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The best gaming phones 2022

iPhone 13 Pro gaming
(Image credit: Future)

The best gaming phone is also one of the best 'consoles' you can get. No, really - we're serious. Although phones aren't a traditional games machine, the mobile space is one of the most vibrant in all of gaming nonetheless. There's always something new to try or geek out over, especially with services like Apple Arcade. 

The hard part is knowing where to start. There are many, many options on the table from Apple to Samsung, so narrowing it down to the best gaming phone isn't easy. That's where we come in. Our team of experts is on hand to point out the best gaming phones currently gracing the market, not to mention the best prices. We've worked hard to make sure you know about big discounts and bargains as soon as they happen, so be sure to pop back in every now and then.

That's why we've put together this guide to the best gaming phones on the market, drawing on our own hands on experience with the latest and greatest releases to ensure you're getting an overview of the whole space before making that critical decision. Of course, you're not going to get the performance of a gaming laptop, or even the best gaming tablets, here - but for a pocket-sized thumb twitcher, these are the models we'd recommend. 

The best gaming phones - top 10

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: Future/Brendan Griffiths)
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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: Future/Brendan Griffiths)
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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: Future/Brendan Griffiths)
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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: Future/Brendan Griffiths)

1. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The best gaming phone overall

Specifications

Screen size: 6.2" OLED external / 7.6" AMOLED
Resolution: 2268 x 832 external / 2208 x 1768 internal
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Cameras: 12-mp ultrawide, 12-mp wide, 12-mp telephoto, 4-mp front (under display), 10-mp front (front cover)
Storage: 256GB, 512GB
Water resistance: IPX8 (up to 1.5 meters)
Dimensions: 158.2 x 67.1 x 16.0mm (folded) / 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm (unfolded)
Weight: 9.55 oz (271g)

Reasons to buy

+
The tablet/phone hybrid we’ve been dreaming of
+
Multitasking app support is fantastic
+
Feels like a more polished product overall
+
120Hz on every screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Some apps are buggy in Flex mode
-
Under display camera isn’t great

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 finally achieves what the foldable phone movement set out to achieve all those years ago. The latest iteration feels like the first to truly deliver on that promise of smartphone form factor and tablet functionality, with an impressive set of specs under the hood and some incredible UI improvements up top. 

The horizontal folding action means you're getting a full 7.6-inch display when fully open, which we found excellent for multi-tasking (especially paired with split view) and gaming alike. From browsing the web while checking emails to adding an extra window for on the fly Spotify controls, Samsung has moved beyond providing a larger phone screen here and more into the world of a tablet productivity machine. 

When it comes to gaming, the impressive tech on display certainly doesn't disappoint either. We never ran into any heating problems while running heavier titles like Call of Duty Mobile, and the 120Hz refresh rates on every screen meant we were really pushing those demanding apps for their fullest potential. We did, however, stumble across a slight issue with some more retro side-scrolling titles - losing a moment of control as we slid over the crease in the middle of the two screens. There was only one game that we tested that produced this, however.

We also got some great action out of those Dolby speakers. Aside from their obvious employment in streaming and music apps, they performed brilliantly in our gaming tests as well, carrying a full sound stage with plenty of detail. 

Speaking of streaming, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 finally brings some innovations to its entertainment apps. While 'Flex' mode (fold the screen horizontally like a laptop for playback controls on the lower half of the panel) is yet to be implemented across some apps, Netflix ran beautifully while propped up in this way. 

It's certainly costly, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 takes foldable phones' first real steps into the future, and it's easily the best phone released this year. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

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iPhone 13 Pro gaming

(Image credit: Future)
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iPhone 13 Pro display

(Image credit: Future)
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iPhone 13 Pro back

(Image credit: Future)

2. Apple iPhone 13 Pro

The best Apple gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED
Resolution: 1170 x 2532
Processor: A15 Bionic
Cameras: 12MP ultra wide - 12MP wide - 12MP telephoto - 12MP front
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Water resistance: IP68 (up to 2 meters)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7 mm
Weight: 7.2oz (204g)

Reasons to buy

+
120Hz refresh rate
+
Powerful processor upgrade
+
Groundbreaking camera features

Reasons to avoid

-
Still pricey

The iPhone has struggled to truly be recognised as one of the best gaming phones in its lifetime, but there's no reason it can't truly step into the space with Apple Arcade and its own gaming network in Game Center. The iPhone 13 Pro is the first real movement towards integrating that gaming focus into Apple's smartphone hardware, though. 

