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The best gaming phones in 2022

Update: New suggestions!
Best Gaming Phones 2022
© Liu zishan / Shutterstock.com, Collage: NextPit

Gaming phone or phone for gaming? Smartphones are the most used video game platform in the world and NextPit has selected for you the best gaming phones to play Fortnite, Call of Duty Mobile, Genshin Impact, and especially -not- Candy Crush!

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The best gaming phones to choose in 2022 - The comparison

  Best choice on Android Best Apple option Best gaming-only option Best value for money Flagship performance for less Value iOS option
Product
Picture OnePlus 10 Pro Apple iPhone 13 Nubia Redmagic 7 Pro OnePlus Nord 2 Xiaomi Poco F4 GT Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Good
  • Quality 120Hz LTPO 2.0 AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and HyperBoost engine make a difference
  • Excellent battery life and 80-watt fast charging
  • 3 Android updates and 4 years of security patches
  • Classiest design on the market today
  • Competitive price for a flagship in 2022
  • OLED screen with deep blacks
  • Good battery life
  • Good quality main camera
  • IP68 certification
  • Smarter iOS 15
  • 120 Hz AMOLED bezel-less display
  • Cool transparent and backlit design
  • High-quality stereo speakers
  • Unmatched performance without overheating
  • 90 Hz AMOLED screen
  • High-end MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI SoC
  • Does not overheat
  • Warp Charge 65T
  • Solid battery life
  • 50 MP main camera lens captured good detail
  • 2 Android versions and 3 years of security updates
  • Efficient night mode
  • Insane performance level
  • High-quality workmanship
  • Surprisingly good photo and video performance
  • Solid battery life that lasts up till late at night
Bad
  • OxygenOS 12.1 lacks substance
  • Hasselblad camera module not convincing enough
  • No IP rating, 3.5mm jack, and microSD slot
  • Lack of relevance in Oppo's catalog
  • 60 Hz refresh rate
  • FaceID is unwieldy to use while wearing a face mask
  • 20W charging speed
  • Disappointing camera module
  • Battery life could be improved for longer gaming sessions
  • No IP certification
  • Fuzzy update policy
  • No dedicated telephoto lens
  • No wireless charging/IP rating/microSD port/3.5mm jack
  • Unreliable colorimetry in photos
  • Inferior photo processing software compared to the OnePlus 9
  • High Performance Mode doesn't tell much
  • Display is simply outdated
  • Too few camera functions
  • Low storage space in the base model without expandable memory
  • More expensive than predecessor at market launch
Rating
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The purpose of this selection is obviously to recommend the best gaming phones available on the market today. The selection has been discussed and debated internally and, with a few rare exceptions, each model has been tested by a NextPit journalist. But the goal is not to focus on gaming and forget about everything else.

As with every product, buying a smartphone is the result of multiple criteria. So this selection is more a list of the best phones for gaming than the best purely gaming phones like Xiaomi's Black Shark and Asus's ROG Phone. The idea is to offer you a smartphone that can be used on a daily basis but with a few features or technical specifications that are a little more designed for video games.

Jump to:

The best gaming phones in 2022

Listed below are the best phones for gaming available in 2022 according to NextPit. These are the best models in all categories. The OnePlus 10 Pro and the Apple iPhone 13 take the top spot on the podium, followed by the Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro.

The best gaming Android phone: OnePlus 10 Pro

Back photo of the OnePlus 10 Pro
The OnePlus 10 Pro packs an impressive 1000 Hz touch sampling rate / © NextPit

Rating

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • Quality 120Hz LTPO 2.0 AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and HyperBoost engine make a difference
  • Excellent battery life and 80-watt fast charging
  • 3 Android updates and 4 years of security patches
  • Classiest design on the market today
  • Competitive price for a flagship in 2022
 

Cons

  • OxygenOS 12.1 lacks substance
  • Hasselblad camera module not convincing enough
  • No IP rating, 3.5mm jack, and microSD slot
  • Lack of relevance in Oppo's catalog

Check out NextPit's full review of the OnePlus 10 Pro

Just like in the previous version of this list, the OnePlus 10 Pro isn't the best Android smartphone overall, but it is the best option if you are looking to buy a "regular" smartphone with gaming features. The 10 Pro doesn't bring its promised photographic revolution (yet?), but packs an impressive specs sheet for media consumption, including games.

