Best phones for gaming (August 2019)

You could argue that almost every smartphone is a gaming phone of some kind, but what if you want the smoothest performance? Maybe you need physical-style buttons or a display with a high refresh rate? Either way, that’s where gaming phones come in, and there are loads of devices that fit the bill. We’ve got you covered with our list of the best gaming phones you can buy.

Best gaming phones:

  1. Asus ROG Phone 2
  2. OnePlus 7 Pro
  3. Samsung Galaxy S10 series
  4. Xiaomi Black Shark 2
  5. Razer Phone 2
  1. Nubia Red Magic 3
  2. Huawei Mate 20 X
  3. Honor Play
  4. Xiaomi Pocophone F1
  5. Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list as more gaming phones hit the market.


1. Asus ROG Phone 2

Asus ROG Phone 2 screen in hand

The Asus ROG Phone 2 represents a rather notable leap for gaming phones, as it’s the first Snapdragon 855 Plus smartphone. The slightly upgraded chipset delivers a marginal CPU and GPU clock speed increase, which means you should enjoy slightly better performance in theory than Snapdragon 855 phones.

Opinion: Asus made a Nintendo Switch and I’m not even mad

Asus’ latest gaming phone is extremely beefy elsewhere, offering 12GB of RAM as standard, along with 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage, and a massive 6,000mAh battery. The device also stands out as one of the few phones packing an OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate.

The ROG Phone 2 also offers air triggers that act as shoulder buttons, a 48MP+13MP ultra-wide rear camera pairing, a 24MP selfie camera, and an array of accessories. The ROG Phone 2 is only available in China as of writing, but it’s definitely a beast.

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ROG Phone 2 specs:

  • Display: 6.59-inch, FHD+ (120Hz)
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Rear cameras: 48 and 13MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

2. OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus 7 Pro phone angled on table back

The OnePlus 7 Pro might not be branded as a gaming phone, but it definitely packs a couple of features that make it more suitable for video games than your average device.

Editor’s Pick

For one, it has a 6.67-inch AMOLED screen that offers a sharp QHD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s not quite as slick a refresh rate as the ROG Phone 2 or Razer Phone series, but it’s better than most phones out there. It also means that you can enjoy slightly higher frame-rates in games that support refresh rates higher than 60Hz.

The OnePlus 7 Pro also delivers a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB to 12GB of RAM, 128GB to 256GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery. Toss in a triple rear camera (48MP, 8MP telephoto, 16MP ultra-wide) and a 16MP pop-up selfie shooter, and you’ve got a well-rounded high-end phone.

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OnePlus 7 Pro specs

  • Display: 6.67-inch, QHD+ AMOLED
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6/8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Rear cameras: 48, 8 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

3. Samsung Galaxy S10 series

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus red reflection at angle

Samsung’s early 2019 flagships aren’t branded as gaming phones either, but the company offered gaming-related features before almost every other player out there.

All three Galaxy S10 models offer Samsung’s Game Launcher and Game Tools options, allowing you to tweak performance in individual games. The Game Tools suite also lets you easily adjust resolution, take screenshots, record videos, and more.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e specs: Memory overload

As for actual hardware, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series offers either the Exynos 9820 or Snapdragon 855 flagship processors. The S10e is the cheapest of the lot and offers 6GB/8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of storage, dual rear cameras, and a 5.8-inch full HD+ screen. The S10 Plus is the top model, and you can expect 8GB to 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, and a 6.4-inch QHD+ display.

Buy Samsung Galaxy S10 from Amazon
Buy Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus from Amazon
Buy Samsung Galaxy S10e from Amazon

Galaxy S10e specs:

  • Display: 5.8-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9820
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Rear cameras: 12 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,100mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

Galaxy S10 specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, QHD+
  • Chipset: SD 855 or Exynos 9820
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/512GB
  • Rear cameras: 12, 12, and 16MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,400mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

Galaxy S10 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.4-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9820
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/512GB and 1TB
  • Rear cameras: 12, 12, and 16MP
  • Front cameras: 10 and 8MP
  • Battery: 4,100mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

4. Xiaomi Black Shark 2

Black Shark 2 Review left profile

Xiaomi also has its own line of gaming phones, dubbed Black Shark, and they stick to the Xiaomi’s ethos of delivering plenty of bang for your buck.

The Black Shark 2 is the latest device available globally, and it packs a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB to 12GB of RAM, and 128GB to 256GB of fixed storage. So it should pretty much handle almost every game you throw at it with ease.

Read more: Black Shark 2 review: Taking another bite from gamers’ wallets

Xiaomi’s phone also sports a 6.39-inch notch-free OLED screen (FHD+), 4,000mAh battery with 27 watt charging, and 240Hz touch sensing for faster touch detection. It’s still offering the standard 60Hz refresh rate, so don’t expect faster frame-rates. Other noteworthy specs include a 48MP+12MP telephoto rear camera setup, 20MP selfie snapper, and in-display fingerprint sensor.

The firm has recently revealed the Black Shark 2 Pro, packing a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, but there’s no word on availability outside China just yet.

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Xiaomi Black Shark 2 specs:

  • Display: 6.39-inch AMOLED, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6/8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Rear cameras: 48 and 12MP
  • Front cameras: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

5. Razer Phone 2

The Razer Phone 2 display.

The original Razer Phone resurrected the gaming phone concept, following Nokia’s Ngage and the Sony Xperia Play devices of years gone by. The Razer Phone 2 doesn’t differ too much from the original device, retaining that 5.7-inch 120Hz LCD screen (QHD), and customizable RGB strips.