The 120Hz variable refresh rate - sorry, 'ProMotion' - display really helps some Apple Arcade greats shine, as well as larger standalone games like Elder Scrolls Blade, Minecraft, and Call of Duty Mobile. The A15 Bionic processor barely wobbled when put under the stress of even every day apps that used to make our iPhone 12 cry (Duolingo, for some reason) and temperatures were well maintained even during the longest of gaming sessions. 

The OLED panel still offers a gorgeous overall experience, keeping games like Magic The Gathering: Arena feeling as crisp as ever, and displaying streaming apps like Netflix with aplomb. 

Even with all systems go we were impressed by the battery life. In fact, in lighter usage over a weekend away (an hour or so on maps, a few hours of screen-off Spotify, intermittent Safari searches, a couple of YouTube videos, some location services switched on, but admittedly only connecting to 4G) we didn't have to recharge once. 

Perhaps one of the most noticeable updates here is the excellent video features. The iPhone 13 Pro's camera system and accompanying software can perform some truly impressive focus pulling functions and can shoot in Dolby Vision at 4K 60fps. The results are extremely satisfying, making the iPhone 13 Pro well worth the investment for the camera system alone if you're a content creator.

Read more: iPhone 13 Pro review

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)
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best gaming phones: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra stylus

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The best single-screen gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.9" Super AMOLED
Reslution: 1440 x 3088
Processor: Snapdragon 865+ (US)/Exynos 990 (EU)
Cameras: 108MP wide, 12MP telephotot, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP front
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and expandable
Water resistance: IP68 (up to 1.5 meters)
Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
Weight: 7.3 oz (208g)

Reasons to buy

+
Epic display
+
Superb camera
+
S-Pen enhances multiple apps 

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive

When you're looking for one of the best gaming phones, you'll also want to make sure you're getting a phone that kicks ass in other departments too. With that in mind, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra takes no prisoners.

With a gorgeous full-screen 6.9-inch display, now running at an adaptive 120Hz, games have never looked better on a cell phone. We found that all that extra space makes FPS titles much easier to enjoy too, with your thumbs not taking up as much real-estate on the screen. Meanwhile, subtle software tweaks mean you'll get better performance from your battery and the phone runs cooler than most rivals when playing graphically-intensive games on high settings.

If you're spending this much on a phone though, you want it to be a top performer for streaming, taking pictures, shooting video, social media, and everything else. Luckily, the Note 20 Ultra dominates the competition. The camera has a massive 50x zoom, only beaten by the 100x zoom on the S20 Ultra (and given the fact that picture quality nosedives at that level and overheats the phone, we're fine with 50x). There's a 108MP camera for closer shots as well, providing incredibly detailed images.

We're big fans of the S-Pen Stylus for taking notes (it'll even convert your handwriting to editable text), match-3 titles, and turn-based RPGs, not to mention using it as a shutter button when taking pictures. If you want to try something different we'd recommend using the pre-installed Penup app which is great for talented artists and utter newbs alike thanks to a wide range of tools and user-friendly interactive tutorials. Due to the massive canvas-like display and vastly improved stylus latency (there's basically none now), doodling is a great way to pass the time. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

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Asus ROG Phone 3 review

(Image credit: Asus)
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Asus ROG Phone 3 gaming phone

(Image credit: Asus)
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Asus ROG Phone 3 review

(Image credit: Asus)

4. ASUS ROG Phone 3

The best gaming phone for heavy games

Specifications

Screen size: 6.59-inch AMOLED
Resolution: 1080 x 2340
Processor: Snapdragon 865+
Cameras: 64MP wide, 13MP ultra wide, 5MP macro
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Dimensions: 171 x 78 x 9.9 mm
Weight: 8.47oz (240g)

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly powerful
+
Stunning display

Reasons to avoid

-
Camera doesn't hold up
-
No wireless charging

The ASUS ROG Phone 3 is the latest in an impressive range of industry-leading gaming smartphones. While those more aggressive design choices have been filed down to suit a mainstream audience here, the RGB logo shining vibrantly from the back isn't the only thing that separates this monster of a handset from everyday devices. A Snapdragon 865+ processor clocking in at 3.1GHz makes for an exceptionally powerful phone, and that 144Hz refresh rate, luxurious set of dual speakers, and a suite of extra gaming controls all work together to show us exactly how good mobile gaming can be. 

