The best gaming phones will completely transform your app library. With a truly powerful processor, plenty of RAM, and a high-quality display with high refresh rates, this device can take your favorite touchscreen even further. With the advent of the Xbox Cloud gaming service, small screens are becoming a much bigger business.
There’s never been a better time to use a gaming phone. Their screens are bigger and brighter than ever, and more and more of them offer high refresh rates on their displays for a smoother experience. The performance of the best gaming phones lets you play popular mobile games locally more than ever before, while 5G connectivity and faster Wi-Fi 6 enable ever-improving cloud gaming services, including Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox Game Pass enhance the experience.
The gaming phone market is also becoming very active. It’s not only the well-known brands of gaming equipment like Asus that have attractive options, so you won’t be limited to high-end and sometimes flashy gaming phones to get a Smartphone that can provide an immersive gaming experience. We’ve rounded up our top picks for high-performance best gaming smartphones that will give you the best chance to rise to the top of the scoreboard, whether you’re on iOS or Android.
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Features To Look at When Buying a Gaming Smartphone
Let’s take a look at the gaming phone features that the best gaming phones should have. The first thing to consider when buying the best gaming phone is the processor and other internal components. Phones need to be fast, so for the best compatibility and performance, choose at least a Snapdragon 700 or 800 series device. One of the best features of gaming phones is pass-through charging (also known as bypass charging or charge sharing). When connected to a power source, the power source itself can power the phone without touching the battery, reducing heat generation.
The more you play games on your smartphone, the more power it consumes. Therefore, it is recommended to ensure that your phone has a fairly large battery capacity. Factors like higher resolutions and higher refresh rates also drain the battery faster, as do higher graphics settings in games. To ensure decent battery life and longer game times, make sure your phone has at least a 4500mAh battery. Dual stereo speakers make all forms of media consumption more immersive, be it watching movies, YouTube videos or playing games. Some gaming phones, like the ROG Phone 6 Pro, have front-facing stereo speakers that can direct sound to you, making everything louder and clearer for a more immersive experience.
7 best gaming phones in 2023
Of course, you won’t get the performance of a gaming laptop or the best gaming tablet here, but we recommend the 7 best gaming phones in 2023.
1. OnePlus 10 Pro
The highest-performing Android phones on the market these days feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, and that’s the silicon that powers the OnePlus 10 Pro. As a result, even the most demanding games can be played like a dream on this device. Gamers will also appreciate the phone’s 120Hz refresh rate on the phone’s 6.7-inch display and its long battery life of nearly 12 hours even with the adaptive refresh rate enabled.
But perhaps the most appealing thing about the OnePlus 10 Pro is its price. While other flagships flirt with a $1,000 price tag, the OnePlus 10 Pro is $899. It’s hard to find the best phone with so many premium features in this price range.
2. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G
With the Galaxy S22 Ultra, you get the advanced camera features of the Galaxy S line as well as the S Pen. The phone’s 6.8-inch AMOLED screen and HDR 10+ compatibility are impressive. Maximum brightness is 1750 nits. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and 12GB of RAM which makes it perfect for gaming.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 100x digital zoom is made possible by its four cameras. The main camera can record up to 8K and is stabilized for video use. The smooth scrolling and responsiveness of the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate come from the dynamic response of the screen to ensure smooth gaming.
3. Asus ROG Phone 6D
Asus knows how to make good gaming phones, as demonstrated by the Asus Rog Phone 6D. It has almost the same design as the Asus Rog Phone 6, but it has better cooling and won’t overheat while gaming. The MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus chipset is a force to be reckoned with as it pairs beautifully with the 6.78-inch Full HD OLED display.
The 165Hz refresh rate will satisfy gamers and multiple viewing modes. 18GB of RAM is something to brag about, even if it’s redundant. This phone also has some of the best software we’ve ever seen on a gaming phone. The speakers perform well too, and Asus’ software includes extensive gaming tools. The only downside here is a pretty average camera, but if you’re only focused on gaming, the Asus Rog Phone 6D will please you.
4. iPhone 14 Pro Max
Apple doesn’t prioritize gamers like other phone manufacturers, but the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a fantastic gaming phone. The A16 Bionic chipset is more powerful than anything you’ll find in an Android phone, and the 120Hz display is sleek and colourful. Along with the long battery life, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the best iOS games to the fullest. Unfortunately, the App Store doesn’t support game emulators, so those interested in classic games might be out of luck. Although some of the most popular games from the SNES and PS2 era have been ported to the iPhone.
Other benefits of switching to an iPhone include powerful photography capabilities, a new always-on display, and a new Dynamic Island notch that offers more screen. Unfortunately, it’s still an expensive phone, and without a US SIM slot (eSIM only) and slow charging, it’s not the most enjoyable phone if you’re not used to the iPhone lifestyle. It’s also worth noting that the iPhone 14 Pro is cheaper and more compact when using the same chipset. However, the Pro Max is our best choice as we prefer the larger display and extra battery life.
5. Poco F4 GT
The Poco F4 GT is a great option when it comes to gaming smartphones. It has many flagship specs in a 599 euro phone but again sacrifices long-term update support. Starting with the specs, it could use the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor found on phones that cost $200 to $300 more. In our testing we found it to be able to compete with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but it ran hot without the improved thermal performance found in more expensive gaming phones. However, we liked the retractable shoulder buttons.
You can save battery by switching between 60Hz and 120Hz. Battery life averaged around 6 hours in our tests, so that’s good. Fortunately, the 120W charge got the job done in just 17 minutes.
The games on this phone are great, but the camera is mediocre. We found that the main shooter worked well during the day, but had problems at night. The other two were quite disappointing, with a lot of noise and poor colour reproduction. Again, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker for those looking for a cheap gaming phone.
6. Realme Narzo 50 Pro 5G
Realme Narzo 50 Pro 5G is one of the flagship 5G smartphones. The Dimensity 920 5G processor delivers best-in-class performance. High-performance thanks to high AntuTu score (505,838) and advanced 6nm manufacturing technology.
The 6.4-inch (16.3 cm) Super AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate delivers stunning picture quality for an immersive gaming experience. 33W Dart Charge fast charging and 5-core chip protection technology ensure safe and fast charging every time. Apart from gaming specs, there is also a 48MP AI camera that captures highly detailed photos and videos.
7. Black Shark 5 Pro
Black Shark has been making gaming phones for years and the Black Shark 5 Pro is the latest in a lineup. Software support for this phone is limited, but if you’re okay with it, you’ll get some really great specs. The Pro model is powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor as the ROG Phone 6 above, paired with up to 16GB of RAM. It may be overkill, but when it comes to gaming phones, overkill is the name of the game. It also packs a 4,650mAh battery with 120W charging, which claims to charge the phone from zero to full in just 15 minutes.
The screen is also impressive, with the same 720Hz sampling rate and high refresh rate. On the top of the phone are two pop-up magnetic switches that act as triggers while you play. It provides a nice tactile response when pressed and can be programmed with hotkeys to open apps, cameras, and more besides games.
Wrapping It Up
When choosing a gaming phone, you should think about what kind of games you like to play. If your game would benefit from extra control, you might consider a phone with shoulder buttons. If you play a lot on the go and need long battery life and fast charging, look for a phone with a large battery and large charging capacity. If you’re looking for a serious gaming hub with the fastest display and coolest design for gamers, this might be the best phone on our list. Whatever you want in a gaming phone, we have options for all your priorities.