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You need a phone to communicate with the outside world, surf the internet, stay on top of your emails, document your life and shop. You also like to play games when you get the chance, and you want a great gaming phone that will do everything else, as well. We can help. We’ve thought carefully about what exactly is it, in all those features of a smartphone that gives you not just the ability to play games but to enjoy playing them.
iPhone XS Max or iPhone XS
The XS Max is no longer the new kid on the block, and you can pick it up for anything between $700 to $1,400 if you shop around.
The difference between these two models is the screen size, and the XS is smaller, with a 5.8” screen and correspondingly smaller dimensions. It also costs slightly less. In case you are wondering, you say iPhone ten S.
As this is an Apple device, the operating system is iOS. The chipset in this model is the A12 Bionic, which comes second in the ratings for both CPU and GPU, just behind the newly released top of the range iPhone 11 Pro Max (it is the better gaming phone if you can afford it).
This level of processing power will run the most demanding game that plays on a mobile phone.
The dimensions of the XS Max are 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm and a screen size of 6.5”, this puts it almost into the phablet range. The resolution is an excellent 2960 x 1440 with an OLED screen, and this combination gives superb picture quality for most uses. There is support for HDR.
RAM and Storage
You get 4GB RAM, which is plenty for gaming and options on storage of 64, 256, or 512 GB, but this will increase the amount you pay.
The phone comes with a 3,179 mAh battery; with moderate to high usage, you will go all day before needing to charge it. The phone can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for your other devices, and this will drain the battery faster than normal usage.
You can charge this phone wirelessly, but you will need to invest in wireless charging pads and a fast-charging block.
Apple has moved to face ID in its devices instead of a fingerprint. It is fast to react and integrates well with banking apps. The face recognition feature struggles in direct sunlight but otherwise works well.
It’s an expensive-looking phone with a new glass for the front and back giving improved resistance to dust and water. According to Apple, you can submerge the phone in 2m of water for about 30 minutes without any ill effects. In case you feel tempted to try taking pictures underwater, it is worth remembering that the warranty will not cover liquid damage. Regard this feature as a backup safety plan for when you accidentally drop the phone in the bath.
There is no home button on this model, and gestures provide the input for all navigation. You also get the screen time app that will allow you to set limits on your screen time or track your usage. There is no headphone jack, and you will need to use compatible Apple headphones. You can use a VR headset provided you are careful to get one that is compatible as not every brand will work.
There are three cameras – two in the rear and one in the front. The two in the back are both 12 MP, one is wide-angle (f/1.8), and the other is telephoto(f/2.4). The camera operation has been upgraded with Smart HDR to capture highlights and shadows better
This older iPhone is available at a less expensive level, but it is an iPhone that attracts a high price tag, but you can pick one up for under $500.
This gaming phone has A12 Bionic like the iPhone XS Max.
The dimensions are 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm with a screen size of 6.1”, a little smaller than the XS Max but not by much. The resolution is 1792 x 828, and this lower resolution makes the gaming phone more affordable and is lighter on battery usage. The screen is the more economical LCD type. You will still get excellent picture quality. The panel is 60 Hz, but the touch layer is 120 Hz that makes for fast swiping.
RAM and Storage
You get 3GB, which is enough for gaming satisfaction and will have less impact on battery life. You have three options for storage – 64/128/256 GB, and the price will depend on the option chosen.
The battery size is 2,942 mAh, which gives around 11 hours, depending on the type of usage.
You need to use face ID as your biometric password, but it works reliably except in direct sunlight.
You only get one rear camera, which is an optically stabilized wide-angle 12 MP f/1.8 camera. It has the standard front camera and smart HDR to improve the quality of the photographs taken.
iPhone 8 Plus
Another older Apple phone that gives you access to iOS at a reduced price, and you expect to pay under $400.
This model uses the older A11 Bionic Chipset that is #10 in the best CPU rankings but is still satisfactory for gaming. The older technology brings the price down if you want iOS instead of Android. You can play AR (augmented reality) games on these phones with no difficulties.
The dimensions are 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5mm and a screen of 5.5”. It has an excellent resolution of 1080 x 1920. The screen is a true-tone LCD panel.
