With the increasing popularity of games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite, smartphone manufacturers are cashing in on the trend with their take on gaming smartphones. While it is not true that normal smartphones can’t run games, largely the experience differs when you play a game on a dedicated smartphone that’s made for gaming.
Having said that, there’s still a dearth of good gaming titles for phones which is why gaming smartphones target a very niche audience. Currently, PUBG Mobile is all rage in India and you’ll need a high-quality device for the best gaming experience. Some of the highest-rated phones in our top 10 list are simply the best devices on the market with top-tier specs, sharp displays and long battery life. Our recommendations consider processor and GPU speeds, RAM size and other odds and ends.
The top gaming phones don’t just play the best smartphone games without a hitch, they’ll also maintain the best visuals and performance for games coming over the next few years. Think about the phones below as future-proofing your next device into the year 2020.
We’ve examined all the options and chosen the best phones for gaming based on the factors above. Here’s our top ten list:
Release date: September 2019 | Weight: 240g | Dimensions: 171 x 77.6 x 9.5 mm | OS: Android 9.0 Pie with ROG UI | Screen size: 6.59-inch | Resolution: 2340×1080 | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ | RAM: 8GB/12GB | Storage: 128GB/512GB | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 13MP | Front camera: 24MP
Exceptional battery life
Loud stereo speakers
Gaming peripherals available
Display colour accuracy
Asus recently surprised everyone by pricing the new ROG Phone II at Rs 37,999 in India (base variant), making it one of the best-specced devices for the price. It houses a monster 6,000 mAh battery, has a smooth 120Hz refresh rate Super AMOLED panel along with the latest specifications such as a Snapdragon 855+ and a minimum of 8GB of RAM.
It comes with a host of hardware additions as well, including additional shoulder buttons, vents for better air circulation and an expansion port to connect accessories such as a gamepad or an extra display.
Read the full review: ASUS ROG Phone 2 Review
Release date: May 2019 | Weight: 205g | Dimensions: 163.6 x 75 x 8.8 mm | OS: Android 9 Pie with MiUI | Screen size: 6.39-inch | Resolution: 2340 x 1080 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,000 mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 12MP | Front camera: 20MP
Great AMOLED display
High touch-input rate
Software skin not for everyone
Backed by Xiaomi, Black Shark has come to India only recently with its second flagship. Launched earlier this year, it is powered by the Snapdragon 855. It scores points for low touch latency and improved cooling, along with an iconic gamer design that combines glass and metal.
There’s also an additional gamepad joystick that can be equipped for a better gaming experience, and can be bought for Rs 2 as a part of an ongoing offer.
Read the full review: Black Shark 2 review
Release date: June 2019 | Weight: 215g | Dimensions: 171.7 x 78.5 x 9.7 mm | OS: Android 9 Pie | Screen size: 6.65-inch | Resolution: 2340 x 1080 | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus | RAM: 8GB/12GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP | Front camera: 16MP
90Hz AMOLED display
Powerful vibration motor
Nubia’s gaming arm has been an underdog in the gaming smartphone space, but the Red Magic 3S truly one of the most enjoyable phones one can have. It has respectable internals such as the Snapdragon 855 Plus, 12GB of RAM and a big 90Hz AMOLED display. Gamers are sure to appreciate the additional customisable shoulder buttons and the RGB strip across the spine.
The 5,000 mAh battery ensures that gaming sessions last for many hours, and the included fast charger is a boon. The dual front-firing speakers are pretty loud, and the powerful “4D” vibration motor makes gaming very immersive.
The Red Magic 3S is just the Red Magic 3, except for the fact that the 3S is powered by the Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset, which should further enhance the gaming experience.
Read our full review: Nubia Red Magic 3 Review
Release date: September 2019 | Weight: 190g | Dimensions: 160.9 x 74.4 x 8.1 mm | OS: Android 10 with OxygenOS | Screen size: 6.55-inch | Resolution: 2400 x 1080 | CPU: Snapdragon 855+ | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 3,800mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 12MP + 16MP | Front camera: 16MP
Beautiful 90Hz display
Very fast charging
No headphone jack
Relatively simple design
While gaming smartphones have one main objective (provide a good gaming experience), it’s great when they excel as a conventional phone as well. That is the main reason why the just-launched OnePlus 7T makes it to our list. Not only does it have the latest specifications and one of the best high refresh rate displays on a smartphone, but also offers a great flagship experience thanks to its high-quality design, extremely fast charging, and versatile triple camera setup.
It may not be as well designed as the 7 Pro, but some may prefer the taller yet flat display over a curved one. The wider display makes gaming very immersive.
Read the full review: OnePlus 7T Review
Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
Redmi takes the leap into the affordable flagship segment
Weight: 191g | Dimensions: 156.7 x 74.3 x 8.8mm | OS: Android 9 Pie with MIUI 10 on top | Screen size: 6.39 inches | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 SoC | RAM: 6GB/8GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 13MP | Front camera: 20MP
Xiaomi promised its new Redmi K series would be “Flagship Killer 2.0” and that seems to be fairly accurate, given the kind of specs that the Redmi K20 Pro offers at a starting price of Rs 25,999. Xiaomi is clearly taking the battle to OnePlus, which has developed a cult-like following amongst people looking for premium specs at affordable prices.
While the Redmi K20 Pro does not offer a 90Hz display, the display quality, notchless design, and the flagship-grade chipset, graphics, fast memory and storage offer plenty of value for money even for serious smartphone gamers.
The 4,000mAh battery coupled with up to 27W fast charging also helps a lot, especially if your gaming sessions last long.
Pocophone POCO F1
OS: Android 9.0 | Screen size: 6.18-inch | Resolution: 2246 x 1080 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 64/128/256GB | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 5MP | Front camera: 20MP
Big and bright display
Likely to be refreshed soon
The POCO F1 is the most talked-about budget flagship around the globe since its launch last year. It brought the flagship-level hardware to the budget segment. The phone not just offers a powerful chipset, but also has a good screen for gaming.
A vapour-cooling chamber inside helps to keep the device going even when tasked with graphics-intensive titles like PUBG Mobile. The technology, which Xiaomi calls ‘LiquidCool’, uses dedicated copper pipes that are looped around the inside of the phone.
There are murmurs of a Poco F2 which could launch in the coming months, but if you can’t wait or want to save a lot, the Poco F1 should serve you well.
Read the full review: POCO F1 review