Best gaming phones for immersion on the go

Mobile gaming on the go with out pick of the best smartphones for gaming.


by Ryan Houghton |

Mobile gaming has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, with greater opportunities than ever for some truly impressive gameplay on the go thanks to the ever-increasing power of our smartphones.

Yet not all smartphones are capable of running cutting-edge mobile games, so if you want the absolute best of the best, at the greatest price, then look no further. We’ve picked our top five smartphones for gaming largely on their hardware capabilities: RAM, resolution, battery life and overall build quality.

If you’re not a major mobile gamer and want some tech with a little more heft on the go, check out our picks for the best gaming laptops available.

Not a PC gamer? We’ve also got some great deals on the Nintendo Switch for the perfect on the go gaming experience.

Specifications
Dimensions: 172.8 x 77.3 x 10.3 mm
Display size: 6.78"
Resolution: 1080 x 2448 p
Chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G
Memory: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
RAM: 8 GB, 12 GB, 16 GB
Camera(s): 64 MP (wide), 13 MP (ultrawide), 5 MP (macro), 24 MP (wide selfie camera)
Battery Capacity: 6000 mAh
Available Colours: Phantom Black, Storm White
Pros Cons
• Incredible RAM options (up to 16 GB) • ROG's 'Gamer' aesthetic might not be for everyone
• Cutting-edge Snapdragon 888 chipset • Quite expensive
• Solid speakers
• Huge 6.8" display

Overview:

THE ASUS ROG Phone 5 can be summed up succinctly in one word - absurd. Visually, ASUS has always embraced the modern “gamer” aesthetic with its phones, and while this is completely toned back from its predecessors, it's still blindingly flashy to behold.

With the base model of the ROG Phone 5 having 8 GB RAM, going up to a ludicrous 16 GB RAM that is practically unheard of in a smartphone, you can rest assured that this is the pinnacle of gaming phones available at its price. A colossal 6.78” display, booming speakers and a 144 Hz refresh rate leaves the Phone 5 miles ahead of the competition as the ultimate phone for gaming.

Without question it’ll handle any modern mobile game thrown at it with ease, PUBG and Genshin don’t stand a chance.

And, as the icing on the cake; in a completely bizarre, yet brilliant innovation, the back of the phone has a small LED screen where you can customise an image to appear when the screen itself is activated. How amazing is that?

Specifications
Dimensions: 163.3 X 77.9 X 8.9 mm
Display size: 6.8"
Resolution: 1440 x 3088 p
Chipset: Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Memory: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1TB
RAM: 8 GB, 12 GB
Camera(s): 108 MP (wide), PDAF Laser AF, OIS 10 MP (telephoto), Dual pixel PDAF, 40 MP (wide, selfie camera)
Battery Capacity: 5000 mAh
Available Colours: Phantom Black, White, Burgundy, Green, Graphite, Red, Sky Blue
Pros Cons
• Huge screen • Expensive
• Great resolution
• Stunning camera
• Great battery
• Stylus included
• Solid build quality
• Excellent RAM / chipset

Overview

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra is an absolute beast and undoubtedly rides the line between a regular smartphone and a gaming smart phone. Stunning 1440 x 3088 display, ultra-low latency, and chocked full of RAM with the latest Snapdragon chipset, this is not only a great all-around phone, this is a perfect gaming phone.

While the ROG Phone 5 is extraordinarily powerful, its aesthetic is enough to dissuade the casual gamer, yet the S22 Ultra is unquestionably stunning. Gone is Samsung’s Note line-up, the Ultra seems to have taken its place as we see the stylus has made its way onto this smartphone. The stylus is not only great for a ton of games, it’s also just fantastic to use.

As a major bonus, it also has potentially the best camera on a smartphone available today, which is probably the real reason you’ll be buying it anyway.

Specifications
Dimensions: 163 x 73.9 x 8.6 mm
Display size: 6.7"
Resolution: 1440 x 3216 p
Chipset: Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 888 5G
Memory: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
RAM: 8 GB, 12 GB
Camera(s): 48 MP (wide), multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF, OIS 8 MP, 77mm (telephoto), 50 MP (ultrawide)
Battery Capacity: 5000 mAh
Available Colours: Volcanic Black, Emerald Forest, Panda White
Pros Cons
• Powerful chipset / RAM • Slightly dull aesthetic
• Great value
• Good camera
• Good sound
• Rapid charging

Overview

Yet another seriously powerful phone, but at a significantly cheaper price point than our other picks, the One Plus 10 Pro is another perfect option for gaming on the go without completely breaking the bank. This practically brand new phone is admittedly a little dull looking, clearly taking inspiration in its design from Samsung’s S21 line. But if you’re not too bothered by the slightly clunky looking triple-camera, you’ve got a pretty fantastic smartphone for a reasonable price.

