Love it or hate it, experts worldwide predict that mobile gaming would become a larger market than PC or even console gaming soon. Many people who identify as hardcore gamers shun smartphone gaming for a host of reasons.
Chief among them is that smartphones often lack the dedicated power to get serious gaming done. That has just changed. In recent months, smartphones that not only have some serious horsepower but also several dedicated gaming modes and design features for gaming have come onto the market.
For those who want to dip their toe into the growing world of serious mobile gaming, in this review, you you can find a rundown of the best phones for gaming out on the market.
Razer Phone 2
Top gaming phone
All-new flagship gaming phone
Has an upgraded processor with vapor chamber cooling
Apple iPhone Xs
Elite gaming phone
It features a depth-sensing camera
A very VR friendly best gaming phone
Sony Xperia XZ2
4K resolution display and water resistant
Please note that these best phones for gaming are for playing games found in app markets and not emulators. There are phones, devices, and accessories suited for emulation, which we may visit at another time.
Whether someone is an Android or iOS fan, these reviews present an honest description and opinion of each gaming phone.
Best Gaming Phone 2019
|iPhone XS Max||Check Price on Amazon.com|
|One Plus 6T||Check Price on Amazon.com|
|RAZER Phone 2||Check Price on Amazon.com|
|Sony XZ2 Premium||Check Price on Amazon.com|
What matters when comparing top gaming phones is not the operating system integrated into a phone but what it offers and how well its price correlates.
Gamers will prefer one OS over another if what they’re seeking is to play a specific game that only that OS can offer. This article does not present a game comparison but a review on the best phone for gaming.
If you want to learn more about mobile best gaming phones before continuing, you might also read the article what do consumers want in a new smartphone so you can avoid any mistakes when choosing your brand new smartphone.
Our old readers know well how best phones for gaming, computers, and other devices work to make the most out of their gaming experience; however, we always welcome new readers to our posts!
This comprehensive review of the best phones for gaming will analyze the most important aspects the best gaming phone should have so the gamer can enjoy his or her gaming experience to the fullest. Among the aspects of this review will analyze are weight, battery, memory, phone material, and more.
However, what we will focus on overall are the main features, such as the graphics card, processor, chipset, and RAM.
Now that you’re all set, let’s get ready for these best phones for gaming.
iPhone XS Max - Reviewing an awesome iOS phone for gaming
Say what you want about iOS being a closed off platform since a lot of games are exclusive to Apple’s ecosystem. Because of this, as well as some of its latest features, the expensive iPhone XS Max has to make the list. Playing on iOS is no slouch, as games that are also on Android often perform more consistently and are better optimized for Apple hardware.
Regardless of the fact that it has less RAM than any other best gaming phone on our list, almost everything you can play on the app market runs really smoothly, which has as much to do with hardware to OS optimization as it does the actual hardware under the hood.
It is expensive to buy an XS Max, you can’t expand the storage, it doesn’t have a headphone jack, and it isn’t open so you can’t just load whatever you want onto it. It’s an Apple device; what did you expect?
The iPhone XS Max best gaming phone has some very interesting features that will be great for gaming. It features a depth-sensing camera that allows for some serious improvements in AR.
There are not too many games out there yet that use AR, but that may change as soon as more mobile devices support augmented reality, and the iPhone XS Max has a leg up in the ability to discern depth. This, combined with some of the best touch controls out on the mobile market, means that you can interact with objects in both the foreground and background.
Likewise, this best gaming phone is also very VR friendly, with the size and resolution of the screen made with VR in mind. The 2688 x 1242 display is crisp, even right in front of your face. Something to keep in mind is that this top gaming phone is a large giant for everyday use, and if you don’t have long thumbs, you might have issues reaching the center of the screen if you are holding the phone in landscape mode.
Although he iPhone is big, it doesn’t feel too heavy, weighing in at 7.34 ounces, to become uncomfortable. What’s great is the A12 Bionic chipset, which can drive some serious high-resolution graphics, so on top of the usual software optimization, the iPhone XS Max should be able to run anything you throw at it.
