Asus ROG Phone 5 product shot of the rear of the device at an angle

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

You could argue that almost every smartphone is a gaming phone of some kind, but what if you want the smoothest performance? Maybe you need physical-style buttons or a display with a high refresh rate? Either way, that’s where gaming phones come in, and there are loads of devices that fit the bill. We’ve got you covered with our list of the best gaming phones you can buy.

The best gaming phones:

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list as more gaming phones hit the market.


1. Asus ROG Phone 5

Asus ROG Phone 5 ROG RGB logo

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Our number one pick for the best gaming phone goes to the Asus ROG Phone 5. This should come as no surprise since it was designed and marketed with gamers in mind. Apart from top-of-the-line specs like a Snapdragon 888 processor, a 144Hz refresh rate screen, up to 512GB of storage, and up to 18GB of RAM, this phone has one of the largest batteries on the market at a whopping 6,000mAh. Oh, and did we mention a headphone jack?

Read also: Asus ROG Phone 5 review: King of the hill

This year there are actually three different models in the lineup: the Asus ROG Phone 5, the ROG Phone 5 Pro, and the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate. All three share the same front screen and shoulder buttons (Air Triggers 5), with minor spec boosts as you move up the ladder. The design of the back is also different, with an extra screen and two additional touch sensors on the back of the Pro and Ultimate models.

Like previous iterations, the ROG Phone 5 also has a variety of mobile gaming accessories that enhance the smartphone gaming experience. These include the Aeroactive Cooler, RGB cases, mobile phone gaming clips, port extension docks, and more. The Aeroactive Cooler ships with the Pro and Ultimate models, but the rest will cost you extra.

The Asus ROG Phone 5 will launch in Europe soon. The Pro model is expected sometime in April, and the Ultimate model will drop sometime in May.


ROG Phone 5 specs:

  • Display: 6.78-inch, 144Hz FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

ROG Phone 5 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.78-inch, 144Hz FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Cameras: 64, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

ROG Phone 5 Ultimate specs:

  • Display: 6.78-inch, 144Hz FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 18GB
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Cameras: 64, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

2. OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro right rear profile

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

OnePlus is a perennial favorite of our readers here at Android Authority, and for good reason. OnePlus phones might not offer the same level of value as they have in the past, but they combine great hardware with great software in a way that’s sure to please.

Read also: OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro, and OnePlus 9R buyer’s guide: What you need to know

This year’s top-end model, the OnePlus 9 Pro, deserves a spot among the best gaming phones due to a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, and a gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED display. Battery life a bit of a weak point for the phone, but the included 65W Warp Charge 65T can top you off in a jiffy.

Although it’s not explicitly a gaming feature, camera performance on the OnePlus 9 Pro is a step above what we’ve seen in previous years. The quad-camera setup is an all-around great performer, which eliminates the Achilles heel of OnePlus phones. However, the price has been bumped up to match, with prices starting just under $1000.

OnePlus 9 Pro
The OnePlus 9 Pro reaches the market with a refreshed design, a 6.7-inch AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 888 processor, and a new Hasselblad camera partnership for improved imaging.

OnePlus 9 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, 120Hz
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 50, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,500Ah
  • Software: Android 11

3. Samsung Galaxy S21 series

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21 Plus vs S21 Ultra 1 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Samsung’s 2021 flagships aren’t branded as gaming phones, but they are true powerhouses that offer exactly what most gamers need in a handset. Like last year, the lineup includes the Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, and super-premium Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Read also: Samsung Galaxy S21 buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

All three Galaxy S21 models offer top-of-the-line specs, including adaptive 120Hz AMOLED displays, Snapdragon 888 (or Exynos 2100) processors, and excellent battery life. The S21 Ultra is obviously the most powerful of the bunch, with an extremely versatile setup and, for the first time, S-Pen support (sold separately).

It isn’t just about the hardware, either. All three models offer Samsung’s Game Launcher and Game Tools options, allowing you to tweak performance in individual games. The Game Tools suite also lets you easily adjust resolution, take screenshots, record videos, and more.