RAM and Storage
You get 3GB adequate RAM and a choice of 64 or 256 GB storage. iPhone does not offer additional storage cards, once you have chosen your storage option, that is the storage you have. You can always access iCloud.
The battery is 2,691 mAh, and it can charge wirelessly. The battery should last all day with normal usage. If you want to charge wirelessly and quickly, you need to buy two accessories.
The phone has a glass front and back that improves water resistance and the overall appearance with curved corners.
You get the standard two cameras on the rear and one in front. You get auto-HDR (unless you turn it off) to assist in taking that fabulous picture. Quality video capture is an additional and excellent feature.
OnePlus 7 Pro
This premium phone is available with 5G for an increased price, and it has many features that make it a superb gaming phone with an excellent camera. You can expect to pay between $700 and $1,000.
This gaming phone operates with Android 9 and Snapdragon 855. It has excellent processing capacity for games.
The dimensions are 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm and the screen – 6.67” with a resolution of 1440 x 3120. It has an excellent AMOLED display with excellent pixel density and a 90Hz refresh rate that results in a fluid and immersive gaming experience even on the phone.
RAM and Storage
You have a choice of RAM – 6/8/12 GB. The 6 GB is more than adequate for satisfactory gaming today, but if you are looking to future gaming, you might want to invest in more RAM. Bear in mind that more RAM will demand more power from the battery to service it.
Your storage options are 128or 256GB, your choice of storage and RAM will influence the price you pay.
The included battery is 4,000 mAh, but the usage you get will depend on how you use the phone and the RAM selected, but you should expect a full day’s usage.
The selfie camera pops up, which is a novel feature, but even better, it pops back automatically if you drop the phone. The fingerprint sensor is improved. The rear camera has three lenses – telephoto (a large 3X), ultrawide, and low-light night scope. You don’t get a 3.5 mm headphone jack (seems this feature is being phased out on most new phones), memory card slot, or wireless charging. It does have a fast charging rate with the Warp Charge 30 adapter and the bonus of stereo speakers.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
You can expect to pay around $900.
A gaming phone that will cost as much as an iPhone but has plenty of storage and excellent cameras, and you can use a Gear VR headset for your games.
This gaming phone comes with the Android 9 operating system and the Snapdragon 855 CPU.
The dimensions are 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm with a screen size of 6.4”. The resolution of 1440 x 3040 puts it in the 4K range. The massive super AMOLED display screen is one of the largest on a smartphone. It is excellent for watching movies as well as playing games. The screen is an infinity screen (no bezels and it wraps around the edges), and it produces impressive image quality. On the downside, it can register false touches from your palms on the side of the screen.
RAM and Storage
You have a choice of 8 or 12GB RAM, which is massive in gaming terms and a choice of storage of 128 GB up to 1TB or 1.5TB with a memory card which is heading into the professional filmmaker range.
The battery is 4,000 mAh to cope with all the extra demands from the huge RAM.
There are two front cameras and three rear cameras with standard, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses. They produce quality pictures with many editing options. The glass and metal finish results in a phone that is slippery to hold and best used with a textured case.
An innovative feature of this phone is that you can give charge to other phones, and it comes with Samsung’s smart assistant Bixby. You have a choice of biometric identification – fingerprint or face scanning.
Samsung has retained the headphone jack and have Dolby Atmos support for wired headphones.
If you have a Gear VR headset, then you will be able to use it with this gaming phone, which is a bonus feature for gamers.
Asus Rog Phone 2
The Phone that was designed for mobile gamers, retailing under $1,000.
The chipset is the Snapdragon 855+, and the operating system is Android Pie.
The phone dimensions are 171 x 77.6 x 9.5mm, and the screen is 6.59”. The AMOLED screen is large and has an impressive 120Hz refresh rate giving smooth and responsive gameplay. The resolution is 1080 x 2340, which a mid-range pixel density and still giving natural color and definition to images.
RAM and Storage
There is a breathtaking 12GB RAM, which is more than enough for your present and future gaming needs. The two storage options of 512GB or 1TB will permit the storage of a lot of apps, photos, and videos.
Everything about this gaming phone is supersized, screen, RAM, storage, and the battery is no exception at a massive 6,000 mAh.
