When most people think of gaming, they think of PCs, Xboxes or PS4s – consoles that you play on a big screen – but not mobile phones. Of course, we all know that that it’s possible to play games on mobiles, but it seems more like an afterthought; something to help pass the time whilst you’re waiting in line or sat on a bus on your way home.
The games we associate with mobile phones are more often than not addictive, low-graphics, mini-game-esque games like Temple Run, Flappy Bird, and others of a similar vein. In other words, games that are designed to kill some time, rather than offer an adrenaline-packed, hardcore gaming experience. Lately, however, this all seems to be changing.
Mobile phone gaming is on the rise. The biggest console and PC games of the year – PUBG and Fortnite – have come to mobile. These addictive, console-quality games are transforming the way gamers see mobile devices, and this is hopefully just the beginning. The trend of console-quality games becoming available on mobiles looks set to continue as top developers at E3 2018 promised to bring even more high-end games to mobile handsets in the years to come.
The upshot of all this is that, if you’re serious about mobile gaming, you’re going to need to plan ahead. As higher quality games move over to the mobile platform, the processing power required to run them smoothly rises, so you’ll need to get your hands on a device that is optimised for gaming performance. This means thinking about things like the speed of chipsets, amount of RAM, quality of graphics chips and screens, and app ecosystems.
That might seem like a lot of research but don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you! Just read on to find out all about the 3 best phones for mobile gaming in 2018.
1. iPhone X
It had to be an Apple device that bagged the top spot here. Why? Because of the App Store.
Whilst Android’s Google Play is great in its own way, the App Store is superior in terms of game availability. For some reason, the best games always seem to be released on iOS first. Take Fortnite, for example, which has still not yet been released on Android. With that in mind, if you want access to the most games, iOS devices are a clear choice.
But why the iPhone X and not the 8 Plus? Well, it has a bigger battery for starters, and that’s going to come in handy if you’re gaming often as games are notorious for draining batteries. In addition to this, it also has a 5.8-inch OLED display which is big enough and stylish enough to make those high-end game graphics really jump off the screen.
Another reason to go with iOS is if you’re into AR (augmented reality). iOS is leading the push for wider adoption of AR tech, and this includes AR gaming experiences. If you loved Pokemon Go or other AR games, grab an iPhone X and watch this space.
2. Razer Phone
Next up, we have an Android phone which was built with gaming in mind. The Razer was one of the first phones to be developed in response to the increasing consumer demand for mobile gaming and started a string of releases of phones built for gamers. These types of phones have high-end hardware specs and specific features that make them perfect for gaming.
For speed and power, the Razer has a whopping 8GB of RAM and Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. For visual performance, it has a 5.7-inch display with 1,440p resolution and a refresh rate of 120 Ghz. It also has the ‘Ultra Motion’ feature which syncs this refresh rate up with its GPU to ensure that all games run smoothly, with no frame-jumping or lag. And for audio quality, it has high-volume twin speakers on the front which come with Dolby Atmos support.
In addition to these gaming-oriented specs, it’s impressive in other ways too. For example, it also offers excellent photo and video quality, as it comes with two 12MP rear cameras and an 8MP front camera, and a superb battery life due to its 4,000 mAh battery.
If it wasn’t for Apple’s superior App Store, this would have undoubtedly been at the top of this list. If you’re an Android-person though, you really can’t go wrong with the Razer for gaming.
3. Xiaomi Black Shark
This is another Android phone from a Chinese phone manufacturer that was released in April this year in China but has yet to be released over here. Its offers similarly impressive specs to the Razer and gets extra points for looking incredibly cool.
In terms of design, the Black Shark looks as cool as its name sounds. It’s black, it has neon lights around the main buttons, and it just feels right in your hand. In some ways, it actually looks and feels more like a handheld console than a phone.
The screen is 6 inches and offers 1080p resolution. Like the Razer, it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset and 4,000mAh battery. It also comes with either 6GB and 8GB RAM, and 64GB or 128GB storage space, depending on which model you choose to go for. The lower-spec models cost around $650 AUD and the higher-spec models, around $750 AUD.
In terms of extra gaming-oriented features, the Black Shark has it all. There’s a cooling system like you would find on a PC integrated into the phone itself. That way, gamers can play for hours on end without the risk of overheating. If you want to feel really cool, you can also push the ‘Shark Key’ to boost the phone into a high-performance mode.
The camera on the Black Shark is actually even better than the Razer, with two 20MP cameras on the rear and a 12MP camera on the back.
There you have it, three great options for mobile gamers. Other notable mentions that didn’t make the cut include the iPhone 8 Plus, Galaxy S9 Plus, Sony Xperia XZ2 and the Nubia Red Magic. Hopefully, you’ve found something that matches your personal tastes.