The best gaming phones are as capable as some portable consoles like the Nintendo Switch, and easily rival tablets, when it comes to performance. If you're into mobile gaming, it's important to have one of these phones to play with.
Buying a gaming phone is different from picking out a regular phone. Ideally, you need to focus on great performance, one with a big, high resolution screen, along with a high refresh rate, and good battery life.
Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max achieve these things, so you'll find them below. However, dedicated gaming phones can be even better. Phones like the Black Shark 5 Pro and the Nubia Red Magic 7 are worth your time, with gaming phones offering features like shoulder triggers, improved vibration and cooling, as well as customizable gaming modes.
Read on while we rank the best gaming phones. We've started out with ones specifically designed for gaming, with more general smartphones listed further down the rankings.
Once you’ve picked your phone, we’ve got all you need to know when it comes to picking games as well, with our best iPhone games, best free iPhone games, best Android games and best free Android games lists – all of which are also regularly updated.
Best gaming phones 2022
The Black Shark 5 Pro offers some fantastic performance for the price, easily ensuring it's the best gaming phone around now. It can play top-end games at their highest graphics setting without a hitch thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and 12GB of RAM.
Further helping your gaming experience are a set of pop-up physical triggers that can be assigned a function for your game. It makes a big difference, effectively turning the phone into a gaming controller all-in-one.
While it gets rather hot and battery life could be a little better, the Black Shark 5 Pro is a potent gaming system that's perfectly suited for gaming on the move.
Read our review: Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro
The Asus ROG Phone 5 is a remarkable gaming phone – one which improves on the already-impressive Asus ROG Phone 3.
Its highlights include class-leading power from the pairing of a Snapdragon 888 chipset and up to 16GB of RAM, plus a screen that has a refresh rate of 144Hz and a touch sampling rate of 300Hz – both of which are higher than most phones and we found this pairing beneficial to games.
That screen is big too, and it’s backed up by dual front-facing speakers, which are among the best you’ll find on a phone.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 also has a huge 6,000mAh battery, so you can game for longer, and with 65W charging you won’t be out of action for long when it runs dry.
Add to that responsive shoulder buttons, programmable RGB lights, and compatibility with a range of gaming-focused accessories, and the Asus ROG Phone 5 really is the complete package for gamers.
It’s not quite an all-round flagship (its cameras don’t excel as much as the rest of the hardware for a start) but if gaming is your priority then this phone should be at or near the top of your list.
Read our review: Asus ROG Phone 5
The Nubia Red Magic 7 isn't shy in any way. Bold and brash and a little heavy and thick, it offers some great specs. There's a large-sized 6.8-inch AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 165Hz which means it can handle fast-moving action at every turn.
Under the hood, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor can play any top-end game you want with some fantastic benchmark scores. Like other gaming phones, it gets a tad hot but a fan helps cool things down fairly quickly.
Elsewhere, its battery life might not get you through a day of gaming but fast 65W charging helps you get back up to speed faster at least. Ultimately, it's the screen that will keep you coming back to the Nubia Red Magic 7.
Read our review: Nubia Red Magic 7
Bulky it might be but the Black Shark 4 Pro has a lot to love here. As with other Black Shark phones, it has integrated gaming triggers which pop-out and can be customized to what you need them to be.
Sporting a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED screen, it's a great option for those that want to see their games shine too. A 144Hz refresh rate means the action is always silky smooth here, while a Snapdragon 888 processor keeps the action sailing at all times.
A dedicated gaming app in the form of Shark Space rounds things off nicely, allowing you to focus on your gaming time. It even manages more than a day between charges.
Read our review: Black Shark 4 Pro
The first gaming phone from Lenovo, the Legion Phone Duel, matches great gaming-dedicated features with some other top specs and features.
The phone supports 90W fast charging, and has a pop-up camera so the screen remains unbroken. It's also got a top processor and software optimized for use in landscape mode. All of these contribute to make it great for gaming.
