Mobile gaming has taken off like a hot air balloon in recent years and it doesn’t appear to be nearing the ground any time soon. In fact, it’s likely that the trend will only increase as mobile technology increasingly becomes capable of rendering better graphics, and bigger games are able to be released on the devices.

We’re already seeing games that used to be massive on console coming to Android and iOS devices. The best examples are GTA: San Andreas, Minecraft PE, PUBG, Fortnite, and the upcoming Call of Duty: Mobile. The potential for developers to make extra money by releasing their titles on mobile is huge and this is underpinned by an ever increasing audience as emerging economies jump onto the bandwagon.

With that in mind, smartphone manufacturers are putting ever-more resources into ensuring that their devices are capable of running the latest mobile games. These are some of the best smartphones that you can buy to play games on, in a variety of different price brackets.

Best gaming smartphones – no budget

If you’ve got the money to spend, then these are the very best smartphones that you can currently buy for gaming.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

The new iPhone 11 Pro Max is going to be the best possible smartphone for gaming right now. The A13 Bionic chipset from Apple is the fastest in any device in the world right now and the amount of RAM and storage in the device will also ensure that you can play any game you want without running into any trouble along the way.

What’s more, the phone’s 6.5-inch OLED screen will also ensure that you’re getting a crystal clear visual experience during gameplay. If this wasn’t enough, then the fact that Apple is claiming that the battery will last five hours more than the XS Max (which we’d likely consider as the second best smartphone to play games on), which means that you can count on the device not to shut down halfway through your game.

The major downside to the iPhone 11 Pro Max (aside from the name…) is that it costs an arm and a leg. The phone starts at $1,099 for the 64GB version, and all the way up to $1,449 for the 512GB model.

LG G8X ThinQ

The LG G8X ThinQ is a smartphone with a twist. While LG haven’t taken the whole leap into foldable phone technology – and perhaps rightly so at this early stage in the development of the technology – they have created something of their own that is ideal for gaming.

The LG G8X ThinQ comes with a detachable second screen that you can use as a control pad for your gaming needs. This is seriously cool and means that you don’t need to block the screen with your thumbs when you’re playing a game. It also just feels a lot more comfortable and looks more like a proper handheld gaming system.

The phone hasn’t been released just yet, and it will likely be on the expensive end – although, the official price tag hasn’t been revealed yet. Still, it’ll likely cost less than the foldable phones from Samsung and Huawei. The major downside is that you might need to buy the second screen.

Best gaming smartphones on a budget

If you’re not looking to drop an entire month’s wages on a smartphone, then you’ll likely want to consider one of these more affordable – and still noteworthy gaming smartphones.

Razer Phone 2

This gaming-specific smartphone from Razer has been kitted out with all the essential features for playing the perfect game while not having to drop top dollar for other, unnecessary features like a solid camera setup.

The Razer Phone 2 is a strong upgrade from the initial device, which came with a fair few problems.  The phone runs on a Snapdragon 845 chipset and has 6 or 8GB RAM depending on how much you drop on it. It also features a stunning display and graphics rendering capabilities.

In short, if you’re looking for a phone that will play any game with ease, without having to buy a brand new iPhone or some foldable thing, then this is the device for you. It starts at around $799, although, you can probably get it for a lot less now seeing as it’s been out for pretty much a year.

Black Shark 2

Xiaomi’s Black Shark 2 is another gaming specific phone. This one, from the Chinese manufacturer known for their cheaper hardware that still functions on a solid level, costs just $620 and comes with a Snapdragon 855 chipset, as well as 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage.

For this price, that’s a heavy set of specs – in keeping with Xiaomi’s business philosophy (give the best for cheap and build users). It also comes with an AMOLED screen – one of the best on the market so that your gaming experience will look fantastic.

The 6.39-inch AMOLED screen will be enough to satisfy any mobile gamer, and the 4,000mAh battery will keep you going right through the day and into the night while gaming. This is certainly the best gaming phone for those on a tighter budget and is an all-round solid phone from pretty much any angle you look at it.

The verdict

If you’re looking for the best gaming phones on the market, then you can easily opt for the cheaper devices in this list and you’ll still get a solid gaming experience. If you want an all-round awesome phone experience, then we recommend the iPhone 11 Pro Max. If you want something truly different and unique – and something that will turn heads – then by all means, go for the LG G8X ThinQ.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to spend tons of money to get a good gaming phone – and this is proven with the Black Shark 2 from Xiaomi. For price and value for money, this is one of our favorite phones on the market right now.


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