Best Gaming Smartphones You Can Buy Right Now in 2023

Two decades ago, we could never imagine smartphone gaming becoming a thing. The PC and Console enthusiasts of the past would also never imagine things like “gaming phones” to exist. However, the mobile segment evolved quite a lot in the past few years, and games became impressive. From the low-demanding casual games to games that show AAA-like graphics, we can say that a revolution happened in the segment. There are dozens of demanding games with stunning graphics, and also some competitive games on mobile.

Seeing the potential of this market, smartphone makers developed the so-called “Gaming Phones” bringing exclusive features to boost your experience. The Gaming Phone class exists for quite some time and has some advantages for those who want the best experience. However, the regular flagship smartphones also offer decent performance for games nowadays. If you’re in the market for a device that can bring you some hours of joy, we are here with a nice list of the Best Gaming Smartphones of 2023.

In addition to the rise of mobile gaming phones, we are also seeing things like “Cloud Gaming” hitting that category. Nowadays, it’s pretty much possible to enjoy PC games on mobile smartphones thanks to services such as Xbox Game Pass and Nvidia GeForce Now. While the game is not handled by your hardware, you will still need decent features like 5G or Wi-Fi 6 to enjoy a smooth experience. We’ve built this list taking hardware, features, and connectivity into consideration.

Things You Need to Consider on a Gaming Phone

Unlike regular smartphones, there are a few things you need to take into consideration when looking for a decent gaming phone. When looking at dedicated gaming phones, you might be more concerned with the number of features offered. For instance, a good dedicated gaming phone will bring dedicated triggers to boost the experience and give you some advantages over regular phones. Another aspect is the display. If you want an immersive experience with a stunning view, you will need a good display with a high-resolution and smooth refresh rate. It also needs to have a decent touch sample rate to register your fast touch inputs. This can be a decisive feature when you’re going for competitive gaming on your mobile phone.

Battery and Sound are also important specs in phones for gaming. You need a good battery capacity or at least a solid energy management system. After all, bad battery life will compromise your experience. Gaming is one of the most demanding activities you can do on your handset. Therefore, it’s important to take capacity or energy management into consideration. On Android, the higher the better, and fast charging can be a plus. When looking on the iOS side, we won’t see massive batteries, but the management system is quite efficient. Gaming Phones with advanced cooling systems are also great options because of their power to keep thermals under control. If the temperature goes higher, your processor will lose power and efficiency.

Best Gaming Smartphones
Mobile Gaming is trending with better games

When it comes to sound, stereo speakers can provide immersive sound with deep basses. Nowadays, this will further improve your immersion in gaming. However, it’s nice to take some good headphones into consideration if you’re going to play with your mobile phone.

Lastly, we need to look at the connectivity side. Unlike PCs, you won’t connect a wire to your mobile phone to get the best and most speed internet connectivity. In fact, this would ruin the whole mobile thing… So, it’s good to consider devices with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G connectivity. If you can’t go with 5G or Wi-Fi 6, then pick a phone with dual-band Wi-Fi. So make sure to play online on the 5G networks to avoid issues.

When looking at a gaming phone, the camera shouldn’t be your top priority. Thankfully, modern gaming phones also bring decent cameras. But if you want the best performance and also a stellar phone for photography then it’s better to look at regular flagship devices. Without further ado, let’s see some of the Best Gaming Smartphones you can buy right now.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

A premium smartphone for gaming

We start the list with regular flagship smartphones. Maybe not so “regular”, after all, the Galaxy S23 Ultra stands as one of the most premium devices on the market. However, it’s out of the class of conventional gaming phones. But still, you can get one of the best experiences with this hardware.

Gaming Smartphones
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

When not playing, you will still have one of the best phones on the market

The phone brings an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 offering extra performance. It has up to 12 GB of RAM to ensure your gaming sessions won’t be interrupted by abrupt memory reboots. The device also brings a gorgeous 6.8-inch Super AMOLED screen with 1,750 nits of brightness and QHD+ resolution. The refresh rate floats between 1 Hz to 120 Hz depending on what is being shown on the screen. It has a huge battery of 5,000 mAh capacity meaning that you can enjoy hours of content without drawing your juice.

Xiaomi Black Shark 5

The best budget gaming phone

The Xiaomi Black Shark 5 stands in 2023 as a decent budget option. It’s not as powerful as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 gaming phones and even falls behind the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 phones. However, the device’s Snapdragon 870 can still offer an awesome gaming experience. It’s one of the best options when you have $500 for a dedicated gaming phone. When paired with 12 GB of RAM the chipset will offer great performance with extreme multi-tasking. There is also a special cooling system to ensure the performance will be kept even on long gaming sessions.

Black Shark 5

Awesome features

The device has a gorgeous AMOLED screen that can reach a whopping 144 Hz of refresh rate. It also has a 720 Hz multi-touch sample rate, meaning even your fastest inputs will be correctly registered by the display. The phone also has two magnetic pop-up triggers. This gives you some advantage over regular smartphones since you can easily use external buttons and set them as triggers. Also, you can put them back in their hidden slot when not in use. The Black Shark 5 has a 4,650 mAh battery and figures as one of the best gaming smartphones you can buy in 2023.


