Top 6 Gaming Smartphones 2024

If you’re obsessed with playing games like Call of Duty or PUBG: Battlegrounds on the go, then you’ll want to consider buying one of the best gaming phones for the job.

There are now dedicated gaming phones that prioritise performance above all else. They can also come stuffed to the brim with gaming features, making the gaming experience as seamless as possible. We’ve made sure to review all of the latest models to see which is worth your money and listed the cream of the crop below.

Every phone that we include in this list has been fully tested by one of our experts, using both real-world experience and synthetic benchmark tests to determine how each device stacks up against the competition.

We’ve also made sure to include a few smartphones that aren’t necessarily certified gaming phones, but still offer superb performance while also excelling in other areas such as camera quality. These will be superb options for those who like to game on a phone but also want a balanced performance for everyday use.

Best Gaming Phones at a Glance

RedMagic 9 Pro

Best overall gaming phone

Pros

  • The fastest Android phone we’ve tested to date.
  • Beautiful, bright and uninterrupted display.
  • Slick design with customisable lighting.
  • Competitive Pricing.

Cons

  • The under-display camera is still terrible.
  • No wireless charging.
  • No IP rating.
  • Minor software bugs to iron out.

If you want a proper gaming phone with all of the RGB glam, then the RedMagic 9 Pro is our top recommendation. Unlike most phones on this list, RedMagic isn’t afraid to show off its gaming identity, with a motherboard pattern on the rear and customisable bright lighting.

There are a number of excellent gaming features here that set this phone apart from Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy. Most notably, the RedMagic has integrated touch triggers, allowing you to use the rim of the phone as makeshift triggers rather than having to slap on a controller accessory.

This is also one of the most powerful gaming phones ever tested, going toe to toe with the excellent Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition. This means you’ll be able to play any mobile game with ease, with a huge battery ensuring you can keep gaming for hours.

The RedMagic 9 Pro does come with compromises beyond gaming. There’s no support for wireless charging, and the camera pales in comparison to other phones at this price point. But if gaming on the go is your priority, and you want a flashy design to show off, then there’s no better choice.

Reviewer: Luke Baker
Full Review: Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro review

 

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition

The most powerful gaming phone

Pros

  • Blazing fast gaming performance.
  • Smaller design with improved waterproofing.
  • The camera has been upgraded with 3x optical zoom.
  • Still packed with excellent gaming features.

Cons

  • The rear gets scratched very easily.
  • Downgraded speakers.
  • The camera still not as good as the competition.

When it comes to performance power, there’s no better option than the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition. It has the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip that you’ll find in most new handsets, but Asus has paired this model with a whopping 24GB of RAM as well as bundling it with a cooler accessory to eke out every drop of performance.

Like the RedMagic 9 Pro, this phone is brimming with gaming features such as the AirTriggers, key mapping and Macros. The software is excellent too, enabling you to make tweaks on the fly, even in the middle of an intense match.

Asus has made a controversial decision to dial down the gaming design elements. This means there’s very little RGB lighting here, while the rear looks plain. The light-up AniMe Matrix feature is a great addition though, using a Mini LED panel to display the likes of notifications, battery status and the time.

Despite the inclusion of a new Telephoto lens for improved zoomed-in shots, the camera still can’t compete with efforts from Apple and Samsung. But if you’re happy to make that sacrifice in the name of gaming performance, then this is a great option.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Asus ROG Phone 8 Ultimate review

 

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Best Apple gaming phone

Pros

  • It has USB-C (finally).
  • 5x zoom is welcome.
  • Much comfier to hold and use; and so much lighter.

Cons

  • The Action Button is welcome – but it could do more.
  • No 128GB option means a higher price.

The iPhone has long been a great choice for mobile gamers, especially with the fantastic value offered by Apple Arcade. But Apple has taken impressive strides forward with the new iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Thanks to the cutting-edge A17 Pro chip, the flagship iPhone is remarkably able to play AAA games such as Resident Evil 4 and Assassin’s Creed Mirage. You obviously won’t be getting a performance to the same standard as a PS5 or Xbox Series X, but it’s nevertheless impressive that you can play some of the latest games on the go.

