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:
1. OnePlus 6T
Release date: Novembder 2018 | Weight: 185g | Dimensions: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm | OS: Android 9.0 Pie | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 2340×1080 | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6GB/8GB/10GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: 3,700mAh | Rear camera: 16MP + 20MP | Front camera: 16MP
The OnePlus 6T is one of the best smartphone to play PUBG Mobile in India. It's one of the fastest Android smartphones available in the market and even though you get the best Android experience on Google Pixel, the OnePlus 6T is just faster at everything. The phone is also available with 6GB/8GB RAM and 128GB/256GB internal storage options.
Any game you play on the OnePlus 6T, it is sure to run faster, smoother and without any frame drops. For instance, PUBG Mobile on the OnePlus 6T is able to snappily run with HDR graphics and Ultra frame rate settings. So, if you want solid battery life, terrific power to play games and cutting-edge features like the in-screen fingerprint scanner, the OnePlus 6T is a really good option to choose from.
Read the full review: OnePlus 6T review
2. Apple iPhone XS Max / iPhone XS
Release date: September 2018 | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 2960×1440 | CPU: A12 Bionic chip | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB | Battery: 3.179mAh | Rear camera: Dual 12MP | Front camera: 7MP
If you're on a lookout for the best iPhone to play games on, you might as well go with the best. In this case, that's the iPhone XS Max. The 6.5-inch Super AMOLED screen on the iPhone XS Max is the biggest ever on an iPhone and supports HDR playback for an enhanced viewing experience. Its larger battery manages to stay working nearly a full hour longer than the standard iPhone XS.
That, coupled with the fact that the iPhone XS Max is powered by the A12 Bionic processor which is 40% more efficient and 50% more powerful than the older Apple processor. For gamers, speed is a very crucial element when it comes to online gaming and the iPhone XS Max is able to run titles like Clash Royale, Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile with much ease. All this in Apple's sleek and modern look – though it's the most expensive mainstream phone on the market, even before including all the bells and whistles.
3. Asus ROG Phone
Release date: October 2018 | Weight: 200g | Dimensions: 158.8 x 76.2 x 8.7mm | OS: Android 8.1 Oreo | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 1080 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB/512GB | Battery: 3,520mAh | Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 | Front camera: 8MP f/2.0
The Asus ROG Phone is a powerful phone with plenty of extra features to entice gaming enthusiasts. With an overclocked Snapdragon 845 chipset, a screen with a refresh rate of 90hz and 4,000 mAh battery in tow, the phone gives you solid performance.
It has a couple of added features for gamers such as the air triggers which are essentially touch-sensitive buttons on the top-right and top-left of the phone (when held in landscape) are cool, customizable ways to play that a typical smartphone just doesn't have. The phone has a cooling system which consists of a carbon cooling pad, copper heat dissipation unit and a 3D vapor chamber for improved CPU cooling efficiency. Staying true to its Republic of Gamers army, users can buy additional accessories such as the clamshell case, Nintendo Switch-styled controllers, to augment their gaming experience on the Asus ROG phones.
The additional gaming-centric features make the Asus ROG phone a perfect phone for serious gamers, while casual gamers can go for a phone like the OnePlus 6T.
Read our full review: Asus ROG Phone
4. Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Big. Powerful. Beautiful
Release date: August 2018 | Weight: 205g | Dimensions: 162 x 76.4 x 9mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 2960×1440 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 / Exynos 9810 | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 128/512GB (up to 1TB with card) | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: Dual 12MP | Front camera: 8MP
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a very iterative device, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t the best Android gaming phone on the market. Not only does this have one of the biggest, brightest and highest res displays on the market – it’s all backed up by the latest Snapdragon and Exynos CPUs on the market today.
You’ll have an advantage over the competition in games like Fortnite, as you’ll be able to see more clearly, and with more frames per second. Even when you’re done playing your games, you won’t be ashamed to carry the Note 9 in public, unlike some more gamer-y devices, as it has a smooth and modern aesthetic.
While the Note 9 doesn't have the fancy toys or RGB lighting that the next couple gamer-designed phones have, it has a serious advantage: availability. You can pick up a Note 9 in most physical or online gadget outlets. Sorry, Asus ROG and Razer phones.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9
5. POCO F1
OS: Android 9.0 | Screen size: 6.18-inch | Resolution: 2246 x 1080 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64GB / 128GB | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 5MP | Front camera: 20MP
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 as low as Rs 19,999. The phone not just offers a powerful chipset, but also has a good screen for gaming.
A vapor-cooling chamber inside helps to keep the device going even when tasked with graphic intensive titles like PUBG Mobile. The technology, which Xiaomi calls ‘LiquidCool’, uses dedicated copper pipes that are looped around the inside of the phone.
Read full review: POCO F1 review
6. Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus
Samsung's best screens
Release date: March 2018 | Weight: 189g | Dimensions: 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 8 Oreo | Screen size: 6.2-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 / Exynos 9810 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 3,500mAh | Rear camera: Dual 12MP | Front camera: 8MP
The Snapdragon 845, Adreno 630 graphics, and 4GB of RAM (6GB in the S9 Plus) make both of these phones incredible performers both in game and out. And, since the market of other Android phones boasting the new Snapdragon 845 hasn’t caught up, Samsung easily snags this seat.
But, a powerful chipset isn’t all that earns the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus its ranking. The S9 has a plenty large and plenty sharp 1440 X 2960, 5.8-inch display, and the S9 Plus has an even larger 6.2-inch display with the same resolution. Both are Super AMOLED and support HDR10 for stunning visuals.
The new Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus also feature Samsung’s Game Tools, which can help with taking screenshots, recording gameplay, and keeping notifications out of the way. Let’s not forget that Samsung also has the impressive Gear VR headsets that offer super sharp virtual reality experiences with the Galaxy S9’s and S9 Plus’s pixel-dense displays.
7. Google Pixel 3 XL
Release date: November 2018 | Weight: 184g | Dimensions: 158 x 76.7 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 9.0 Pie | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 2960 x 1440 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 3,430mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: Dual 8MP (wide + ultra-wide)
Google’s biggest and best smartphone, the Pixel 3 XL, also has what it takes to be a great gaming smartphone. It’s 6.3-inch pOLED panel offers plenty of real estate for gaming without having your thumbs cover everything up. That display resolution is 2960 x 1440 pixels, so the visuals will be crisp with excellent contrast.
Like many of the other phones on this list, the Pixel 3 XL is running a Snapdragon 845 chipset, which delivers smooth gaming performance with most gaming titles. Of course, the Pixel 3 XL is also capable of delivering VR content with the Daydream View headset. An added bonus is that the large 3,430mAh battery will make it easy to game on the go.
Read our full review: Google Pixel 3 XL review