You might have one of the best gaming phones in your hand right now and not even know it. Flagship phones have so much processing power and incredible displays that you’d be remiss not to play your favorite games on one. And with services like Apple Arcade, a huge library of games sit at many iPhone users’ fingertips.
Don’t get us wrong, iPhones aren’t the only gaming phones around. Although flagship smartphones like Samsung and iPhone are great for gaming, there are many other phones like the Nubia Red Magic or Xiaomi Shark that were built specifically for gaming. The opportunity to game doesn’t stop when you are away from your gaming console.
If you’re looking for a great mobile gaming experience, the best gaming phones will have:
- Premier chipsets (such as Snapdragon 865 for Android, or A13 or better for iPhone)
- Long battery life
- Upwards of 12GB of RAM
- AMOLED display
Outside of their gaming prowess, many of these phones are amazing premier phones for everyday use. It’s really a win, win. If you’ve got gaming in your blood, you can’t go wrong with our recommendations for the best phones for gaming below.
1. iPhone 12 Pro
BEST IPHONE FOR GAMING
The A14 Bionic chipset has elite processing speeds suitable for even the most avid gamers. You pair the A14 with the incredible 6.1-inch display and Apple Arcade, you have a phone that was built for gaming along with a huge library of games to choose from. Not only is this phone one of the best overall phones available right now, but it’s also one of the best gaming phones, period.
2. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
BEST SAMSUNG FOR GAMING
The super large, stunning display alone will have gamers’ mouths watering. Combine that with the speedy Snapdragon 888 chipset and we’re looking at a premier phone built for gaming. There’s plenty of onboard RAM to handle even the most intensive games without getting bogged down or laggy. The only real downside is the price, but if you’re willing to spend the extra cash, you get a premier phone with elite gaming abilities.
3. OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro is a flagship phone with a budget price tag. And if gaming is your forte, it has plenty of power and features to do that, too. The large 6.78-inch display with an ultra-smooth 120Hz refresh rate looks incredible, especially when gaming. The components also support your gaming needs including 12GB of RAM and a premier Snapdragon 865 chipset. Plus, with 5G you can game online without WiFi and be lag-free.
4. Nubia RedMagic 5G Game Mobile Phone
ALSO BUDGET FRIENDLY
For just over $600, you get a phone with the same chipset as the OnePlus 8 Pro, 5G connectivity and an AMOLED display that has ultra-smooth scrolling at 144Hz. The 8GB of RAM isn’t as robust as the likes of the OnePlus 8 Pro, but the components inside of the phone stay protected thanks to a built-in cooling fan. It’s not a premier name, but it sure serves as a premier gaming phone.
5. Lenovo Legion Duel 5G
Mobile gamers will appreciate the large 6.59-inch AMOLED 144HZ display that is nothing short of stunning and smooth. Gamers’ eyes will surely start to fatigue before the massive 6,000mAh battery runs out, and the Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset along with 16GB of RAM are premier level specs for gaming. There’s even a clip-on fan that comes in the box to keep your phone cool during marathon sessions.
6. iPhone SE
The iPhone SE is proof that you don’t need to pay premium prices for a premium mobile gaming experience. The iPhone SE has the same A13 chipset as the iPhone 11 Pro, which if you remember, was the cream of the crop only one generation ago. It only has 64GB of storage which isn’t ideal, but access to Apple Arcade brings a gigantic library of games to your fingertips. This is a great way to get a premier phone and one that’s great for gaming at a budget price.
7. Xiaomi Black Shark 5G 128GB
Touchscreens are great, but when it comes to gaming, buttons go a long way to elevate the gaming experience. On the backside of the phone, there are mechanical buttons to get your index fingers involved in the gaming — much like a regular console controller. But the buttons are just half the story. The 7.1 inch AMOLED display and Snapdragon 865 chipset make gameplay look incredible, smooth and lag-free. And the price is right, too.
8. Sony Xperia 5 II
Your thumbs won’t get in the way of the action with the Sony Xperia 5 II. The 21:9 aspect ratio keeps your thumbs at a good distance from each other and lets your eyes focus on the display. Speaking of the display, the OLED panel looks amazing with a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth gameplay. And for under $1,000, you are not only getting a great gaming phone but one that’s suitable as your daily driver.