It’s been a while since smartphone games were called casual. Several studios have released games with console- or PC-quality graphics for smartphones to give players a realistic gaming experience.
This shift has led smartphone manufacturers to introduce gaming-focused devices. Chip manufacturers like Qualcomm and MediaTek have developed processors specifically tailored for gaming, while OEMs like Asus, Lenovo and ZTE have invested resources in their R&D departments to create a harmony between powerful hardware, advanced cooling, gaming settings and the Android operating system to create smartphones designed for gaming. Here we look at some of the best gaming smartphones you can get right now, and some tips that should influence your decision.
Asus ROG Phone 5 at Amazon
First place goes to the Asus ROG Phone 5. This latest weapon in Asus’ arsenal will be released on the 15th. April sees the light of day. It is equipped with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888 5G processor to be ready for future 5G deployments. The screen of the ROG Phone 5 is a 6.78-inch Samsung AMOLED panel with a refresh rate of 144Hz. It’s HDR10+ certified and has a Gorilla Glass Victus panel with a special coating that makes it smooth even if your fingers get sweaty.
The base variant comes with 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 memory, which together ensure fast application startup and smooth device performance. It has a 6000 mAh battery split into two 3000 cells each for fast charging and better heat dissipation with the name addition of the Aero Active 5 cooler. The smartphone features a 64-megapixel camera with a Sony IMX 686 sensor on the back and a 24-megapixel camera on the front.
Asus ROG Phone 5 Tempest White
The audiovisual experience is completed by a digital and analogue audio converter. The built-in amplifier can detect the impedance of the headphones and switch to the correct setting. It has stereo speakers, each equipped with a Cirrus Logic amplifier that delivers about 20% more power.
Lenovo Legion Pro 5G on Amazon
Next we have a powerful smartphone from Lenovo, the Legion Pro. It’s a pretty good device with all those games on it. The aluminum body is perfectly integrated with the glass and gives the device a beautiful look. The device has an aesthetically pleasing design and features a flip camera that allows for a full 6.65-inch AMOLED display with FHD+ resolution. The refresh rate is 144 Hz and can be manually set to a lower frequency to extend battery life. It comes with a Snapdragon 865+ 5G-ready processor with 12 or 16 GB of RAM. The device is optimized for landscape use, as one of the USB-C ports (yes, it has two) for charging the 5000 mAh battery is located in the middle of its long side. The stereo speaker built into the Legion Pro seems to be overloaded and performs best at the maximum volume of 3/4.
Lenovo Legion Pro 5G is on board
The 64-megapixel dual camera on the back produces sharp images with rich colors, but lacks fine detail in low-light conditions. They are placed further back in the center to prevent smudging when the phone is in play mode. The pop-up selfie camera works well for video calls and selfies, but again, in landscape mode it sits in the middle of the long side instead of on top. There are two touch areas, called shoulder buttons, which are the triggers and can be configured for different games. Audio via Bluetooth can use the built-in aptX HD codecs for high-quality sound.
Lenovo Legion Pro 5G White
Lenovo Legion Pro 5G Blue
Black Shark 3 Pro on Amazon
Launched in March 2020, this premium smartphone from Xiaomi is still in high demand due to the brand’s global reach. The Black Shark Pro 3 is slightly heavier than most other models in its segment and has an all-aluminum construction. Yet it is the relationship between the screen and the body that has underpinned scanners since their inception. Although it has a 7.1-inch 2K+ screen, which is the largest among other gaming devices, the thick bezels on the outer edges did not do justice to this remarkable device. This is to accommodate the front camera. AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1440 x 3120 pixels and a refresh rate of 90 Hz.
On the back is a triple 64 MP camera that allows you to take good photos with accurate colors. However, low light shooting can still be improved. It is equipped with the same octa-core Snapdragon 865 processor, but with a single core boosted to 2.84 GHz. Graphics are handled by the proven Adreno 650. Special features of the Black Shark are the retractable shoulder buttons, which give it an impressive look, and the functionality of the mechanical triggers. The sound, although unbalanced on stereo speakers and headphones, is recommended for a much better audio-visual experience. Power is provided by a 5000 mAh battery that is split into two parts and supports Hyper Charge 65 W for ultra fast charging.
At the time of writing, we expect Black Shark 4 to be released soon. Powered by a Snapdragon 870 with an upgraded 144Hz screen and 120W Hyper Charge support, it becomes a real energizer with some changes in front and rear camera placement, with the front moving to the hole.
ZTE Nubia Red Magic 5G Black
ZTE seems to have found its niche by finally deciding to enter the gaming smartphone segment with its sub-brand Nubia. Come in with the Red Magic 5G. It is a device that offers better performance for its price. It was a proponent of 144Hz OLED screens in smartphones, which many considered unnecessary, but has now decided to follow suit. The Red Magic features a glass front and back on an aluminum frame, balancing durability and appearance. Inside, we find a Snapdragon 865 processor and an excellent cooling system with heatpipes and a real fan to dissipate the heat. RAM starts at 8GB and goes up to 16GB with different memory combinations.
