Gone are the days when the most we could play on a cellphone was a 2D platform game. Today, digital stores are so jam-packed with cutting-edge titles that the latest Super Mario-style craze and other similar games have become a luxury alternative for breaking from the monotony of long and complicated treks among soldiers and zombies.
Mobile phone systems have made huge strides in such a short amount of time. We’re not just talking about the design (just ten years ago, we were still using alphanumeric phones and keyboards); we’re also talking about what’s inside a smartphone: processors as powerful as those inside the computers of 2015, the same RAM as modern-day laptops, endless storage memory, and displays with ultra-high resolutions. So at this point in time, everyone has to, at least once in their life, try a game with all the bells and whistles on their device, provided that its hardware is capable of running even the most demanding apps and its battery won’t deplete after a half hour.
So what are the best smartphones for gaming as of the beginning of 2018? We’ll find out together based on appearance, processor, battery life, and obviously, price range! Instead, here you can find the best camera phones of 2017.
Who would have expected this from a brand that’s active in a completely different sector? Towards the end of 2017, Razer, which produces a diverse range of accessories for the most demanding gamer, presented its Phone, over which many had various doubts. Instead, it seems that the cellphone has garnered favorable opinions precisely from video game aficionados, who found a near perfect mobile console right in their hands. Everything revolves around the Snapdragon 835 processor –which is currently at the top of the market–, as well as 8 GB of RAM, a 4000 mAh battery, and a 5.7-inch display that supports a 120 Hz refresh rate (others cap at 60) and never lags. If you add a pair of front stereo speakers, then you’ve got yourself an absolute champion in its class.
Best online prices: €749
Moto Z2 Play (2nd gen.)
With a name like this, it’s obvious that the Lenovo brand has focused on the gamer par excellence. It doesn’t have any extremely valuable technical features, but its distinction is in its compatibility with so-called Moto Mods, which push the limits of possible uses offered by a phone designed for gaming. Some examples: A mod to extend battery life, a mod that elevates the sound experience to the nth degree, and, above all, thegamepad that snaps onto the back, which allows you to play with a degree of stability worthy of a dedicated portable console. The specs feature a Snapdragon 626 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a 3000 mAh battery: like we said before, there are better products available on the market that offer greater services, but at this price it’s quite the bargain.
Best online price: €320
As we wait to hear about the upgrades brought to the Galaxy S9, the current model is the best choice for anyone who wants to game on the go. The reason? It’s not so much the hardware, which is common to its competition’s main best-sellers, but rather the overall ecosystem which, including the design, creates a device that truly seems like it’s straight from the future. Additionally, at a software level, Samsung has introduced optimizations that truly succeed in increasing one’s interaction with games, for example: the maximum drive of the processor and FHD screen, or the temporary touch locks on the virtual keys and notification blocks, so you’re not disturbed. We mentioned the ecosystem before: Samsung’s is continuously evolving and already rich in experiences, for example through the virtual reality of the Gear VR, a €100 headset with which you can immerse yourself in even more magnificent and interesting 3D worlds.
It seems like right now is the best time to take one of these models home, considering the price drop expected in anticipation of its successor.
The same goes for the Galaxy S8+, which just enlarges the screen dimensions in order to offer even better visuals.
Best online price: starting at €570
Long before the Play Store we know today, the App Store hosted games worthy of this name. The number of video game applications available in Apple’s digital store is practically incalculable, and the quality of each one never falls below expectations. Choosing between the iPhone 8 (or 8 Plus) and the iPhone X was not easy, but the Ten (that being the iPhone X) is certainly understood and approached in a way that loyal users of the Cupertino-based brand are not used to. For this reason, we chose the more classic model with Touch ID, which, aside from having updated and, to a certain extent, unrivaled hardware (comparisons with Qualcomm are never simple), also kick-started the magical world of ARKit, or apps and games in augmented reality (AR), to be enjoyed natively, without the need for headsets or other external accessories. Even in this case, the interface is intuitive and direct, and the first software houses that published their own AR work have demonstrated just how far we can go with entertainment through movement, which, although limited to screens just several inches large, has extraordinary and likely still unexpressed potential for improvement.
Best online price: starting at €710
We’re concluding with a brand that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Founded as a start-up in China, today OnePlus is a bigwig in the tech world, loved by nerds everywhere. It’s easy to see why: its open source software allows you to install alternative firmware and create customizations that are impossible elsewhere. Additionally, it boasts exceptional hardware components: Snapdragon 835, 6 GB of RAM, 64 or 128 GB of storage space, a 6-inch AMOLED display, and a 3300 mAh battery. It’s frill-free operating system and excellent hardware allow users to enjoy a fluid, lag-free experience, even with the latest-generation 3D games. Not to mention, the price is unbeatable for what it offers.
Best online price: starting at $499 USD