Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile review - locked and loaded

Modern Warfare 3 on the go

The key art of Warzone Mobile.
(Image: © Activision)

TechRadar Verdict

Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile offers engaging modes and near console-quality visuals in a free-to-play portable format that’s perfect for taking out and about - provided you have a phone powerful enough to run it.


  • +

    Near console-quality visuals and sound

  • +

    Full cross-progression with other platforms

  • +

    Great selection of maps and modes


  • -

    Requires a high-end phone or tablet to run smoothly

  • -

    Obliterates your battery life

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Review information

Platform reviewed: iOS, Android
Available on: iOS, Android
Release date: March 21, 2024

Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile, the latest installment in the long-running first-person shooter (FPS) series, is the real deal. It offers a fully-fledged multiplayer experience that’s remarkably close to the latest console and PC release on your phone. Elevated by impressive visuals and full multi-platform cross-progression, it’s the perfect way to level up your weapons and battle pass in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 while you’re away from home.

Even if you’re not a dedicated fan, there’s still plenty to appreciate here, including an expansive arsenal of weapons, vehicles, and characters taken from across the series. The all-new 78-player Mobile Royale mode, which condenses the Call of Duty: Warzone experience into an easily digestible mobile-friendly format, is another highlight, offering all the thrills of a full battle royale in under ten minutes. 

Paired with excellent returning maps and a solid selection of fan-favorite multiplayer modes, it’s a refreshingly generous offering for a free-to-play mobile game. While it easily ranks among the best iPhone games and the best Android games right now, the demanding hardware requirements, which practically necessitate a recent high-end phone or tablet to run the game smoothly, are going to prevent a large swathe of potential players from enjoying the best experience without a pricey upgrade.

Picture perfect

Warzone Mobile.

(Image credit: Activision)

One of the most immediately impressive aspects of Warzone Mobile is its visuals, which I found to be remarkably comparable to Modern Warfare 3 on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. That’s not to say that there aren't some obvious cutbacks in terms of overall render distance, shadow quality, texture resolution, and model detail, but it’s easy to overlook these when everything is running on a small screen in the palm of your hands. Even on the modest medium quality preset, everything looks pleasantly crisp and clean on the 5.42-inch display of my iPhone 13 mini.

Bumped up to the high preset on the larger 6.6-inch display of a Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, the results look even better. Warzone Mobile appears to borrow many assets directly from the recent console games so, aside from a few minor omissions, you’re getting the same sizable arsenal of highly detailed weapons found in Modern Warfare 3, all complete with their punchy sound effects and intricate animations. 

The handling of each weapon feels almost indistinguishable from their console counterparts too, making it easy to pick up and play if you’re already familiar with touch-screen FPS controls or prepared to hook up a compatible controller. All of your unlocks and purchases from that main game are automatically carried over and readily accessible in the mobile game, which is a huge bonus. 

The selection of maps at launch has also been drawn from across the Modern Warfare sub-series, including the long-awaited revival of Verdansk - a fan-favorite battle royale arena from the first incarnation of Warzone. If you’re a returning player, each of these look almost exactly as you remember and there’s something magical about seeing such intricate environments running natively on a mobile phone. 

Warzone Mobile.

(Image credit: Activision)

Unfortunately, your visual experience is going to vary dramatically depending on the specifications of your device. Testing the game on a range of iOS and Android hardware, I found that the best results were invariably achieved on the most expensive recent phones or tablets. It’s not unplayable on models from a few years ago, like the iPhone 11, but you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle against an unsteady frame rate and the rapidly increasing temperature of your phone. The excellent visuals are also spoiled by the lower graphical presets which, while understandable, is a huge shame.

Even on the most powerful hardware, playing more than a few matches of Warzone Mobile rapidly drains your battery life. Playing over a thirty-five-minute train ride, I saw my phone drop from almost full to just over half charge. High battery consumption isn’t at all unusual while playing modern mobile games, but it definitely makes this one to avoid if you’re going to be away from a plug socket for a long time.

Your audio performance will also depend quite heavily on your choice of accessories. Unless you’re playing in a completely silent environment, there’s a strong chance that it’s going to be hard to discern key audio cues through your phone speakers. When you connect some wireless headphones or any of the best gaming earbuds, the sound quality is excellent with a fantastic level of depth. Even when the action begins to pick up, enemy footsteps remain clearly audible and small details like the click of your weapon whenever you switch firing modes come through well.

Head to head

Warzone Mobile.

