Introduction

Gaming on your smartphone can be immensely fun if you’re got the right equipment – but it can also be immensely frustrating if your handset hasn’t got the chops to deal with your favourite games.

That’s why we’ve assembled this list of the very best gaming phones around, some of which were built exactly for that purpose and some of which are non-specialists that still acquit themselves very well when running popular mobile games.

We’ve included devices at a range of price points, to ensure a variety of choices to suit different customers’ needs. For now, we’ve removed the iPhone 13 Pro Max from our list as Apple has announced and released the iPhone 14 range. When we’ve fully reviewed the new devices, we’ll judge whether they’re worth getting a place on our list.

Every single one of these phones has been put through a series of benchmarking tests, along with real-world experience, so that we know they can deliver the optimal gaming performance for their category.

If you’re after the best all-round phones that are excellent at a range of other skills besides just gaming, then you should check out our best phones guide. If you’re on a tighter budget, then take a glance at our best mid-range phones and best cheap phones articles for a selection of more affordable handsets.

How we test

Learn more about how we test gaming phones

Every phone we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, screen accuracy, battery life, performance and camera prowess.

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how much battery it loses per hour streaming video. For gaming phones, we pay particular attention as to how well they run some of the most popular mobile titles.

We also make sure to use every phone we review as our primary handset for at least 4 days to ensure our review is as accurate as possible. You can see a more detailed breakdown of our testing methodology in our how we test phones guide.

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Best gaming phone

Pros

  • Muscular performance
  • Smooth and responsive screen
  • Good battery life and fast-charging

Cons

  • Cameras aren’t the best
  • Not for non-gamers
  • Expensive

The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro is our choice for the best gaming phone around, and if you take a glance at the specifications then it won’t take you more than a few seconds to see why.

From a screen with a 165Hz refresh rate and 720Hz touch sampling rate, to a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset that’s complemented by 18GB of RAM, this device was built from the ground up to deliver excellent gaming performance, and fortunately we can confirm that it does exactly that.

We were incredibly impressed by the speedy processing power of this device, while the super smooth and reactive screen helped us to feel more immersed than ever before in the games that were unfolding in front of us.

This handset delivered the best gaming performance we’ve seen in a phone, and its beefy 6000mAh battery ensures that your session won’t suddenly be cut short. What’s more, the 65W fast-charging saw it get fully topped up in just 40 minutes, so you’re soon ready to get up and go again.

If you’ve got a never-ending appetite for gaming, and a similarly limitless wallet, then this handset is the best we’ve tested for that purpose.

Asus has also released the Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate, which packs a MediaTek chipset. We’re reviewing this phone currently, so will update the list when we’ve put it through the tests.

Reviewer: Peter Phelps

Full Review: Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Nubia Redmagic 7S Pro

Best mid-range gaming phone

Pros

  • Stellar Performance
  • Responsive gaming controls
  • Not the gaudiest design for a gaming phone

Cons

  • Awful, buggy UI
  • In-display selfie cam an odd choice
  • Battery not huge for a gaming phone

Not everyone is lucky enough to have fistfuls of cash to throw at a phone, especially if it’s a secondary phone that you’re just using to satisfy your gaming needs. That’s why a device like the Redmagic 7S Pro comes in handy. It costs a lot less than the flagships on this list, but don’t let that fool you: it still delivers blistering performance.

This phone rocks the same formidable Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset as the ROG Phone 6 Pro, and this ensures that it is one of the fastest Android phones on the market. You can run Genshin Impact on its very highest settings on this device, and the processor – working in tandem with the heat dissipation system – will still maintain great performance.

The 6.8-inch display is a very good canvas for gaming, offering a 120Hz refresh rate, a dizzying 960Hz touch sampling rate, and a 1080p resolution. However, you might find that it’s not quite as bright as some of its competitors and we sometimes had to top it up to maximum brightness even when indoors. The unmistakable gaming-centric design also incorporates two 520Hz touch buttons which give you a real competitive edge.

Unfortunately, however, Nubia’s user interface is cluttered and clunky and there are even some translation mistakes to be found as well, which hardly makes for an enjoyable experience. But if you can look past this flaw (and the sub-par camera system), then you’ve got yourself a highly capable gaming phone.

Reviewer: Jon Mundy

Full Review: Nubia Red Magic 7S Pro

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Best Android flagship for gaming

Pros

  • Stunning display with fantastic detail and brightness
  • Versatile camera system with impressive zoom
  • Good low-light camera performance
  • Fast charging
  • Promise of many years of updates

Cons

  • Battery life should be better
  • Design a step backward
  • You need to buy the fast charger separately

While the previous two entries in this list are dedicated gaming phones, built expressly for that purpose and nothing else, this one is a flagship smartphone that boasts excellent gaming performance as just one of its many accomplishments. If you pick this device, you’ll be able to play the best games in style – but you’ll get more than that, too.

In terms of its gaming capabilities, you’ll find a truly excellent performer here that is among the speediest Android phones around. It’s also got an utterly brilliant screen, arguably the best on any smartphone you can buy, and it makes games a joy to play.

You won’t get some purist gaming enhancements, such as shoulder trigger buttons, but you will get some advantages that other gaming phones may miss out on, including a guaranteed five years of software updates and a brilliant camera system that is head and shoulders above the others on the market when it comes to its zoom capabilities.

If you’re looking for an Android device that can handle games with aplomb but offer so much more, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is an easy recommendation.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Poco X4 Pro 5G

Best cheap phone for gaming

Pros

  • Great screen
  • Very good main camera
  • 67W fast-charging
  • Strong battery life

Cons

  • Unsubtle design
  • Not the most powerful processor
  • Secondary cameras aren’t brilliant

If you can’t get enough of your mobile gaming but don’t have a large disposable income to spend on one of the all-singing all-dancing flagships that we’ve listed above, then don’t worry; you can still get a great gaming experience at a lower price.

For this purpose, we’d especially recommend the Poco X4 Pro 5G. Despite the sub-$300/£300 price, this screen boasts some highly advanced features, including a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10 support, and a claimed 1200 nits peak brightness. The battery is also exceptional, lasting up to two days of conservative usage. Performance standards aren’t on the same level as flagship models, but they should be good enough to see you through your gaming sessions without too many problems.

This great value handset is well worth a look if you want to game to your heart’s content but can’t splash out on some of the bank-breaking options that excel in this area.

Reviewer: Peter Phelps

Full Review: Poco X4 Pro 5G

FAQs

What is the best gaming phone?

Overall, we’d pick the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro as the best gaming phone you can buy

Which iPhone should I buy if I like gaming?

We’d recommend the iPhone 13 Pro Max if you love gaming but want to stick with an iPhone

Best Gaming Phones: Specifications Comparison

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

CA RRP

AUD RRP

Manufacturer

Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Rear Camera

Front Camera

Video Recording

IP rating

Battery

Wirless charging

Fast Charging

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

Operating System

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Resolution

HDR

Refresh Rate

Ports

Chipset

RAM

Colours

Best Gaming Phones: Tests Comparison

Geekbench 5 single core

Geekbench 5 multi core

sRGB

Adobe RGB

DCI-P3

Max brightness

1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)

30 minute gaming (intensive)

30 minute gaming (light)

1 hour music streaming (online)

1 hour music streaming (offline)

Time from 0-100% charge

Time from 0-50% charge

3D Mark – Wild Life

3D Mark – Wild Life Stress Test

3D Mark – Sling Shot Extreme

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