Gaming-specific features aren't just limited to in-depth software, however. We were impressed to find that the hardware here is tailor-made for the best gaming experience possible as well. An additional USB-C port to the side allows for comfortable charging while held horizontally and also powers a wide range of accessories like the included cooling fans. 

The ROG Phone 3's Air Triggers are the piece de resistance for us. Sitting at the top of the phone when held sideways, they provide a full suite of shoulder buttons for a more console-like experience. We were impressed by the quality of these, and it makes going back to touch control in first-person shooters or Fortnite a real pain. Namely, it's so much easier and actively improved our K/D ratio.

Overall, the ASUS ROG Phone 3 excels in both the gaming arena and as an everyday workhorse. A gorgeous display and massive 6,000mAh battery offer endless hours of luxurious scrolling, and even the craziest of Twitter feeds shine just as bright as a PUBG victory here. It's worth noting that all this power seems to come at a sacrifice in camera quality, but that's an easy compromise to make when it comes to getting the best gaming phone.

Read more: Asus ROG Phone 3 review

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(Image credit: Samsung)
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Samsung Galaxy S20 phone

(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung Galaxy S20

The best gaming phone for discounts

Specifications

Screen size: 6.2" Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED (120Hz refresh)
Resolution: 3040 x 1440
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990
Cameras: 12MP ultra wide - 12MP wide - 64MP telephoto - 10MP front
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Water resistance: IP68 (up to 2 meters)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 151.7mm x 69.1mm x 7.9mm
Weight: 5.74oz (163g)

Reasons to buy

+
120Hz refresh rate
+
Excellent chipset with loads of power
+
5G capabilities

Reasons to avoid

-
No headphone jack

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is the tip of the spear when it comes to mobile technology, and that makes it a strong contender for the best gaming phone. With a phenomenal screen, powerful specs, and 5G capabilities, this is an exceptional piece of kit. 

For starters, it's fitted with either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 processor depending on your region. This is complemented by either 8GB of RAM for 4G models or 12GB on 5G equivalents. That's more than enough to handle any game you throw at it, to say nothing of everyday use. Yes, the lack of a headphone jack is annoying. But on the bright side, it's been removed to make room for a superior battery. That means you can be playing on the S20 for longer.

One of the coolest features in the latest Galaxy S-phone would be the display's 120Hz refresh rate, though. This makes for an incredibly smooth scroll, and it's double the amount you'd find on other screens. Because this is paired with a 6.2-inch display, a resolution of 3040 x 1440 (when activated in the phone's settings), and 240Hz touch sensitivity for more responsive gaming, the S20 is easily the best gaming phone for Android users.

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(Image credit: Apple)
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(Image credit: Apple)
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(Image credit: Apple)

6. iPhone SE (2020)

The best budget Apple gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 4.7" Retina HD
Resolution: 1334 x 750
Processor: A13 Bionic
Cameras: 12MP wide - 7MP front camera
Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
Water resistance: IP67 (up to 1 meter)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mm
Weight: 5.2oz (148g)

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
A great iPhone experience
+
Surprisingly powerful

Reasons to avoid

-
It's a bit small

Pitched as an entry-level alternative to flagship models like the iPhone 11, this revamped iPhone SE gets you into the Apple ecosystem without breaking the bank. In terms of sheer bang for buck, it's the best gaming phone from Apple.

So, what are you getting for your cash? This 2020 re-imagining offers an excellent 4.7-inch Retina HD display with a resolution of 1334 x 750, and that's more than enough to make most games look great. It also harbors the same A13 Bionic processor as the iPhone 11 range, giving it plenty of oomph when it comes to specs. As such, the new SE is surprisingly good value.