(Image credit: Activision)

Warzone Mobile currently offers three distinct battle royale modes: Battle Royale, Mobile Royale, and Rebirth Resurgence. Battle Royale follows the same general format as the mode in Warzone, albeit with the total player count increased from 100 to 120 per match. As a team of up to four players, you drop into an open world and duke it out for survival. There are a range of vehicles to help you traverse the large map quickly, while weapons and armor can be found inside buildings, by opening unlockable crates, or purchased from automated Buy Stations using cash.

You get cash by looting or completing contracts - bite-sized challenges that range from hunting down a specific target player to securing freshly dropped supply boxes - while a circle of toxic gas gradually closes in reducing the size of the map until the last squad standing wins. It’s a tried and tested formula, though matches do play out slightly differently in Warzone Mobile thanks to the constraints of the mobile format. I’m very experienced with competitive mobile FPS titles, but I still found that long-range confrontations were quite difficult thanks to the inherently imprecise nature of the touch controls. 

Best bit

Warzone Mobile.

(Image credit: Activision)

After successfully fighting your way through an onslaught enemy squads, nothing quite beats the feeling of success from your first big win in Mobile Royale.

This can be remedied with a controller, but I still found that the best strategy was often to covertly get close before engaging. It’s a new style of play that takes some getting used to, especially in Verdansk - a sprawling city dominated by rooftops with long sightlines that would otherwise be well-suited for taking distant potshots. 

These controls are much better suited to the Warzone Mobile exclusive Mobile Royale mode, which shoves 78 players into a comparatively tiny section of the map and dramatically increases the spawn rate of powerful weapons and ammo. You can often go a good few minutes without so much of a glimpse at an enemy player in Battle Royale, but the average game of Mobile Royale is filled with near-constant close-range confrontation. A complete match generally lasts just under ten minutes, making it ideal if you’re looking for something bite-sized that you can enjoy on public transport or on a break at work.

Rebirth Resurgence is similarly strong, thanks to its small map and the fact the 36 players constantly respawn - a combination that leads to absolute chaos. I also enjoyed the suite of core multiplayer modes including Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, and Domination. They use an intense 6v6 format and take place exclusively on small maps like Shipment and Scrapyard from Modern Warfare 2. The pacing is absolutely perfect and allows the snappy gunplay and fast-movement speeds to shine. Although there are only five total maps for these modes at the moment, with the likes of Modern Warfare 3’s Rust already confirmed for a future update, it’s a very promising start.

It’s a huge amount of content in a download that currently sits at under 8GB and, as a free-to-play game, there’s practically no reason not to recommend trying it if you have enough storage space. The high system requirements are a shame, but it's almost an inevitability in a mobile game that looks and sounds this good.


Warzone Mobile features  a range of accessibility options. This includes the ability to enable an auto pickup function that automatically equips nearby loot, a fully customizable touch-screen control layout, automated ranged or melee attacks, the option to enable a prominent outline around enemies or allies, and much more. 

The game is also compatible with a good selection of peripherals, such as the Xbox Wireless Controller or dedicated mobile controllers like the Backbone One.

Should I play Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile?

Warzone Mobile.

(Image credit: Activision)

Play it if…

You’re a dedicated Call of Duty player
The ability to complete daily challenges or gain XP from matches while you’re away from your console or PC is an absolute game changer, making it easier than ever for dedicated players to stay on top of their battle pass.

You want a console-quality mobile game
When the graphics settings are set to high, Warzone Mobile is a sight to behold. It’s worth a download for the graphics alone if you have the right hardware to run it.

Don’t play it if…

You have an older phone
Warzone Mobile requires a pretty beefy phone to run smoothly. If you’re still hanging on to an older device, you’re not going to have a great experience.

You’re better with mouse and keyboard
Although it is compatible with many controllers, there’s no getting around the fact that mouse and keyboard players might struggle with the controls on mobile.

How we tested Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile

I spent over ten hours in Warzone Mobile across a range of devices including an iPhone 13 Mini, Samsung S23 Plus, iPad Mini, and iPad Pro. I played using both touch controls and compatible controllers, such as the Xbox Wireless Controller and Backbone One. In addition to the native audio of each phone or tablet, I tried the game with wireless headphones including the Beats Studio Buds Plus and wired gaming earbuds such as the SteelSeries Tusq gaming headset.

During my time with the game, I tried out all of the available modes and maps at least a handful of times to ensure I tested all that the game currently has to offer. As an almost daily Modern Warfare 3 player, I was able to directly compare the game to its PC and console equivalent.

Dashiell Wood
Hardware Writer

Dash is TechRadar Gaming's Hardware Writer. Before joining TechRadar, he was a print journalist writing articles for some of the UK's biggest gaming magazines including PLAY, Edge, PC Gamer, and SFX. Now, when he's not getting his greasy little mitts on the newest hardware or gaming gadget, he can be found feverishly devouring the latest Nintendo Switch otome.