The 4 Best Gaming Smartphones of 2023

Play high-end gaming titles straight from your mobile device

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Games with scope, complexity, and visual quality previously reserved for home consoles can now be played anywhere you go on a device that fits inside your pocket.

If you plan to play many mobile games, especially high-end modern titles with intensive graphics, you’ll need a phone with plenty of processing power. You’ll need enough storage space for your downloads and good battery life.

And then there are phones explicitly crafted for gaming, built with gamer-centric designs, additional buttons, high refresh rates, cooling systems, and other extras.

These are our favorites.

in this article

Best Overall

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro.


What We Like
  • 165 Hz refresh rate

  • Giant battery

What We Don't Like
  • Cameras could be better

The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro is a gaming phone first. It has top-notch hardware, high-quality speakers, excellent gaming software, and a long-lasting battery. Its 165 Hz refresh rate and high-resolution display are unbeatable.

It has two touch triggers-sensors on the phone's sides that you can customize to perform actions like shooting during gameplay. It also has motion control to swivel your phone to steer in a racing game.

The Game Genie app lets you access critical settings from a game and switch between power modes--X-Mode (performance at any cost) to Ultra Durable (prioritizes battery life). You can also create a widget displaying important information like the remaining battery life, temperature, etc.

Screen Size: 6.78 in. | Resolution: 2448x1080 | Refresh Rate: 165 Hz | Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 | RAM: 18GB | Storage: 512GB | Camera: 24MP front, 50MP, 13MP, 5MP rear | Battery Capacity: 6000 mAh

Runner Up

Nubia RedMagic 8 Pro

Nubia RedMagic 8 Pro.


What We Like
  • Strong performance for the price

  • Convenient shoulder triggers

What We Don't Like
  • Inconsistent software

  • Mediocre cameras

The best gaming phones need the most powerful mobile hardware, which often comes at a price. While the Nubia RedMagic 8 Pro isn’t cheap, it gives gamers impressive performance and features for under $800.

You can’t ask for much more than a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 with 12GB or 16GB of RAM. You’ll quickly enjoy any 3D game with a fan-based active cooling system that keeps the device from getting too hot in your hands (though it can get a little noisy when the fan kicks in).

The RedMagic 8 Pro doesn’t skimp on the display, either, with a 6.8-inch, 2480 x 1116-pixel AMOLED screen that boasts a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate.

Leveling up your gameplay is easy with touch-sensitive shoulder trigger buttons that you can program for almost any game. To keep you connected for online play, the RedMagic 8 Pro supports not only 5G but also the Wi-Fi 6E standard, which can take advantage of a third band—6GHz—for lower latency and increased stability.

The phone runs on Android as its core operating system, with the Google Play Store and other Google apps you’d expect. The RedMagic OS built on top of it has some navigation and loading quirks that may bother some users. Its only downside is its unimpressive cameras.

Screen Size: 6.8 in. | Resolution: 2480x1116 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | RAM: 12GB or 16GB | Storage: 256GB or 512GB | Camera: 16MP front, 50MP/8MP/2MP rear | Battery Capacity: 6000 mAh

Best iPhone

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max.


What We Like
  • League-leading processor

  • Large, vibrant display

  • Excellent camera quality

What We Don't Like
  • Limited gaming-specific features

  • Only 60Hz refresh rate

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is big, bold, and pricey, and it has all the elements that make it a great gaming device. Apple's custom A16 Bionic chip is a highly advanced system combining a CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine into one of the fastest mobile processors.

Many games are available on Apple's App Store and the Apple Arcade subscription service, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max can blaze through any of them without breaking a sweat. You can also keep playing longer, thanks to the excellent battery life that outlasts its smaller iPhone counterparts.

The most noticeable difference between the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone 14 is its size, with its 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display. It looks dazzlingly crisp and smooth, thanks partly to its 120Hz refresh rate.

You won't find other gamer-centric features like trigger buttons, liquid cooling, or graphics-optimizing software. What you do get is a compelling, elegant everyday phone with superior photo and video capabilities—that happens to be one of the best at running games, too.

Screen Size: 6.7 in. | Resolution: 2796x1290 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Processor: A16 Bionic | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB-1TB | Camera: 12MP front, 48MP/12MP/12MP rear | Battery Capacity: 4323 mAh

Best With Stylus

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Best Buy

What We Like
  • Fast performance

  • Long battery life

  • Excellent graphics

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks gaming-centric features

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a gorgeous, high-resolution display with a 120 Hz refresh rate, making it an excellent choice for gamers. Its speedy processor can't be beaten either.

It also comes with an S Pen and an excellent set of cameras.

Plenty of games are available in the Play Store, and the phone's excellent battery life means you can play longer.

The S23 Ultra doesn't have gaming features like trigger buttons or liquid cooling, but it's a fantastic all-around phone that will meet your gaming needs.

Screen Size: 6.8 in. | Resolution: 3088x1440 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2 | RAM: 8GB or 12GB | Storage: 256GB-1TB | Camera: 12MP front, 12MP, 200MP, 10MP, 10MP rear | Battery Capacity: 5000 mAh

  • Which phones are good for PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, or Fortnite?

    The mobile versions of popular battle royale games require a good deal of processing power to handle their intensive graphics and gameplay, so a high-performance phone like the ones on this list is ideal. Older and lower-end phones may be able to play on lower-quality settings but will suffer from a jittery experience at reduced frame rates. Also, remember that you’ll need multiple GBs of space to download each game. And Fortnite has been removed from app stores, so you need to take extra steps to play it.

  • Which controllers work with phones?

    Many universal game controller accessories support connections with smartphones. Even console controllers can connect to phones through Bluetooth. You can also find controllers that snap directly onto your phone, including ones made specifically for gaming phones to add extra buttons, cooling power, and other convenient features.

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