The mobile gaming market has grown in leaps and bounds in the last few years. With complex mobile games like Fortnite, Hearthstone and PUBG: Mobile demanding next-level gaming performance and media presentation, mobile phone makers are in fierce competition to bring out the best smartphones to satisfy the needs of the mobile gamer. The most obvious specs to watch out for when considering the best mobile gaming device are processing power, memory, screen, audio and battery life. We’ve found the best mobile phones currently available with all the must-have specs for a seamless, uninterrupted and immersive gaming experience to keep you winning.
1. iPhone XS Max
The iPhone XS Max – the bigger, better brother of Apple’s new flagship smartphone – tops our list of best mobile phones in a few key ways. First off, the 6.5-inch screen’s sharper display is a real jaw-dropper that’s just made for mobile games: with razor sharp graphics, vibrant colors and deep blacks, the 2960×1440 resolution screen has the power to show you more complex information in a format that won’t make you squint. The iPhone XS Max’s larger 3.179mAh battery is another perk, adding nearly a full hour to your gaming experience compared to the standard iPhone XS. The true advantage, however, lies in its mighty A12 Bionic processor. Apple claimed the A12 Bionic chip is 40% more efficient and 50% more powerful than the older processor, which is sure to give the mobile gamer an edge with faster loading times and lightning-quick performance. Add to this a huge iOS app store, and the fact that the iPhone XS Max is the most expensive mainstream phone on the market might be overlooked by those who prefer iOS.
2. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is simply one of the best smartphones in the world right now. Currently the only Android phone you can play Fortnite on, this desirable device has everything packed into its gorgeously designed body that made the Samsung Galaxy S8 brilliant, minus the cons. And with 6GB of RAM (compared to 4GB in the S9) this flagship model has more than enough to offer the avid mobile gamer. Let’s get down to the one element that really matters to gamers: power. Built with the staggeringly powerful Snapdragon 845, the Galaxy S9 Plus performs tasks much faster, whether you’re opening an app or switching between three or four apps at a time. And with a minimum storage of 64GB, which can be increased with a MicroSD card, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is more than capable of storing large mobile games like Sonic Forces, Tekken and The Sims: Mobile with ease. Its stunning edgeless AMOLED display is another perk – rendering gaming graphics in deep, vibrant colors and pitch-blacks. Gamers can expect impressive visibility on the Quad HD+ screen, even in direct sunlight. Although it’s fitted with a bigger 3,500mAh battery, allowing a day’s normal usage, gaming does have a heavy impact on battery life. Fortunately, Samsung is still including the headphone jack, allowing you to charge while using wired headphones.
Although the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is one of the most expensive Android smartphones on the market, starting at $840, it ranks as arguably the best mobile gaming device in the Android camp when it comes to media presentation and processing power.
3. Razer Phone
In a world of ultra-fast smartphone processors and glossy screens, the launch of Razer’s first mobile phone was initially met with a bit of skepticism. However, the manufacturers (traditionally known for their PC peripherals and gaming laptops) have created a powerful media-consuming machine in a sleek design. The Razer Phone’s Snapdragon 835 might seem underpowered next to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus’ Snapdragon 845, but with a whopping 8GB of RAM, the Razer Phone is an absolute beast. The key to this phone’s wow factor is its 120Hz LED screen. As opposed to a standard 60Hz display, the Razer’s super-fast refresh rate delivers more frames per second, making gameplay feel more fluid. Throw in individual settings for each game, the brilliantly intuitive customizable Nova Launcher Prime OS, dual Dolby Atmos speakers that enable a 5.1 audio experience from your phone and a 4,000mAh battery with considerable oomph, and you have a worthy contender for the best mobile gaming device.
Even if the Razor does not top the list in all respects, it can still be considered the phone with best processor and RAM, making it a top choice for gaming enthusiasts who want the smoothest possible experience.
4. OnePlus 6
Offering top-level specs and a gorgeous design at hundreds of dollars less than what you’d expect, the OnePlus 6 is king of the midrange. Key to the phone’s impressive performance is the powerful chip — the Snapdragon 845, which enables the device to crunch just about any game you decide to fire up. The OnePlus 6’s powerful performance is bolstered by 8GB of RAM, which makes handling large apps an absolute breeze. When it comes to audio, the OnePlus 6 is one of the first mobile phones to have AptX HD – a new Qualcomm-developed Bluetooth audio codec that supports wireless streaming at a high resolution of 24bit/48kHz, enabling mind-blowing sound quality on Bluetooth headphones. Another gaming-friendly feature is the massive 6.28-inch AMOLED screen running at full HD resolution, which renders even the tiniest detail sharply and vibrantly.
Despite being a bit pricier than some of the previous OnePlus models, it’s still far cheaper than many of the other top-shelf options on this list. The OnePlus 6 is certainly one of the main contenders for the title of phone with best processor and RAM, making it the smart choice for the mobile gamer looking for a lower-priced phone that delivers flagship specs and power.
5. Google Pixel 2 XL
Google’s biggest smartphone, the Google Pixel 2 XL, can easily be considered as one of the best mobile phones for gaming – and battery life has a lot to do with it. The 3520mAh battery can last up to 7 hours off a 15 minute charge. Another novel feature supporting uninterrupted gaming is Google’s Project Fi network, which Pixel owners can subscribe to. It allows users to seamlessly switch to the fastest of three 4G LTE networks, get free access to two million secure Wi-Fi hotspots in over 170 countries and roam at the same price as at home. Another differentiating factor putting the Pixel 2 XL on our list of top gaming phones is its ability to deliver VR content with the Daydream View headset. And for those who haven’t quite adopted VR gaming yet, the Google Pixel 2 XL still delivers. Its 6-inch 1440 x 2880 pOLED panel not only produces crisp visuals but ensures unobstructed gaming. And while the lack of a headphone jack might be a downside, the phone does come with a USB C to 3.5mm adapter.
All in all, the Google Pixel 2 XL seems to have all the pros to rank as one of the best smartphones when it comes to gaming on the go without having to worry about battery life or network coverage, making it the ideal choice for mobile gamers on those long journeys.
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