REVIEWS

Which Are The Best Gaming Smartphones in 2018

PRICE
PRICE/VALUE RATING
OS
LED HDR
CPU
RAM & STORAGE
BATTERY CAPACITY
1
Razer Phone
See Review
$699.99
AndroidSnapdragon 8358GB/64GB4000mAh Visit Site
2
OnePlus 5T
See Review
$639
Android OSSnapdragon 8358GB/128GB3300mAh Visit Site
3
Xiaomi Black Shark
See Review
$565.99
Android OSSnapdragon 8458GB/128GB4000mAh Visit Site
4
ZTE Nubia Red
See Review
$497.99
Android 8.0 OreoSnapdragon 8358GB/128GB3800mAh Visit Site
5
Samsung S9+
See Review
$817.98
Android 8.0Snapdragon 845 / Exynos 98106GB/256GB3500mAh Visit Site
6
Huawei P20 Pro
See Review
$870.99
Android 8.0 OreoKirin 9706GB/128GB4000mAh Visit Site
7
iPhone X
See Review
$1,264.99
iOSA11 Bionic3GB/256GB2716mAh Visit Site
8
iPhone 8+
See Review
$1,049.87
iOSA11 Bionic3GB/254GB2691mAh Visit Site
9
Pixel2 XL
See Review
$899.99
Latest Android VersionSnapdragon 8354GB/128GB3520mAh Visit Site
10
Sony Xperia XZ2
See Review
$648.99
Android 8.0 OreoSnapdragon 8458GB/64GB3180mAh Visit Site

Gaming Smartphones – Introduction




Smartphones and gaming are two words which did not go together very well, but now this saying is long gone, because we basically have computers in our pockets, able to run games, like GTA which were previously available only on high-end PCs. So with an increased focus on gaming and a market full of all sorts of mobile games, smartphone makers are vigorously competing against each other in who will make a flagship device that is most appropriate for gaming. An this has given birth to a new form of smartphone – the gaming smartphone. In this article we will show you the 5 best smartphones for gaming and compare them so that you can get a better perspective over what is worth the money you can afford.

Similar to our “Best Gaming Smartphones 2018”, “Most Secure Tablets 2019” and “Best Budget Smartphones 2019”, we have attempted to be as objective as possible, but bear in mind that some phones may vary with time passing by.

1. Razer Phone Review

Image Source: GSMArena.com

Razer, the gaming company which took the world by storm has now created a gaming device. This device aims to step it up a bit from an average flagship and make the gaming experience on smartphones taylor made to their preferences.

When you first take a look at the Phone, it pretty much looks rather old-fashioned and square shaped, but here is where the first glance thing ends to swallow you in a whole new world of astonishing experience. And the more you start playing, the more you begin to realize that everything that is made on this device is there for a reason. It is not bezel-less because of the fact that this prevents you from accidentally touching the screen while holding the phone with two hands. In addition to this, the top and bottom bezels are powerful speakers which are definitely an enjoyment for the ear.

When we talk about the screen of the phone, it is a 1440p IGZO LCD with a whooping 120Hz UltraMotion – just the one that is needed for competitive games where you want to be first to see something and react fast to it. And the squarely design is also there for a reason with its slick aluminum casing and that reason is an awesome grip that is very comfortable to work with.

The hardware of the phone is held together by nothing other than the powerful Snapdragon 835 chip with a whooping 8 gigs of RAM and 64 gigabytes storage. And oh year, do not worry about the battery, because the 4000mAh in combination with a lighter Android Nougat make it for a stable phone that can withstand up to a day of intensive gaming without starting to annoy you with the pop-ups, reminding you to plug your phone in the charger.

And do not dare to think that Razer has made another re-branded Android phone – no. This device has a lot of features that are specifically made for gaming and the most important word that can describe this pack full of gaming stuff is customization. To best illustrate the features, I have decided to use bullet points, just so you can see how many gaming-specific stuff they’ve put in that thing:

  • Customize your frame rate.
  • Change the resolution.
  • Change the clock of the CPU and the frequencies.
  • Enable and disable anti-aliasing features.
  • Turn on Razer Game Booster.
  • Optimize your phone based on each game and create different game profiles for each phones.
  • Modify the refresh rate.