First, what you don’t get – a waterproof rating or wireless charging, what you do get is a clip-on fan cooling system to lower the temperature of your phone while you are deep in gaming mode. You also get access to a range of accessories (additional purchase) such as a gamepad. This gaming phone is a pocket-sized gaming rig, but it will do all the other stuff you expect of any phone and do it well.
The two rear cameras and front cameras produce high-quality photographs.
Razer Phone 2
You can expect to pay around $500
This splendid gaming phone (with older specifications) is not nearly as good an every-day phone as other models.
The chipset is Snapdragon 845, which does not have one of the top ten CPUs, but Snapdragon is an excellent make, this is an older version – adequate but not superb. The operating system is an older version of Android – 8.1 Oreo. Again, adequate but nothing to write home about.
This unashamed gaming phone incorporates a vapor chamber to help manage the heat generated by the processing.
The screen is 5.72,” and the dimensions of the phone are 158.5 x 78.9 x 8.5 mm but with a gaming-friendly 120hz refresh rate. The resolution of 2560 x 1440 services all your gaming graphics with good definition and color if you want to slow down to enjoy the scenery.
RAM and Storage
You have a choice of 6 or 8GB of RAM, given the amount needed for satisfactory gaming is 3GB, these levels are enough and have some future-proofing. The offered storage of 64 or 128GB is low by modern standards, but you have the option of boosting it to 1TB with a memory card. For an adequate gaming experience, you need 128 GB of storage.
The sizeable 4000 mAh battery has settings to tweak the performance and manage its energy levels.
The camera is adequate and will take satisfactory pictures. You get the standard wide-angle and telephoto lenses on the back and one front-facing camera. You get QI wireless charging, and the glass back displays the logo in RGB hues to show everyone you bought a gaming phone.
The use of Android Pie means the gaming phone has Bluetooth, which makes up for the missing headphone jack. It has excellent speakers and Dolby Atmos support. You need a dongle to take advantage of the Dolby Atmos and listening by wire.
Huawei P30 Pro
This model, released in March 2019, is a high-end gaming phone with excellent cameras and an attention-grabbing design. You can expect to pay around $800
This Kirin 980 CPU scores well in the ratings. The operating system is based on Android 9 but is called EMUI 9.1. A vapor cooling chamber and heat pipe are included to keep the components cool while in heavy use.
The phone measures 158 x 73.4 x 8.4mm and has a screen size of 6.47” when measured as a rectangle. The actual viewing area of the OLED screen is slightly smaller because of the rounded edges. The manufacturers boast that you can see 16.7 million colors on the full HD panel with its resolution of 2340 x 1080.
RAM and Storage
A future-proofed 8GB RAM with a choice of 128/256/512GB of storage gives all the capacity you need for gaming. The price depends on the storage choice.
The 4,200 mAh battery charges with a compatible QI wireless charger, but you will have to buy it at an additional cost. The wireless charging option is a standard or a quick charge.
This gaming phone comes in some lovely colors – misty lavender, mystic blue, breathing crystal, aurora, amber sunrise, and a plainly described – black. The warranty does not cover liquid damage, but you should be able to get away with dropping it in the bath or halfway up the swimming pool. Provided you fish it out as quickly as possible.
The cameras are superb, worth buying the phone to use as a camera. It has a stunning dark mode. The sound quality is Dolby Atmos, which is currently the gold standard for audio. The biometric identification is by fingerprint.
Black Shark 2
A superb gaming phone that is affordable, a second-generation phone from the Chinese company Xiaomi released in March 2019. It might not be available in the USA, but if you can get it, you will pay $400 to $600.
It uses the highly rated Snapdragon 855 and Android 9.0 Pie. The thermal management is superb with a cooling plate over all the hot components. You can game to the highest most intense level with this gaming phone.
The phone dimensions are 163.9 x 75 x 8.8, and the screen size is 6.39” with a resolution of 1080 x 2340. The AMOLED display will comfortably display your content in excellent color and definition. The screen has ultra-low touch latency, which gives you silky fast interaction with the action. The refresh rate is disappointingly standard at 60Hz, given all the other details with this gaming phone you would expect this rate to be higher, but this is fine.
An additional feature for first-person shooters is that you can customize the pressure levels on the two zones on either side of the screen.
RAM and Storage
Three options for RAM (6/8/12 GB) and two for storage (128/256 GB).