Asus ROG Phone 5S

ROG Phone 5S

An intermediary gaming smartphone option

Another good option is the ASUS ROG Phone 5S. This is not the most cutting-edge ASUS’ offering, that is the ASUS ROG Phone 7. However, this one is still not widely available on the market. So if you want an option right now, then you may consider the ROG Phone 5G or even its sequel. If we are sticking with a decent “budget” option, the ROG Phone 5S is still a decent phone. The device boasts the Snapdragon 888 and comes with a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with 144 Hz refresh rate. The device also has a 360 Hz touch sample rate. Like the Black Shark, this is a dedicated gaming phone, so you’ll get physical buttons. We have ultrasonic side buttons that can detect taps and simulate triggers. The phone’s sensors can also be used to enable special gesture controls through motion sensing.

iPhone 14
iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 14 Pro Max

The best gaming smartphone running iOS

There are no gaming phones on the iOS side, but that does not mean you can’t get a great performance for gaming. For this purpose, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is your best pick right now. The phone comes with the Apple A16 Bionic and can handle anything on the App Store. Further, it comes with a high resolution and up to 120 Hz refresh rate. It also is the iPhone with the largest battery, so you won’t have many issues while playing. You can enjoy mobile games, and cloud gaming services. Unfortunately, emulators are not very popular on iOS, but you can still find some. This is one of the best gaming smartphones to get in 2023 when you’re an iOS user.

iPhone SE (2022)
iPhone SE (2022)

iPhone SE (2022)

The budget iOS option

The next option on the iOS side is the iPhone SE (2022). This is a budget offering for those die-hard fans of Apple’s ecosystem. It’s very simple when we compare it with the offerings on the Android side. However, this is the most budget option you can get when looking for a good iPhone for gaming. The phone’s display can be slightly lackluster with just 4.7 inches. However, budget gaming on iOS is the main purpose to include this phone here. It also has 5G connectivity and the Apple A15 Bionic to ensure a fluid gaming experience. Some can say that an iPhone 14 Plus is a better option for gaming. That is not wrong, but the price difference between the iPhone 14 Plus and the more powerful options, should make you consider the iPhone 14 Pro.

OnePlus 11
OnePlus 11

OnePlus 11

A stylish, yet-powerful, smartphone for gaming

The next regular “flagship” in our list is the OnePlus 11. This one certainly is a favorite choice for Android enthusiasts, the phone also brings excellent performance for gaming. It packs a gorgeous 6.7-inch QHD+ AMOLED screen with an adaptive refresh rate of 1Hz to 120 Hz. It draws power from a gorgeous 5,000 mAh battery with 80W fast-charging. The phone has a fast 1000 Hz touch sample rate and brings the excellent Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Even on its “non-Galaxy” version, there is nothing to match this chipset on performance. The phone is also quite elegant for regular usage.

Realme GT Neo
Realme GT Neo5 / GT3

Realme GT Neo5 / GT3

A great budget flagship with fast charging – one of the best gaming smartphones

The next option is for all those hardware enthusiasts in the gaming segment. Well, the Realme GT Neo5 / GT3 certainly comes with an appeal to gamers. That is clear when we look at its fancy RGB LED. The phone brings the excellent Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 meaning you will have enough performance to handle any game or emulator on the PlayStore. The phone also comes in two versions. We know that having 240W is tempting for enthusiasts, but I will still recommend the one with “just” 150W charging. That will bring you a huge 5,000 mAh battery. The phone also has a gorgeous 1.5K AMOLED display with fast touch input and a 120 Hz refresh rate.

Nubia RedMagic 8 Pro

RedMagic 8 Pro

The best gaming phone of 2023

We end our list with a 2023 Gaming smartphone with a gorgeous design and advanced features. The best thing about this device is its full-screen design thanks to ZTE’s under-screen camera tech. You have the entire screen to show your gaming content. This is a 6.8-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD+ resolution and a bright 1,300 nits of brightness. The screen also has a 120 Hz refresh rate that can lower to 90 Hz or 60 Hz to conserve battery. The device also has a responsive 960 Hz multi-touch sample rate for faster inputs. There are also touch-sensitive triggers that can be custom mapped to match on-screen buttons. So it’s an adaptive phone that can boost your mobile gaming experience.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 comes with 12 GB of RAM and has a multidimensional cooling system to keep performance and efficiency. The phone also boasts Wi-Fi 6E to ensure fast and stable connectivity plus 5G. Without further ado, this is one of the best gaming smartphones of 2023. So, if you have the budget, it’s an unbeatable champion.

The rise of handhelds

Since the last year, we are seeing a different move in the smartphone segment. We are seeing brands launching full-fledged handheld consoles. At the core, they’re basically smartphones made for cloud gaming. Devices like the Razer EDGE 5G and the Logitech G are basically gaming smartphones. However, they’re free of their smartphone ties and are totally focused on gaming phones.

Best Gaming Phones of 2023

It’s put to you to decide which one is the best offering. Right now, we are still giving our preference to regular gaming phones. After all, the Razer EDGE 5G can do basically anything a gaming phone can do except being an actual phone. You can still play emulators and cloud gaming services with any other smartphone. So we are curious to see if this console-like (but still smartphones) handhelds will replace the existing gaming phones.

On the other side of the coin, we have devices like the ASUS ROG Ally and the Steam Deck. There are portable PCs, and we don’t think they will hurt the existing gaming phones.

Conclusion – Best Gaming Smartphones to Buy in 2023

We are still in the mid of 2023 and there are more options set to come very soon. We will be updating you with the Best Smartphones to Buy in 2023 over the course of the year. Right now, these are some of our good suggestions to have the best performance and a good value for your money.

Source/Via: IGN

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