Unlike the certified gaming phones on this list, the iPhone 15 Pro Max offers a more complete package for your money. It has one of the best cameras you can buy, a classy durable design, and streamlined software optimised for everyday use.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full Review: Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Review

 

Poco X6 Pro

Best budget gaming phone

Pros

  • Powerful MediaTek processor.
  • Bright 120Hz OLED display.
  • Great main and selfie cameras.

Cons

  • Bloatware.
  • Advertisements in some system apps.
  • Weak ultrawide and macro cameras.

Most gaming phones cost upwards of £1000/$1000 outright, which may well feel excessive considering that’s even more expensive than a PS5 and Xbox Series X. The Poco X6 Pro is an outstanding solution to this problem, offering incredible performance and a slew of gaming features at a very reasonable price.

Powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 8300-Ultra, it’s one of the fastest chips you can find at this price point. Our testing showed the phone is capable of running the likes of Genshin Impact at 60fps, ensuring a smooth performance while keeping temperatures reasonable.

It also has a few gaming-focused features to improve the experience, including software that will automatically optimise performance for gaming workloads, and a 120Hz refresh rate to keep the on-screen motion smooth on that lovely 6.67-inch AMOLED panel.

Of course, bagging this phone at a cheaper price than the competition does come with compromises. The performance isn’t quite as good as the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition, while the ultrawide and macro cameras will likely disappoint photographers. There’s also a lot of bloatware and in-app adverts that cheapen the experience. Nevertheless, those flaws are easy to forgive when you’re getting such an excellent gaming experience at a budget-friendly price.

Reviewer: Luke Baker
Full Review: Poco X6 Pro review

 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Best Android flagship for gaming

Pros

  • 200MP camera delivers in both well-lit and low-light conditions.
  • Top-notch performance from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy.
  • All-day battery life.
  • Stunningly detailed 6.8in 120Hz display.

Cons

  • Very expensive.
  • Relatively slow 45W charging.
  • Difficult to use one-handed.

While most of the entries in this list are dedicated gaming phones, built expressly for that purpose and nothing else, this one is a flagship smartphone that boasts excellent gaming performance as just one of its many accomplishments. If you pick this device, you’ll be able to play the best games in style – but you’ll get more than that, too.

In terms of its gaming capabilities, you’ll find a truly excellent performer here that is among the speediest Android phones around with an exclusive Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset. It’s also got an utterly brilliant 120Hz WQHD+ screen, arguably the best on any smartphone you can buy, and it makes games a joy to play.

You won’t get some purist gaming enhancements, such as shoulder trigger buttons, but you will get some advantages that other gaming phones may miss out on, including a guaranteed five years of software updates and a brilliant camera system with a suite of lenses that include a main 200MP sensor and impressive zooming capabilities that are head and shoulders above the others on the market.

If you’re looking for an Android device that can handle games with aplomb but offers so much more, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is an easy recommendation. However, with the imminent launch of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, it may be worth waiting a little longer for the newer model.

Reviewer: Lewis Painter
Full Review: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review

 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Best cheap phone for gaming

Pros

  • Large 7.6-inch foldable display.
  • The most powerful foldable phone around.
  • Better app support than other book-style foldable.

Cons

  • Very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.
  • £100/$150 price increase.
  • Identical camera setup.

If you want something totally different for your gaming experience, look no further than the foldable Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. The foldable nature of the book-style smartphone means you’ve got access to a large, high-res 7.6-inch 120Hz AMOLED display when you want to play games on a big screen while still folding down to a size resembling a standard smartphone.

It’s not just the sheer size of the foldable display that makes the Z Fold 5 the best foldable for gaming either; it also boasts Qualcomm’s custom Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, just like the S23 Ultra. It’s more than capable of powering high-end AAA gaming experiences with high-level graphics enabled with consistent gameplay even over longer periods of use.

Elsewhere, a 4,400mAh battery should be enough to get you through even demanding gaming sessions, a triple rear camera setup offers more versatility than a regular gaming phone and it has four OS upgrades and five years of security patches to look forward to.

Reviewer: Lewis Painter
Full Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review

FAQs

What is the best gaming phone?

Overall, we’d pick the RedMagic 9 Pro as the best overall gaming phone you can buy.

Which iPhone should I buy if I like gaming?

We’d recommend the iPhone 15 Pro Max if you love gaming but want to stick with an iPhone.

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