ZTE Nubia Red Magic 5S Pulse
The Red Magic 5G has a 64-megapixel 3D camera on the back with RGB lighting, which allows you to take photos. The game’s excellent shoulder buttons are useful in both first- and third-person shooters. There is also the 2.1 playback section, which is actuated by a switch on top of the unit. Allows users to customize shoulder keys and boost CPU and GPU performance. However, this will definitely affect the 4500mAh battery, which Nubia tries to mitigate with the included 55-watt fast charger.
Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G on Amazon
You may be wondering what makes the most important device on this list? Samsung’s latest Note is a more than capable gaming device, but it comes with a price tag that could be considered exorbitant for most people. It’s the lightest device on the list and is encased in Gorilla Glass Victus panels on a stainless steel frame. There are two versions of this device, and the version for the US market is equipped with the Snapdragon 865 processor that has already made a name for itself in the gaming industry. However, gamers will not find various gaming features like shoulder buttons or gaming interfaces in the device.
Samsung Electronics Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G White
The Note 20 has a 6.9-inch Dynamic 2X AMOLED screen whose resolution is only surpassed by the Black Shark Pro 3. The refresh rate of 120 Hz is a feature suitable for competitive games. However, it’s a battery that the Note 20 can suffer from. To overcome this weakness, Samsung has provided Qi/wireless fast charging. The device has a triple camera of 108 MP which surpasses all the devices on the list. Samsung’s Ultra Note is a godsend for gamers who are looking for a device on which they can game and show off at the same time. But universals have a price, and this one is no different.
OnePlus’ recently launched flagship has achieved excellent performance in games thanks to its Snapdragon 888 processor. The latest OnePlus has become the versatile smartphone that people have been waiting for, as its camera developed with Hasselblad is already being hailed as a game-changer. Pro Gaming mode allows gamers to unlock the power of the CPU and GPU, the super-sensitive sample rate and touch engine provide a better gaming experience, the dual 3D stereo speakers improve situational awareness, and the gaming-grade cooling ensures you won’t overheat. Moreover, it has a 120Hz 2.0 LCD for its 6.7-inch AMOLEd display, which is covered on the front with Corning Gorilla Glass.
OnePlus 9 Pro on Amazon
What to look for in a gaming smartphone
A smartphone is already a complex device, and a gaming smartphone only complicates things. When it comes to decisions, it’s always a matter of majority preference. However, there are a few factors common to all mobile gamers that should be considered when making a decision.
Screen Size/Quality : You need to choose a screen size that you can carry, because it is a smartphone after all. You want it to fit in your pocket. Also, look for displays that support HDR 10+ with a minimum resolution of FHD+. The more resolutions you have, the brighter and more realistic your game will be. The refresh rate should be high (120 Hz or more) and the response time high so that fast actions are transmitted to the player and from the player to the device. AMOLED or OLED screens are preferred for their high contrast and pure black, as well as for their bright, vivid colors.
Processor: Many devices that have hit the market in the past year claim to be gaming devices, but have processors that are not optimized for gaming. The processor is the heart of the device. So it’s important to choose a device with a processor optimized for gaming. This goes hand in hand with a pre-loaded gaming app that allows you to customize your chip settings. This allows you to max out the CPU and GPU when you need to, which is usually called game mode.
Battery: You’re a player. You play on your smartphone. You certainly don’t want to sit in front of a plug and play all day. Although no battery will last if you play all day, it is advisable to choose devices with large batteries and devices with a quick charger. Wireless charging can save you money on devices with a low battery, but low battery notifications are still annoying. Then there is the issue of where the charging port is located. The usual charging position prevents players from holding their phones. With a simple L-connector or moving the USB-C port, you can continue playing without having to clamp down on a dragging cable.
Built-in/Game Features : Gaming devices should have excellent build quality and gaming DNA in their design. Emotions run high and that’s part of the game of competition. Therefore, your appliance must be properly constructed to withstand the pressure exerted on it. They usually have a sturdy body, a metal frame and a non-slip back panel that provides a good grip on the surface. More gaming smartphones with a good feel and programmable side triggers.
First of all, there is also the issue of cooling. Gaming smartphones should have a well-designed cooling system, whether it’s a steam or water cooling system. So the position of the front and rear cameras does not make a difference, although it is not as important as the other features mentioned above. A rear camera in a normal position means it’s likely to be noticed, and a front camera in a pin or punch can be a distraction.
Balance: If you can afford it, we have a device on our list that you can not only play with, but have fun with. In most cases, however, priorities must be taken into account. You have to accept that your device doesn’t have a top-notch camera because it’s meant for gaming and not photography. Therefore, look for features that meet your goal. Look for a streamlined user interface in a device that can be both your daily driver and a great gaming device.
Purchasing a smartphone has always been the preferred option. Even the best devices are subject to negative reviews and ratings on the internet. This does not mean that the device is bad. It didn’t really live up to some people’s expectations. Use our guide to choose the right one for you.
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