The best gaming phones in 2021 are packed with power. While the next-gen consoles hog the headlines – often because they’re so hard to find – there are some amazing things happening in Android and Apple land, and unlike consoles, you don’t need to join a 5AM online queue in the hope of getting one.
As processors get faster, GPUs become more powerful and displays get sharper, mobile gaming is getting better and better. And we should know: we spend tons of time gaming on our phones.
Below is our hand picked selection of the best gaming phones on the market today. These are phones loaded with power, advanced cooling systems, and next-gen features that make playing mobile games a joy.The best gaming phones you can buy today
The best gaming phone for most people? That’s the Nubia Red jje-boutique.com Magic 5G.
The best gaming phone for most peopleSpecifications
Front camera: 8MPReasons to buy
+144Hz refresh rate display+In-built gaming buttons+5G data supportedReasons to avoid
The Nubia Red Magic 5G really invests in the tech gamers want, and that means as well as a strong all-round hardware spec this phone delivers a 144Hz refresh rate display as well as built in shoulder button triggers.
It’s also got a built-in fan and liquid cooling system to keep the phone chilled even when intense gaming sessions are taking place. Vibration is also built in to the handset, meaning that if you want you can feel every shot or crash.
You also get Android 10 out of the box in terms of OS, and there is of course a 5G modem on board as well meaning that if you have a 5G data contract and live in an area with 5G then you’re covered.
Want to get even more information about the Nubia Red Magic 5G? Then check out our Nubia Red Magic 5G guide.
The Asus ROG Phone 5 is a great premium price gaming phone.
The best premium gaming phoneSpecifications
Dimensions: 172.8 x 77.3 x 10.3mm
Rear camera: 64MP f/1.8 wide + i-yankees.com/ 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide + 5MP macro
Front camera: 24MP f/dua.0Reasons to buy
+Packed with power+Advanced case cooling+Dedicated gaming buttonsReasons to avoid
-Beastly proportions and weight-Camera zoom easily beaten
There’s no doubt that the Asus ROG laptops are some of the best in the business for gamers, and the similarly branded smartphones are doing the business as well. The fifth version of the Republic of Gamers handset brings with it a number of improvements, including a 144Hz refresh rate screen and touch sampling rate of 300Hz, while also keeping everything we liked about the previous model.
This phone is absolutely stacked with power – not only does it come with the very best CPU for Android phones, you can also get it fitted with a whopping 16GB of RAM, which is a crazy amount. You could probably run three games side by side on this without noticing any sort of slowdown.
There’s a lot more to like as well, including customisable buttons on the side of the Asus ROG Phone lima and a dedicated gaming mode in the perangkat lunak to make sure you’re always getting maximum performance. The 6.78-inch display is a real highlight too, running at a refresh rate of 144Hz to make sure that the action on screen always looks super-smooth.
For bang for your buck, the Xiaomi Black Shark tiga is a great gaming phone choice.
The best budget gaming phoneSpecifications
Dimensions: 168.7 x 77.tiga x 10.4 mm
Rear camera: 64MP f/1.8 wide + 13MP f/dua.tiga ultrawide + 5MP f/2.2 depth
Front camera: 20MP f/2.2Reasons to buy
+Aggressive, solid design+Huge, vibrant screen+Some neat accessoriesReasons to avoid
The latest handset in Xiaomi’s Black Shark gaming line is just as impressive as the first two: it’s packed with power and functionality, as well as a host of features that are going to appeal to people wanting a superior portable gaming experience. It’s hard to pick a fault in anything the Black Shark tiga offers from a gaming perspective (and there’s the Pro version too if you need a bigger screen).
It’s not a budget phone, but at a starting price of a little over £500 in the UK, this is very affordable considering what you get for your money – including a top-end Snapdragon 865 processor and an advanced cooling system. The 4720 mAh battery gives you plenty of time between charges as well, even when there are extended gaming sessions involved.
With a generous 6.67-inch display and plenty of RAM, as well as some striking ergonomics, this is undoubtedly one of the best gaming phones at the moment. We also like the official accessories on offer, including the clip-on charger that lets you keep playing while you’re juicing up the handset, and the separate gamepad that makes it easier to control games without touching the screen.
Compare this phone to another device from our best gaming phones guide by reading T3’s Xiaomi Black Shark tiga vs Nubia Red Magic 5G comparison feature.
To learn even more about this handset be sure to also check out our Xiaomi Black Shark 3 guide.
Lenovo’s first gaming phone is well worth scoping out.
A strong all-round gaming phone from a respected brandSpecifications
Dimensions: 169.dua x 78.6 x 9.9mm
Front camera: 20MPReasons to buy
+Plenty of power+Very fast chargingReasons to avoid
The standout on this gaming phone, which is Lenovo’s first crack at one, is its 90W fast charging. With that on board it means that even after the phone’s battery is depleted after intense gaming sessions it takes hardly any time to charge it back to full capacity.
Away from the rapid charging this phone also comes with a strong hardware suite and a pop-up camera, which is quite impressive. It also comes with the tech-du-jour which is a 5G modem. This means you can tap into the low latency and rapid data speeds that 5G offers, allowing for low pings and rapid game downloads.
The 144Hz AMOLED screen is also well worthy of respect, and paired with up to 16GB of RAM, and a powerful Snapdragon and Adreno CPU and GPU combo, this thing crushes any game on the Google Play store.
The design will be divisive and Lenovo isn’t known for its phones, but in the Legion Phone Duel it is on to a winner. Well worth considering.
The best gaming phone to buy if you want an iPhone? That would be the new iPhone 12.
The best gaming phone for iPhone usersSpecifications
Dimensions: 146.7 mm x 71.5 mm x 7.4 mm
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.6 wide + 12 MP f/2.4 ultrawide
Front camera: 12MP f/2.2Reasons to buy
+Polished, stable performance+Large variety of accessories+Lots of games to choose fromReasons to avoid
With its extra versatility and more in the way of customisation options, most of the gaming phone attention tends to go to Android, but don’t discount iOS completely – with blazing fast processors, powerful graphics performance and tight hardware/perangkat lunak integration, iPhones are also excellent choices when it comes to picking up a mobile gaming handset.
That brings us to the iPhone 12, perhaps the best gaming iPhone of the bunch right now. It has a generous 6.1-inch display, like the iPhone 12 Pro – but as the Pro upgrades are mostly in the camera department, you don’t really need to pay the extra if you’re focusing on gaming. Of course the super-powerful A14 Bionic processor also makes it ideal for gaming.
From battery life to build quality, there are plenty of reasons to consider the iPhone 12 if you want the best gaming phone money can buy. It’s difficult to beat in terms of raw power, you’ve got a vast choice of games to pick from on iOS (including the Apple Arcade subscription service), and it’s going to work seamlessly with any other bits of Apple kit you happen to have set up around the home.