Two phones sit at the very top of our guide to the best gaming phones: the Razer Phone 2 and the Asus ROG Phone 3. But what do we mean by gaming phones? In much the same way that every PC can play games but not every PC is a gaming PC, every smartphone can play games but not every smartphone is optimised to deliver the kinds of gaming experiences that gaming phones do. Ordinary phones tend to have slower screens and less powerful processors, less memory and designs that just aren’t as much fun as industrial-looking gaming kit.
As we’ll discover, though, there are sometimes compromises when it comes to gaming phones. One of them is price: ultimate performance and budget price don’t typically go together, so you can expect to pay much the same for your gaming phone as you would for an iPhone 12 or a Samsung Galaxy S21. And you might find that the gaming focus means the phone has issues in other areas, such as sharp corners wearing away at your jeans or the manufacturer prioritising processing power over image quality.
Let’s discover which of these super-powered phones is the best buy for you.
- Get playing on the best gaming phone
- Stay connected with the best 5G phone
- Go Android with the best Samsung phones
Razer Phone 2 vs Asus ROG Phone 3: design and screen
The display in the Razer is very sharp: it’s a 5.72-inch IGZO LCD with 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s 50% brighter than its predecessor and sits behind Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The back is glass too, which enables this Razer to support Qi wireless charging.
The Razer bucks the trend for bezel-free smartphones for good reason: those top and bottom bezels are ideal for gripping the phone without getting in the way, although some reviewers found them uncomfortable and noted that the corners are rather sharp. The bezels house dual front-firing speakers with surprisingly good bass. Razer says its Vapor Zone cooling system enables you to run games with consistently high frame rates without generating too much heat.
The Asus ROG 3 has front-facing speakers too, but it’s a more elegant looking device than the Razer. The screen in the Asus ROG Phone 3 is 6.59 inches with a resolution of 1,080 x 2,340 and a 144Hz refresh rate. Where the Razer has a 16:9 aspect ratio the Asus has 19.5:9, and the display in the Asus is AMOLED under Gorilla Glass 6.
The Asus has a good-looking back with the ROG logo in the centre, and its AirTriggers are shoulder buttons that are really useful in mobile games.
Razer Phone 2 vs Asus ROG Phone 3: cameras, specs and performance
The Razer Phone 2 has a Snapdragon 845 with a 2.8GHz clock, 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which you can extend via microSD. There’s a dual 12MP camera capable of recording 4K at 60fps, and the front-facing camera is an 8MP with 1080p video. The battery is 4,000mAh with 18W fast charging and 15W fast wireless charging.
Connectivity here is Wi-Fi to 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0. There’s a single USB Type C port.
The processor in the Asus ROG Phone 3 is a Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G with a 3.1GHz clock, up to 16GB LPDDR5 RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. It’s a much faster device than the Razer, benchmarking much better across all the key tests (AnTuTu, GeekBench, GFXBench and so on) and its 6,000mAh battery is significantly bigger too: it supports 30W fast charging, power delivery 3.0, Quick Charge 3.0/4.0 and 10W reverse charging. The cameras are much better than the Razer, with a triple 64MP/ 13MP / 5MP assembly capable of recording not just 4K but 8K at up to 30fps. The front-facing camera is 24MP with 1080p.
Connectivity here is Wi-Fi 802.11ax with Bluetooth 5.1, one USB Type C 3.1 and one USB Type C 2.0.
Razer Phone 2 vs Asus ROG Phone 3: price and verdict
The Razer Phone 2 has an RRP of £779 and the ROG is $999 (about £752). Deals often bring those prices down significantly.
In our review of the best gaming phones we said that the Asus ROG Phone 3 is the best premium gaming phone, and that’s apparent here: it’s significantly faster than the Razer, it has a wider, faster display, it has the wonderful AirTriggers and when your gaming time is over it has a camera setup that’s as good as many non-gaming flagships. Part of that is because it’s newer – it’s an Android 10 device while the Razer first shipped with Android 8 – and in this fast-moving market, even a year makes a huge difference in terms of processor speeds and other key specifications.
The Razer Phone 2 is a good phone for gamers, but the Asus ROG Phone 3 is a great one.