If you’re reading Touch Tap Play, chances are you really love playing games on your smartphone. But what are the best phones for gaming in 2020? This is the question that we’ll help answer in today’s article!
We’ll make it easy for you to select the best gaming phone on the market depending on your needs (and budget) by listing the smartphones below – but if you want to read more about them, we’ll also have in depth reviews of each device and other tips on how to pick the best phone for mobile games.
But let’s just start with an easy to read list if you don’t want to go through tons of text when deciding what’s the best smartphone for games for you!
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Best Gaming Phones in 2020 – Detailed
If you want to read more about the recommended devices above, you can do so below. We’ll cover all the important aspects related to each of the phones that made it on our list, while also trying to keep it as simple and concise as possible.
But if you want to make a really educated choice and make sure that you’re not only getting a smartphone that is great for gaming, but also for all the other needs you might have (like taking photos, for example), it’s best to go through our short summaries.
1. ASUS ROG Phone 2
This is one of the few phones designed specifically with gamers in mind – and our top choice based on its specifications and overall performance. It is pretty expensive for an Android phone, but you’re paying for excellence.
This is one of the best performing devices at the moment, thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chipset (with octa-core CPU clocked at 2.96GHz which is really amazing) and dedicated GPU – the amazing Adreno 640, also one of the best on the market at the moment.
It also has a ton of RAM – 12GB – to make everything run faster than ever and with its 1TB of internal memory, you will never have to worry about running out of space. It doesn’t have a microSD slot, but with that much storage, you won’t need one!
Since this is a smartphone for gaming, it has some features that few other phones have: a solid AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate for the best gaming experience on mobile ever.
The display itself runs on FHD+ resolution (1080 x 2340 pixels) and the screen is large, which is perfect for gaming: 6.59 inches, with around 80% screen-to-body ratio. In other words, this phone is large, but not phablet-style, so still comfortable enough to hold in your hand and use as a regular smartphone.
It also has a huge battery – 6,000 mAh, giving you enough power to play the most demanding games on the go without worrying about battery life. And when it runs out of juice, the Quick Charging option allows it to quickly get back on track.
Also, as playing mobile games on the highest visual settings increases the device’s temperature, the ROG Phone 2 has a built-in cooling system to keep things in place. You can also use the included clip-on fan to reduce the temperatures of the device even more, if needed.
So from a gamer’s perspective, this is as good as it gets: a perfect phone for even the most demanding mobile games, delivering a lag-free experience.
Design-wise, it is a bit thicker than your regular phone (9.5 mm) but it also needs more room for all those goodies. I personally like it – it’s definitely a phone with style and works perfect for gamers.
The camera is the only thing that doesn’t really impress, even though we’re talking about a 48 MP / 13MP Ultrawide combo and a 24MP selfie cam. While you can definitely get more than decent photos from this phone, other flagships offer much better performance here.
Another potential con for some people is the fact that it doesn’t offer wireless charging (but with the Quick Charge feature, you won’t really have time to mind) and it is not waterproof. These are things that don’t really affect the product as a whole though and it still remains the best smartphone for gaming right now (even though not the cheapest!)
2. Xiaomi Mi 9T
(Best budget pick)
If you’re looking for a smartphone for gaming, but you’re on a budget, this would be your perfect choice. I’m becoming more and more of a fan of Xiaomi, owning all sorts of products from them and I have never been disappointed.
It has quite a bit of processing power thanks to the Snapdragon 730 chipset it is equipped with, as well as 6GB of RAM. These are not the most amazing specifications you could find, but definitely amazing ones for its price.
It can handle gaming pretty well and you won’t have any problems running your games on it without the need of recharging for longer periods of time thanks to its 4,000 mAH battery.
It also comes in full HD (2340 x 1080p resolution) and you get a 6.39″ AMOLED display that delivers solid colors and graphics for the games you plan to play. Even more, it comes with the brand’s proprietary GAME Turbo 2.0 which maximizes in-game performance.
The biggest disappointment here is the limited amount of storage it offers: just 64GB and no microSD slot, which means that you have to make this work for as long as you own the phone. While the amount is not extremely low, it’s not huge either, especially if you like taking a lot of photos and recording videos.
And you will probably do both, as the Xiaomi Mi 9T can handle photography really well, not just gaming. It has 3 rear cameras (the main one of 48MP) and an interesting pop-up selfie camera. It does look a bit strange and funny at first, but for those of you who are very concerned about their privacy, it’s an added layer of support.
Finally, the device also has supports for the 5G technology, meaning that you can be able to play online games without any speed limitations coming from older mobile internet connections.
All in all, while this is not the absolute best phone for gaming as it has its limitations (mostly related to storage, though), it is a really good device that can handle games flawlessly, but also take good photos and act as a solid overall device. Definitely worth checking out!
3. Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
(Best for iOS gaming)
If you’re an Apple fan, then you know you don’t have a ton of choices when it comes to gaming on a mobile. But that’s not really a big issue, because Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max is an absolute game changer in the industry, offering top performance, amazing camera and basically everything you want or need from a smartphone.
As a downside, it’s more expensive than most mobiles on the market – but that’s how it has always been and nobody seems to complain too much about it. And in this case, you’re really paying for quality and a product that will be with you for years, so it’s worth it!
The Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max that we’re recommending today (pay attention that it is locked to Simple Mobile) has all the bells and whistles you can think about, but what matters for a gamer is the device’s performance.
And it offers top performance, having equipped one of the best chipsets on the market at the moment – the A13 Bionic chip with third-generation Neural Engine. It is blazing fast and requires less energy to run, which means that you get more play time on its ~4,000 mAH battery.
The biggest concern that I have is that Apple only put 4GB RAM under the hood – for such an amazing device, 6 or 8 would’ve been much better… but unfortunately there’s not much we can do about this. But definitely its biggest CON!
The Retina display also delivers one of the best experiences on mobile (if not THE best), while the large screen size – 6.5″ – ensures that you have plenty of screen space for your games. And you know you want that – larger is definitely better when gaming.
Gaming on the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max is smooth and flawless, even though the device does tend to heat up when you’re playing titles that are very demanding and do so for a long time. This probably happens because the device wasn’t built specifically for gaming, but it handles it without a problem.
But apart from this, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has other amazing features, probably the most important being the triple-camera setup, one that delivers amazing photos (the best on the market right now). And if you’re into shooting video, it shoots 4K quality video as well, allowing you to shoot cinema-quality videos!
Plus, it’s water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it falling in the pool and breaking. Although hopefully if you’re at the pool, you’re not gaming!
The model that we’re recommending only has 64GB of internal memory, with no microSD slot – and I recommend this in order to keep costs as low as possible. However, if you can afford it, I would suggest getting a model with more storage – 256 or 512 would be much better for the long run.
But all in all, if you are an Apple fan and you’re all about iOS gaming, this is definitely the best choice at the moment!
4. Razer Phone 2
We’re now back to smartphones designed specifically for gamers (by gamers, as Razer says). In case you’re not familiar with it, Razer is one of the best known and most respected gaming laptop / PC manufacturer, having all sorts of top gaming-related products on the market.
And their gaming phone is definitely one that you have to consider – one that sells at a really low price, all things considered. It was actually really close to being chosen as the top budget pick – but since Xiaomi’s device is cheaper, that wouldn’t have made sense.
But do have in mind that if you’re getting the Razer Phone 2, you do get a device created with gaming in mind – and do so at an amazing price.
It offers top performance, thanks to its solid Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, which is paired up with 8GB RAM and the Adreno 630 GPU. These are top specifications and the phone will handle all games without a problem – although they’re still behind our top recommendation, the ASUS ROG Phone 2 which is a real beast.
One of the main features that it has – being created for gaming, and long periods of it – is the fact that it has an advanced vapor chamber cooling system that will keep temperatures in check.
It has a large display – without being huge at 5.72-inch and Razer claims that it is the fasted gaming display, thanks to its 120hz ultramotion system. While I can’t say that you see any notable differences when you compare it to the ROG Phone 2, it could be faster – either way, it does offer an incredibly smooth experience when gaming!
One of the main reasons why the display is not larger is the fact that it comes equipped with a dual-speaker, front facing system which delivers the best sound you’ve ever had on mobile speakers – perfect for gaming and watching movies / TV shows without the need of adding headphones or external speakers for added clarity and quality.
Still, I would’ve preferred the larger screen, but at least we know that there’s a reason for it being slightly smaller.
In terms of storage, it only has 64GB but at least has a microSD slot and you can add up to 2TB extra storage, so there shouldn’t be a big problem in this area – not even cost wise, since it is such a cheap mobile device for gaming.
It can also shoot some decent photos, having dual cameras and image stabilization – but you shouldn’t buy it for taking photos only as there are other better devices for this. Still, you can get some really solid shots with it as the cameras are not bad.
All in all, if you want a phone created specifically for gaming and you can’t afford the ROG Phone 2, the Razer Phone 2 is your best bet!
5. OnePlus 7 Pro
And we’re back to phones that haven’t been built specifically for gaming, but can handle it without a problem. And the OnePlus 7 Pro is one of them!
The main reason why you would want a phone that wasn’t built specifically for playing mobile games on it is the quality of the camera / photos & videos it can take. And the OnePlus 7 Pro definitely handles these tasks really well, thanks to the triple rear camera setup with dual flash lights.