The 4,000 mAh battery is adequate for all applications. You get 7 hours of heavy gaming use before reaching for the charger.
This phone comes with a case, two controllers to attach on either side of the phone, and a gamepad. The gamer bling adorns the back in the form of RGB LED lights and two bands along the sides. When you are charging it or getting a call, they will light up. You can customize the light effect to your preferences.
There are loud stereo speakers but no headphone jack. The sound quality is excellent, with little distortion even at high volume. You get fingerprint identification.
You get distraction-free gaming with Shark Space – it acts as a hub for all your games and blocks the outside world from intruding while you are playing.
There’s no night mode on the camera, and it doesn’t take the highest quality of pictures, but that is because all the attention and technology focus on enhancing the gaming experience. This superb gaming phone delivers at an astonishingly low-price.
LG G8 Thin Q
You can pay less than $500 or as much as $850.The phone has some impressive features and annoying, but intriguing gimmicks.
The excellent Snapdragon 855, paired with Android Pie, gives this gaming phone excellent processing capacity.
The phone dimensions are 151.9 x 71.8 x 8.4 mm with a vibrant OLED display screen of 6.1” and an impressive resolution of 1440 x 3120.
RAM and Storage
The middle-range amount of 6GB RAM is more than adequate for today’s gaming needs and spare capacity for future games. The storage is a modest 128 GB, so this is not a phone for the obsessive photographer.
The 3,500 mAh battery is neither the smallest nor the largest on the market.
You can get it in black or silver in the standard LG design, with a dedicated button for the Google assistant. The camera on the back is mounted under glass and horizontally. The fingerprint sensor is on the rear (an odd feature). It’s a glass phone and incredibly slippery, which means you will be putting it in a case for safety.
LG uses Crystal Sound OLED to turn the display into a speaker, which gives excellent sound, and you won’t notice it working. You get facial unlock and palm unlocking. Now for one of the gimmicks – Air Motion. Instead of swiping and tapping, you play your hand and fingers in the air in front of the screen, and as if by magic, you control the phone. It requires precision and control to be successful in operating the commands, but the technology is likely to improve in the future.
The camera is adequate, but it won’t wow you with its features.
What are the Features of the Best Gaming Phone?
Smartphones come packed with features and high specifications, but the elements that ensure you get a great gaming experience while using it are:
- Screen Quality
- RAM and Storage Capacity
- Battery Power
The sleek appearance, the fit to your hand, and the superb camera are all desirable, but the above four areas are essential for you to enjoy gaming on your phone.
Quick Tips for Buying the Best Gaming Phones
- If not buying an Apple, then look for a Snapdragon 855+, Snapdragon 855, or Kirin 990 CPU.
- You need a minimum of 3GB RAM and 128GB of storage for satisfactory gameplay.
- Go for a screen size between 5” and 7” with a quality display panel.
- It depends on how you use the phone, but you need an extended battery life around 4,000 mAh will let you play for about 7 hours.
- Price is dependent on RAM and storage options, so be clear on how much of each you need.
- An older model is less expensive than the new release and still has excellent performance capabilities.
- Be clear on how vital other features like a quality camera and sound are to your enjoyment of your new gaming phone.
- Consider how long you are keeping this phone before replacing it, does it need future proof features like additional RAM and the ability to support a VR Headset?
The two parts of the chipset we are interested in for gaming potential is the CPU and the GPU. These come bundled together in the same small package, and similar to your computer components, they are what drive and produce the action.
An excellent chipset will ensure that your game loads quickly, and the action in the play is smooth and rapid when needed. A poor-quality chipset may be prone to excessive time lag and overheating.
Their performance depends on the chipset architecture, but you don’t need to be a computer engineer to work out that the top chipsets perform significantly better than the bottom ones.
The top four GPUs in chipsets (benchmarked for performance and user experience) are:
- Apple A13 Bionic
- Apple A12 Bionic
- Adreno 640 -included in Snapdragon 855 and 855+
- Mali G76 MP16 – included in Kirin 990
All of these are GPU that can efficiently service the high resolutions of 1440 or 2160 desired for top-notch gaming.