Because it's based on the older iPhone 8, this model still has a Home button with Touch ID as well - something that took a little getting used to in our testing. That's not usually the case for Apple's newer phones, so we appreciate its inclusion here - as we do its light, breezy weight of 5.22oz (148g). It's smaller as a result, yes, but we loved that the iPhone SE 2020 still manages to find room for a lot of great features.

Read more: iPhone SE (2020) review

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best gaming phones: samsung galaxy a50

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best gaming phones: samsung galaxy a50

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Samsung Galaxy A50 phone

7. Samsung Galaxy A50

The best budget Android gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.4" Super AMOLED
Reslution: 1080 x 2340
Processor: Octa-core
Cameras: 25 MP wide - 8 MP ultra wide - 5 MP depth - 25MP front
Storage: 128GB
Water resistance: IP68 (up to 2 meters)
Dimensions: 158.5mm x 74.7mm x 7.7mm
Weight: 5.86 oz (166g)

Reasons to buy

+
Near-fullscreen display
+
Holds its own on high settings
+
The best budget Android phone

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher game settings can drain the battery faster 

Picking up a cheaper gaming phone doesn't mean limiting yourself to match-three puzzlers or go with an unknown brand. The Samsung Galaxy A50 costs a small fraction of its flashier siblings like the S20 or Note series, but this is still a great phone and a stone-cold bargain if you want to spend less, but get a phone that won't let you down.

I was testing this for gaming against some very expensive phones and I almost had to have a word with it and explain how it needed to stop showing up the big boys. Call of Duty Mobile on high settings for graphics and frame rate. Why not? Sure, it wasn't quite as smooth or detailed as your $1000/£1000 flagship phones, but at less than a third of the price, the A50 is way better than it should be.

As a day to day phone, the Samsung Galaxy A50 has a very good camera, with only the night pictures being prone to a loss of detail if there are too many artificial light sources. Amazingly for a phone at this price, it has a dual-SIM slot, making it handy if you have separate work/home SIMs or if you're picking up a cheap data card when traveling abroad. There's a newer Galaxy A51 out there now, which aside from an upgrade to 48MP/32MP (back/front) camera lenses, carries the same internal spec and display, so we'd stick with the A50 for the generally cheaper cost, but if you're curious, here are the latest Galaxy A51 prices (opens in new tab).

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(Image credit: Apple)
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(Image credit: Apple)

8. iPhone XR

The best older Apple gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1" Liquid Retina LCD
Resolution: 1792 x 828
Processor: A12 Bionic
Cameras: 12MP rear camera - 7MP front camera
Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
Water resistance: IP67 (up to 1 meter)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mm
Weight: 6.8oz (194g)

Reasons to buy

+
Same power as the XS/XS Max
+
More affordable
+
Comes in five different colors

Reasons to avoid

-
LED screen doesn't match OLED

The iPhone XR has all the pros of the X model and few of the cons. Sure, we'll miss the OLED display and those dual cameras. But when it comes to gaming? The XR is a force to be reckoned with. 

More specifically, the A12 Bionic processor has enough horsepower to get you through the most demanding games. They'll look great on that Liquid Retina screen, too. And because the battery shows an improvement over previous iPhones, you won't always be looking out for power points. That gives you more time playing your favorite games or watching movies on the morning commute.

Another bonus is the fact that you're getting a high-quality Apple experience without the expense. The XR is a very capable iPhone, but it manages to sidestep the often-crippling cost of other models. If you're not dead set on getting the latest and most powerful gaming phone, this one is well worth considering.

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(Image credit: OnePlus)
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(Image credit: OnePlus)
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(Image credit: OnePlus)

9. OnePlus 7 Pro

The best mid-range Android gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.67" Fluid AMOLED
Resolution: 3120 x 1440
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Cameras: 48MP main lens - 8MP telephoto - 16MP ultra wide, 16MP front
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Water resistance: Some (not guaranteed)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 162.6mm x 75.9mm x 8.8mm
Weight: 7.26oz (206g)

Reasons to buy

+
Overclocking
+
Gorgeous screen
+
90Hz refresh rate

Reasons to avoid

-
OxygenOS could be better

Few phones are truly games-focused; most of the time they get little more than a cursory nod. We found that the OnePlus 7 Pro is an exception to that rule. Designed in collaboration with eSports competitors, its dedicated ‘Fnatic Mode (opens in new tab)’ promises an "aggressive CPU focus, with almost all available resources being concentrated into the game". 

