Nothing beats gaming on a powerful gaming PC or a next-gen console, but for a lot of people, mobile gaming is a worthy alternative. Mobile games are fun to pick up and play anytime—during commutes, breaks and when you’re just bored and have nothing to do. With that said, here are our picks for the best phones for gaming, from high-end to budget ones. No matter your budget, there’s a gaming phone for you.
Best Gaming Phones Comparison Chart
Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
Best gaming phone
There are phones that look better and are more practical than the Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro. However, if you are buying a phone that’s going to be used for gaming majority of the time, there’s nothing better. The phone is equipped with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, so performance is there. But the main appeal of the phone is its multi-dimensional cooling system that prevents throttling. You can play games on this thing for extended periods without slowdowns. Also, the phone doesn’t get as hot as other phones that also have the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset.
Other noteworthy features of the Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro are its 6.8-inch AMOLED screen with a max refresh rate of 120Hz and its 3.5mm headphone jack. Phones at this price range usually ditch the headphone jack, but this phone has it, which is a nice look. There are numerous configurations for this phone that you can choose from, ranging from 128GB 8GB RAM to 1TB 16GB RAM.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Best big screen gaming phone
For immersive mobile phone gaming, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the no-brainer choice. When unfolded, you’ll be looking at a 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen that also has a max refresh rate of 120Hz. You won’t have to squint to see all the details, and this will do wonders for your vision in the long run.
Under the hood, the Z Fold 3 is no slouch. The older Snapdragon 888 is still a beast when it comes to performance, and it can run the most demanding games without issues, as long as you turn some of the settings down. The Dolby speakers of the phone also adds to the immersion as it sounds better than your standard stereo speakers. The tablet form factor is excellent for playing native Android games, as well as emulation.
iPhone 13 Pro Max
Best iOS gaming phone
For those that prefer iOS phones, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best gaming phone. With Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, the iPhone 13 Pro Max can handle and play any mobile games with ease. It’s also a great all-rounder since it has excellent cameras, and the OS is also streamlined for productivity and casual use, in addition to gaming.
The 6.7-inch XDR OLED screen of the iPhone 13 Pro Max is beautiful. It also has a refresh rate of 120Hz, so everything feels smooth. Unfortunately, the App Store does not allow emulators, so you are limited to what’s available in the store. If you prefer to play on a smaller screen, the iPhone 13 Pro is a good alternative. The two phones have identical internals—only the size and battery life are different.
ASUS Zenfone 8
Best small screen gaming phone
If you want something compact, the smallest phone that we can recommend for gaming is the ASUS Zenfone 8. It has a 5.9-inch Super AMOLED screen with a max refresh rate of 120Hz that offers a gorgeous viewing experience. The phone has a sleek and minimalist design that’s aesthetically pleasing, and it’s compact and lightweight build is great for portability.
Under the hood, the ASUS Zenfone 8 is sporting the Snapdragon 888 chipset. As mentioned earlier, the Snapdragon 888 is an older chipset, but it still offers excellent performance. Also, it has a headphone jack, which most users will love. You can just plug your wired headset while gaming, no need to bother with Bluetooth headphones.
Xiaomi Poco F3
Best budget gaming phone
For those on a budget, the Xiaomi POCO F3 offers the best mobile phone gaming experience. Xiaomi is known for their phones with excellent price to performance, and the POCO F3 is no different. The phone has a 6.67-inch AMOLED 120Hz screen with peak brightness of 1300 nits. Getting an AMOLED screen at this price range is excellent value.
Its specs is nothing to sneeze at as well. The POCO F3 is equipped with the Snapdragon 870 chipset with Adreno 650 graphics. This phone can run most games with ease, but for demanding games, you’ll have to turn down some of the settings. Emulation is also easy with the Snapdragon 870, so you can enjoy retro and classic gaming with this phone.
Mobile gaming has never been more accessible, and no matter how much your budget is, there’s a gaming phone that will suit your needs.
Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro
Best overall gaming phone
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Best big screen phone for gaming
In this list of the best mobile phones for gaming, the Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 are the standouts. The Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro will offer the best gaming performance due to how it’s designed. With its active cooling, the phone won’t throttle and get hot, allowing you to play games however long you want. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, on the other hand, offers the best immersion due to its large AMOLED display. Its folding design allows you to have the portability of a smartphone and the superior productivity and gaming experience of a tablet.
Other phones that we recommend are the iPhone 13 Pro Max for Apple fans, the ASUS Zenfone 8 if you prefer smaller phones and the Xiaomi POCO F3 if you have a limited budget.
There are plenty of phones that excel at gaming, but our pick is the Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro since it is designed first and foremost for gaming. It has an active cooling system that makes the phone better than its competitors.
The latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the best chipset for gaming, but the Snapdragon 888 still offers excellent performance.
A phone with 4GB of RAM will still play games, but phones that have 6GB, 8GB or 12GB RAM will be more responsive and perform better.
The Nubia Red Magic 7 Pro is and the iPhone 13 Pro Max are the best Android and iOS phones for Call of Duty.