With some flawless ultra-low latency, and super thin bezels, gaming on the go with the OnePlus 10 Pro is an absolute dream. Not to mention the sheer amount of RAM this phone has, at double the iPhone 13 Pro Max with 256 GB of storage, as mobile gaming grows and brings even greater competition to the gaming market, the OnePlus is certain to be future-proofed for a long while.

If you’re looking for an affordable gaming smartphone that isn’t overly expensive with a good camera, sound and visual capabilities, then look no further.

Specifications
Dimensions: 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4 mm
Display size: 7.6"
Resolution: 1768 x 2208 p
Chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G
Memory: 256 GB, 512 GB
RAM: 12 GB
Camera(s): 12 MP (wide), 12 MP (telephoto), 12 mm (ultrawide), 4 MP (selfie camera), 10 MP (selfie camera, wide)
Battery Capacity: 4400 mAh
Available Colours: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Green
Pros Cons
• Huge screen • Very expensive
• Powerful RAM Weaker battery than expected
• Solid cameras
• Hefty base storage
• Powerful chipset
• Innovative

Overview:

Certainly a controversial pick, yet a worthy one, the Galaxy Fold 3 is most definitely the largest smartphone on our list (if you can even call it a smartphone due to its sheer size). Powerful, stunning and innovative, if you’re after a smartphone that truly breaks the mould, the Galaxy Fold 3 might just be for you.

If, like me, you prefer to game on the biggest screen possible, yet still would like the convenience of fitting the device in your pocket, the Fold 3 provides this incredibly well with its stunning folding AMOLED screen. The emergence of the Galaxy Fold line is a seriously incredible advancement in smartphone tech, and it's wonderful to see some innovation from the conventional modern smartphone.

Despite not being the most powerful smartphone on the list with the best battery or cameras, it is almost certainly the most expensive in large part because of its sheer size and amazing foldable screen technology.

Despite our gripes with the phone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 is the perfect companion for gaming on the go and opens up a world of potential for convenient mobile gaming in the future.

Specifications
Dimensions: 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.7 mm
Display size: 6.7"
Resolution: 1284 x 2778 p
Chipset: Apple A15 Bionic chip
Memory: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
RAM: 6 GB
Camera(s): 12 MP (wide), 12 MP (telephoto), 12MP (ultrawide), TOF 3D LiDAR scanner, 12 MP (wide selfie camera), SL 3D (selfie camera).
Battery Capacity: 4352 mAh
Available Colours: Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue, Alpine Green
Pros Cons
• Great battery life • Comparatively lower RAM than our other picks
• Excellent A15 chipset • Very expensive
• Great AMOLED resolution
• Great screen size

Overview

Deservedly, Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max lands itself on our list; it is, without question, the pinnacle of Apple’s smartphones as of now, with one of the best cameras on the smartphone market, a stunning AMOLED 6.7” screen and absurdly good battery life that’ll keep you gaming on the go for hours.

But, most importantly, the iPhone 13 Pro Max can handle practically any mobile game you can throw at it with ease. Despite its lower than expected 6 GB RAM for a 2021 smartphone, gaming remains incredibly strong on the device.

Our major gripe with the iPhone 13 Pro Max is, very predictably, the price. If you’re looking for a great all-around phone that is beautifully designed, with a great camera, brilliant battery life and a robust A15 Bionic chip, you cannot go wrong with the iPhone 13 Pro Max. If, however, you’re looking specifically for gaming functionality it may be worth picking up one of our cheaper options.

FAQ's

How do I improve my phone's gaming performance?

With many modern smartphones you can adjust the refresh rate via your phone's settings which should dramatically improve your overall gaming experience. You should also try and keep your smartphone clutter-free; closing tabs and clearing notifications should marginally improve performance.

Of course, this changes all the time, but as of now Player Unknown's Battle Grounds Mobile is the biggest mobile game with over 70 million downloads globally, just above Pokemon GO, which still remains incredibly popular.

How do I know if a phone is good for gaming?

There are a multitude of factors that make a phone great for gaming; generally it's preferable to have a screen on the larger side, with a sharp image, bigger screens mean better visibility and therefore better user performance.

Most importantly, however, you need to look at RAM and the chipset; sufficient RAM is crucial for running a game well. Most smartphone games require very little RAM, PUBG Mobile, for example only requires 2 GB. Yet, as we see growing mobile gamer audiences, games will undoubtedly become more demanding over time.

Your chipset contains all the crucial components; the GPU and CPU, so keep an eye on the chipset generation and its processing capabilities as this generally equates to greater overall performance.

Ryan is a tech writer and reviewer for What's The Best, specialising in PCs and gaming. He is a keen PC gamer and an avid reader.

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