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Best phones for mobile gaming

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. These are the best phones for mobile gaming.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: for the ultimate choice

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the most powerful smartphones on the market. Packing the latest Snapdragon 820 processor, the Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM, it will cope with the most strenuous games available as well as those that are still to come.

Samsung's 2016 flagship is, of course, extremely pricey, but it offers the finest gaming experience available. It's also future-proof, as far as a smartphone can be, guaranteeing two years of top-level performance.

The upcoming Galaxy S8 will surely be a top performer as well, so when we get our hands on it, we'll let you know how it fares with games.

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The S7 Edge will be able to handle even high-end games of the future. / © ANDROIDPIT

The screen, curved at the edges, makes the most of its 5.5 inches, dissolving unsightly bezels as it peels away. As usual for Samsung, the viewing quality is of the highest standard available on the market.

Aside from the through-the-roof specs, the device is set up specifically to offer a superlative gaming experience. A Samsung-only software feature, the Game Launcher, 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, one way the S7 Edge is adpated to gaming, can be accessed via a floating button. / © ANDROIDPIT

Not only that, but the S7 devices are the first smartphones to use the Vulkan API, which is looking set to be the future of mobile gaming.

Nexus 6P: for price, power and panoramas

Powerful hardware no longer sits outside the budget of the modest buyer. Xiaomi is producing handsets capable of competing with Samsung and Apple flagships for almost half the price, and mid-range devices are quickly climbing the ladder and biting at high-end heels.

The Nexus 6P contains last year's Snapdragon 810 processor and Adreno 430 GPU, placing it within spitting distance of the Galaxy S7 Edge. Studded with 3 GB of RAM and a 5.7-inch AMOLED screen, the Nexus 6P looks stunning, performs admirably and it does it all at an impressive price point.

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Plenty of space to admire the view on the Nexus 6P. / © ANDROIDPIT

You can pick up a Nexus 6P for around $450. That's $300 less than a Galaxy S7 Edge. Any gamer, even one pushing the performance through graphically demanding long-haul sessions, is unlikely to suffer through slowdown and frame rate drops with the Nexus 6P.

Although the specs are slightly lower than the S7 Edge, the Nexus 6P has the advantage when it comes to screen size. Its 5.7 inches of viewing space provide ample room to enjoy those HD graphics, and the AMOLED technology means color reproduction is superb. It also has the same resolution as the S7 Edge and, despite the larger screen size, the pixel density isn't far off: 518 ppi vs 534 ppi.

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The Nexus 6P has a fantastic screen. / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC 10: for flagship audio

If you like your games played loud, there's no better choice than the HTC 10. The company, long renowned for its BoomSound audio, has upped its game on the HTC 10. As on its previous models, HTC has employed stereo speakers, but they've also added a twist.

Only the top speaker is front-facing; the bottom speaker now resides on the the frame running along the base of the phone. The top speaker is used for trebles and mids, while the newly located bottom speaker plays the role of a subwoofer, focusing on lower-end frequencies.

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The HTC 10's new, slightly hidden BoomSound speaker. / © ANDROIDPIT

The speakers are a standout feature on the HTC 10, but it's also a beautiful phone, and it contains specs to compete alongside the Galaxy S7 range. We find the Snapdragon 820 inside, along with the Adreno 530 GPU, just like Samsung's effort, and there's also 4 GB of RAM. Performance-wise, there will be little discernible difference between this and the Galaxy S7 Edge.

The only downside here is that the HTC 10 doesn't have an AMOLED display. It instead opts for Super LCD 5 technology. It looks great, but not it's not as close to perfection as the Galaxy S7's display, although it does have a higher pixel density.

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Hear those guns rattle by picking up an HTC 10. / © ANDROIDPIT

OnePlus X: for price-conscious performance

Running the Snapdragon 801, the flagship processor of 2014, might not seem like enough to play with the big boys, but the OnePlus X puts in a sterling effort for a $199 phone. It's never going to compete with the Snapdragon 820-wielding beasts of 2016, but at this price point there's little room for argument.

Running the Epic Citadel benchmark, which uses the Unreal engine, on ultra-high quality, the frame rate did bounce around, but it rarely stuttered and ended up achieving over 40 fps on average.

The screen, at 5.1 inches, might not be enough for some, but there will always have to be sacrifices at this price point.

Overall, for under $200, the OnePlus X is a fantastic choice for the gamer who expects decent but not benchmark-breaking performance.

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Not bad for $199. / © ANDROIDPIT

Which phone would you choose as your gaming companion? Let us know in the comments.


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

  • Mark
    • Mod
    4 months ago 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.

  • Fred Brown 10 months ago Link to comment

    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 11 months ago 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 11 months ago Link to comment

    No G5? WTF

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

  • Mark
    • Mod
    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) ;)

  • Eric Romero
    • Mod
    Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the best. I think.

  • Man tough choices. Probably have to go with the S7 because it is 'set up' for gaming. Also, what game is in the last picture?

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