Our issues with the phone don't touch its gaming prowess, though its high price, software issues and mediocre camera might affect some.
If you're looking for one of the best gaming phones right now, this is up there; if you're looking for a great smartphone that is also good for playing games, this is a good choice, though you should check the others on this list before buying.
Read our review: Lenovo Legion Phone Duel
The best non-gaming phones for gaming
We've suggested the best phones designed for gaming, but if you'd rather have a more mainstream device, here are all the phones we recommend that, among the rest of their strengths, are also very good phones to play games on.
You'll find a lot of overlap with our best phones list, for good reason: these handsets have top-end specs and screens to give the best gaming experience possible outside of gaming-focused phones.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the ultimate gaming phone for someone who also wants all the benefits of a regular smartphone. It has a gorgeous 6.8-inch AMOLED display with up to 120Hz refresh rate depending on the situation. Thanks to exceptional brightness, it even works well in direct sunlight.
Elsewhere, you get powerful cameras including features like 100x Space Zoom, but the highlight for the gamer is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor which means it can deal with any game you like without a hiccup.
Battery life could be a little better for such a sizeable phone but other than that, this is a mature and professional phone that also happens to play games wonderfully.
Read our review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
As far as conventional smartphones go, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is one of the very best for gaming, and with the wide selection of games available from the App Store (including the Apple Arcade subscription service) it actually has the edge in terms of content over dedicated gaming phones.
All those games look great on the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch 1284 x 2778 screen, and in our review we were seriously impressed by the amount of power this phone has too, so you’ll be able to run everything well.
With a 120Hz refresh rate everything will look smooth, and we found this to have the best battery life of any iPhone, so you can also game for longer before you have to plug it in.
Read our review: iPhone 13 Pro Max
The Poco F4 GT is a great phone that also happens to be ideal for gaming. It has two triggers built-in and held in place by a magnetic lock, allowing you to use them as needed.
Continuing the gaming prowess, the 6.67-inch AMOLED display looks great, with a 120Hz ideally suited for fluid gaming sessions.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor flies as expected with a battery life of about a day doing well enough. Fast charging certainly helps here. Just don't count on it being a good phone for regular purposes like photography.
Read our review: Poco F4 GT
The OnePlus 10 Pro is pretty hefty but that means plenty of room for its gorgeous 6.7-inch 2K AMOLED screen that's just crying out for gaming or streaming.
It's powerful too thanks to the gaming phone favorite Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip that means the OnePlus 10 Pro needs to include a cooling system to keep things more manageable.
It even takes great photos although that's not exactly the priority here. Elsewhere, there's middle-of-the-road battery life but a full day of charge is sufficient. Even better, depending on where you live, you might get 80W charging which makes a huge difference.
Read our review: OnePlus 10 Pro
The Oppo Find X5 Pro is pricey but you do get a very thin device for the money. It also has a great 6.7-inch AMOLED panel with a refresh rate of 120Hz that can handle what you plat without a problem. Colors look bold and brightness can go very high.
As a more general smartphone, you can also enjoy a superior photography experience here although don't count on great zoomed shots.
Performance wise, the Oppo Find X5 Pro has the ever welcome Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor that is fast if hot. The only real issue stems from some slightly buggy software but that doesn't tend to affect gaming.
Read our review: Oppo Find X5 Pro
How we tested
We only include phones on this list once we've put them through a full review and passed a final verdict on them, so we know exactly how good they are. We then compare and rank them, factoring in their review scores, prices and specs - with a particular focus on the aspects important to gaming.
What is the best gaming phone?
That depends on whether you want a phone specifically built for gaming, or a great all-round handset that also excels for gaming, but we've got picks for both above.
What should I look for when buying a gaming phone?
The three main factors to consider are screen (particularly size, resolution and refresh rate), battery life, and power. Beyond that, look to extra features that might be useful when gaming, such as triggers or fans, and look to the library of available games, as it differs between Android and iOS.