screen. A small detail, but one we think really sets this Lenovo Legion apart from the crowd.
Best Phone for Gaming Samsung - Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.8-inch | Resolution: 1440x3200 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 | RAM: 12/16GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 108MP+10MP+10MP+12MP | Front camera: 40MP
Whilst not strictly a gaming phone, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra packs plenty of punch which could make you think twice about its true intentions.
You'll find a 120Hz refresh rate display with a powerful Snapdragon 888 processor that should ensure speedy performance.
A 5000mAh battery means you'll have plenty of juice for playing games and making calls or watching videos and also makes this a brilliant phone for battery life. 16GB of RAM also means there's a lot of spare capacity to push the S21 Ultra.
For taking photos, we think this quad rear camera setup should be incredible with a 108MP main sensor with oodles of zoom to boot.
Best Phone for Gaming Mid-Range: Black Shark 3
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.67-inch | Resolution: 2080 x 2440 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,720mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 13MP +5MP | Front camera: 20MP
The Black Shark 3 is a powerhouse Android phone but doesn't quite break the bank as much as some of the other entries on our list.
It has a substantial 6.67-inch screen with an outstanding 2080 x 2440 resolution for amazing visuals. There's also a huge amount of RAM too and the battery is quite hefty at 4,720mAh, which will certainly come in handy while on the go.
The refresh rate is at a decent 90hz, which should be more than enough for most mobile gamers, making this Black Shark 3 a good middle of the road option available on the market.
Be sure to check back in with us, as we'll be updating this article with all the latest and greatest releases as we head further into 2021!
Guide: How To Pick The Best Phone For Gaming
When it comes to finding the best phone for gaming, there are a number of questions you'll want to consider before proceeding.
Which Snapdragon processor is best for gaming?
When it comes to processors the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus is usually considered the best chipset for gaming.
Other older models often still perform well such as the Snapdragon 765 and are more affordable than the latest processors.
The Snapdragon 888+ is the latest processor that can be found in some of the best phones to date, though we think it isn't an essential upgrade from the 865+ when it comes to gaming.
Is a 120Hz mobile worth it?
Many mobile games now support 120fps, so having a 120Hz display will allow you to access the highest framerates possible with mobile gaming, giving you the edge over other players.
As 120 is currently the highest amount of frames a mobile game will offer, if you have a 120Hz phone you can be sure that no one else will have a framerate advantage over you.
120Hz phones tend to be more expensive and so going for a 90 or even 60Hz display can help lower the cost if you're looking for a more budget choice
How much RAM do I need for mobile gaming?
How much RAM you need for gaming largely depends on the types of games you're wanting to play.
If you're looking to play games such as PUBG or COD mobile, then you'll probably want at least 8GB of RAM in order to get the best performance.
If you're looking to play games that are less graphically intense, then we'd say 4-6GB of RAM is adequate.
It is also worth noting that having a powerful processor can be equally important when it comes to gaming performance.
Is 128GB enough storage for a gaming phone?
While 128GB isn't much when it comes to PS5, Xbox and PC for gaming, for mobile, we'd say it should be more than enough.
Games on mobile don't take up as much storage as console and PC games do, even some of the most graphically intense mobile games such as Genshin Impact, take less than 2GB of space.
With that in mind, 128GB should provide plenty of space to store a large number of games.
However, If you're wanting to download multiple films, play games and record videos in 4k on your mobile, then you may want to look into getting more storage.
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