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The best gaming phones to buy in 2023

Best Gaming Phones 2022
© Liu zishan /, Collage: nextpit

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If you are a gamer at heart and can't be bothered to play a game console while taking public transport, we have the perfect solution that will satisfy your fingers and desire to play video games everywhere, all the time. At NextPit, we have selected for the best gaming smartphones for you where you can play Fortnite, Call of Duty Mobile, Gangstar Vegas, Monument Valley 2, Grid Autosport, and many others...

The best gaming phones to choose in 2023

  Editor's Choice Best value-for-money Best gaming only choice Best value-for-money Best sub-$500 choice Best alternative
Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
Apple iPhone 13 Pro
Nubia Redmagic 7 Pro
OnePlus Nord 2
Xiaomi Poco F4 GT
OnePlus 10 Pro
  • Well-calibrated AMOLED screen with a 165 Hz refresh rate
  • Massive 6,000 mAh battery with excellent battery life
  • Cool gaming design
  • 3.5mm jack and IPX4 rating
  • The second USB-C port placed along the side
  • Effective temperature control and X mode really boosts the performance
  • ROG UI gives you full control of the device
  • Superb 120Hz display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Excellent camera
  • Totally bezel-less 120Hz AMOLED screen
  • Cool transparent and backlit design
  • High quality stereo speakers
  • Unmatched performance without overheating issues
  • Smooth 90 Hz AMOLED display even without 120 Hz capability
  • Powerful MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI SoC
  • No overheating issues
  • Fast Warp Charge 65T feature
  • Solid battery life
  • Primary 50 MP camera lens captures great detail
  • Effective night mode
  • Guaranteed 2 major Android versions and 3 years of security updates
  • Quality 120Hz OLED screen
  • High-flying raw performance
  • Good battery life
  • Very fast 120W charging performance
  • Very efficient and customizable triggers
  • Gaming design that is classy
  • Quality 120Hz LTPO 2.0 AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and HyperBoost engine makes a difference
  • Excellent battery life and 80W fast charging
  • 3 major Android updates and 4 years of security updates
  • Classiest design on the market
  • Competitive price for a flagship in 2022
  • Camera module is neither groundbreaking nor versatile
  • Update policy is too limited
  • Expensive price
  • USB-C port is long overdue
  • "Fast" charging at only 20 W
  • Disappointing camera module
  • Battery life is a little weak when it comes to intense gaming sessions
  • No IP rating
  • Unclear update policy
  • No dedicated telephoto lens
  • No wireless charging/IP rating/microSD port/3.5 mm jack
  • Colorimetry of photos is not very accurate
  • Photo software processing is inferior to the OnePlus 9
  • Lack of clarity on the High Performance mode
  • Disappointing camera module
  • Limited update policy
  • Ads in MIUI
  • No IP rating
  • OxygenOS 12.1 lacks substance
  • Hasselblad camera module is not convincing enough
  • No IP rating/3.5mm jack/microSD slot
  • Irrelevant addition in Oppo's catalog
Read the Asus ROG phone 6 Pro review
Read the Apple iPhone 13 Pro review
Read the Nubioa Redmagic 7 Pro review
Read the OnePlus Nord 2 review
Read the Xiaomi Poco F4 GT review
Read the OnePlus 10 Pro review
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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.

Table of Contents:

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.

The best gamer smartphones in 2023

Listed below are the best phones for gaming available in 2023 according to NextPit. These are the best models across all categories. Asus' ROG Phone 6 Pro and Apple's iPhone 13 take the top spot on the podium, followed by the Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro.

Editor's Choice: The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro design au dos coloris Storm White
The design of the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro's back and its Storm White color are very gaming-oriented and successfully implemented in my opinion. / © NextPit

Read the Rog Phone 6 review

Available for pre-order from August 1st, the Rog Phone 6 from Asus comes in a single 18 GB RAM/512 GB storage version selling for €1,299. So far, there is no confirmation on whether it will be released in the US, although it is listed on the US page. It's an exorbitant price, but this gamer smartphone is still cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or the iPhone 13 Pro Max which offers a similar storage capacity.

The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro features a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution of 2400 x 1080p and a variable refresh rate of up to 165 Hz, a 720 Hz touch sampling rate, and a maximum brightness of 1,200 nits. This is what makes it one of the most efficient in terms of gaming. However, no mobile game to date requires a refresh rate of 165 Hz but we will not be surprised to see one emerge in due time.

The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro runs on the ROG UI skin which is a lightweight gaming version of ZenUI, and Asus has integrated the dynamic themes of Android 12 and the Privacy Dashboard. Equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC and Adreno 730 GPU, coupled with 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage and 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM, the Asus Rog Phone 6 (and its GameCool cooling system) is a true gamer smartphone.

The best gamer smartphone for Apple: iPhone 13

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

Check out NextPit's iPhone 13 review

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 SoC. I was really surprised when I put it through several rounds of 3DMark benchmarks simulating intensive and prolonged gaming usage over a 20-minute session. The iPhone 13 showed impressive scores but more importantly, it wasn't even hot.