As long as you can afford the hefty price tag of this excellent top gaming phone, you will notice the advantages that this smartphone provides you with.
In need of high-quality headphones for VR games? If so, we encourage you to read the Best VR Headset. That way, you can maximize your virtual reality experience by having a more accurate and immersive sound sensation.
Don’t know what the long awaited A12 bionic chip is? Then better read this review from Apple for A12 bionic chip so you don’t miss out on anything.
Knowledge is power; it takes little to make terrible mistakes when choosing a smartphone. In a nutshell, if you were to compare the iPhone XS Max with the iPhone X, you’d find an impressive 50% graphics performance speed difference just because of the A12 bionic chip.
That’d leave the iPhone X’s A11 bionic chip with no hopes to compete, but as it is more of a budget phone compared to the iPhone XS Max, many people would prefer it.
Something good to mention with iPhone XS Max is that it comes with Gorilla glass 5, which will protect your screen from any unwanted damages, such as scratches or falls.
With all good features previously mentioned, there’s one that doesn’t fit in well. That’d be the battery, which its only 3174 mAh. Let’s be honest here; iOS hasn’t ever been famous for powerful batteries, but still, it is not something we’d expect from a high-end phone.
For anyone who can put up with the low battery power, the pleasurable feeling of holding a fancy phone that boasts one of the best processors in the market would be immediate and satisfying.
Storage capacity for the iPhone XS Max won’t represent a big downside. However, for those of you who need more space for your selected variety of games, then note that it is possible, even though expensive, to select a 256 or 512 GB capacity XS Max.
Finally, even though we all know how annoying it can be that iPhone devices do not allow you to change the integrated storage capacity, it’s also clear that the 64 GB found in the iPhone XS Max does not fall short. For most gamers, 64 GB will be sufficient.
One Plus 6T - Review
Let’s be real; at this point, you have been planning to upgrade your iPhone, or you were seeking something more on the Android side of life. Nothing we say is likely to change your mind, so what are good choices if you prefer a more open, albeit maybe a little less optimized and reliable, environment?
The One Plus 6T is one of the most powerful among the best gaming phones out there. With either 6 or 8 GB of RAM, not only is daily battery usage smooth even if you have a ton of crud running in the background, but games also run great. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset is a heavy duty component, and it will run high-end gaming for mobile at 60 FPS and above. The accelerometer is very precise for games that require it, and at just over six ounces, this phone is light enough to not cause any issues for long game sessions.
The downsides? 1080p isn’t superb for VR that uses the best phones for gaming. The display of this top gaming phone is fine for everything else, but shoving your face right up to your phone will cause you to see all the flaws in the display. The battery life of this best phone for gaming is good under standard use, but under heavy use, it can suffer. Lastly, it’s not even water resistant, which makes it an outlier these days.
The cameras, even though they come in pairs, are not optimized for AR. However, that doesn’t mean that the company did not make it to support Arcore, Google’s new AR development environment. At $600 to $800, it’s a powerful smartphone at a fair price, with daily usage sacrifices that have to be made in exchange for that power.
Another drawback we found is the inexistent headphone jack and wireless charging option. These features aren’t important for gaming; however, it’s good to know those tiny little details that many readers will find important.
For the internal memory, there’s a solid 128 GB capacity. This phone doesn’t permit memory expansion though, so better keep this in mind when thinking of what games and how many of them you’d like to install on your Android device. Although memory isn’t something to pay too much attention to, there are other smartphones in this review that far surpass the One Plus 6t internal memory capacity.
As for the glass, we can find the most recent Gorilla glass 6 on the One Plus 6T, which many best phones for gaming, even in the high-end classification for best phones for gaming, still do not have nowadays.
Moreover, 3700 mAh is a solid starting point for this high-end device. Even though there are other best phone for gaming that outrank it, 3700 mAh isn’t something to take in a negative way. For most gaming sessions, that’s all anyone might need.
The OnePlus brand has been in the market for quite a few years already. Although you might not see this brand competing shoulder to shoulder with Apple, the OnePlus company is gaining strength worldwide, and hundreds of thousands of clients are satisfied with their products.