Starting with the bright 6.7-inch AMOLED display with an adaptive refresh rate between 1 and 120 Hz. Touch controls on the screen can be sampled up to 1.000 times per second for the fastest inputs available in any flagship phone, which is almost 3x faster than the OnePlus 9 Pro.

Of course, the OnePlus 10 Pro brings the best smartphone SoC available in the Android ecosystem, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, including a generous heat dissipation system, and a complete gaming overlay (Gaming Tools) to balance performance and battery life. Speaking of battery, the 10 Pro was upgraded to a 5.000 mAh, which can be charged at up to 80-watt (65 W in the US) using the SuperVOOC charger, or up to 50 W wirelessly.

The best gaming iPhone: iPhone 13

NextPIT Apple iPhone 13
The iPhone 13 is more powerful than any Android gaming smartphone / © NextPit

Rating

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • The most POWERFUL SoC in the universe!!!!!!!
  • Zero overheating even in heavy gaming use
  • Solid battery life
  • Very well-calibrated OLED screen
  • Good grip with its straight edges
 

Cons

  • Recharging at 20 Watts is too slow
  • No dedicated gaming mode
  • 60Hz screen

Check out NextPit's full review of the iPhone 13

There's no denying it, Apple dominates the power and graphics performance debate. Its Bionic A15 SoC is simply more powerful than any overclocked Snapdragon. I was really surprised when I put it through several rounds of 3DMark benchmarks simulating intensive and prolonged gaming use over a 20-minute session. The iPhone 13 posted impressive scores, but more importantly, it didn't even get hot.

Add to that a color-calibrated OLED screen, solid battery life, and an angular design that allows a good grip, and you have a very good proposition for gaming. On the other hand, the 20-watt charging limit is far too long for uninterrupted gaming sessions and the smartphone lacks a dedicated gaming mode.

But you can cobble together your own gaming mode via the iOS 15 settings (to block notifications etc.). Personally, I'd stick with the basic iPhone 13 and would only consider Apple's iPhone 13 Pro to benefit from the 120Hz ProMotion mode.

The best phone strictly for gaming: Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro

Redmagic 7 Pro
The RedMagic 7 Pro dethroned the ROG Phone 5 for the best gaming-only phone crown / © NextPit

Rating

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • 120 Hz AMOLED bezel-less display
  • Cool transparent and backlit design
  • High-quality stereo speakers
  • Unmatched performance without overheating
 

Cons

  • Disappointing camera module
  • Battery life could be improved for longer gaming sessions
  • No IP certification
  • Unclear update policy

Check out NextPit's full review of the Redmagic 7 Pro

If your priority is purely gaming, then the Redmagic 7 Pro is the best current option for your money, with an unmatched price-to-performance ratio. Not only the Nubia phone is equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but it also tames the overheating tendencies of the chip with a big vapor chamber plate paired with an internal fan that ensured stable (and high) framerates throughout our test.

The 120 Hz refresh rate of the 6.8-inch AMOLED display may not be the fastest in the market, but the Redmagic 7 Pro compensates for that with a touch sampling rate of up to 960 Hz for fast command response times, and an under-display selfie camera for maximum immersion without thick bezels or notches.

As usual with gaming-focused smartphones, there are some trade-offs, such as a merely OK camera module and no commitment from the manufacturer about Android and security updates. The RedMagic 7 Pro also doesn't have the useful dual USB-C ports found in the ROG Phone series, which allows players to charge the phone in landscape mode while playing without forcing to hold the device awkwardly.