Add to this a very well-calibrated OLED screen, solid battery life, and an angular design that allows a good grip, and you have a very good device for mobile gaming. On the other hand, the 20W charging is far too slow to keep up with your intense gaming sessions without interrupting the experience, and the smartphone lacks a dedicated gaming mode.

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

The best strictly-for-gaming smartphone: Nubia Redmagic 7 Pro

Redmagic 7 Pro
The RedMagic 7 Pro dethroned the ROG Phone 5 as the best dedicated gaming smarpthone. / © NextPit

Redmagic 7 Pro review: 60 FPS gaming with zero overheating

If you are looking for a pure gaming smartphone, then the Redmagic 7 Pro will be the best choice for you. It boasts an unmatched price/performance ratio. Not only does Nubia's smartphone feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but it also tames the chip's overheating tendencies with a large vapor chamber plate paired with an internal fan that ensured stable (and high) framerates throughout our review.

The 120Hz refresh rate of the 6.8-inch AMOLED display may not be the best on the market, but the Redmagic 7 Pro makes up for that with a touch sampling rate of up to 2,000 Hz.The Redmagic 7 Pro also compensates any potential weakness with a touch sampling rate of up to 960 Hz for fast response times to commands, and a selfie camera that is integrated under the screen for maximum immersion without thick bezels or notches to distract you.

As usual with gaming smartphones, there are some compromises, such as a bang average camera module and no commitment from the manufacturer regarding major Android and security updates. The RedMagic 7 Pro also lacks the useful dual USB-C ports that are found in the ROG Phone series, which allows you to charge the smartphone in landscape mode while gaming without being forced to hold the device awkwardly.

Best value for money: OnePlus Nord 2

OnePlus Nord 2
The OnePlus Nord 2 is one of my favorites this year. / © NextPit

Check out NextPit's full OnePlus Nord 2 review

The OnePlus Nord 2 is one of my favorite smartphones of the year. OnePlus has managed to offer the best mid-range smartphone for under $400 in my opinion. I'm using it as my daily driver since its release and I have no problem playing my games at maximum graphics settings while enjoying a stable framerate. The MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI SoC managed to hold its own very well.

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

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

Best sub-$500 choice: Poco F4 GT

Poco F4 GT design au dos
The Poco F4 GT offers flagship features at a mid-range price. / © NextPit

Poco F4 GT review: Very gimmicky, very cool, very powerful

Gamers looking for a smartphone that can be easily used as a daily driver without looking too geeky and having to sacrifice performance as well as handy features like retractable triggers should consider the Poco F4 GT.

While the Poco F3 used the still powerful but aging Snapdragon 870, the F4 GT comes equipped with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is the same SoC found in the almost $1,000 OnePlus 10 Pro and the $800 RedMagic 7 Pro, for approximately $600 and an aggressive price of $499 for early birds.

Apart from that, the 6.67-inch AMOLED display performs well, with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 480Hz touch sampling rate for a smooth experience, although it's still far from the market leader. The retractable triggers offer improved feedback, but can also be assigned to regular apps. And Xiaomi fixed one of the Poco F3's weak points by endowing the F4 GT with its 120W HyperCharge charger (but without a secondary USB-C port for landscape gaming, unfortunately).

As for the downside, the Poco F4 GT lacks a versatile camera module, consisting of a wide-angle camera, an ultra-wide angle lens, and a 2 MP macro sensor. Also, Xiaomi's software update policy continues to lag behind its competitors. We are currently reviewing the Poco F4 GT, so we'll tell you more in our full review.

The best alternative: OnePlus 10 Pro

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

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.

Gaming smartphone or smartphone for gamers: How did NextPit make our selection?

As explained above, the idea of this selection is not to focus only on smartphones labeled for gaming. Apart from the Asus ROG Phone 6 and Nubia Redmagic 7 Pro, most of these smartphones are not extreme or niche 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 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!

NextPit's best phones lists

Best phones in the market Best phones under $400
Best phones under $300 Best phones under $200
Best smartphone cameras Best foldable phones
Best gaming phones Best compact phones
The best Apple phones The best Samsung phones
The best Xiaomi phones The best Motorola phones

This guide was updated in January 2023 including new releases and adding alternative models for the Android and iOS ecosystems, older comments were preserved and may look out of context.

The best Samsung Galaxy phones compared

  Best flagship Best all-rounder Best foldable Best compact foldable Best midrange model Best budget model
Device Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Samsung Galaxy A54
Samsung Galaxy A34
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review
Samsung Galaxy S23 review
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review
Samsung Galaxy A54 review
Samsung Galaxy A34 review
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Go to comment (39)
Antoine Engels

Antoine Engels
Senior Editor

Black belt in specs sheet analysis. OnePlus fanboy in (slow) remission. Average estimated reading time of my articles: 48 minutes. Tech deals fact-checker in my spare time. Hates talking about himself in the 3rd person. Dreams he was a gaming journalist in another life. Doesn't get the concept of irony. Head of editorial for NextPit France.