None of these phones are cheap, but any of the Samsung Galaxy S21 phones are a great choice for those looking for one of the best gaming phones you can buy. If you want to save a bit of money, you can also wait until summer for the inevitable Galaxy S21 FE model, which should offer the same specs at a slightly lower price point.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, 120Hz Full HD+
  • SoC: SD 888 or Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 64, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,00mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, 120Hz FHD+
  • Chipset: SD 888 or Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 64, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,800mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, WQHD+
  • SoC: SD 888 or Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 12/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 10, 10, and 12MP
  • Front cameras: 40MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

4. LG V60 ThinQ

LG V60 dual screen keyboard mode 1

The LG V60 ThinQ makes our list of the best gaming phones thanks to one major feature that separates it from the rest of the pack: two screens. Like the previous LG G8X ThinQ, it has an attachment that’s basically a second phone, which allows for some truly unique gaming possibilities.

This Nintendo DS-style setup makes the device perfect for retro gaming by setting up a controller on the bottom screen. Combined with a Snapdragon 865 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB internal storage, and a microSD card slot, you’re looking at an all-around great performer. Not the latest and greatest, but still more than capable of playing any and all games you throw at it.

Read more: 10 things the LG V60 does well, and 5 things it doesn’t

The folding phone also sports a sizeable 5,000mAh battery and both Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 and wireless charging to keep your gaming sessions going long into the night. LG phones have long been lauded for their great audio performance, and the LG V60 ThinQ is no different with a 3.5mm headphone jack and Quad DAC support.

But the real kicker is the price. With folding devices costing up to $2,000 or more, the LG V60 ThinQ with the second screen accessory comes in at half that or less. Now that LG is shutting down its phone division, you can get even bigger discounts while supplies last.


LG V60 ThinQ specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 64 and 13MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

5. Xiaomi Black Shark 3 series

Xiaomi Black Shark 3 - best phones for gaming

The Xiaomi Black Shark 3 series is great, and while the Pro version is better, it’s not as readily available as the standard Black Shark 3. The main difference is that the Pro iteration comes with a higher definition display and a slightly bigger battery. One thing you might love about the Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Pro is that it has physical shoulder buttons, making it one of the best phones for gaming.

These phones have their downsides, though. Some gamers might feel limited by the 90Hz refresh rate. While this is a good refresh rate, it is underwhelming for gaming screens these days. It also has a dedicated MEMC chip for interpolating content to 90fps.

Other noteworthy specs include a triple rear camera setup (64MP+13MP ultra-wide+5MP depth), a 20MP selfie camera in the top bezel, a 3.5mm headphone port (yes!), front-facing stereo speakers, USB-C, UFS 3.0 storage, and LPDDR5 RAM. It’s also one of the cheapest phones on this list, which should be pretty enticing!


Xiaomi Black Shark 3 specs

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,720mAh
  • Software: Android 10

Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Pro specs

  • Display: 7.1-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 64, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

6. Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra rear display closeup

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Xiaomi has long had great flagship contenders in its Mi series, but this year’s Mi 11 series can finally compete with the best from Samsung, Apple, and others.

Read also: Xiaomi Mi 11 series buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

The premium Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has everything you could possibly want from a gaming phone and more. It has a gorgeous 6.81-inch WQHD+ 120Hz AMOLED screen, a Snapdragon 888 processor, 12GB of RAM, and a beefy 5,000mAh battery. Plus, the included 67W charger can top off that battery in no time flat.

Camera performance is excellent, too. With a 50MP main sensor, 48MP ultra-wide, and 48MP 5x periscope camera, you can capture some truly great photos. There’s even a novel selfie viewfinder on the back of the phone if that’s your thing.

The biggest downside is price. This phone runs upward of $1600, making it one of the most expensive smartphones you can buy. The more affordable Xiaomi Mi 11 starts around $760 and still delivers a lot of the same great performance. Either one will be great gaming phones, although availability in the US is limited at best.

