Mobile gaming phones are getting out of hand with hardware specifications

In the past few years, we have seen the emergence of gaming phones in the smartphone market. These phones initially were meant to be stand-alone phones for gamers with certain features that a user who is keen on mobile gaming would be aiming towards.

This has now become instead a race to make a phone with the highest specifications in simple terms, its one-upmanship at its best. But in reality, does this make sense in the current market and how different is the market compared to when the “first” gaming phone came out.

Mobile Gaming Phones

How is a gaming phone different from other mobile phones?

Before we look into what crucially makes a phone turn into a “gaming” phone, let’s dig into what the market looks like.

Currently, there are many different pricing levels to smartphone markets. They consists of high-end smartphones and mid/low-ranger phones on the cheaper sides. Major flagship phones are those currently at the price range of over $800. These phones are ones which companies tend to make to show their update on the new technology. While the midrange phones are those between the bracket of $350-600 and used by the bulk of the average consumer. These do not consist of the most powerful processors but are made for a particular niche or just being the most value for the price.

Gaming phones are simply a mobile phone whose main focus is on mobile gaming. Their price range for each varies between all three pricing categories.

The main features are the chipset used, the graphics in it and the battery size. While the resolution of the phone won’t be that much of importance, a higher frame rate would be preferred. Due to these niches, the aspect of having the best camera for the price range doesn’t matter as such. These phones might also have certain accessories that can be connected to the phone to make sure it is working at its highest output all the time without overheating. This is especially important for players in most mobile esports games.

As an example, let’s look at the latest device to be launched in the market in ASUS ROG Phone 6 Pro: (specs are not final and taken only as example)

  • 165Hz display
  • 1080 x 2448 pixels Display (~395 PPI density)
  • Qualcomm SM8475 Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
  • Adreno 730
  • 512GB ROM
  • 18GB RAM
  • 6000 mAh Battery

If someone from the mobile tech industry saw these specs on a phone as a blind test. Their first impression would be that the phone is simply a beast for any task a phone can do. It also comes at a beastly price of 1299+$. Similarly, competitors that produce the best gaming phones are now looking to one-up, with even wilder specs and more performance boosting. As a result, we are entering territory where a mobile gaming device is as expensive as a full blown gaming desktop.


Asus ROG Phone 6 – Plenty of hardware, for plenty of money

Why does the current trend not make much sense in the market?

During the BGMI Masters Series in India which was hailed to be quite the success for the numbers, it put out. There was quite a noticeable trend for gaming phone usage; the most used phone during the tournament by the players was the iPhone.

While the iPhone isn’t meant to be the most powerful phone, its optimizations make it the best fit. There is a major advantage which Iphone has over the major players in the mobile gaming world. Apple as a company makes their software and hardware to benefit their phone. As such, each part of it complements the other. Now, we won’t get into the entire iOS vs Android debate, but it is a fact that Apple has traditionally made their devices work smoothly with way less hardware “firepower”. Companies like ASUS can make a phone which has 18 GB RAM but the phone will never use that to the max.

For example, Genshin Impact currently requires a maximum of 4 GB RAM to work smoothly. Due to this, there isn’t a need for 18 GB RAM, instead it would just increase the price of the phone. Asus uses a form of Android as the phone’s operating system, as well as the latest Snapdragon Chipset, yet their phones aren’t optimized at the highest level to work the smoothest they can.

Genshin Impact can run at 120 fps on most later iPhone’s but no Android device, irregardless of specs can run it as smooth.

If a major company wishes to make a phone which is truly optimized for gaming, they will first need to make a form of OS for those specific devices that fully utilizes the hardware it’s packing. Following that, making sure the software is developer friendly and modable to get the most bang for your buck will be essential. In the short term, this may mean a lot of investment, but it sure beats putting software at the forefront instead of jam packing ram and processing power in “gaming” devices.

Most competitive gamers are trading hardware for smooth operation, while most casuals are going for a budget option below the 500$+ mark. At this stage, who are the manufacturers making this phones for?