The best phones for gaming (November 2019)

The best phones for gaming (November 2019)

Asus ROG Phone 2 rear ROG logo vent and camera - best phones for gaming

You could argue that almost every smartphone is a gaming phone of some kind, but what if you want the smoothest performance? Maybe you need physical-style buttons or a display with a high refresh rate? Either way, that’s where gaming phones come in, and there are loads of devices that fit the bill. We’ve got you covered with our list of the best gaming phones you can buy.

Best gaming phones: Asus ROG Phone 2 OnePlus 7T/7T Pro Samsung Galaxy S10 series LG G8X ThinQ Razer Phone 2 Nubia Red Magic 3S Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list as more gaming phones hit the market.

1. Asus ROG Phone 2

Asus ROG Phone 2 screen in hand

The Asus ROG Phone 2 represents a rather notable leap for gaming phones, as it’s the first Snapdragon 855 Plus smartphone. The slightly upgraded chipset delivers a marginal CPU and GPU clock speed increase, which means you should enjoy slightly better performance in theory than Snapdragon 855 phones.

Opinion: Asus made a Nintendo Switch and I’m not even mad

Asus’ latest gaming phone is extremely beefy elsewhere, offering 12GB of RAM as standard, along with 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage, and a massive 6,000mAh battery. The device also stands out as one of the few phones packing an OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate.

The ROG Phone 2 also offers air triggers that act as shoulder buttons, a 48MP+13MP ultra-wide rear camera pairing, a 24MP selfie camera, and an array of accessories. The ROG Phone 2 is only available in China as of writing, but it’s definitely a beast.

Check pricing ROG Phone 2 specs: Display: 6.59-inch, FHD+ (120Hz) SoC: Snapdragon 855 Plus RAM: 12GB Storage: 256/512GB Rear cameras: 48 and 13MP Front camera: 24MP Battery: 6,000mAh Software: Android 9.0 Pie 2. OnePlus 7T/7T Pro

OnePlus 7T Pro in hand

The OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro might not be branded as gaming phones, but they definitely pack a couple of features that make them more suitable for video games than your average devices.

Editor’s PickThe OnePlus 7T might still be a better phone than the OnePlus 7T Pro We’re only three years removed from OnePlus’ first ever T-series phone, but you can almost set your watch to the tick-tock of the company’s annual release schedule — and the OnePlus 7T Pro is the …

For one, both have 90Hz AMOLED displays, with the 7T Pro offering a larger 6.67-inch QHD+ panel. It’s not quite as slick a refresh rate as the ROG Phone 2 or Razer Phone series, but it’s better than most phones out there. It also means that you can enjoy slightly higher frame-rates in games that support refresh rates higher than 60Hz.

Both devices also deliver a Snapdragon 855+ processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB to 256GB of storage, and a sizeable battery (3,800mAh and 4,085mAh, respectively). Toss in a triple rear camera (48MP, 16MP ultra-wide, 12MP telephoto) and a 16MP pop-up selfie shooter (waterdrop notch on the cheaper model), and you’ve got some well-rounded high-end phones.

Buy OnePlus 7T from Amazon Buy OnePlus 7T Pro from Amazon OnePlus 7T specs Display: 6.55-inch, FHD+ AMOLED SoC: Snapdragon 855 Plus RAM: 8GB Storage: 128GB Rear cameras: 48, 16, and 12MP Front camera: 16MP Battery: 3,800mAh Software: Android 10 OnePlus 7T Pro specs Display: 6.67-inch, QHD+ AMOLED SoC: Snapdragon 855 Plus RAM: 8GB Storage: 256GB Rear cameras:48, 16, and 12MP Front camera: 16MP pop-up Battery: 4,085mAh Software: Android 10 3. Samsung Galaxy S10 series

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus red reflection at angle

Samsung’s early 2019 flagships aren’t branded as gaming phones either, but the company offered gaming-related features before almost every other player out there.

