Best gaming phone 2021: smartphones with a killer gaming edge
While almost any phone on the market can play games, flagship phones play them just fine, that doesn’t necessarily make them great gaming phones.
The best gaming phones make gaming on the go a top priority, with common elements like camera quality and even a tasteful design indented. Yes, those phones will tend to be powerful, but a great gaming phone will give you a lot more than raw polygon pushing power.
A great gaming phone also provides gaming-focused UI elements, advanced cooling and battery features, responsive displays, custom control options, and even RGB lighting. It’s true that no list of the “best-looking smartphones” is likely to include a gaming phone, but that’s really not the point.
All the phones in the following list will give you an edge when playing competitive games like CoD Mobile, PUBG: New State, League of Legends: Wild Rift, etc. These are the best gaming phones you can buy in 2021.
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How to buy the best gaming phone for you
Finding the right gaming phone for you can seem like a tricky task. Gaming phones aren’t as widely available as non-gaming phones, and they will tend to run out of stock more often. They are niche devices after all, but to help you find a suitable handset, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know when shopping for your next gaming phone.
Do I even need a gaming phone?
This is the most important question to ask yourself right off the bat, especially since most phone buyers won’t necessarily need a gaming-centric handheld. If gaming is just one of the many things you love to do on your phone – and one thing that’s pretty trivial – then you’re almost certainly better off with a normal phone of some sort.
Even if you play a lot of games, the answer is probably always “No”. A diet of mostly casual or offline gaming doesn’t require the specific strengths that a gaming phone brings to the table. Gaming phones are really for those who play a lot of intense, usually multiplayer and competitive mobile games with complex and customizable control schemes. Think online shooters like CoD Mobile or mobile MOBAs like Wild Rift.
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What do gaming phones deliver that regular phones don’t?
Gaming phones typically use the exact same processors and GPUs as most mainstream flagship smartphones. Decent power is just a table issue here. What a gaming phone will give you, unlike an iPhone, is a design that’s fundamentally built around gaming. They will often be larger and more rounded so that they are more comfortable to hold in landscape orientation and they will have mappable physical controls to complement the usual touchscreen inputs.
Gaming phones will tend to have improved cooling systems and high capacity batteries, both of which are built in to power extended gaming sessions. While charging doesn’t tend to be faster than flagship non-gaming phones, gaming phones often allow you to bypass the battery entirely so you can play while plugged in without things getting stuck. hot, and you may be able to plug it into the mains. in landscape too.
Finally, gaming phones will often give you custom UI overlays that allow you to access high performance modes, control customization, do not disturb gaming focused profiles, and more.
The best gaming phones to buy in 2021
1. Nubia Redmagic 6S Pro: the best all-round gaming phone
Price: From Â£ 519 | Buy now from Redmagic
The Nubia Redmagic 6S Pro is the best all-round gaming phone on the market right now. For your money, you get top performance through the Snapdragon 888 Plus processor, which is a bit of a rarity, and that’s complemented by plenty of RAM and storage configurations as well.
It also has the smoothest display on the market, with a 165Hz refresh rate and extremely responsive 720Hz touch sample rate for instant touch input. It’s also a 6.8 inch color accurate AMOLED display. Elsewhere, the Redmagic 6S Pro’s Turbo Fan cooling system keeps the heat at its lowest, while its excellent air triggers really take your gaming to the next level.
All of that, and the Nubia Redmagic 6S Pro starts at just Â£ 519, less than half the price of our ‘money-not-applicable’ pick, the Asus Rog Phone 5s Pro, featured below. The truth is, the Redmagic 6s Pro could pretty easily fill all of our picks on this list – it’s just as well.
Read our full Nubia Redmagic 6S Pro review for more details.
Key Specifications – Processor: Octa-core 3GHz Snapdragon 888 Plus; Screen: 6.8 inches, 2400 x 1080, 165 Hz; Camera: 64MP (wide), 8MP (ultra wide) and 2MP (macro); Storage: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB; Operating system: Android 11
Buy now from Redmagic
2. Nubia Redmagic 6R: the best value for money gaming phone
Price: From Â£ 389 | Buy now from Redmagic
If your budget can’t go up to the more expensive Redmagic 6S Pro, then Nubia is a great alternative to the Redmagic 6R as well. A device that is easier to use on a daily basis than its more capable sibling, thanks to a more compact and sober design, it offers a similar punch with a Snapdragon 888 processor and a fast 6.67-inch screen at 144 Hz. You still get Dedicated trigger buttons, as well as benefits from Nubia’s custom user interface.
There are, however, a few concessions that committed players will want to be aware of. The Redmagic 6R’s 4,200mAh battery is a bit small for a gaming phone, while the presence of a perforated notch is a bit of a nuisance.
But for the money, you won’t be able to find a better equipped gaming phone than the Redmagic 6R.
Read our full Nubia Redmagic 6R review for more details.
Key Specifications – Processor: Octa-core 2.84 GHz Snapdragon 888; Screen: 6.67 inches, 2400 x 1080, 144Hz; Camera: 64MP (wide), 8MP (ultralarge) and 5MP (macro), 2MP (depth); Storage: 128 GB, 256 GB; Operating system: Android 11
Buy now from Redmagic
3.Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro: The best high-end gaming phone
Price: From Â£ 1,099 | Buy now from Asus
If money isn’t really an item in your quest for gaming perfection, then the Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro certainly goes the extra mile.
It matches the Nubia Redmagic 6S Pro for sheer power, thanks to a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 Plus processor, which it pairs with an absurd 18GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. It also has a precise set of physical trigger buttons, which really gives a gaming edge. The ROG Phone 5s Pro’s 6000mAh battery is absolutely huge, and in our testing got us through gaming sessions. intense more comfortably than any of its rivals.
The icing on the cake is a strap cooling fan, which keeps the phone at peak performance for longer, while providing an additional pair of remappable physical buttons.
Key Specifications – Processor: Octa-core 3GHz Snapdragon 888 Plus; Screen: 6.78 inches, 2400 x 1080, 144Hz; Camera: 64MP (wide), 13MP (ultralarge) and 5MP (macro); Storage: 512 GB; Operating system: Android 11
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