Best Phones for Mobile Gaming – Best mobile gaming phones in 2021
We’ve compiled some of the best gaming phones out there for you! Naturally, as with all types of gaming, having the right hardware is key – in other words, you need a good mobile gaming phone in order to be able to keep up. This is even more true for mobile esports, and just like in PC gaming, there are a LOT of options out there.
Once upon a time, ‘real’ gamers laughed at so-called ‘fake’ mobile gamers – or at least a few people with an exaggerated superiority complex liked to do so. Most gamers never cared how or where someone plays games in the first place – after all, it makes exactly no difference. Or maybe it does – after all, mobile gaming has absolutely eclipsed console or PC gaming in terms of revenue earned. This is in no small part due to microtransactions, subscriptions, and loot boxes, but nevertheless, it has happened.
In 2019, mobile gaming held 2.4x the spend compared to PC and 2.9x the spend of console gaming and in 2020 that rate kept growing.
The 5 Best Mobile Gaming Phones
“Best of” lists will always have a sprinkle of subjectivity in them. Our rankings are based on thorough review of all the phone specs and partial review of phones we have come in contact with. Not all of the phones from this last have been reviewed on hand by our staff. The three out of five that have and the rest (based on other reviews) have all been compiled in a top five format. We will keep updating this last as we either review all of the phones and compare, or once new entrants become available.
1. Asus ROG Phone 5
The Asus ROG Phone 5 is the successor of another incredibly powerful gaming device – the Phone 3. Released in 2020, the 3 is a somewhat more affordable option than the Phone 5, at the expense of some performance, of course.
The 5 costs about, and features a 6.78inch AMOLED display, with a 144Hz refresh rate on top of a Snapdragon 888 chip. It offers plenty of RAM – up to 16GB and up to 256GB of storage. Naturally, it also has a few cool gimmicks as any Asus device would, such as the low-res pixel screen on the back of the phone that gives it a unique appearance. One of its key strengths is the strong battery life – over 10 hours even with 144Hz. ROG 5 / Pro and Ultimate versions are currently is the most powerful phones on the market, but all come with a hefty prize tag.
2. ZTE Nubia Red Magic 6
The Nubia Red Magic was the first phone to hit the market with a 144Hz screen. The 6th iteration or simply Red Magic 6 is a great choice for mobile gaming. Priced at about $625 for the vanilla version or $729.00 for the PRO version, it can keep up in performance with newer competitors, but is a solid budget choice. The strongest Red Magic option is supposed to come in a 512GB 18GB RAM version which is still unavailable, but would make it the strongest phone per specs on the market.
Currently, it sits on a Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 chip at 6.69 inches and blazing 165Hz refresh rate. As a feature, it has some cool shoulder buttons (like on a controller), and the whole device is optimized for gaming. At 12GB of ram on an the average version and Adreno 660 to power the graphics, Red Magic is the ideal budget to performance value out of all the phones on our list
3. Lenovo Legion Duel 2
Lenovo is maybe not the first brand people think of when they hear gaming and phone together, but the Legion Duel 2 is a top contender in the mobile gaming area. Like the previous two contenders, it also features the Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 chip on top of the largest display at 6.92 inches. At 144hz the display is on par with all the gaming phones on the market and with both 12GB RAM or 16GB RAM options its high up on the list in terms of hardware.
At around $1175 it is on the high end of the pricing game for a gaming phone. Furthermore, early reviewers have managed to snap the phone in half rather easily, which shouldn’t be a problem for the average user, but does have danger of you inadvertently breaking your phone by sitting on it.
4. Xiaomi Redmi K40 Gaming
The K40 is Redmi’s first Gaming phone and solid starter option for someone looking for their first gaming phone. First off, this is considered a more budget option than the three phones listed above. However at 120Hz refresh rate, and 128GB 12GB RAM as an option priced at around $515 dollars, it is the most solid entry choice out of all the phones listed.
Unlike the other phones on this list, Redmi utilizes the Dimensity 1200 chip, which is comparable to Snapdragon 865 in performance. The 6.65in display also makes it the smallest of the three phones by screen size. All of the small performance tradeoffs do come with a lower price then all other competitors, making it the best entry level mobile gaming phone.
5. Razer Phone 2
Finally, the oldest entry on this list – released in 2018, its the most budget-friendly gamer brand choice here. Available for around $200-300, Razer Phone 2 is much more cost-efficient option than most gaming phones, while still offering plenty of ‘oomph’ with its 8GB of RAM and up to 1TB storage space (with an SD Card). Back when it was released, it was a powerhouse of a phone but time has taken its toll on Phone 2, and Razer are yet to announce a successor.
Still, battery performance is more than adequate for the 120Hz display, and for those looking for that gamer flair, the phone has a glowing RGB logo on the back of it. The phone is also more convenient for those with smaller hands with the screen only measuring 5.7inches. You can find this device still used in mobile gaming and esports competitions regardless of it being dated.
If you are looking for gaming on a budget, scouring the web for a new or used Razer Phone 2 might be ideal for you.