Best value for money: OnePlus Nord 2

NextPIT OnePlus Nord 2
The OnePlus Nord 2 brings respectable performance for the mid-range market / © NextPit

Rating

Bewertung Design und Handling

Pros

  • 90 Hz Amoled screen
  • The very powerful MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI
  • The efficient high performance mode
  • The good battery life
  • Fast 65-watt charging
 

Cons

  • 180 Hz touch rate
  • Slight tendency to overheat

Check out NextPit's full review of the OnePlus Nord 2

The OnePlus Nord 2 is one of my favorites of the year. OnePlus managed to offer the best mid-range smartphone under $400 in my opinion. I've been using it daily since its release and I have no problem playing my games with max graphics and a stable framerate. The MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI SoC holds up very well.

The 90Hz AMOLED display is very good although I deplore its touch rate of only 180Hz. The high-performance mode is one of the few gaming modes to provide a real performance boost at the expense of temperature control.

You get the same 65-watt fast charging as the OnePlus 9 Pro (and the same 50 MP main camera lens) for a frankly full-featured mid-range phone that can run CoD Mobile in ultra at a constant 60 FPS and will clearly make you envious of the flagships.

Flagship performance for less money: Poco F4 GT

Poco F4 GT design au dos
The Poco F4 GT offers flagship specs for a mid-range price / © NextPit

Not tested

 

For

  • 120 Hz AMOLED screen
  • 480 Hz touch rate
  • 120 W charger
 

Cons

  • Selfie camera notch takes some screen estate
  • Limited update policy

Check out NextPit's hands-on with the Poco F4 GT

Mobile gamers looking for a device that can be easily used daily without screaming GAMERZ!!1! without sacrificing maximum performance and convenient features like shoulder buttons should consider the Poco F4 GT.

While the Poco F3 used the capable, but old, Snapdragon 870, the F4 GT brings the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 - the same found in the $900 OnePlus 10 Pro and the $799 RedMagic 7 Pro - for about $599 and an aggressive $499 early-bird pricing. Unfortunately, Poco phones are not sold in the US.

Besides that, the 6.67-inch AMOLED display is very capable, with a 120 Hz refresh rate and 480 Hz touch sampling rate for smooth gameplay, even if not chart-topping. Physical retractable shoulder buttons offer enhanced feedback, but can also be assigned for regular apps. And Xiaomi fixed one of the F3's weak spots by equipping the Poco F4 GT with its 120-watt HyperCharge adapter (but without a secondary USB-C for playing in landscape mode, unfortunately).

When it comes to cons, the Poco F4 GT doesn't have a versatile camera module, with a wide-angle / ultra-wide-angle / 2mp macro kit, and Xiaomi's software update policy is still behind its competitors. We are in the process of testing the Poco F4 GT, so be sure to watch this space for updates.

 

Note: Since Poco doesn't sell its phones in the US, Xiaomi fans in the country will have to wait for marketplace sellers to buy the device.

Value option for iOS gamers: iPhone SE (2022)

Apple iPhone SE 2022
2022 flagship performance in a 2016 shell / © NextPit

Rating

Bewertung Design und Handling

For

  • Insane performance level
  • High-quality workmanship
  • Surprisingly good photo and video performance
  • Solid battery life that lasts up till late at night
 

Cons

  • Display is simply outdated (and small for gaming)
  • Too few camera functions
  • Low storage space in the base model without expandable memory
  • More expensive than predecessor at market launch

Check out NextPit's full review of the iPhone SE 2022

Gamers invested in Apple's ecosystem looking for the best performance for the buck can't go wrong with the iPhone SE 2022. The value model is equipped with the A15 SoC as the flagship iPhone 13 above on the list, for almost half the price, with a smaller screen and lower resolution that makes the processor looks overkill.

The A15 Bionic ensures not only that complex games like Genshin Impact and CoD Mobile run buttery smooth, but also without thermal issues. And the iPhone SE camera offers good results, both in still and moving pictures, even though it lacks some of the latest innovations launched by Apple like Cinematic or Night mode.

There are some caveats, however, gamers may feel that the 4.7-inch LCD screen is too small and outdated with only a 60 Hz refresh rate. Besides that, charging speeds are very far from the Android suggestions on this list, topping at only 20-watt, and be careful not to buy the 64 GB version, which doesn't have enough space for the latest high-end games.