So yeah, the Razer phone does have a lot of features, but is it overpriced? I would go with a big NO and the main reason for that is, well, the experience while using it. This device definitely makes the difference with this smooth 120Hz display to me as a gamer. And not only this, but the overall Android experience is better even than some flagships that are becoming more and more expensive and once I used this phone, it really makes me think about what smartphones are really capable of and more importantly why are not all smartphones like this?

2. OnePlus 5T Review

Image Source: GSMArena.com

The “flagship killer” which began it’s marketing strategy by giving users the ability to break their phones if they want to buy it’s devices for only $1 has released a new murderer. But does this make it a “serial killer”, it is interesting to see. The first impressions are that the device has successfully “grown up” with it’s whooping 6-inch AMOLED display in a 19:9 ration. Yes, there are bezels when you are watching videos with standat resolution, but the navigiation buttons and the new Android help with that by allowing you to zoom in and out of the video to limit bezels. But hey, let’s not get carried away and get to the gaming part.

When we talk about gaming, it is natural to discuss performance and the OnePlus 5T has a lot of it in stock. With the powerful Snapdragon 835 which, by the way is the same as the Razer’s chip, this phone lacks only the 120Hz display, which is not something that you should be worried about, because where it lacks, it compensates with it’s bigger screen. But do not confuse it – this is not a tailor-made phone for gaming and when even while you are gaming, people will still think “hmm… looks like this person Is going through his excel worksheets”, mainly because of it’s serious design, whilst in the Razer, people who have heard of the brand will be more or less like “What kind of game is this guy so passionate about?”. So yes, the design is definitely a plus for this phone and we would certainly recommend it to you, if you want to play some Fortnite during a serious(boring) business meeting.

And what is better is that the phone has the same RAM and storage as the Razer with 6 GB version as well, if you think that 8 GB is too much, but most reviewers do not make much of a difference between the 6 and the 8 variants. But let us talk about how it feels when it comes to performance. For starters, the phone does not lag at all and the smooth Android starts applications in a lightning fast manner, giving the impression that you are holding something very powerful in your hands. And it proves that as well, scoring almost 7000 in Geekbench’s multi-core tests, while the single score for performance was the same as LG V30. And while these numbers are way above average, sadly they cannot be compared with the iPhone 8 plus, but hey, it’s running another OS after all, so for Android type of device, it’s great. The only problem we seemed to experience over and over again was the speaker which was facing downward and sometimes we accidentally blocked it, preventing us to hear what is going on in the game. But thankfully, the Android Oreo compensates for all of the flaws of the 5T in a great way, making it a good all-rounder, but it could be an idea better when it comes to gaming – after all it is a flagship, right? But do not panic of it being overpriced if you have set your sights on this device, because you can rest assured that you get the exact bang for your buck.

3. Xiaomi Black Shark Review

Image Source: GSMArena.com
Xiaomi has our compliments by launching the Black Shark gaming phone which is set to compete with the Razer Phone. This device features a 6-inch 2160 x 1080 resoution display which has 18:9 aspect ratio. For the performance, do not be surprised, because the Xiaomi Black Shark packs quite the punch with the Snapdragon 845 CPU. And with it’s 4000 mAh battery with the latest 3.0 version of Quick Charge 3.0, that can charge the phone for about 15 minutes time – impressive. The device packs quite the storage punch as well with it’s choices of 6 GB and 8 GB RAM and 64 GB and 128 GB of storage space. But hey, many devices have that so what is stopping us from simply going with some flagship device. Well, for us, there are a lot of core competences that make the Xiaomi Black Shark competitive not only in the smartphone world, but in it’s gaming segment as well.