In particular, for providing a good gaming experience, the released One Plus 6T is drawing a lot of attention with its solid features and low price for such a high-end best phone for gaming.
For even more details, you can find the Amazon page in this review. Now, let’s keep reading on to see best gaming phone options.
Razer Phone 2 - Top phone for gaming
Meet the Razer Phone 2, the all-new flagship gaming phone with new features like wireless charging, water resistance, an illuminated Razer Chroma logo, and an upgraded processor with vapor chamber cooling. This best phone for gaming is both a flagship phone for everyday use and a gaming phone for immersive game play experiences. This top gaming phone is water and dust resistant.
The Razer company released the Razer Phone 2 last year in October, and it’s still one of the most powerful smartphones someone can find in the market. Its octa core processor and 8 GB of RAM permit a dynamic and enjoyable experience while playing any of the most demanding games in terms of graphics and memory. We report this smartphone to be a great acquisition for a high-end best phone for gaming but at a reasonable price of under $1,000.
A downside of this smartphone is its weight. Screen dimensions of 5.72 inches for a 7.76 ounce phone is more than the standard. This is perhaps not the best phone for gaming for long-session AR games at the park.
However, if you can ignore the weight issue, then the incredible features that the Razer Phone 2 offers will bring a universe of opportunities to enjoy games at the fullest.
There is no headphone jack included. However, it is good to mention that it is water resilient and can withstand the pressure of being 1 meter under water. This best phone for gaming is also dust resilient to protect its beautiful design.
The smartphone design incorporates dual rear cameras with resolutions of 16 MP and 20 MP; this providing high-quality images for augmented reality games. If you are a selfie person, you might as well fancy a picture with the spectacular 16 MP front camera. Was it mentioned already that it can record 4K videos? Well, yes, it can.
Need a headphone stand? You can see our review on what the best headphone stand is for you.
This best phone for gaming levels up mobile gaming with a brighter 1440P 120Hz display with ultra motion technology, which delivers smooth, sharp, and stutter-free visuals, combined with an upgraded Snapdragon 845 with vapor chamber cooling.
We pair this top gaming phone with flagship features, including wireless charging, water resistance, and Chroma RGB lighting for full customization. The Razer Phone 2’s improved dual cameras let you capture reality in all its glory with an F/1.75 wide lens combined with a telephoto lens.
Did you know that the memory is expandable up to an impressive 1 TB? That makes the Razer Phone 2 the best in this review n terms of internal memory capacity. Someone wouldn’t need to expand the 64 GB memory by default; however, it’s always good to know that there’s flexibility that comes with it.
Another positive aspect of this device is the powerful 4000 mAh battery which it boasts of. With this much Battery, it’s clear we can find a winner for this review. Therefore, if you plan on maintaining long gaming sessions, then you’d probably want to consider the Razer Phone 2.
Razer Inc. is an American gaming company. They meant to produce almost all products for gamers, from gaming equipment, wearables, software, and more. Once a smartphone, such as the Razer Phone 2, is in someone‘s hands it guarantees a dynamic interface designed to excite your senses when trying out any game from the apps store.
Want to see the previous model? Then you can take a look at the Razer phone review. What you’ll notice straight out is the price, which is much lower. Features are inferior and might not be to everyone’s liking.
Sony XZ2 Premium - For experienced gamers
Now let’s talk about Sony.
Here’s the section of the review for console gamers. Why? Because the Sony XZ Premium top gaming phone can connect with your PS4 and allows you to stream your game to the phone’s 4K display so you can play with your paired PS4 controller. For some of you, nothing else I will type will matter; you hit Google Shop to see where you can order this best phone for gaming.
While this is an awesome feature, this top gaming phone does have a lot more to offer. Like mentioned above, it has a 4K resolution display, upgradable storage, is water resistant, and runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset so it will run anything on the app market.
Adding more details on the processor, it’s an octa core with a 2.8 GHz quad core plus an extra 1.8 GHz quad core. That’s some serious horsepower that makes the Sony XZ2 premium a phone that stands out.