The top ten CPUs in chipsets (benchmarked for performance and user experience) are:
- Apple A13 Bionic – included in iPhone 11 ProMax
- Apple A12 Bionic – included in iPhone XS Max
- Snapdragon 855+ – included in Asus Rog Phone 11
- Snapdragon 855 – included in One Plus 7 Pro
- Kirin 990 5G – included in Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G
- Kirin 990 4G – included in Huawei Mate 30 Pro 4G
- Exyno 9825 – included in Galaxy Note 10+
- Exyno 9820 – included in Samsung Galaxy S10
- Kirin 980 – included in Huawei Mate 20 Pro
- Apple A11 Bionic – included in iPhone X
The Exynos 9825 & 9820 have the #6 GPU Mali-G76 MP12, Kirin 980 has #7 GPU Mali-G76 MP10, and the Apple A11Bionic is ranked #9. These GPUs are sufficiently highly rated to provide a satisfactory gaming experience.
Apple consistently tops the board with its new phones, and its older phones drop down the rankings because the competition catches up with the latest innovation. If you are an Apple devotee, then your selection is not so much what gaming phone is right for you, but which Apple product is affordable right now.
The latest Apple phone (iPhone 11 Pro Max) is a long way ahead of the competition in terms of chipset performance (and other features), but the older models’ chipsets don’t perform significantly better than the Android rivals. If you don’t need an Apple, you can get a great gaming phone for a lot less cash.
The chipset is the component that generates most heat inside your phone, and some of the newer phones have incorporated liquid cooling features to resolve this problem.
The operating system will depend on if it is an Apple (iOS) or Android and will not sway your selection other than looking for the most recent version. When looking for your new gaming phone, you will get the best experience from one with a top-rated GPU and CPU.
If you are undecided between iOS and Android, then these are the points to consider:
An iPhone costs more upfront, but Apple provides updates for years before declaring the phone to be too old to support. This updating gives it a long useful life with a high second-hand value. Android phones stop getting updates after a few years.
You can only access iOS games from Apple or Amazon, but Android games give you Google Play, Amazon, and other stores.
Selecting the best iPhone is simple; the latest model is always the best. Picking the best Android phone means sifting through many manufacturers’ offerings to work out the best combination of features and price, but it will cost less upfront. In some cases, the best new release Android phone may cost as much as a new Apple iPhone because the competition is fierce in the gaming phone market.
In a new smart gaming phone, it is a given that you will get a touch screen, so the essential factors for quality gaming will be the screen size, resolution, picture quality and refresh rate. Strictly speaking, the refresh rate will depend on the chipset, but the screen must be able to handle it.
Manufacturers have been concentrating on producing bezel-less panels for their smartphones, mirroring TV displays because more of us are using our smartphones as multi-media devices. Phones are also beginning to move into that crossover space where they become a mini-tablet that makes phone calls – phablets.
The screen size that is right for you will depend on how portable you need the phone to be (pocket or bag?) and the size of your hands. The screen size measurement is on the diagonal, which can give you a long skinny screen or a square – with the same diagonal length. It’s worth checking out the dimensions of the phone as well as the screen size. Today’s phone screens tend to fill almost all the space on the front, so the phone size gives you a reasonable estimate of length and width. One more point – the fashion is for curved corners, and the actual screen size will be a little smaller than the diagonal measurement indicates.
Confusingly, the screen size is in inches and the dimensions in mm. The conversion is relatively easy (use your calculator app) at 25mm to one inch. For gaming, you want a phone that is at least 5,” and if you have large hands or enjoy a big screen, you can get over 6” panels.
A big panel puts more of your apps in one touch range as opposed to swipe and touch, but the time differential is minuscule, choose the screen size that is most comfortable for you.
The resolutions for smartphones are classed as 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160), 2K (2560 x 1440), 1080p (also called Full HD: 1920 x 1080) and 720p (also called HD: 1280 x720). For excellent gaming experiences, you want a high resolution with superb pixel density. You can get some variations in resolution, but these are the standards.
Resolution is the number of horizontal pixels x vertical pixels. The size of the screen does not affect the resolution, but it does affect the pixel density (pixels per square inch ppi). You can have a five-inch HD screen and a six-inch HD screen – both will display 1280 x 720 pixels, but they will be spaced farther apart on the bigger screen.
