Best gaming phones 2018: T3's top gaming phone picks

These are the best gaming phones, period. Get the best gaming phone for you now

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Gaming phones offer great phone hardware that has been tailored to deliver top-table mobile gaming experiences.

And, here at T3 we are very keen on quality phones and amazing games, so naturally we love gaming phones and here have rounded up the very best phones for gaming on the market.

So if you're serious about your mobile gaming, what's the best handset to get in 2018? We've picked out 10 fantastic phones geared specifically towards gamers and power users, which should provide a good starting point to finding the phone you need for your gaming.

Razer Phone 2 is the best gaming phone

Razer Phone 2 gaming phone

1. Razer Phone 2

The best gaming phone gets even better

Specifications
Weight: TBC
Dimensions: 158.5 x 79 x 8.5mm
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 5.7 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 + 12MP f/2.6
Front camera: 8MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Sharp, bright display+Improved cooling
Reasons to avoid
-Rather boxy looks

Razer certainly knows what it's doing when it comes to gaming, and it's followed up the impressive Razer Phone (see below) with the even more impressive Razer Phone 2. The screen is brighter, the speakers are louder, and there's more power under the hood to push those frame rates on the most demanding games that the Android platform has to offer.

With a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels, the 5.7-inch display is super-sharp at 513 pixels-per-inch – and with a 120Hz refresh rate, you shouldn't miss any of the action. Plus, an improved cooling system inside the chassis means the Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of RAM can really get to work without overheating becoming a problem on the phone.

Maybe the improved IP67 water resistance and dual-lens 12MP+12MP rear facing camera won't be of as much concern to gamers, but they mean the Razer Phone 2 is also going to do an excellent job when it comes to being a normal smartphone too. Built for gamers, by the gaming experts, this is the best gaming phone full stop for most users out there.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro gaming phones

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

2. Huawei Mate 20 Pro

An all-round powerhouse of a phone, that is unsurprisingly great at gaming

Specifications
Weight: 189g
Dimensions: 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.39 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3120 pixels
CPU: Kirin 980
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4200mAh
Rear camera: 40MP f/1.8 + 20MP f/2.2 + 8MP f/2.4
Front camera: 24MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Packed with power+Large, sharp display
Reasons to avoid
-Software isn't the best

We like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro very, very much, and if you're looking for the best gaming phone in terms of screen, raw power, and fit and finish then this is hard to beat. That's mainly down to the nippy Kirin 980 processor and 8GB of RAM that Huawei has packed into this device – it's been able to take every mobile game we've thrown at it, and then some.

And let's show some respect for that huge 4,200mAh battery packed into the Mate 20 Pro, ready to power up a whole day's worth of gaming if you don't happen to have a job to go to (or it's the weekend). As gaming phones go, this one is going to run smoother than most and last longer than most, and everything else you get on top of that is really a bonus.

Speaking of everything else, this being a Huawei phone it excels at mobile photography too, with no fewer than three lenses on the rear camera. That means the Mate 20 Pro is capable of some smart and impressive mobile photo-taking tricks, so when the gaming is over you can head out for a serious photo session. Definitely one to consider for gaming.

iPhone XR best gaming phone

Apple iPhone XR

3. Apple iPhone XR

The best gaming phone for Apple fans

Specifications
Weight: 194g
Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm
OS: iOS 12
Screen size: 6.1 inches
Resolution: 828 x 1792 pixels
CPU: Apple A12 Bionic
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 64/128/256GB
Battery: 2942mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8
Front camera: 7MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Super-fast A12 Bionic CPU+Large, bright 6.1-inch screen
Reasons to avoid
-Works best with Apple kit

With its extra versatility and more in the way of customisation options, most of the gaming phone attention tends to go to Android, but let's not forget iOS completely – with blazing fast processors, powerful graphics performance and tight hardware/software integration, iPhones are also excellent choices when it comes to picking up a mobile gaming handset.

Introducing the iPhone XR, perhaps the best gaming iPhone of the bunch, not least because of its cheaper price. You also get that generous 6.1-inch LCD screen, and of course the super-powerful A12 Bionic processor that sits inside all the iPhones Apple released this year. If you couldn't tell already, this is a phone that we really like, and it's ideal for gaming.

From battery life to build quality, there are plenty of reasons to consider the iPhone XR 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, and it's going to work seamlessly with any other bits of Apple kit you happen to have set up around the home.