All three Galaxy S10 models offer Samsung’s Game Launcher and Game Tools options, allowing you to tweak performance in individual games. The Game Tools suite also lets you easily adjust resolution, take screenshots, record videos, and more.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e specs: Memory overload

As for actual hardware, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series offers either the Exynos 9820 or Snapdragon 855 flagship processors. The S10e is the cheapest of the lot and offers 6GB/8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of storage, dual rear cameras, and a 5.8-inch full HD+ screen. The S10 Plus is the top model, and you can expect 8GB to 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, and a 6.4-inch QHD+ display.

Buy Samsung Galaxy S10 from Amazon Buy Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus from Amazon Buy Samsung Galaxy S10e from Amazon Galaxy S10e specs: Display: 5.8-inch, Full HD+ SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9820 RAM: 6/8GB Storage: 128/256GB Rear cameras: 12 and 16MP Front camera: 10MP Battery: 3,100mAh Software: Android 9.0 Pie Galaxy S10 specs: Display: 6.1-inch, QHD+ Chipset: SD 855 or Exynos 9820 RAM: 8GB Storage: 128/512GB Rear cameras: 12, 12, and 16MP Front camera: 10MP Battery: 3,400mAh Software: Android 9.0 Pie Galaxy S10 Plus specs: Display: 6.4-inch, QHD+ SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9820 RAM: 8/12GB Storage: 128/512GB and 1TB Rear cameras: 12, 12, and 16MP Front cameras: 10 and 8MP Battery: 4,100mAh Software: Android 9.0 Pie 4. LG G8X ThinQ

LG G8X SNES emulator

The LG G8X ThinQ isn’t exactly a dedicated gaming phone, but it has one major feature that separates it from the rest of the pack: two screens.

This Nintendo DS-style setup makes the device perfect for retro gaming by setting up a controller on the bottom screen. Combined with a Snapdragon 855 processor, a respectable 6GB of RAM, 128GB internal storage and a microSD card slot, you’re looking at an all-around great performer.

Read more: LG G8X ThinQ review: A more practical — and affordable — “folding” phone

The folding phone also sports a sizeable 4,000mAh battery and both Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and wireless charging to keep your gaming sessions going long into the night. LG phones have long been lauded for their great audio performance, and the LG G8X ThinQ is no different.

But the real kicker is the price. With folding devices costing up to $2000 or more, the LG G8X ThinQ comes in at less than a third of the price.

Buy the LG G8X ThinQ from B&H Buy the LG G8X ThinQ from AT&T LG G8X ThinQ specs: Display: 6.4-inch OLED, FHD+ SoC: Snapdragon 855 RAM: 6GB Storage: 128GB + microSD Rear cameras: 12 and 13MB Front cameras: 32MP Battery: 4,000mAh Software: Android 9.0 Pie 5. Razer Phone 2

The Razer Phone 2 display.

The original Razer Phone resurrected the gaming phone concept, following Nokia’s N-Gage and the Sony Xperia Play devices of years gone by. The Razer Phone 2 doesn’t differ too much from the original device, retaining that 5.7-inch 120Hz LCD screen (QHD), and customizable RGB strips.

Otherwise, the new phone delivers a Snapdragon 845 processor, 64GB to 128GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM. Toss in a 4,000mAh battery, 12MP+12MP telephoto rear setup, and an 8MP selfie camera, and you’ve got a pretty solid combination.

The Razer Phone 2 also has wireless charging, an IP67 water/dust resistant design, front-facing speakers, and Game Booster software for performance tweaks.

Check pricing Razer Phone 2 specs Display: 5.7-inch, QHD (120Hz) SoC: Snapdragon 845 RAM: 8GB Storage: 64/128GB Cameras: 12 and 12MP Front camera: 8MP Battery: 4,000mAh Software: Android 9.0 Pie 6. Nubia Red Magic 3S

Red Magic 3S LED strip 16x9

The Nubia Red Magic 3S is the latest in the former ZTE sub-brand’s gaming line, and there’s more to it than a stereotypical, garish design.

Editor’s PickRed Magic 3S review: The perfect gaming phone?Gaming phones typically offer high performance, fast displays, big batteries and some kind of advanced cooling system. The Red Magic 3 offered all of those and more. Can its successor, the Red Magic 3S, bring …

Nubia’s latest flagship device packs a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, 8GB to 12GB of RAM, and a 5,000mAh battery with 18 watt fast charging. In other words, you should expect great gaming performance and better than average endurance. You’ve also got a 6.65-inch 90Hz OLED screen and capacitive shoulder triggers, making its claim as a gaming phone more concrete than many other devices.

The Red Magic 3S isn’t perfect, as it only offers a single rear camera (48MP IMX586), while rival devices offer telephoto or depth cameras too. Other noteworthy specs include a 16MP front-facing shooter, and 8K video recording.

Check pricing Nubia Red Magic 3S specs: Display: 6.65-inch AMOLED, FHD+ (90Hz) SoC: Snapdragon 855 Plus RAM: 8/12GB Storage: 128/256GB Rear cameras: 48MP Front cameras: 16MP Battery: 5,000mAh Software: Android 9.0 Pie 7. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Aura White back at angle

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 lineup is the latest in Samsung’s lineup of ultra-premium smartphones, so it should come as no surprise that they are among the best gaming phones available. This year there are two models, a smaller Note 10 and a larger Note 10 Plus, but both will perform equally well when it comes to gaming.

Read also: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 vs Galaxy Note 10 Plus: Which should you buy?

The smaller Samsung Galaxy Note 10 sports a still-sizeable 6.3-inch AMOLED display with a small hole-punch camera to give it a seamless feel. The larger Note 10 Plus has an even larger 6.8-inch display, which is among the largest phones you can buy in 2019. Even so, both are only 60Hz, and more and more devices nowadays have 90Hz or even 120Hz displays.

You don’t really need to worry about other specs, because they are pretty much top of the line across the board. They also feature the fan-favorite S Pen, which can come in handy for ultra-high precision taps and swipes while gaming on the go.

The camera is also a solid performer with a triple rear camera setup (16MP/12MP/12MP) and a 10MP selfie shooter. The only missing feature is a headphone jack, which unfortunately is par for the course for 2019 flagships.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 on Amazon Buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus on Amazon Samsung Galaxy Note 10 specs: Display: 6.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED SoC: Samsung Exynos 9825/Snapdragon 855 RAM: 8GB Storage: 256GB Rear cameras: 16, 12, and 12MP Front cameras: 10MP Battery: 3,500mAh Software: Android 10 Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus specs: Display: 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED SoC: Samsung Exynos 9825/Snapdragon 855 RAM: 12GB Storage: 256/512GB Rear cameras: 16, 12, and 12MP Front cameras: 10MP Battery: 4,300mAh Software: Android 10 8. Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro red blue black color comparison

We were sure that the Redmi K20 Pro would end up being the Pocophone F2 when it hit Western markets, but instead it ended up being called the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro.

Don’t let the name fool you though, because this phone packs a punch. With a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB to 8GB of RAM, 64GB to 256GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery, it has what it takes to hold its own against the best gaming phones around.

It even sports a triple rear camera set up (48MP, 13MP wide, 8MP telephoto) and a 20MP pop-up selfie camera, so your photography chops don’t have to suffer because of your gaming addiction.

Despite all of this, the Mi 9T Pro is one of the cheapest options on the list. Xiaomi really went all out on the Mi 9T Pro, and you won’t regret picking one up at such an attractive price point. The only downside is MIUI, which might not be for everyone. 

Buy the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro on Amazon Xiaomi Mi 9T specs: Display: 6.39-inch AMOLED SoC: Snapdragon 855 RAM: 6/8GBGB Storage: 64/128/256GB Rear cameras: 48, 13, 8MP Front cameras: 20MP Battery: 4,000mAh Software: Android 9.0 Pie

These are our picks for the best gaming phones you can get your hands on right now. We’ll add more as new phones hit the market.

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