The human eye stops being able to see individual pixels around the 300ppi mark, and this does depend on the size of the screen and the distance your eyeball is from it.
Television screens are rushing to incorporate 4K resolution into their designs, but smartphones are currently topping their premium range with 2K panels. This approach could change, but higher resolution displays demand more from the battery, and you need an extended battery life to play games while traveling.
High resolution and pixel density contribute to showing games with super-sharp definition and superb color and detail.
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is an array of liquid crystals and a backlight. They are inexpensive to produce, perform well in sunlight, but the use of a backlight may give a more inferior color quality than an alternative screen.
Thin Film Transistor (TFT) is a step up from LCD as it uses an advanced matrix technology where each pixel has its transistor and capacitor. This screen is also inexpensive to produce and has better contrast than a straight LCD. But it drains the battery, and the color reproduction is poor, this technology is hardly used today in smart gaming phones.
In-Plane Switching (IPS) is the next development which attaches two transistors to each pixel and uses a backlight. You get better color and viewing angles, but although it is more energy-efficient than a TFT, it does still drain the battery.
Active Matrix Organic Light-emitting Diode is helpfully shortened to AMOLED and is a thin-film display technology – OLED, like TV screens. A current is passed through organic material, causing it to emit light. Each pixel stays black unless individually activated. Dark pictures consume less energy, and light, bright images consume more.
You get excellent contrast (deep inky blacks and dazzling whites) with an excellent refresh rate. There are problems – not easy to see in sunlight and risk of screen burn-in, as well as the death of the diodes – it is an organic material, and it does degrade with time.
These screens are more expensive to produce, but they can be thin and are flexible.
Super AMOLED has a touch-responsive layer as part of the screen rather than an additional layer added on top. This arrangement is better under bright sunshine and is more energy-efficient.
The picture quality depends on the type of screen, the chipset, and how you use the gaming phone. If you like to sunbathe while gaming, then you need a display that can stand up to that brightly lit environment. If you are a casual gamer, who plays while commuting, the accuracy of color reproduction and contrast, refresh rate, and energy demands may be more of a deciding factor.
RAM and Storage Capacity
Many phones offer a range of additional storage memory in the same model, but with an increased price to match the increased capacity. RAM (Random Access Memory) is the part of the phone’s processing capacity, and when you access a game or any other app, it occupies the RAM until it is displaced. A large RAM gives you the ability to run more than one app simultaneously. The RAM also allows some processes to run in the background, such as checking your emails. Processing better quality pictures with increasingly better cameras also use RAM.
The downside of a sizeable amount of RAM is that the battery power will service the whole amount even if you are only using half of the available RAM.
The two operating systems, iOS, and Android have different approaches to memory management. Android uses garbage collection which needs more RAM to process than the alternative used by iOS which is reference counting.
Conventional wisdom says you should close all your apps when you are not using them to save energy. Conventional wisdom is wrong – you use more energy when opening an app than you do dipping in and out of an app serviced by your RAM. It is better to be using your RAM than leaving it idle.
In gaming mode, the RAM needs to accommodate all the visual information as well as the sequence of moving images in producing action and reaction. If you fully occupy all the available RAM, then the phone will try to help by closing background apps, but eventually, you will slow down and crash without enough RAM.
The minimum amount of RAM needed for satisfactory gaming performance is 3GB.
Storage capacity is used to keep your photos, music, and games. Bear in mind that 5-10GB of that storage will be occupied by the phone’s system and pre-installed apps before you start adding your content. You can supplement your gaming phone storage capacity with cloud storage and in some models, a memory card.
The amount of storage you need depends on the content you create. More room on the phone increases the price you will pay for the phone. If you are on a tight budget, you can have the same phone for less with less storage.
So how much storage do you need? Well, if you are in the market for a gaming phone, you need as much room as you can afford – a minimum of 128GB, and if you want to also listen to songs, play music, and see the odd film you will need more.
Without power, your gaming phone, and your ability to play is dead. Battery specifications show capacity in milliamp-hours (mAh), but the highest number is not automatically the best for battery life.
Battery life depends on how much power the screen and other components need to function. You need a large battery mAh, but you need to consider it in the context of how power-hungry the chipset and the high-resolution screen will be while you are using the phone.