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Xiaomi Mi 11 specs

  • Display: 6.81-inch, WQHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 108, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,600mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra specs

  • Display: 6.81-inch, WQHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 50, 48, and 48MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

7. iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Pro back in hand

We usually talk about Android phones here at Android Authority, but we’d be doing a disservice to all of you by not including the iPhone 12 Pro Max among the best gaming phones. It offers incredible performance, fantastic cameras, and access to a more robust (albeit closed) ecosystem.

There are four phones in this year’s iPhone lineup, but we chose the iPhone 12 Pro Max for this list because of its larger screen. Measuring 6.7-inches, the OLED panel is sharp, bright, and has an excellent contrast ratio at 2,000,000:1. That said, it’s still only 60Hz, so those wanting high refresh rates should look elsewhere.

If the iPhone Pro Max display is too big (or expensive) for you, you should also consider the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. They both feature a smaller 6.1-inch OLED screen and the same great A14 Bionic processor, with the standard iPhone 12 losing the telephoto lens found on the Pro and Pro Max. The fourth phone in the lineup, the iPhone 12 mini, is probably a bit small to use as a gaming phone, but any of the others are solid choices.


iPhone 12 Pro Max specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, XDR OLED
  • SoC: Apple A14 Bionic
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 3,687mAh
  • Software: iOS 14

8. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra together

Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones have always been among the most ultra-premium phones on the market, so it should come as no surprise that the latest Galaxy Note 20 series are some of the best gaming phones available. This year there are two models available, the smaller (but still big) Note 20 and the enormous Note 20 Ultra.

Read also: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 vs Galaxy S20 series: Which should you buy?

If money is no object, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the obvious choice for gamers. It sports a huge 6.9-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and 12GB of RAM. The cameras on this model are also top of the line, with a triple camera setup led by a wide-angle 108MP sensor.

The regular Galaxy Note 20 is no slouch, either. Both phones have the latest Snapdragon 865 Plus processors (or Exynos 990, but you should avoid this model if possible) and, of course, the ever-popular S-pen accessory. You also get all of the standard premium trappings like an IP68 rating and wireless charging, although the less expensive Note 20 is made of a somewhat controversial plastic material instead of glass.


Samsung Galaxy Note 20 specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: SD 865 Plus or Exynos 990
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 64, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,300mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.9-inch, WQHD+
  • SoC: SD 865 Plus or Exynos 990
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

9. Asus Zenfone 7 Pro

Asus Zenfone 7 Pro Game Genie atop of Project Offroad 2 - best phones for gaming

The Asus Zenfone 7 series offers powerful specs for a great price, but we are fans of the Asus Zenfone 7 Pro and it’s one of the best phones for gaming. This is because it comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus, which is specially made for gaming performance. Other specs include 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 5,000mAh battery.

While not gaming-related, the phone is also special in that it uses the same cameras for both the front and rear-facing shots. A flipping mechanism is used to turn the comes around and get the best quality regardless of direction.


Asus Zenfone 7 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865 Plus
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12 and 8MP
  • Front cameras: Same as rear
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

10. ZTE Nubia Red Magic 6

Red Magic 6 back of device in stool

Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority

If you’re looking for one of the best gaming phones that’s a little easier on the wallet, the ZTE Nubia Red Magic 6 will tick a lot of boxes. Designed for gaming first and foremost, it has the latest Snapdragon 88 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, active cooling, shoulder triggers, and a blazing fast 165Hz AMOLED display. That display is only FHD+, but it’s still the fastest refresh rate we’ve ever seen on a phone.

The real kicker is that it costs less than half the sticker price of some of its brand-name competitors. At just $599, it’s just a hair more expensive than many upper-midrange phones, with specs that punch well above that. You don’t get the same commitment to updates or camera performance, but for pure gaming, it’s a killer device.

Nubia Red Magic 3S Gaming on a budget
The Nubia Red Magic 3S proves that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a great gaming phone. It has top-shelf specs, plus capacitive shoulder buttons that are perfect for FPS titles like COD Mobile and Fortnite.

ZTE Nubia Red Magic 6 specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 12/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 8, an 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 5,050mAh
  • Software: Android 11

These are our picks for the best gaming phones you can get your hands on right now. Check out some of our gaming accessory guides below: