The Best Gaming Smartphones of 2021


What advantages do “gaming” phones really bring, and do you need one?

The concept of a “gaming” smartphone might seem bizarre to some, but it’s worth remembering that these all-purpose computers in our pockets have near enough replaced the handheld gaming console entirely. With the exception of the Nintendo Switch, which is nothing but a stripped back Android tablet anyway, there really aren’t any serious competitors in this area in 2021.

The switches main party trick of letting you use it both on the go and on your big screen TV is something that every smartphone has been capable of doing for years now, and the power of all of the phones on this list make Nintendo’s flagship portable device look like a potato by comparison.

If you simply want to enjoy triple A games on the move or participate in live casino games at lightning-fast speeds over 5G, then you could probably get away with any modern flagship. But for serious gamers, phones built specifically with this purpose in mind add numerous extra features that should make them the perfect choice for your next portable companion.

Here are five of the best options for those who want to use their phone as their primary gaming device:

ASUS ROG Phone 3
Sporting a gigantic 6.59-inch 144hz AMOLED display, the Snapdragon 865+ CPU and up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage, the specifications of ASUS third iteration of its Republic of Gamers dedicated gaming handset has to be at the top of any mobile gamers wish-list. Throw in a massive 6,000mAh battery and dedicated gaming buttons and this is a phone that won’t disappoint even the most hardcore of gamers.

Razer Phone 2
A little smaller than ASUS effort, the Razer features a 5.7-inch 120hz panel with a full 1440p resolution which delivers 513 pixels-per-inch of glorious ultra-high-definition fidelity. Processing power is no slouch thanks to the Snapdragon 845 chipset, and the dual forward facing Dolby Atmos speaker setup is without a doubt the best we’ve seen on a phone so far. The base configuration with just 64GB of internal storage is a little on the stingy side for a gaming handset, though a 128GB option is available and the MicroSD card slot with support for 1TB of extra space should help alleviate any worries about running out of room.

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel
As one of the newest phones on this list, the software is still getting ironed out a little at the time of writing, but we’re sure Lenovo will soon have this aspect under control. Let’s hope so, because the combination of a 6.65” 144Hz AMOLED display, two 5G sim slots, 16GB of LPDDR5 ad 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage make for an impressive list of specifications. Dedicated ultrasonic game keys, a 5,000mAh battery, and a second USB-C port for connecting directly to your TV whilst charging ensures you won’t be suffering any downtime. Not that you’ll be charging it long – the 90w fast charger included in the box will get you 50% battery in just five minutes!

Xiaomi Black Shark 3
If you are looking for a gaming handset on a budget, Xiaomi might just have you covered with their Black Shark 3 handset. It’s not a cheap phone of course, with a Snapdragon 865, 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of onboard storage, but can be found for several hundred pounds less than the other competitors on this page. Most of the money seems to have been saved on the display, which is a 6.67-inch panel boasting 2080x2440 pixels at a 90hz refresh rate, and there are no dedicated gaming buttons either. Still, these seem like small compromises for a 5G phone with a 4,720mAh battery. Take a look at it before buying, though, as it’s outlandish “gamified” appearance might not suit everybody’s tastes.

Apple iPhone 12
Whilst not strictly a gaming phone, there’s a sizable chunk of the smartphone market who won’t switch away from Apple easily – not even for a few extra gaming bells and whistles. And in truth, you could pair this phone with a dedicated gaming controller, hook it up to your TV, and receive a fantastic experience anyway – there are also plenty of games that only work on Apples handsets, too. The battery may sound a little anaemic at just 2,815mAh, but Apple are well known for squeezing more power from their smaller batteries.

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