Otherwise, the new phone delivers a Snapdragon 845 processor, 64GB to 128GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM. Toss in a 4,000mAh battery, 12MP+12MP telephoto rear setup, and an 8MP selfie camera, and you’ve got a pretty solid combination.

The Razer Phone 2 also has wireless charging, an IP67 water/dust resistant design, front-facing speakers, and Game Booster software for performance tweaks.

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Razer Phone 2 specs

  • Display: 5.7-inch, QHD (120Hz)
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

6. Nubia Red Magic 3

Red Magic 3 Upshot

The Nubia Red Magic 3 is the latest in the former ZTE sub-brand’s gaming line, and there’s more to it than a stereotypical, garish design.

Editor’s Pick

Nubia’s latest flagship device packs a Snapdragon 855 processor, 8GB to 12GB of RAM, and a 5,000mAh battery with 27 watt fast charging. In other words, you should expect great gaming performance and better than average endurance. You’ve also got a 6.65-inch 90Hz OLED screen and capacitive shoulder triggers, making its claim as a gaming phone more concrete than many other devices.

The Red Magic 3 isn’t perfect, as it only offers a single rear camera (48MP IMX586), while rival devices offer telephoto or depth cameras too. Other noteworthy specs include a 16MP front-facing shooter, and 8K video recording.

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Nubia Red Magic 3 specs:

  • Display: 6.65-inch AMOLED, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Rear cameras: 48MP
  • Front cameras: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

7. Huawei Mate 20 X

Huawei Mate 20 X Android games

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro may have received all the attention at launch, but the Mate 20 X is also worth a look. Huawei positioned the phone as being ideal for gaming on the go, even comparing it to the Nintendo Switch.

The Mate 20 X sports a massive, 7.21-inch AMOLED screen (FHD+), beefy Kirin 980 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage (expandable via NM card). Toss in a 5,000mAh battery and you’ve got all the ingredients for a great gaming phone at under $750 via Amazon.

Other noteworthy Mate 20 X specs include the Mate 20 Pro’s triple rear camera setup (40MP/20MP/8MP), a 24MP selfie camera, a rear fingerprint scanner, 3.5mm port, and IP53 splash resistance.

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Huawei Mate 20 X specs:

  • Display: 7.21-inch AMOLED, FHD+
  • SoC: Kirin 980
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Rear cameras: 40, 20, and 8MP
  • Front cameras: 24MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

8. Honor Play

Huawei’s Honor sub-brand released a gaming-themed phone of its own last year in the Honor Play. But it stands out from other devices on the list due to its budget focus.

The Honor Play packs an older but still capable Kirin 970 chipset, 4GB to 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage. It’s not the most powerful phone on the list then, but we thought the GPU was still pretty solid for the price. Huawei’s device also packs force feedback for some games, and GPU Turbo. The latter feature delivers smoother performance in compatible games, with Minecraft, Fortnite, PUBG, FIFA Mobile, and Real Racing 3 all supporting it.

Related: Game longer, better with Honor’s GPU Turbo tech

Honor’s device isn’t the greatest in other areas, offering a 3,750mAh battery, 16MP+2MP rear camera pairing, 16MP selfie snapper, and a notched 6.3-inch LCD screen (FHD+). But it’s tough to argue when the device retails for roughly $300.

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Honor Play specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch LCD, FHD+
  • SoC: HiSilicon Kirin 970
  • RAM: 4/6GB
  • Storage: 64GB (expandable)
  • Rear cameras: 16 and 2MP
  • Front cameras: 16MP
  • Battery: 3,750mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

9. Xiaomi Pocophone F1

The Pocophone F1 was arguably 2018’s true flagship killer, delivering a Snapdragon 845 smartphone for roughly $300 to $350. It’s still a great phone for gaming in 2019, as the older silicon is nimble enough for playing basically any game on the Play Store.

Editor’s Pick

Xiaomi’s phone serves up 6GB to 8GB of RAM, 64GB to 256GB of expandable storage, and a 4,000mAh battery with 18W charging. Other noteworthy specs include a 6.18-inch notched LCD screen (FHD+), 12MP+5MP rear camera pairing, 20MP selfie camera, rear fingerprint scanner, IR face unlock, and a 3.5mm port.

The Pocophone F1 also supports Xiaomi’s Game Turbo tech, which improves gaming performance and serves up an in-game overlay. This overlay allows users to quickly take screenshots, record clips, and more.

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Pocophone F1 specs:

  • Display: 6.18-inch LCD, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Rear cameras: 12 and 5MP
  • Front cameras: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

10. Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro

Redmi K20 Pro with display on

We haven’t seen a Pocophone F2 this year, but Xiaomi has launched the Redmi K20 Pro, and it might be the best bang for your buck phone of 2019.

The first Redmi flagship offers a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB to 8GB of RAM, 64GB to 256GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery. So it should deliver a great gaming experience in theory. Redmi’s handset also serves up a triple rear camera (48MP, 13MP wide, 8MP telephoto), 20MP pop-up selfie camera, and a 6.39-inch AMOLED screen (FHD+) with an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Best of all, the Redmi K20 Pro retails for ~$400 in India, while a Dutch retailer lists it at ~$480. Even with the increased premium European users are set to pay, it still looks like a great deal.

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Redmi K20 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.39-inch OLED, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Rear cameras: 48, 13, 8MP
  • Front cameras: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

These are our picks for the best gaming phones you can get your hands on right now. We’ll add more as new phones hit the market.

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