For starters, the device has a cooling system which is very similar to the cooling systems on gaming computers and this is a big plus because overheating is also an engineering problem, especially when we talk about gaming for hours. And not only this, but just like a supercar, this phone has a “sport” button, called the “Shark Key”. When you enable this thing, the Xiaomi smartphone erupts into high-performance mode which starts to handle even the most complicated tasks and totally trashes benchmarks. And not only this, but for the 600 bucks that you pay for the top of the line storage and RAM are the best value buy not only in the gaming smartphone segment, but in the all-rounder segment as well.

But let us not get carried away by numbers and discuss the gaming experience. At first glance, the IPS LED display seems a bit simplistic and square shaped, but wait until you go into the high performance “Shark Key”mode. The device impresses with a smooth and crisp Android 8.0 Oreo performance and makes us beg for it to be released on a global scale so we won’t have to way months for this amazing device to be shipped.

Oh yeah, and did I mention the optional joystick that comes with the phone?

Image Source: Gadgetbytenepal.com

4. Nubia Red Magic Review
Image Source: GSMArena.com

As the song by The Lovin’ Spoonful, called “Do You Believe In Magic” makes us want to believe in magic, so does the Nubia Red Magic, which is quite the serious performer for gaming. The stunningly designed device with it’s slick look and an enormous 6 inch display has something that we forgot about – RGB LED light in It’s battery case. And believe it or not, it can be customized to do this:

Yes, the back-lit LED light can do up to 16 million types of colors and it is made to be customized the way you like it, which hints the buyer that his money is spent for something exquisite. The storage is more than enough at 8 GB or RAM and 128 GB of storage and when you consider it’s price of almost $400, this is definitely a killer phone. But as always, let us not get carried away and talk about the gaming experience.

The 6 – inch display of the Nubia Red Magic runs Android Oreo 8.1 and the 835 Snapdragon transfers amazing graphics onto the Full HD display of the device, which at this resolution for the 6-inch display does not step back in quality to the HDR displays.

5. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Review

Image Source: GSMArena

This bezel less phone also has minimal bezels on top and bottom but they are not enough to obstruct your FOV while gaming and are more of a benefit for mobile gaming. The Samsung Galaxy S9 plus has the powerful Snapdragon 845 chip with Adreno 630 graphics. The powerful Samsung flagship also features up to 6 gigs of RAM, making it a competitive performer when you are gaming. But one thing here is a very very important factor for gaming and the overall success of Samsung’s flagship so far and that Is the mind-boggling 5.8 inch display with a 1440×2960 resolution and “looks to kill for” and by that I mean the quality. It is no secret that Samsung have been perfecting their Super AMOLED technology to support HDR10 and the S9 plus is a clear proof for that with a screen so sharp and so bright, that it creates the impression of swallowing you in it – simply perfect.

But this is not the only reason to consider the Samsung S9 plus. The device also has a unique feature that is specifically created for gaming – Samsung Game Tools. This feature has been created to specifically chage Android settings to create an environment that is optimized specifically for gaming, kind of like “Game Mode” – very interesting indeed. The Samsung Game Tools can help you do the following activities;

  • Take screenshots.
  • Record your gameplay.
  • Keep the notifications on your smartphone out of your way.

But hey, if I as a gamer wanted to buy the Samsung S9 plus, it would not be because of it’s sharp display, powerful chip, the boat load of storage or the Game Tools, no – I would do it for what is shown in the picture underneath:

Image Source: Samsung.com

Yes, the Gear VR, powered by Oculus – something that takes mobile gaming to a whole another level. With VRChat and many other VR-based games, this world is becoming more and more popular and it shows us the way to the future, which has been understood and implemented by the Samsung team behind this project flawlessly – kudos for that! And so that you can understand what I am typing about, the new S9 plus has implemented the Gear VR to be perfectly compatible with their mobile device, resulting in a crisp experience which will make you glad that you have wasted your time for VR gaming.