It does this by blocking network access from other apps and banning all calls or notifications while activated, leaving every scrap of power for your game. It's PC-style overclocking, in other words - and that's something we were particularly excited to see on a gaming phone in our testing.

Another feather in this phone's cap is its speed. Honestly, this is one of the fastest phones we've ever used. That's due to a blistering 90Hz refresh rate, which in turn is 30Hz more than most other phones. The quad HD+ display with a resolution of 3120 x 1440 help tie a bow around what is already a top-quality offering (oh, and that telescoping front camera is really cool).

Read more: OnePlus 7 Pro hands-on

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(Image credit: ASUS)
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Asus ROG Phone 2

(Image credit: ASUS)

10. ROG Phone 2

An older alternative

Specifications

Screen size: 6.59-inch AMOLED 10-bit HDR
Resolution: 2340 x 1080
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Cameras: 48MP main lens - 13MP ultra wide - 24MP front
Storage: Up to UFS 3.0 1TB
Water resistance: IPX4 (splash resistant)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 170.99mm x 77.6mm x 9.48mm
Weight: 8.47oz (240g)

Reasons to buy

+
Air Triggers
+
Attractive design
+
Power to spare

Reasons to avoid

-
Camera isn't as good as competitors

There aren't many phones that specifically target gaming, but one stands head-and-shoulders above the rest - the ROG Phone 2. Alongside bonus cooling and powerful innards that put the competition to shame, it has a unique selling point that's beyond useful: 'ultrasonic' Air Triggers. 

These are touch buttons on the side of the device that act just like the bumpers on a PS4 or Xbox One controller. Used when the device is in a landscape position, they allow for easier, more accurate control schemes that would otherwise be impossible without extra attachments. Because they're linked to onscreen commands through an easy drag-and-drop method, these Air Triggers can be assigned to aim-down-sights or shooting in the likes of Call of Duty Mobile. That offers up a more traditional experience, allowing for greater comfort and leaving your thumbs clear for moving or reloading. As you'd expect, this provides an edge in combat where speed is of the essence. Frustrated by imprecise mobile controls? This is your answer.

That practicality is matched by overclocking capabilities and additional cooling attachments that bring down the system's overall temperature in the middle of a long gaming session. Don't worry about the ROG Phone 2's day-to-day tasks suffering as a result, though. Those gaming features are matched by an admirable performance in everyday usage, not to mention an arresting design and reskinned OS built on the Android system. The world's first 120Hz/1ms AMOLED HDR Delta-E display doesn't hurt, either.

Read more: Asus ROG Phone 2 review

Best of the rest

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(Image credit: Sony)
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Sony Xperia ZX2

(Image credit: Sony)

12. Sony Xperia XZ2

The best budget Sony gaming phone

Specifications

OS: Android
Screen size: 5.7"
Resolution: 1080 x 2160
Dimensions (HxWxD): 153mm x 72mm x 11.1mm
Weight: 198g
Storage: 64GB
Cameras: 19MP, 5MP front camera
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

Reasons to buy

+
Haptic feedback
+
Stereo audio
+
Great performance
+
4K HDR recording

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited options

When you want a quality smartphone experience for gaming, look no further than the manufacturer of the PlayStation 4 itself: Sony. The Sony Xperia XZ2 is an exercise in decadence that may not measure up to the rest of the never-ending cavalcade of smartphone releases over the rest of the year, but it still sports several features that push it quite far ahead of the rest of the pack. 

Its top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845 chipset powers a stunning 1080 x 2160 HDR display with 5.7 inches of screen real estate that's perfect for any game, bolstering performance in a big way. But other phones offer largely the same setup – it's the Xperia XZ2's stereo speakers that end up setting it apart. Its dual front-facing speakers are something to marvel over, especially when playing games where sound matters and earbuds just won't do. Coupled with its haptic feedback, dubbed the "Dynamic Vibration System," it offers one of the closest things to a true console experience any other smartphone has yet to deliver. 

With decent battery life and microSD support for an abundance of storage, Sony's excellent smartphone is a viable contender for on-the-go gaming, no matter what your preferences lean toward. Note: low stock levels are driving prices up in some countries.

