7 reasons why you shouldn’t buy an Android gaming phone
Every year, like clockwork, we hear about a new gaming phone that’s supposed to be the most powerful Android phone in the world. In 2022, that title belongs to the ROG Phone 6 Pro; the phone is any mobile gamer’s dream phone.
However, as impressive as they are for their ridiculously high-end specs, you probably shouldn’t buy a gaming phone, even if you manage to find plenty of them. Here are seven reasons why you should avoid gaming phones and buy a regular Android phone instead.
1. Gaming phones are expensive
By default, gaming phones focus on the best possible performance; after all, that’s what they’re designed for. But achieving this performance instantly increases the manufacturing cost, as the device must have the latest chipset, the best cooling system and premium materials for better heat dissipation.
That’s bad because a slightly older flagship chip is usually almost as fast as the latest, but available for less. If companies use the former, they can pass those savings on to the consumer and make their gaming phones more affordable.
The reason this doesn’t work in practice is that gamers tend to obsess over the best specs. So they may perceive a gaming phone with an older chip as significantly weaker and decide not to buy it. In reality, there may be no difference in the real world.
2. Poor camera quality
Perhaps the biggest problem with gaming phones is their poor camera quality. Put any gaming phone next to a regular Android phone of the same price and you’ll find that the former almost always takes worse shots, regardless of the time of day. If you’re curious, you can see sample cameras in our Red Magic 7 Pro gaming phone review.
But why does this happen? Simply put, gaming phones have poor camera quality because most of the money spent on manufacturing them is spent on improving performance and creating special gaming features.
Everything important to improve your gaming experience takes priority, but since the camera is one of the few things you don’t use as much when gaming, it gets overlooked to cut costs. Due to this limitation, gaming phones are unreliable as daily drivers.
3. They’re not comfortable to hold
Gaming phones are generally bigger, wider, thicker, and heavier than regular phones. This is due to all the extra internals they have such as an internal cooling system, RGB lights, bigger battery, better materials, etc.
Some gaming phones go even further. Among the best features of the Red Magic 7 are an integrated turbofan engine and air ducts in the body of the phone. All these additional elements combined make the device bulky. This might not be a big deal for you, but people with small hands will definitely find gaming phones uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time.
4. They have unnecessary specs and features
Gaming phones top the charts when it comes to specs, but some of those specs are useless. For example, the ROG Phone 6 Pro has a screen refresh rate of 165Hz. This is an unnecessary expense for three reasons.
Firstly, most people struggle to notice improvements beyond 90Hz, let alone 165Hz. Secondly, only a select number of games can support higher refresh rates, making them largely redundant in many cases. And three 120Hz screens are now standard, making them cheaper to produce. Putting a faster display on the phone will lead to unnecessary costs.
Likewise, adding an excessive amount of RAM is also pretty pointless. Even the most graphically demanding titles can run smoothly with 8GB to 12GB of RAM. Beyond that point, adding more RAM makes no difference to gameplay and only increases costs.
5. Poor water and dust resistance
If you noticed, gaming phones also tend not to have an official IP rating for dust and water resistance. On the rare occasions they do, they settle for a semi-poor rating like the IPX4 rating found on the ROG Phone 6 Pro. One reason for this is that getting an official IP rating costs money, so OEMs avoid it to cut costs.
But more importantly, gaming phones can’t have flagship IP ratings because their design simply doesn’t allow for it. On the Red Magic 7, for example, the turbofan and air ducts help blow hot air to keep your phone cool, but they also allow dust and water to seep in.
This means that while a few accidental splashes here and there won’t destroy your gaming phone, you absolutely shouldn’t use it near a pool or take it to the beach.
6. The design is polarizing
Decals, LEDs, and design tweaks on gaming phones give them their unique identity and are undoubtedly pleasing to the eye, but they aren’t always right for every situation.
Don’t be surprised if your gaming phone gets strange looks from people on the street or if your co-workers perceive you as nerdy. That said, you can just stick a custom back cover or skin on your phone to cover its design.
7. Even if you always want one, they are hard to get
While any modern smartphone can be used as a gaming device, there are only a handful of companies that make dedicated gaming phones, including Asus, ZTE, Lenovo, and Black Shark. For this reason, getting your hands on a gaming phone is not that easy.
And given their limited availability and supply chain issues, many local retailers don’t bother to sell them. So, you might have to ship your gaming phone internationally, which means you’ll have to worry about shipping costs and a potential delay in delivery.
Gaming phones aren’t the best for everyday use
Gaming phones are good for a lot of things, but they’re still niche products and you should only buy them if you know what you’re doing. Seeing impressive benchmark scores can be tempting, but on paper performance isn’t as important as real-world functionality.
Things like poor camera quality, lack of an official IP rating, bulky design, and high price tag make gaming phones a bad buy for many people. In most cases, it’s better to buy a regular phone at the same price with fewer compromises and more reliability.