Gaming phone or phone for gaming: How NextPit made its selection?

As explained above, the idea of this selection is not to focus only on smartphones labeled for gaming. I mean the ROG Phone from Asus, Nubia RedMagic from ZTE, Lenovo Legion Duel, or the BlackShark from Xiaomi.

Most of these smartphones for xXxG4m3rZxXx are not complete enough. Their interface often lacks polish, their update policy is very limited and their camera modules are mostly mediocre.

For a selection or a buying guide, it is, therefore, more relevant to advise you on more balanced smartphones, quite capable of running games, but which are also more suitable for everyday use. After all, you don't usually buy a smartphone to turn it into a PSP or Nintendo Switch.

What are the criteria for a gaming phone?

Any flagship released since 2018 is fully capable of running almost all the most demanding mobile games with high graphics, as are some mid-range models. Logically, raw power is a key criterion, but it's not the only one.

Refresh rate and touch sampling rate

The quality of the screen is a very important point, we are looking for OLED panels offering especially high refresh rates that exceed 120 Hz or even 144 Hz. The touch sampling rate, the number of times per second the screen registers contact with your fingers, is also a key feature and should generally be above 240 Hz for optimal fluidity.

The higher the touch rate, the more accurately the gestures you make while touching the screen will be reflected in the game. This is especially important for FPS games to ensure more responsive and accurate controls.

Think of it as the DPI (dots per inch) of a gaming PC mouse. The goal is for the mouse, aka the touch controls, to respond to the most sensitive movements possible to ensure the greatest possible responsiveness.

Cooling system and thermal throttling

You also need a good cooling system to manage overheating. "Normal" or non-gaming smartphones do not yet offer liquid cooling, but more and more advanced ventilation chambers, special graphite coatings, etc. are available.

Where so-called "normal" smartphones have a disadvantage compared to pure gaming models is in the area of thermal throttling. In concrete terms, this is a mechanism by which the smartphone throttles its performance to slow down and limit the overheating related to the SoC running under full power.

Gaming smartphones are more heat resistant and push the limit at which they throttle further. Conventional smartphones will break a bit sooner, which can affect the framerate and game fluidity during a prolonged gaming session.


NextPit's gaming central

The best mobile games for Android & iOS
Best offline games Best multiplayer games
Best graphics Best emulators
Best tablet games Best free games
Best tower defense games Best FPS games
Best adventure games Best RPG games
Best strategy games Best racing games
The best gaming smartphones
Gaming smartphones: Do gaming modes actually boost performance?

What do you think of this selection of the best gamer smartphones? Which models did we leave out that you think deserve to be included? Do you find the tips and methodology sections useful? Give us your feedback in the comments!


Guide updated in April 2022 including new releases and adding alternative models for the Android and iOS ecosystems, older comments were preserved and may look out of context.

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
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38 comments

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  • Proxy K 2 months ago Link to comment

    Can it play Toca Life World Mod simulation game?


  • ravivarma Oct 4, 2020 Link to comment

    The best gaming phone is also one of the best 'consoles' you can get. No, really - we're serious. Although phones aren't a traditional games machine, the mobile space is one of the most vibrant in all of gaming nonetheless.


  • George555 Sep 29, 2020 Link to comment

    God, my greatest love, this is black shark 2.0. I just sleep and see myself opening the box and taking it out. Judging by what I saw at the presentation, this is the best value for money.


  • Goldvin Sep 29, 2020 Link to comment

    Everything is going to buying flagman smartphone


  • Peter_Jeftic Apr 13, 2020 Link to comment

    Can i get one free


  • Zeeshan_sid Mar 21, 2020 Link to comment

    Helpful article, I will go for S9


  • saraomidi Aug 8, 2019 Link to comment

    I think Samsung Galaxy A70 is one of the best


  • Folis Foli Dec 6, 2018 Link to comment

    S9, gaming,? Funny. You have to charge it after 30 minutes. 😂😂


  • Charudatt Kumbhare Jan 29, 2017 Link to comment

    Please update the article. All the old phones are there in list... 👎👎👎


    • Brittany McGhee Aug 3, 2017 Link to comment

      We've just updated our list again!