Another potential consideration is how long it takes to recharge the phone and if you can charge wirelessly.
The quality of the camera is not a gaming feature, but your gaming phone is going to be your phone, and you will want, if not a top of the range digital camera, at least one that will shoot an excellent photograph or video.
The points to look for in a decent to superb camera phone are:
- A wide lens aperture to take better quality images because it takes in more light.
- A large screen (preferably made of sturdy gorilla glass) so you can see the image you are capturing.
- Image stabilizing is necessary to account for hands shaking when you are setting up the shot. This feature also improves the quality of your videos.
- If you need professional-quality shots, then you need the ability to shoot in the RAW rather than Jpeg files. The disadvantage is they are bigger file sizes, but it is undoubtedly one for the photographers.
- Lenses are essential for picture quality, and these will vary between phones. They control how far you can be from your subject.
- HDR improves the detail on your image but beware of the moving figure as this takes a series of images and combines them into one.
- A dark light mode for taking excellent photos in low light is a useful feature.
- The inclusion of additional features – blurring the background and filters.
The soundscape of a game is approaching the grandeur of classical music and wins awards, so you want the best sound quality when mobile gaming. Plus, you may also want to listen to some music now and then.
The sound quality produced by the gaming phone depends on the internal speakers and the headphones. The headphones are essential because when traveling with others, it’s plain rude to inflict your musical tastes on everyone else. Plus, they help to block out external distractions.
Many people want a headphone connected to the device rather than Bluetooth, but the 3.5mm headphone jack is going from most smartphones. Your alternative is a USB-C headphone, but this means you can’t use headphones and charge the phone.
Smartphones have many sensors; most of the time we don’t notice them as they quietly go on doing their job.
The accelerometer knows how fast you are moving (more particularly how fast you are moving the phone), detects vibrations, and measures tilt. These three elements allow you to use the phone in landscape or portrait. And, if the smartphone faces up or down.
The gyroscope also measures directions but, more precisely the tilt and rotation. You need this for Pokémon Go and to use the maps.
The compass or magnetometer can always find true north, so your maps are pointed in the same direction you are facing.
You need all three of the above sensors to work together for phone orientation, but they do it seamlessly.
The Global Positioning will work even if you can’t communicate with the internet as it is in direct contact with the satellite, but without the maps, it can’t show you where you are. This sensor is why you can be tracked using your phone, which is fabulous if you need rescue.
The proximity sensor disables the touch screen when you hold the phone to your ear. This fabulous sensor uses an IR light detector and an infrared LED, and the phone always knows how far it is from any other object.
The light sensor adjusts the brightness of the screen in reaction to the ambient light levels. In a dark room, it shines a little more brightly.
The sound sensor is a micro electret microphone that lets you talk to the world or digital assistant.
The game-changing touch screen is another kind of sensor – a capacitive screen with an electric current altered in reaction to your fingertips. Now you swipe and tap instead of clicking buttons.
The fingerprint recognition is possible because of a capacitive scanner that makes an electronic recording of your fingerprint and uses it for comparison.
The pedometer counts your steps regardless of your use of a fitness tracker. But if you want to use an app that records your daily run, this is the sensor that makes the magic happen. It is the accelerometer that makes it all work, and the pedometer interprets the data for the app.
The barcode/QR sensor detects reflected light from the black and white pattern, generates an analog signal, converts this to a digital signal, and then decodes it. This process is quick and surprisingly useful – it gives you additional information or allows you to sell products like books to an online buyer.
An inbuilt heat sensor will automatically shut your gaming phone down if it starts to overheat; it won’t care if you are at a crucial point in your game. It will close and save your components from damage.
There is another sensor that detects magnetic fields – the hall sensor, and for gamers, this means that the phone accepts a VR headset.
Now you know what makes a smartphone work as a gaming phone; you are ready to start considering what the market has to offer. If you are an Apple fan, then you will be making your choice from that range, depending on what you can afford. If you are happy with Android, then there are some fantastic phones out there with fabulous features.
You can get the best phone with superb gaming capabilities. As gaming phones develop and incorporate more technology, they improve and so do your gaming sessions. We’ve reviewed some of the best of today’s offerings, but however gaming handsets evolve, the concentration on processing, ram, display, and battery life will ensure you can always pick a winner.