6. Huawei P20 Pro Review

Image Source: GSMArena

Beautiful, like the Hollywood star Gal Gadot, advertising it, the P20 Pro is surely one of the best gaming phones to consider, especially if you want an iPhone X, but are keen on using Android. The powerful P20 Pro is the type of device which features the powerful 6 GB of Ram and the fast Kirin 970 chip, which is going for around the same price as the Qualcom Snapdragon 845, but when compared based on their performance, the Kirin chip is more powerful:


Source: https://www.androidauthority.com/kirin-970-vs-snapdragon-845-859742/

With it’s Android 8.1 Oreo and EMUI 8.1 interface, the P20 pro features a list of custom apps, which replace the default apps built-in by Google, adding tons of value to the device. This makes the P20 with its own custom versions of apps, which is a clear sign that developers were unleashed to exercise their creativity and oh my have they succeeded. But let us not get carried away and discuss the gaming experience.

When we talk about P20 Pro in terms of gaming performance, the device has a rather useful speaker system, featuring powerful speakers, that deliver clear and rich sound even when you have raised the volume to it’s maximum. And furthermore, the device has a triple camera, making it a good phone to use when you want to play games that support holograms through the camera. And not only this, but the device also packs quite an enormous battery as well, at 4000 mAh, ensuring a long-lasting gameplay on it’s 6.1” display at a high resolution of 1080×2240 pixels in a stunning AMOLED experience, providing you with 16 million colors. And to top that out, the device also has fast battery charging as well – 56% in around half a hour. So, the P20 with its release in March 2018 is definitely a stable contender for the “Phone of the year” award and it does not steb back from any other flagship device that is out there. And if you want the best bang for your bug, this device is definitely one to consider.

7. The iPhone X Review

Image Source: Apple

Released back in October 2017, the X is already very popular and with the 1124×2436 screen, which reportedly is made by Samsung, the X performs and even better experience than the 8 Plus, because of it’s higher resolution and bigger display. And yes, the bezels do make it a bit difficult to perform gaming activities since if you hold the phone normally, you may obstruct the screen a bit, like the image below shows:

But this is not exactly a frapant problem and just because some of the users experience such problem, does not make the phone unfit for gaming, rather the opposite – quite good at it. And with Apple’s specific focus on holograms and 3D models, the device really immerses into real-life games, and all you need for this awesome experience is to have a table or any other flat surface around – something that is basically everywhere and the result is this:


Video Source: Youtube Channel “tech blix”

But if you were to buy an iPhone, there is an even bigger reason to do so – the App Store. Apple’s app store is the type of place, where iPhone-specific games can be found which are basically fantastic. And this specific developer concentration to create iPhone specific content attracts a lot of users who want to play exclusive games and makes you feel like you are a special customer indeed. And to strengthen this bond with the user, Apple has added a near-perfect ecosystem of their apps and with the OLED screen and the powerful A11 Bionic chip, plus the dual 12MP camera with bunch of tech inside it, the 174g device is one that you definitely would want to consider, if you are willing to spend a few hundred bucks more on a smartphone.

8. iPhone 8 Plus Review

Image Source: GSMArena.com

There is a reason why we have chosen to review the iPhone 8 first rather than the X and this reason is not that it’s too expensive, no – it’s the bezels around the phone, which on the X prevent you from holding the phone in a way that is comfortable for you when you are gaming. And when it comes to the 8 Plus, it not only has a big display but is also almost as powerful as the X, making it the perfect value for money if you are in the market for an iPhone which you aim to use for gaming.

At first use, the iPhone 8 seems to be a bit heavier than the last year variant and the size of it’s screen is rather the same. The newer and better CPU is completely able to start games faster than any other phone out there. And it handles them quite amazing at that with a smooth experience, a bright screen and an enjoyable sound which will help you stay competitive while gaming. And oh year, how could I forget, this device perfectly includes all of the technology that is used when you are gaming on holograms through your camera and all you need is a table and few of your friends to make a decent real-life multiplayer, while moving all the time. This whole new approach to gaming is very well taken in consideration by the Apple team and this new approach to gaming makes people more active and sets new trends, indeed. But this good side of the iPhone unfortunately leads me to point out the weaknesses I noticed in this device, which are difficult to pass by and on first place I can definitely say it’s the battery, which not only turns of at 10%, but is also not as big as some of the iPhone’s competitors (2691 mAh vs the whooping 4000mAh on the Razer).

