Categories
Android Update

The best phones for gaming: Play faster and better

Asus Rog Phone 6 front with accessories

Robert Triggs / iandroid.eu

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 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.

The best gaming phones:

1. Asus ROG Phone 6 series

Asus Rog Phone 6 back hero image

Robert Triggs / iandroid.eu

The ROG Phone 6 series consist of two phones. The first is the ROG Phone 6 Pro, which is the more powerful of the two. It has everything a gamer needs, including a large 6.78-inch display with a 165Hz refresh rate, a massive 6,000mAh battery with 65W charging, and great performance thanks to Snapdragon’s latest chipset paired with 18GB of RAM.

Read next: Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro review

The device comes with ultrasonic Airtriggers that are fully customizable in terms of sensitivity and button mapping. To level up your gaming experience, you can also get various accessories like Asus’ Aero Active Cooler 6 which does a great job cooling down the handset when playing games for a long time, or the Kunai 3 controller which makes the gaming experience more comfortable for most people.

The second device in the series is the ROG Phone 6, which is more or less identical to the Pro model. The only two differences are that it tops out at 16GB of RAM instead of 18GB and that it lacks a secondary rear display, which is capable of displaying the time, text messages, logos, and other simple things. We actually think that the vanilla model is a better overall buy if budget is any concern whatsoever.

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a newer range called the ROG Phone 6D/6D Ultimate. The main difference here is swapping the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 for a Dimensity 9000 Plus SoC. The Ultimate model also has a built-in cooling port on the back to improve thermal performance (with a compatible accessory). However, the newer lineup is a sidegrade at best, and we’ve found that performance is better overall on the standard 6 series models.

None of the phones are perfect, though, as they lack wireless charging and have a limited IPX4 rating. Regardless, they are still among the best if not the best gaming phones you can currently get.


ROG Phone 6 specs:

  • Display: 6.78-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
  • RAM: 8/12/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 50, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12

ROG Phone 6 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.78-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 18GB
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Cameras: 50, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12

2. Black Shark 5 Pro

Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro

The Black Shark 5 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset that can handle just about any game out there when paired with as much as 18GB of RAM. It features dual VC liquid cooling plates that have a new “anti-gravity” feature designed to improve the circulation of the cooling liquid. The processor, battery, and 5G antenna are directly connected to the cooling plate via a copper alloy design, which should help provide superior heat dissipation and keep the phone cool enough to run at peak performance.

The handset sports magnetic triggers, giving gamers a tactile controller feel rather than relying solely on on-screen controls. It packs a 4,650mAh battery with 120W charging that gets the phone from zero to full in just 15 minutes, according to the company.

Other specs and features worth pointing out include a 6.67-inch display with a 144Hz refresh rate, three rear cameras, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. However, software support is somewhat limited compared to the ROG Phone 6 above.


Black Shark 5 Pro specs

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 8/12/16GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,650mAh
  • Software: Android 12

3. Nubia Red Magic 7

RedMagic 7 back in hand

Robert Triggs / iandroid.eu

If you’re looking for one of the best gaming phones that’s a little easier on the wallet, the Nubia Red Magic 7 will tick a lot of boxes. Designed for gaming first and foremost, it has the high-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, active cooling, shoulder triggers, and a blazing fast 165Hz AMOLED display.

That active cooling feature is also a huge upgrade over last year’s Red Magic 6, with the company promising 400 times better heat dissipation and absorption. It even has a headphone jack!

But the real kicker is that it costs less than half the sticker price of some of its brand-name competitors. Starting at just $629/€629/£529, it’s just a hair more expensive than many upper-midrange phones, with specs that punch well above that. You don’t get the same commitment to updates or camera performance, but for pure gaming, it’s a killer device.


Nubia Red Magic 7 specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 12/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 8, an 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 12

4. OnePlus 10 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro right rear profile

Eric Zeman / iandroid.eu

OnePlus is a perennial favorite of our readers here at iandroid.eu, and for good reason. These phones might not offer the same level of value as they have in the past, but they combine great hardware with great software in a way that’s sure to please.

Read also: OnePlus 10 Pro buyer’s guide

2022 only features one model in global markets: the OnePlus 10 Pro. Much like last year’s OnePlus 9 Pro, it earns a spot among the best gaming phones with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 12 GB of RAM, and a gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED display.

Like all Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones, it will run hot when gaming. That will reduce your overall battery life, but thankfully it includes a fast charger in the box. There was some minor controversy when OnePlus announced charging speeds are lower in the US than outside the US (65W vs 80W), but rest assured that the difference is a matter of only a few minutes charging time.


OnePlus 10 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 50, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 5,000Ah
  • Software: Android 12

5. Samsung Galaxy S22 series

Samsung Galaxy S22 family in blue on wood

Eric Zeman / iandroid.eu

All three Galaxy S22 models offer top-of-the-line specs, including adaptive 120Hz AMOLED displays, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (or Exynos 2200) processors, and excellent battery life. The S22 Ultra is obviously the most powerful of the bunch, with an extremely versatile camera setup and, just like last year, S-Pen support. Only this time, the S-Pen is integrated into the body of the device. Galaxy Note fans, rejoice!