Ever heard of the Adreno 630 integrated graphics card? It supports DirectX 12, and it’s a much faster card than the Adreno 540, which you can find in the older version of this phone (The Sony XZ Xperia).
The Adreno 630 allows anyone to run even the most GPU-intensive games available. Let’s not lie; the Sony XZ2 premium is not a budget phone with its almost $900 price tag. At the same time, you can find awesome features here that $1,000 or more expensive mobile best phones for gaming boast of.
The battery is fine; it is not the best but decent enough for what the smartphone offers in relation to its price. With 3540 mAh for battery, it doesn’t meet big expectations for long gaming sessions. However, if playing for hours is not for you, then the decent battery will not become an issue.
The Sony XZ2 Premium is water resistant. It can endure water splash and even rainy weather when going out. However, the Sony XZ Premium is not as good at enduring water pressure as other mobile best phones for gaming, so better not submerge it to avoid irreparable damages.
This smartphone has 64 GB of memory, but this is not a limiting feature since you can expand it up to 400 GB. In that regard, the Sony XZ2 Premium targets a wide range of gamers who need better mobile features to add more quality games to their collection.
The biggest drawback of this smartphone is that it isn’t light at all. Actually, it weighs a heavy 8.32 ounces for only 5.8 inches. That’s the kind of weight that anyone will notice straight out when playing AR games, where walking long distances is a compulsory task.
The second most important downside is its design that customers argue is boring-looking and bulky. These details are not important for playing an intensive GPU game, but please keep these in mind in case you don’t favor those characteristics on a mobile phone.
A last feature to mention would be the camera. While, on the one hand, the rear camera boasts a 19 MP resolution that offers exceptional quality for pictures and videos, the front camera is not so appealing with only 12 MP. The front camera isn’t an important characteristic to look for while testing what smartphones are the best for games, but it’s always better to know about these details.
Sony is a gigantic corporation founded in 1946, which was 72 years ago! This is, with no doubt, a good reference to take into consideration. Not all companies make it for so long.
Our Pick for The Best phone for gaming – Sony XZ2 Premium
Sony prices the XZ2 Premium right in the middle of the high-end smartphone market and has a lot of power on its own. It isn’t AR or VR compatible like some newer super high-end best phones for gaming, but that technology is still very new and always changing, so you won’t be missing out on much as far as it concerns the best phones for gaming.
Plus, you can play PS4 games on it. It’s almost as thought you had a little Wii U/Switch feature on your phone for the PS4. You just can’t get that anywhere else.
Despite the Sony XZ2 Premium being too heavy and not having the best design, according to most experienced customers, it still offers the best features for a top gaming phone. Its integrated Adreno 630 graphics card, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, and 6 GB of RAM will run the games with the best graphics.
Internal memory is standard for a high-end smartphone. The memory capacity is expandable up to 400 GB. Anyone would need to install several of the most modern games on their Sony XZ2 premium to reach that capacity.
The great image resolution of 5000 x 3500 pixels that this smartphone boasts of will be perceivable when playing a GPU-demanding mobile game.
Whichever your option might be, we encourage you to take a deep look into each gaming phone’s features and prices in their respective Amazon pages.
It’s also recommended that you watch videos so you can compare the best gaming phone device for you. We understand that you can base your opinion depending on what OS the smartphone has; both Android and iOS offer an exclusive selection of games that are impossible to install unless you have a certain OS on your best gaming phone.
However, when performance is the only key factor, we want to emphasize that the Sony XZ2 Premium meets all requirements for a definitive top gaming phone. If only it weren’t for the hefty price tag of the iPhone XS Max, which goes over $1,000, then this smartphone would take the first position in our review, but for a much lower price, the Sony XZ2 Premium offers similar or superior features for gaming.
Although the top gaming phone devices can be pricey for some gamers, we believe that the ideal gaming phone will accompany a gamer’s path for several years, so for the long run, it’ll be an excellent idea to keep something you like with you all time.
Think twice and re-read our reviews to be certain you find the right gaming phone for you. Also, it’s advisable to look at the Amazon website, which you can find within this review, to have a wider understanding of the features and overall customer reviews for each best gaming phone.