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Google Pixel 3

(Image credit: Google)
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Google Pixel 3 XL

(Image credit: Google)
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Google Pixel 3XL

(Image credit: Google)

13. Google Pixel 3 XL

The best Google gaming phone

Specifications

OS: Android 9 (Pie)
Screen size: 6.3" OLED
Resolution: 1440 x 2960
Dimensions (HxWxD): 158mm x 76.7mm x 7.9mm
Weight: 184g
Storage: 64GB/128GB
Cameras: 12.2MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

Reasons to buy

+
Improved OLED screen 
+
Gets Android updates before other phones
+
Lively development community for games

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks a 3.5mm jack

If you want Android the way it was meant to be, look no further than the Google Pixel 3 XL. This phone, straight from the creators of Android themselves, offers a stock Android experience on an absolute beast of a device. It's not a massive improvement over the Google Pixel 2 XL, but if you're looking to upgrade from a phone that's a couple of years old, you'll be hard-pressed to find a model that can top the Pixel 3 XL.

The Pixel series is the spiritual successor to Google's Nexus line, but where the Nexus cut corners to offer a premium product at a low price, the Pixel goes for broke. It touts a camera that surpasses the iPhone in many tests, and the new mode of OLED screen fixes any of the problems the Pixel 2XL had with washed out colors. However, all that comes at a cost. Though gaming on the Pixel 3 XL is a pleasure, the $900 price tag is getting into iPhone territory. Given that it shares the same CPU with many current flagships, and even has less RAM than some, you may do better to shop around for a similar phone.

If money is no object, though, the Google Pixel 3 XL is one of the best ways to experience Android. It receives updates straight from Google, so you're not stuck waiting months for the latest version of Android, and it has a lively development community, so if the stock feel isn't your thing you can tinker until you find something that is.

Which phones are best for gaming?

In our testing, the best phone for gaming is currently the Samsung Z Fold 3, thanks to that expandable screen and excellent feature set. However, the smartphone market is expanding once again, with flagship devices chipping away at Apple and Samsung's shared monopoly in the last couple of years. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the gaming phone market. Between gaming-focused brands like Asus and Razer and more mainstream options like OnePlus and Sony, there's always something new just around the corner. 

Which gaming phone is cheapest?

The iPhone SE is the cheapest phone that we recommend for gaming, but if you're looking for a games-focused model, your cheapest options are likely to come from Xiaomi.

Are gaming phones worth it?

If you're invested in the wide and wonderful world of mobile gaming, sinking some cash into a device that can keep up with your pursuits will always be worth it. You'll enjoy a faster screen, more RAM and storage, a more powerful processor, and additional gaming features like fps caps and performance modes. 

However, if you tinker with Apple Arcade every now and then or jump into the odd PUBG session, we'd recommend aiming for a phone that can support your mobile gameplay, but not at the sacrifice of other features. The best gaming phones often drop camera and high-end networking features, and can cost a pretty penny to boot, so it's worth working out whether you'll actually be using those additional gadgets before investing. 

How we test gaming phones

Each handset that passes our pockets goes through a series of tests to see if it's worthy of being listed as one of the best gaming phones on the market. First and foremost, though, we live with these devices to see just how well their form factors, cameras, screens, and - crucially - battery lives hold up under every day use. That's why we adopt each model as our own throughout the testing period, putting each phone through its paces in both standard use and through heavy gaming sessions. 

After that, we run each gaming phone through a series of titles to determine their performance as well as how much battery they consume. Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG, Magic The Gathering: Arena, and Fortnite (on Android) are our primary titles. 

You can find out more about how we make our recommendations in our full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.

Now that you're kitted out, you'll find all the best iPhone games and the best Android games ranked. 

Brendan is GamesRadar's former Managing Editor of the Hardware & eCommerce team. He also spent time as the Deals Editor at our sister site, TechRadar. He's obsessed with finding the best tech, games, gadgets, and hardware at the lowest price. He also spends way too much of his free time trying to decide what new things to watch on Netflix, then just rewatches It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia instead. Nowadays you'll find him as the eCommerce Content Director for Future's mobile tech sites, Android Central, iMore, and Windows Central.