It also has that pop-up selfie camera that might take a bit of time to get used to, but as I said, it helps those that are privacy-obsessed and also offers a nicer looking display area.
This device comes with a large screen – 6.67″, QHD+ AMOLED and really vivid colors that are perfect for gaming. It does have those rounded edges that some love and some hate (I’m in the latter category) but in the end, everything on that screen looks good.
In terms of performance, you’re getting a really solid deal: the Snapdragon 855 chipset with a really fast octa-core CPU, plus the Adreno 640 GPU and 8GB of RAM (be careful if you pick the 128GB model, as it has 6GB RAM!)
All in all, this means that this device can handle gaming really well and will probably do so for at least a couple of years to come. In the end, it does have a better GPU than the Razer Phone 2, so you can understand that it’s perfect for gaming!
It doesn’t have a microSD slot, but the 256GB of internal storage it offers should be more than enough for most users. Finally, it has a battery of 4,000 mAH which is pretty much the standard nowadays and offers a solid amount of play time without the need of recharging.
6. Samsung Galaxy S10+
Many people are saying that Samsung Galaxy phones are becoming the iPhones of the Android world – mainly because they are more expensive than the rest. But the truth is that this line has always been really good and worth the price.
The 10 Plus doesn’t disappoint, being a great phone for playing games, but also a really good one overall that can indeed be compared with the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max.
It actually has more RAM than the iPhone – 8GB (while the 1TB model offers 12GB!). It’s also paired up for performance with the Snapdragon 855 chipset in the US and China (and the Exynos 9820 in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The octa-core processor is also extremely fast, with the dedicated GPU being perfect for gaming.
We can also consider a surprise the fact that this model also has a microSD slot – not only that you get 128GB of storage from the start, but you can also increase it if you need more space. This was a feature that missed on older models, but we’re happy it’s back now!
With a large display – 6.4″ (and also rounded margins), this phone offers crisp images and great colors that will make all games look as good as they can.
Another big PRO of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus – especially if it’s not just gaming that you have in mind – is the quality of the photos it takes. It can deliver some of the best quality photos on mobile at the moment and it definitely has the best cameras when compared to the other Android phones on this list.
Finally, it offers a 4,100 mAH battery and also has an AI that learns your usage habits and optimizes battery consumption… but even without it we can say that you’re getting enough juice for your gaming sessions without the need for a recharge.
Sure, this is not the cheapest Android phone on the market, but as I said earlier, you’re paying for quality here.
How to choose the best phone for gaming
If you still don’t know which of the recommended devices above you should purchase, I have some additional tips and tricks for you in order to help you make the best choice.
1. The most important thing to consider is the platform of choice:
- if you are an Apple fan and you want to play iOS games, things are easier for you to decide: you need to get an iPhone no matter what and there’s just one that’s better than them all – listed above – so problem solved.
- if you want to own an Android phone, you have multiple options and you will have to consider the things below.
2. If gaming on your phone is the top reason why you are purchasing a new device (and you expect to do so for many hours in a row), it’s best to choose a device created specifically for gaming: the ROG Phone 2 or the RAZER Phone 2.
All of the other devices can handle mobile games really well (maybe even just as well as the top two phones), but the additional cooling systems installed and other game-specific features that they have make the two the better choice.
3. If other features are important for you – especially taking photos – you should know that the two gaming phones don’t excel in this area. They can take some incredible shots for sure, but other phones on the list are better – the top choice when it comes to photo quality being the Samsung model here.
4. Another important thing to look at is the storage: the more you have, the better. Photos and videos fill up the storage pretty soon, but also new games are starting to require more and more GBs as time goes by, so if you’re limited to 64GB only (as is the case of the Xiaomi Mi 9T or the iPhone 11 Max Pro), you might run out of space sooner than later.
I always prefer having more storage just in case and I’m currently running on a 128GB device that is not even close to being full… so in the end it really depends on your habits and how much data you plan to store on your device.
5. Leaving these general things aside, there are 3 important things that matter a lot when it comes to how well your games will play on your mobile phone:
- the processor has to be top notch – and usually better chipsets mean that you automatically have a solid CPU. Anything that has at least 6 cores and is clocked at a minimum of 2.6GHz should be perfect
- the GPU is really important when gaming – this is the phone’s graphics card and most devices don’t have a solid one. If you want to game though, it’s extremely important to have a good one, like the Adreno 630 and above
- finally, the amount of RAM is also important: the more, the better. While you can still run games flawlessly in 2020 with just 4GB of RAM, I would still prefer the device to have 6 or 8GB.
And this would be it! You know now some more technical aspects regarding what makes a smartphone good or bad for gaming – and also a list of the best gaming phones you can buy this year, so you can now easily pick the best product for your needs (and budget).