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5 min read 31 comments

Best phones for mobile gaming in 2018

The specs war continues to rage, with RAM and processors being boosted every year. When it comes to gaming, the options have never been better. Whether you're looking for the most powerful, affordable or unique offering, we've got the right choice for you here. We've updated our list with the best phones for mobile gaming in 2018.

Samsung Galaxy S8: powerful performance with Game Mode

The Galaxy S8 may be the best Android smartphone on the market, and it's no slouch when it comes to gaming performance or experience. The gaming software features that were introduced by the Galaxy S7 have been revamped for the new flagship as well. In the Device Maintenance section of the phone's Settings you can enable Game Mode, which is comprised of Game Launcher and Game Tools. The Game Launcher is home to all your games, while Game Tools changes the screen mode to accommodate games that don't support the unique 18.5:9 aspect ratio, among other things. All of this ensures that your experience is immersive, by disabling notifications and the invisible home button to allow for uninterrupted game play, for example.

The impressive hardware also allows for a smooth, engaging experience. The curved, 5.8-inch AMOLED Infinity Display of the Galaxy S8 has a unique 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a 1,440 x 2,960 resolution - that's 400 pixels taller than normal QHD phones. All that screen real estate is held in a thin, ergonomic body and powered by a 3,000 mAh battery. The Galaxy S8 features the top of the line Snapdragon 835 processor with an Adreno 540 GPU and 4 GB of RAM.

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a revamped Game Mode. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy S7: a great value 

If you can't afford the Galaxy S8, you'd still be well-served by its predecessor, the Galaxy S7, as its future-proofing has served it well. It was the best phone for gamers in 2016, and it supported Vulkan APIs for better quality graphics before anyone else. Its 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display has QHD resolution and 577 ppi, giving the sublime detail and color representation we've come to expect from Samsung. Powering all of this is a 3,000 mAh battery, which can be fully charged in 90 minutes with the supplied charger, plus an octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with an Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM.

Of course, the S7 was the first to offer the Game Launcher, which has since been reborn on the S8, which acts as a gaming center, storing and categorizing your games. It also employs a floating button arrangement called the Game Tool, which can be used, among other things, to block notifications and record your gameplay from within any game.

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The Game Tool can be accessed via a floating button. / © ANDROIDPIT

OnePlus 5: the flagship with more than enough RAM 

The latest flagship from OnePlus is the newest device on this list, and it packs the same Snapdragon 835 as the Galaxy S8. What makes the OnePlus 5 stand out as a gaming device, though, is its 6 to 8 GB of RAM. This gives it incredible gaming performance in addition to its two unique features for gaming: Gaming Do Not Disturb Mode and Dash Charge While Gaming. These two features do exactly what they say on the tin. The former suppresses accidental presses of the keys and notifications, while the latter allows for fast charging as if your phone weren't in use. The 5.5-inch Full HD display is powered by a 3,300 mAh battery which can stand up to the most demanding games without overheating.

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The OnePlus 5 offers Dash Charge While Gaming. / © AndroidPIT

Moto Gamepad: a budget console in a snap for the Moto Z2 Play

There's a new Moto Mod coming in summer of 2017 that will excite mobile gamers. The Moto Gamepad will attach to any smartphone in the Moto Z family, giving you two control sticks, a D-pad and four "tactile action buttons". It resembles the Nintendo Switch. Since the Mod attaches to the device directly, there won't be any lag from wireless connections and Motorola says it will last up to 8 hours thanks to its 1,035 mAh battery. So, if you're thinking of investing in a smartphone that will provide a good gaming experience, in addition to other possibilities offered by Mods, you may want to consider a Moto Z device like the Moto Z2 Play, which is a great budget option.

Sony Remote Play: play your PS4 from your Xperia Z5

If you own a PlayStation 4, you can play it using some Xperia devices thanks to Sony Remote Play. This is available for the Xperia X, Z3, Z4 and Z5 devices from Sony. It allows you to use your home Wi-Fi connection to stream to your phone or tablet and play using a connected Dualshock 4 controller. To get the most from the experience, you'll want a Game Control Mount, which attaches your phone to the top of the controller. The newest of the compatible Xperia devices is the Xperia Z5, which has a 5.2-inch display, a Snapdragon 810 processor and 3 GB of RAM.

There are plenty of other great phones (and accessories) for gaming on the go, like the HTC U11 or the Honor 8. In fact, both hardware and software on Android smartphones has gotten to the point that almost any high end device of the past two years will handle games from the Play Store with ease.

Which games do you enjoy most on Android? Are there any phones you'd recommend for gamers? Share your thoughts with everyone in the comments.

This article was updated with additional input from AndroidPIT editors Benoit Pepicq, Eric Herrmann and Luis Ortega.



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  • Please update the article. All the old phones are there in list... 👎👎👎

    • Brittany McGhee
      • Admin
      • Staff
      9 months ago Link to comment

      We've just updated our list again!