It isn’t just about the hardware, either. All three 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. Samsung also offers the best software support in the business, including four years of Android version updates and five years of security updates. That’s more than twice what other gaming phones offer.

None of these phones are cheap, but any of the Samsung Galaxy S22 phones are a great choice for those looking for one of the best gaming phones you can buy.


Samsung Galaxy S22 specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: SD 8 Gen1 or Exynos 2200
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 50, 12, and 10MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,700mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.6-inch, FHD+
  • Chipset: SD 8 Gen1 or Exynos 2200
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 50, 12, and 10MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: SD 8 Gen1 or Exynos 2200
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 12, 10, and 10MP
  • Front cameras: 40MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12

6. Xiaomi 12 series

Xiaomi 12 series rear panel angled

Eric Zeman / iandroid.eu

Xiaomi has long had great flagship contenders in its Mi series, and this year the company has dropped the Mi monicker for its Xiaomi 12 series lineup. There’s no Ultra model (yet), but the other two premium phones in the lineup have what it takes to compete with the best from Samsung, Apple, and others.

Read also: Xiaomi 12 series buyer’s guide

The top-of-the-line Xiaomi 12 Pro is a 2022 flagship through and through. It has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, and a 120Hz WQHD AMOLED screen. The sizeable 4,700mAh battery is a bit smaller than the Mi 11, but the speedy 120W wired charging or 50W wireless charging more than makes up for it.

On the more affordable side, the Xiaomi 12 hits many of the same points. The only major compromises with respect to the Pro version are slower charging speeds and weaker camera sensors, neither of which are a dealbreaker when shopping for the best gaming phones. It also undercuts the Samsung Galaxy S22 in price, making it a very attractive alternative.

The same cannot be said about the Xiaomi 12X, which swaps out its processor for a Snapdragon 870. It’s still powerful enough to play the vast majority of games, but it might not fare so well in a few years. Still, at roughly $650 you’ll struggle to find such great value anywhere else.

However, the major downside here is that none of these phones are officially sold in the US. The phones are available in Xiaomi’s international markets, including but not limited to Europe, India, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America.


Xiaomi 12X specs

  • Display: 6.28-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 870
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 50, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Xiaomi 12 specs

  • Display:6.28-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 50, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Xiaomi 12 Pro specs

  • Display: 6.73-inch, WQHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 50, 50, and 50MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,600mAh
  • Software: Android 12

7. iPhone 14 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max purple back

Robert Triggs / iandroid.eu

We usually talk about Android phones here at iandroid.eu, but we’d be doing a disservice to all of you by not including the iPhone 14 Pro Max among the best gaming phones. It offers incredible performance, fantastic cameras, and access to a more robust (albeit closed) ecosystem.

Read also: Apple iPhone 14 buyer’s guide

There are once again four phones in the 2022 iPhone lineup, but we chose the iPhone 14 Pro Max for this list because of its larger screen. Measuring 6.7-inches, the ProMotion 120Hz OLED panel is sharp, bright, and has an excellent contrast ratio at 2,000,000:1. It isn’t a huge change from 2022’s iPhone 13 Pro Max, but honestly we didn’t find many faults with that phone, either.

If the iPhone 14 Pro Max display is too big (or expensive) for you, you should also consider the iPhone 14 Pro. It features a smaller 6.1-inch OLED screen and the same great A16 Bionic processor, which is more than enough power for any games you throw at it. The other two phones in the iPhone 14 lineup, the vanilla 14 and 14 Plus, use the year-old Bionic A15. They’re still powerful, but if you want the best gaming phone we recommend sticking with the Pro/Pro Max models.


iPhone 14 Pro Max specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, OLED 120Hz
  • SoC: Apple A16 Bionic
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB/1TB
  • Cameras: 48, 12, 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 4,323mAh
  • Software: iOS 16

iPhone 13 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, OLED 120Hz
  • SoC: Apple A16 Bionic
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB/1TB
  • Cameras: 48, 12, 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 3,200mAh
  • Software: iOS 16

8. Poco F4 GT

Poco F4 GT back upright

Hadlee Simons / iandroid.eu

Aside from the flagship silicon here, Poco’s phone also offers a pair of retractable shoulder buttons for use in games. Toss in a 4,700mAh battery with 120W charging, quad speakers, and a 120Hz OLED panel and you’ve got a great device for mobile gaming.

There are two downsides to the Poco F4 GT, though. The first is the lack of US availability, while the second is the disappointing secondary camera performance. Regardless, this is still one of the best gaming phones you can get.

Poco F4 GT specs

  • Display: 6.67-inch, FHD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 8GB/12GB
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,700mAh
  • Software: Android 12