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  • 1
    daniell Feb 2, 2023 Link to comment

    The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 features a mix of Arm CPU cores – 8 in total. Its Kryo CPU complex has a single high-performance Prime Cortex-X2 core (up to 3GHz), three Cortex A71 Performance cores (up to 2.5GHz), and four Cortex A51 Efficiency cores (up to 1.8GHz).

  • 1
    Proxy K Apr 29, 2022 Link to comment

    Can it play Toca Life World Mod simulation game?

  • 2
    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 2
    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 11
    Goldvin Sep 29, 2020 Link to comment

    Everything is going to buying flagman smartphone

  • 5
    Peter_Jeftic Apr 13, 2020 Link to comment

    Can i get one free

  • 5
    Zeeshan_sid Mar 21, 2020 Link to comment

    Helpful article, I will go for S9

  • saraomidi 2
    saraomidi Aug 8, 2019 Link to comment

    I think Samsung Galaxy A70 is one of the best

  • Folis Foli 3
    Folis Foli Dec 6, 2018 Link to comment

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

  • 9
    Charudatt Kumbhare Jan 29, 2017 Link to comment

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

    • Brittany McGhee 21
      Brittany McGhee Aug 3, 2017 Link to comment

      We've just updated our list again!


      • GASB 45
        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...

        SorinJerry's W.

  • 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 1
      Umair Ramay Mar 22, 2017 Link to comment

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

  • 9
    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 2
    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).

    Kyle Layne

  • 1
    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!

  • 3
    Tilton Jul 11, 2016 Link to comment

    No G5? WTF

    Deactivated Account

  • 3
    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.

    SorinDeactivated AccountKevin Farmer

  • Anand 3
    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.

    Kevin FarmerDeactivated Account

  • 2
    Anam Amer Jun 9, 2016 Link to comment

    Lg G flex 2 should be in there too. I don't understand why ppl complain about g flex 2 i mean its super fast and it can play all the games at max graphics. But since ppl didn't buy this device a lot it doesn't have any custom roms thanks to lg's locked bootloader. Waiting for xda g4 owners to find a solution.

  • 14
    Alex Simpson Apr 24, 2016 Link to comment

    for the price of the most smartphones you can get a mid range gamimg pc or at least a console. ->kind of useless to buy a "gaming" smartphone

    • David Nicholson 1
      David Nicholson Jan 6, 2017 Link to comment

      Except you can't fit your console or pc in your pocket.

  • CJ Brown 29
    CJ Brown Apr 23, 2016 Link to comment

    Nexus 6P for screen / battery
    HTC 10 for audio

    All I need now is for a Chinese, or Korean, Smartphone manufacturer to deliver an affordable Tablet with these impressive features (stock Android OS Marshmallow with quick update to Android OS N) ;)


  • Eric Romero 39
    Eric Romero Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the best. I think.

    SorinAnandDeactivated Account

    • 32
      Deactivated Account Jun 9, 2016 Link to comment

      i agree but samsung S8 will be available soon followed by S9. then there wouldn't any updates for s7

      SorinEric Romero

      • Eric Romero 39
        Eric Romero Jun 13, 2016 Link to comment

        Yes, of course. =)

        SorinDeactivated Account

  • William K. 10
    William K. Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    Man tough choices. Probably have to go with the S7 because it is 'set up' for gaming. Also, what game is in the last picture?

    • Vicky 1
      Vicky Apr 22, 2016 Link to comment

      Modern combat 5

    • 14
      Alex Simpson Apr 24, 2016 Link to comment

      its a better choice to go with a console or a mid range gaming pc.

  • 2
    Baljinder Singh Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    Please do a article on mid range phones too......especially for their gaming performance

  • 31
    Deactivated Account Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    careful shopping around gets me a warranted UK spec S7 or HTC 10 for about £500.... I really expect the best gaming experience at that price range.. A UK N6 at £350 with regular software/security updates....
    and there's gotta be some mid range stuff out there that does great gaming at a reasonable price..

  • surya kumar 16
    surya kumar Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    I expected some cheap options:-\

    Alex Simpson

    • 14
      Alex Simpson Apr 24, 2016 Link to comment

      for the price u can get a console....

  • 46
    Deactivated Account Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    I think the best gaming phone would be the LG V10 because of the screen size and the replaceable battery you don't have to worry about running out of power just stick a new battery in and keep going. The Snapdragon 808 will still handle the games. My old S3 still does, so I know it can.

    • 5
      Rich D Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

      It's too heavy to hold threw a game

      • 46
        Deactivated Account Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

        If less than an once difference makes it to heavy for you. You need to go to the gym. People game with tablets which are far heavier. I really do not think weight is much of a factor.

  • 5
    anvil Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    OnePlus 1 or 2, are also a good choice as they have 3100 and 3200 battery capacities and have a large screen size.

    name doesntsoundcool

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