      • GASB 9 months ago Link to comment

        Reallyl? Are you recomending the Galaxy S8 for gaming, when it has poor GPU performance? The best phones for games are the phones with Snapdragon 820/821. Please you just do well your homework.

        Sorry for my words, but I hate this marketing that conceals with tecnology...


  • Mark
    • Admin
    Jan 28, 2017 Link to comment

    What about the LG V20 the perfect phone for gaming. With the removable battery you can play all day. AndroidPit you are so biased in your phone coverage it is pitiful.

  • The fact that the HTC 10 doesn't have an amoled display isn't necessary a bad thing, people talk like amoled displays are superior, when in fact amoled displays aren't as sharp, and while the high contrast may seem better in some cases, it provides a very unnatural picture, much like the camera on the S7. The HTC 10 actually outperforms the Galaxy S7 in many ways, the HTC 10 scored 30,000 higher according the antutu benchmark scores listed on the site, and the HTC 10 received the highest DXOMARK score of 88, (despite the S7 having the same score the 10 did better with still images which put it ahead), the 10 has better audio microphones, and speakers. The HTC 10 is water resistant just not as well as the S7, but considering your far more likely to drop your phone and break it than drop it in 3 ft of water, the metal body proves better than the S7's glass body, Not to mention the HTC 10 has uh-oh protection which covers the phone in any worst case scenario. The HTC 10 doesn't have all the bloatware found on the S7, which will weigh on the phones performance in the long run, the HTC 10 has adotpable storage, and receives Android updates within 15 days of release while Samsung takes months to get updates. The HTC 10 is the best all around device on the market right now.

  • This is wrong in so many levels.....
    Why? the best smartphone for gaming is the one that when you have more than 20 minutes playing, keeps high fps.
    Galaxy s7 drops SO MUCH fps after a while.
    Actually the best smartphone for sustained high fps is the one plus 3, you can check it here: h t t p : / / w w w . a n a n d t e c h . c o m / s h o w / 1 0 4 1 1 / t h e - o n e p l u s - 3 - r e v i e w / 6
    "The fact that the phone maintains its frame rate for over two hours is also an improvement over pretty much every other Android device, with the LG G5 coming close but exhibiting small oscillations that the OnePlus 3 doesn't have."

  • Moto E LTE with Snapdragon 410. 4.5" screen pushing 960x540 resolution, makes it a no brainer everywhere I want to go device. Can find them for every carrier under $30, refurbs for $5, and it plays every android game with fair ease for on the go gaming.

    Sure a nice tablet for couch gaming, with a great resolution, but you cant beat a 2390mAH battery, running what would essentially be a 'Nintendo' level of handheld phone. There are other variants out there, with 410s, running 2Gb of RAM, but if you keep the screen res to the 960x540 range you'll be greeted with plenty of devices that are capable of the latest games your shield can play, while on the go for a much more friendly on the go price (breaks, wear down. It's even got a splash proof coating on it for longevity).

  • Mary 1337 Jul 17, 2016 Link to comment

    Currently I have an Xperia T3, which I kind of love. I love the Xperia's but since I am a phone gamer, those can be shit too. My Xperia T3 is good overall, but when it comes to games... No. Just no. This is not a gaming phone.
    So, after this phone dies. I obviously want a new one. I'm thinking of abandon the Xperia series (I have been with them since Xperia Mini Pro) and get a really good gaming phone. I really don't like buttons, I prefer touch-buttons. Large screens is a must.
    1) Gaming phone
    2) Touch buttons only
    3) Large screen
    Please help me find my perfect phone!

  • Tilton Jul 11, 2016 Link to comment

    No G5? WTF

  • Lame no note series listed here, and my note 3 is still amazing at gaming

  • Mark
    • Admin
    Jun 9, 2016 Link to comment

    The Note 4 is the best for gaming big screen, Micro SD, replicable battery so you don't have to worry about running out of power.

  • Anand Jun 9, 2016 Link to comment

    Why Galaxy Note series is not listed? Note have always had amazing big screen with beefy flagship hardware for it's time.

  • Lg G flex 2 should be in there too. I don't understand why ppl complain about g flex 2 i mean its super fast and it can play all the games at max graphics. But since ppl didn't buy this device a lot it doesn't have any custom roms thanks to lg's locked bootloader. Waiting for xda g4 owners to find a solution.

  • for the price of the most smartphones you can get a mid range gamimg pc or at least a console. ->kind of useless to buy a "gaming" smartphone

  • CJ Brown Apr 23, 2016 Link to comment

    Nexus 6P for screen / battery
    HTC 10 for audio

    All I need now is for a Chinese, or Korean, Smartphone manufacturer to deliver an affordable Tablet with these impressive features (stock Android OS Marshmallow with quick update to Android OS N) ;)

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the best. I think.

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