Honor Play best cheap smartphone

Honor Play gaming phone

4. Honor Play

Honor joins the gaming phone trend with spectacular results

Specifications
Weight: 176g
Dimensions: 157.9 x 74.3 x 7.5mm
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 6.3 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels
CPU: Kirin 970
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 3750mAh
Rear camera: 16MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Lots of screen space for your games+Dedicated GPU Turbo enhancements
Reasons to avoid
-Only 64GB of on-board storage

Not wanting to be left out of the gaming phone party, Honor has the Honor Play, a 6.3-inch beast of a phone that runs Huawei's own Kirin 970 processor and packs in up to 6GB of RAM, depending on the configuration you pick. It doesn't quite have the grunt of some of the other phones we've covered in this list, but it's still going to be more than capable of handling the top-tier mobile games out there.

Honor is promising a special GPU Turbo mode to maintain a smooth frame rate under any kind of load (we're not sure exactly how this works yet, but it sounds good to us), as well as "4D" haptic feedback, which from what we can tell is a more advanced take on the usual buzzes you'll get from a phone when it's held in your hands.

As for the other specs here, you've got 64GB of storage plus a microSD card slot for adding more, and a dual-lens camera around the back – though the main 16MP lens is accompanied by just a 2MP one, so you're maybe not going to get the greatest landscape or wildlife shots out of this one. As far as the gaming prowess goes, however, the Honor Play is a dedicated gaming phone that won't let you down.

OnePlus 6T gaming phone

OnePlus 6T

5. OnePlus 6T

The best gaming phone for pure speed

Specifications
Weight: 185g
Dimensions: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.41 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 128/512GB
Battery: 3700mAh
Rear camera: 16MP f/1.7 + 20MP f/1.7
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of performance power+Great screen for gaming
Reasons to avoid
-Still no wireless charging

We're going to include both OnePlus handsets from 2018 in our roundup of the best gaming phones, though the OnePlus 6T is the newer one. In terms of specs, they're actually pretty similar – but the most recent model has the advantage of a slightly larger screen, a smaller notch, and a cool in-screen fingerprint sensor for phone unlocking.

OnePlus has been producing phones that hit the sweet spot between performance and price for several years now, and the OnePlus 6T is proudly continuing the tradition. Powerful performance, an appealing design (that just keeps getting better), plus some excellent software – software that's stable too, which is important for mobile gaming.

Despite all the benefits of the OnePlus 6T, the price is still very reasonable (perhaps because there's no wireless charging). If you're looking for a gaming phone that won't break the bank but will help you break a few high scores, this handset could be just the ticket – and it does all the other phone jobs, like taking decent photos, very nicely as well.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gaming phones best

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

6. Samsung Galaxy Note 9

More than a stylus, this is one of the best gaming phones going

Specifications
Weight: 201g
Dimensions: 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 6.4 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels
CPU: Exynos 9810/Snapdragon 845
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 128/512GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 40MP f/1.5-2.4 + 12MP f/2.4
Front camera: 8MP f/1.7
Reasons to buy
+One of the very best screens+The stylus is useful
Reasons to avoid
-It'll cost you a lot

When it comes to the best gaming phone out there, what do you want? What do you really, really want? You want a huge screen and a huge amount of power, don't you? Which is why the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a perfect choice for a big and beautiful gaming phone – and there's no notch of course, which means you don't lose any of the screen real estate either.

That 6.4-inch, lovely looking screen really is the star attraction here. Whatever Samsung is doing with its Super AMOLED displays, it's working, and it's one of those displays that has to be seen to be believed. The rapid processor and oodles of RAM definitely help too, meaning even top-end games are going to run smoothly on the Note 9 without any issues.

Away from gaming, this is a productivity workhorse and a mobile photo studio too. The upgraded S-Pen stylus can be used for everything from snapping pictures to skipping through presentation slides, and with that 4,000mAh battery packed in as well, you won't be always looking for a charger. It's going to cost you quite a bit, but it's worth the price.

Razer Phone

Razer Phone

7. Razer Phone

The original best gaming phone in the world remains a quality handset

Specifications
Weight: 197g
Dimensions: 158.5 x 77.7 x 8mm
OS: Android 7.1.1
Screen size: 5.7 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 835
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 + 12MP f/2.6
Front camera: 8MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate display+Super-clear dual front-facing speakers
Reasons to avoid
-Camera technology isn't the best

Considering Razer's pedigree in the gaming market you would certainly expect it to know what gamers are after in a phone, and the Razer Phone doesn't disappoint: it's crammed full of every possible feature that you might need for gaming on the go. At the same time, it's a powerhouse of a smartphone for general use as well.

For a start there's that amazing 5.7-inch screen, boasting a 120Hz refresh rate that means you shouldn't miss a single frame of the action. Even the fastest-moving games are going to look as smooth as silk on this, because it works in tandem with the GPU to make sure everything is kept in sync. The 8GB of RAM and Snapdragon 835 processor, meanwhile, should be able to take anything you throw at them.