      • GASB Aug 10, 2017 Link to comment

        Reallyl? Are you recomending the Galaxy S8 for gaming, when it has poor GPU performance? The best phones for games are the phones with Snapdragon 820/821. Please you just do well your homework.

        Sorry for my words, but I hate this marketing that conceals with tecnology...

        www.youtube.com/watch?v=064yCZHNWf4&t=158s
        www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-GcLKamGPM&t=203s


  •   46
    Deactivated Account Jan 28, 2017 Link to comment

    What about the LG V20 the perfect phone for gaming. With the removable battery you can play all day. AndroidPit you are so biased in your phone coverage it is pitiful.

    SorinDeactivated Account


    • Umair Ramay Mar 22, 2017 Link to comment

      All QUAD HD Phones Suck at Gaming Except HTC 10 Which Have a 1080P Gaming Mode !


  • Fred Brown Aug 22, 2016 Link to comment

    The fact that the HTC 10 doesn't have an amoled display isn't necessary a bad thing, people talk like amoled displays are superior, when in fact amoled displays aren't as sharp, and while the high contrast may seem better in some cases, it provides a very unnatural picture, much like the camera on the S7. The HTC 10 actually outperforms the Galaxy S7 in many ways, the HTC 10 scored 30,000 higher according the antutu benchmark scores listed on the site, and the HTC 10 received the highest DXOMARK score of 88, (despite the S7 having the same score the 10 did better with still images which put it ahead), the 10 has better audio microphones, and speakers. The HTC 10 is water resistant just not as well as the S7, but considering your far more likely to drop your phone and break it than drop it in 3 ft of water, the metal body proves better than the S7's glass body, Not to mention the HTC 10 has uh-oh protection which covers the phone in any worst case scenario. The HTC 10 doesn't have all the bloatware found on the S7, which will weigh on the phones performance in the long run, the HTC 10 has adotpable storage, and receives Android updates within 15 days of release while Samsung takes months to get updates. The HTC 10 is the best all around device on the market right now.


  • Derek Anderson Jul 27, 2016 Link to comment

    Moto E LTE with Snapdragon 410. 4.5" screen pushing 960x540 resolution, makes it a no brainer everywhere I want to go device. Can find them for every carrier under $30, refurbs for $5, and it plays every android game with fair ease for on the go gaming.

    Sure a nice tablet for couch gaming, with a great resolution, but you cant beat a 2390mAH battery, running what would essentially be a 'Nintendo' level of handheld phone. There are other variants out there, with 410s, running 2Gb of RAM, but if you keep the screen res to the 960x540 range you'll be greeted with plenty of devices that are capable of the latest games your shield can play, while on the go for a much more friendly on the go price (breaks, wear down. It's even got a splash proof coating on it for longevity).


  • Mary 1337 Jul 17, 2016 Link to comment

    Currently I have an Xperia T3, which I kind of love. I love the Xperia's but since I am a phone gamer, those can be shit too. My Xperia T3 is good overall, but when it comes to games... No. Just no. This is not a gaming phone.
    So, after this phone dies. I obviously want a new one. I'm thinking of abandon the Xperia series (I have been with them since Xperia Mini Pro) and get a really good gaming phone. I really don't like buttons, I prefer touch-buttons. Large screens is a must.
    1) Gaming phone
    2) Touch buttons only
    3) Large screen
    Please help me find my perfect phone!


  • Tilton Jul 11, 2016 Link to comment

    No G5? WTF

    Deactivated Account


  • David Nieves Jun 9, 2016 Link to comment

    Lame no note series listed here, and my note 3 is still amazing at gaming

    Deactivated Account


  •   46
    Deactivated Account Jun 9, 2016 Link to comment

    The Note 4 is the best for gaming big screen, Micro SD, replicable battery so you don't have to worry about running out of power.


  • Anand Jun 9, 2016 Link to comment

    Why Galaxy Note series is not listed? Note have always had amazing big screen with beefy flagship hardware for it's time.

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