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6 of the Best Gaming Phones in 2023


With a vast assortment of increasingly impressive titles to choose from and more powerful hardware, phones are quickly becoming a mobile gamer’s go-to device when out and about. Many of today’s flagship phones can run even the most demanding games. However, some devices are designed specifically with gaming in mind, with unique features and jacked-up specs meant to supercharge your mobile gaming experience. This list includes some of the best gaming phones you can get your hands on today.

FYI: check out our review of iMobie AnyMiro to learn how it handles mobile game mirroring.

1. Best Overall: Samsung S23 Ultra

Price: $1,199

The best gaming phone of 2023 isn’t marketed as a gaming phone. Instead, it is the top-of-line offering from Samsung: the S23 Ultra. The smartphone boasts exceptional performance and excels in virtually every other area.

Gaming Phones Samsungs 23 front

It’s no secret that gaming phones prioritize performance over other modern phone functions, like the camera. However, with Samsung’s flagship S23 Ultra, you can have the best of both worlds.

With a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, the Samsung S23 Ultra provides top-notch performance in all areas of use, including graphical rendering. This means that it is suitable for even the most demanding mobile games. Additionally, the phone includes an excellent camera, impressive battery life, and an S Pen.

Gaming Phones Samsungs 23 back

Pros

  • Faster, more efficient LPDDR5X RAM
  • Built with recycled materials
  • Screen recording
  • IP68 water- and dust-proof
  • 200MP camera
  • 5,000mAh battery

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only 45W wired charging

2. Best Battery Life: ASUS ROG Phone 7

Price: $875

The ASUS ROG Phone 7 is one of the best gaming phones. In addition to packing some potent hardware, the Asus ROG Phone 7 has a massive 6,000 mAh battery to ensure you have enough juice to power marathon gaming sessions.

Gaming Phones Rog 7 front back

Under the hood, the Asus ROG Phone 7 utilizes the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. Currently, it is the best Android processor by a large margin, offering top-notch performance and excellent power management. This is accompanied by the AeroActive Cooler 7, which provides superior heat dissipation and haptic trigger buttons.

The ROG Phone 7 features a super bright 165Hz Samsung AMOLED display and a subwoofer that delivers an impressive 2.1 sound. The 6.8-inch screen and large battery make this phone relatively bulky, while the camera isn’t as impressive as other phones on this list.

Gaming Phones Rog 7 trigger buttons

Pros

  • 18+ hour battery life
  • Supports 165 Hz and adaptive refresh rate
  • Zen UI with minimal bloatware
  • AeroActive Cooler 7
  • Gaming buttons built in

Cons

  • Fairly chunky bezels
  • No telephoto lens
  • IP54 waterproof rating

Interesting reading: if you’ve been wondering whether it’s still worth it to have a gaming laptop, we have the answers.

3. Best Shoulder Buttons: Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro

Price: $799

Xiaomi’s Black Shark series of phones are some of the most affordable gaming-centric mobile handsets on the market. The latest offering, the Black Shark 5 Pro, scales back some flashy design choices in other gaming phones. Despite the more subdued aesthetics, the Black Shark 5 Pro features some impressive specs for the price.

Gaming Phones Black shark front back

Like the ASUS ROG Phone 7, the Black Shark 5 boasts an OLED screen with a 144 Hz refresh rate and 120W fast-charging capability. The standout feature of the Black Shark 5 is the physical magnetic pop-up shoulder buttons. Other gaming phones have assignable haptic shoulder buttons, which are prone to inaccurate actuation. Physical buttons are much more accurate and reliable, resulting in a far superior gaming experience.

Unfortunately, for every design choice worthy of applause, there are some equally confounding ones. The first is the omission of an active cooling system. The Black Shark 5 Pro omits a fan in favor of passive cooling. This does the job, ensuring that performance doesn’t dip. However, it results in a very hot phone, which could be uncomfortable for longer gaming sessions.

Gaming Phones Black shark snap dragon

Pros

  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor
  • 120W “hyper” charging
  • Pressure sensitive display, meaning areas of the screen can be assigned to perform operations based on the duration of a finger press

Cons

  • Not officially available in the USA
  • Third-party resellers may inflate price
  • No wireless charging
  • No headphone jack

4. Best Cooling System: REDMAGIC 8S Pro

Price: $799

Like other devices on this list, the REDMAGIC 8S Pro sports the beefy Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. This SOC can easily handle even the most demanding games, and its active cooling system and fan ensure heat dissipation so that you don’t experience drops in performance as you play.

Gaming Phones Redmagic back 2

In addition to the incredible processor and cooling system, this top gaming phone includes a 6.8″ FHD Full AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. Regardless of the games you play on the go, you’ll enjoy beautiful HD+ visuals at an impressive 120 frames per second, ultra-fast touch, and precise response.

The REDMAGIC 8S Pro also boasts a more understated design. This makes it a good choice for those who think the RGB-laden stylistic choices of most “gaming” hardware are garish.

Gaming Phones Redmagic cod mobile

Pros

  • Dual SIM
  • 6,000 mAh battery
  • 65W fast charging

Cons

  • Weak selfie camera
  • No planned updates

Tip: in the market for a wireless gaming headset? Check out our review of the EKSA E1000 WT True 2.4 GHz.

5. Best Connectivity: Sony Experia 1 IV (Gaming Edition)

Price: $1299

It should come as no surprise that one of the best gaming phones on the market is from Sony. Although it’s one of the most expensive gaming phones on this list, the Experia 1 IV has a few tricks to justify the price, including a true optical zoom, something few manufacturers are even attempting.

Gaming Phone Sony Front Camera

In addition, the Experia 1 IV boasts a 6.5-inch 4K screen in a 21:9 aspect ratio. The device boasts the beefy Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of internal storage.

Finally, this device includes the Xperia Stream accessory. This attachment brings active cooling to the phone and additional ports, including HDMI out and an Ethernet port.

Gaming Phone Sony Hd mi out

Pros

  • Full manual control of cameras
  • OLED screen
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

Cons

  • Awkward to hold with one hand
  • Gets hot under load
  • Gaming edition only supports GSM networks

6. Best Budget: Motorola Edge+ (2023)

Price: $699

Like the Samsung S23 Ultra, Motorola’s latest iteration of their flagship phone, the Motorola Edge+, isn’t classified as a gaming phone. Because of this, you need to look at this phone as an attractive all-purpose device, not just a phone built for gaming.

Gaming Phones Motorola edge front

The Edge+ has a 6.7-inch pOLED display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 and a 165 Hz refresh rate. It includes a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and attractive screen curves.

If you’re looking for an excellent gaming experience at a more affordable price without sacrificing camera quality, consider the Motorola Edge Plus.

Gaming Phones Motorola edge back

Pros

  • IP68 water- and dust-proof
  • Excellent battery life
  • 68W fast charging

Cons

  • Wraparound screen can result in accidental touches
  • Not available through any of the three major carriers in the U.S.

Besides high-end processors and tons of RAM, this list of the best gaming phones also boasts phenomenal displays with high refresh rates and impressive specs. If you want to up your game even more, consider getting your hands on one of the best phone gamepad controllers. Alternatively, you can easily connect your Xbox One controller to your phone.

Image credit: Unsplash

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