Add in the Dolby Atmos, THX-certified speakers, and the Game Booster software that lets you tweak performance to maximise battery life, and it's a great all round package for gamers. The blocky design might not be to everyone's tastes, and the dual-lens 12MP+12MP rear facing camera isn't all that impressive, but in terms of having everything you need for mobile gaming, the Razer Phone ticks all the boxes.

Best gaming phones

OnePlus 6

8. OnePlus 6

A super fast phone that is perfect for mobile gaming

Specifications
Weight: 177g
Dimensions: 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8mm
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 6.28 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2280 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 64/128/256GB
Battery: 3300mAh
Rear camera: 16MP f/1.7 + 20MP f/1.7
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Packed with high-end specs+Huge, gorgeous-looking screen
Reasons to avoid
-Don't drop it in the sink

Spacious, crisp, vibrant screen? Check. Oodles of power under the hood? Check. A very competitive price? Check. Whether you want to do gaming or anything else with the OnePlus 6, it's an impressive all-round proposition, and one that's going to last you for many years to come as well. In terms of value for money, it's difficult to find anything better at the moment.

With the combination of the Snapdragon 845 processor and a whopping 8GB of RAM, you're unlikely to find superior specs on a phone this year, certainly as far as Android is concerned – and benchmarks have shown the OnePlus 6 is a force to be reckoned with, which bodes well if you're planning on loading up this handset with the top-tier gaming titles of the moment.

We're also big fans of that 6.28-inch screen, which is going to shine no matter what you're running on it (and the minimal use of bezels around it certainly help too). As part of the Android P beta programme, you know that the OnePlus 6 is good for timely updates in the future, while the phone's minor drawbacks – like no wireless charging and no IP rating – are unlikely to trouble gamers.

Sony Xperia XZ3 gaming phones

Sony Xperia XZ3

9. Sony Xperia XZ3

Sony style and awesome display technology make gaming on the go a pleasure

Specifications
Weight: 193g
Dimensions: 158 x 73 x 9.9mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2880 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 4/6GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 3300mAh
Rear camera: 19MP f/2.0
Front camera: 13MP f/1.9
Reasons to buy
+Superb, HDR-capable display+Not the most expensive of phones
Reasons to avoid
-Design could still use some work

The reasons we like the Sony Xperia XZ3 as a gaming phone are mostly the same reasons we liked the Sony Xperia XZ2 as a gaming phone (and still do, actually). Plenty of power under the hood, a very good-looking screen (which gets upped to 6 inches from 5.7 inches), a HDR-enabled display, and a capacious battery that'll keep you gaming for longer.

The Sony Xperia design continues to get more and more refined, and this has a real premium feel to it for those extended mobile gaming sessions. What's more, the screen has been designed with help from the Sony Bravia team – that means some of the fantastic tech inside Sony's TVs has made its way into the screen of the Sony Xperia XZ3 as well.

All of which means that your games should look fantastic and play without a hitch on the Sony Xperia XZ3. Content really pops, and when you're done with this as a gaming phone, the HDR capabilities of the screen can come in handy for everything from photo viewing to Netflix bingeing too. Even better, it'll cost you less than a lot of other flagship handsets.

Asus ROG Phone best gaming phones

Asus ROG Phone

10. Asus ROG Phone

The best gaming phone for crazy high-end performance

Specifications
Weight: 200g
Dimensions: 158.5 x 76.2 x 8.6mm
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 6.0 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128/512GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 8MP
Front camera: 8MP
Reasons to buy
+X Mode for managing game resources+Unbeatable combination of specs
Reasons to avoid
-You might struggle to fit it in your pocket

There's no doubt that the Asus ROG laptops are some of the best in the business for gamers, so what about the similarly branded smartphone? Again, we have to give Asus two thumbs up for what it's managed to do here – it packs in some excellent specs even by 2018 standards, and throws in plenty of extras designed specifically to appeal to gamers.

Take the customised in-case cooling solution, for example, so you can get the most out of the Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of RAM (the dedicated X Mode in the phone software should help here too), or the way that the charging and audio ports are on the side of the device so you can easily hold it in landscape mode. Then there's the advanced, ultra-responsive AirTrigger sensors on the ends of the phone to make it easier to control the in-game action.

It's all topped off with a 6-inch screen running at 90Hz refresh rate of 90Hz, so games are going to look their absolute best too. With all this power packed into the case, the phone is of course not the slimmest or lightest around, but if you've got some gaming to do it's undoubtedly one of the best.