But how about the gaming experience with the iPhone. Well, to put it in a simple manner, I will use the word combination “expected flawlessness”. I only wish it was a bit longer and I wouldn’t have to stay on the charger to play the amazing Apple Store – exclusive games.

9. Google Pixel 2 XL Review

Image Source: GSMArena.com
The newer Pixel 2 XL model by Google features a decent 6 inch screen in a very high and crisp 1440×2880 pixels resolution, provided by the Adreno 540 GPU in combination with a P-OLED capacitative touchscreen display with 16M colors. For the heart of the device, the powerful Snapdragon 835 is used, which when compared to the 845 variant of Snapdragon is just a bit less powerful at 4 x 2.45 GHz and 4 x 1.9 GHz clock speed per core in comparison with the 2.8 and 1.77 respectfully for the 845. But the difference here is that the 835 is a first generation 10nm processor while the 845 is a second-gen device. The download speed is also 200mbits higher for the 845 at 1024 MBits/s (835) versus 1200Mbits/s (845). But when we zoom out of the technical overview, this is not a difference that should be of much importance, mainly because of the ability of the smartphone to handle even the most demanding of games.

One downside we noticed with the Pixel XL is the fact that the device’s battery drains out very fast during gaming, which is kind of a downside and it is caused likely by the large 6.0” display which in combination with the powerful processor drains in a matter of few hours time. The good part fo this is the fast charging which is capped at 10.5 W. So, the bottom line here is that one external battery case or pack with fast-charging capability is all that you need if you are about to be gaming on the run.

Furthermore, when we talk about the gaming experience on this device, it is good to notice that the stereo speakers produce a clear 3D sound which maintains good quality even when you turn it up to the maximum. But for a price tag of around 870 euros, the Pixel 2 XL may provide the best Android experience, but you can still find a lot of alternatives that have better stats, CPU and other features which the Pixel 2 XL does not have as standard. But do not let this repel you from the device, because the Pixel 2 XL provides an immersive gaming experience which is completely capable of handling all of your gaming requirements and make it look effortless.

10. Sony Xperia XZ2 Review
Image Source: GSMArena.com
The XZ2 is an aesthetic and fashionable device made by Sony – a company which is well known for creating beautiful things that enjoy the eye. And oh my does it enjoy the eye, indeed. The device has the 25-percent better than it’s first-ge rivals Snapdragon 845 CPU and naturally the Adreno 640 GPU and this amazing performance is transferred through a smooth experience on a 2160×1080 resolution. But it’s not all about the resolution – the display is top-notch as well at 5.7 inches and HDR capacitative screen that uses the Sony’s BRAVIA® TV technology which is more than enough to suit your gaming needs, even though some will say that it could be a bit brighter when you are outside with the device. And what is good about the device is that it’s 64 gigs of storage and the 6GB of RAM it offers make it more than enough to store all of your important files plus several big games.

The gaming experience on the Xperia XZ2 is powered by the amazing surround sound S-Force which immerses you into it’s HRD display. The rest is done without hic-ups in even the most complicated games by the powerful Snapdragon chip. The only downside is the battery of 3180 mAh which while optimized for optimum usage, with the large 5.7 inch display and the powerful CPU and GPU makes it extremely difficult to stay to keep this beautiful phone for longer gaming experiences.

Legal Disclaimer: Be advised that the opinions expressed on this website are solely ours and they are not biased towards any specific software company or any other organization. The opinions are also based on our research, which includes first-hand data as well as second-hand information and it took place approximately 30 days before this article was published.

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Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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