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Gaming Phone: 6 Top Picks for Gamers

a cellphone with a game on the screen

Picking the ideal gaming phone can be tough simply because you’re spoiled for choice. In 2024, there are plenty of amazing options available. However, a great gaming experience depends on the perfect combination of speed, storage, display quality, and battery life. Not every phone offers that.

Among today’s popular flagship devices, we’ve picked out five standouts specifically for gaming, including the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S24 Ultra. We also have the Asus ROG, which isn’t as mainstream as our other picks, but a great choice for serious mobile gamers.

Before we dive into our top choices, let’s talk about what makes a phone a great choice for gaming:

  • Processor and Speed: A strong processor guarantees fluid gameplay in demanding games.
  • Ample Storage: Essential for storing all your games without the hassle of managing apps and files.
  • High-Quality Display: A high refresh rate, like 120Hz, and an OLED or AMOLED display make games vibrant and immersive.
  • Long-Lasting Battery and Fast Charging: Extended battery life and fast charging options keep you gaming without frequent pauses.
  • Cooling Systems: These are crucial for preventing overheating during long gaming sessions and come standard with today’s top-notch phones, including all of the ones on our list.

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What Are the Top Gaming Phones?

Let’s get into some of the best gaming phones. Our options have been chosen with adaptive features in mind, such as a high-performance processor, high-resolution displays, large screens, and long battery lives, ensuring these phones give you the best gaming experience.

1. iPhone 15 Pro Max

If you’re looking for a big screen, a high refresh rate, and powerful performance, you might want to consider the iPhone 15 Pro Max s a gaming smartphone. With a large 6.7-inch OLED display offering a resolution of 2796 x 1290 pixels and a high refresh rate of 120Hz, this device promises a fluid and immersive gaming experience. 

Its peak brightness of 2000 nits and support for HDR make every game look stunningly vibrant. The phone is powered by the Apple A17 Pro chipset, ensuring top-notch gaming performance. With 8 GB of RAM and a generous 256 GB of non-expandable storage, it can handle the most demanding games with ease.

The device runs on iOS 17.3, offering a seamless and user-friendly experience. It’s also equipped with a powerful 4422mAh battery, supporting fast and MagSafe wireless charging for extended gaming sessions. This phone captures more than the beauty of games, as the camera system, featuring a 48 MP main camera and a 12 MP telephoto and ultra-wide camera, allows for high-quality image capture.

This phone requires a USB-charger, which you can use with most other Apple devices. 

Pros

The iPhone 15 Pro Max has high refresh rate and a stunning OLED display. The powerful A17 Pro chipset and ample RAM ensure that even the most graphically intense games run without a hitch. 

The battery life is another big plus, letting gamers play for extended periods without worrying about charging. The phone’s design and build quality are also top-notch, making it a great phone for gaming and everyday use.

Cons

Despite its impressive specs, the iPhone 15 Pro Max might not appeal to everyone, especially those looking for a dedicated gaming phone. For example, there may be hardware or software compatibility issues preventing you from playing all games on your device. The A17 Pro chipset is capable of running the majority of AAA video games, but it’s worth double-checking compatibility to make sure first. 

Its lack of expandable storage could be a limitation for gamers who download a lot of games, and the price point might be steep for some — especially when considering phones like the Asus ROG Phone or the OnePlus 11, which are also great for mobile gaming but at a lower cost. 

Another potential issue is that there are no dedicated shoulder buttons, unlike some of the phones on this list. However, it does offer the Action Button feature that you can customize to perform any function that you frequently use within your preferred games. 

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2. Galaxy S24 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra may not be a dedicated gaming smartphone, but it’s so powerful and well-designed that it may as well be. With a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display boasting a 120Hz refresh rate, this device gives gamers a fluid and immersive experience. 

Its 3088 x 1440 resolution ensures every detail is sharp and vivid. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3chipset and equipped with 8 GB of RAM, it’s built to handle even the most demanding games. The 5000mAh battery supports fast and wireless charging, so you never have to go long before being fully charged for your next gaming session. 

Pros

Its high refresh rate and AMOLED display make games look stunning, while the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3chipset ensures smooth gameplay, with no lags.

The 200 MP rear camera system is a bonus for those who appreciate a great camera in addition to gaming functionality. The device’s design and build, featuring Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, add durability and style. Plus, the inclusion of a stylus opens up new possibilities for gaming and productivity.

Cons

However, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is not without its drawbacks. For one, there’s no 3.5mm audio jack, so if you want wired audio for gaming, you’ll need an adaptor to plug into the charging port. Also, with its hefty price tag, it’s an investment. While it excels in gaming, some might find it overkill if gaming isn’t their primary phone use.

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3. Pixel 8 Pro

The Pixel 8 Pro from Google is a top choice for Android gaming enthusiasts. Boasting a 6.7-inch OLED display with a 2992 x 1344 resolution and a high 120Hz refresh rate, it provides crisp and fluid visuals in every frame of your game. The display’s peak brightness of 2400 nits ensures stunning visuals, even in bright outdoor environments.

It’s powered by Google’s Tensor G3 chipset and features a Nona-core CPU for blazing-fast performance, crucial for demanding mobile games. It’s also paired with 12 GB of RAM and 128 GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage, so you’ve got plenty of storage for even the chunkiest of mobile games.

Running on Android 14, the Pixel 8 Pro offers a pure Android experience with seamless Google service integrations, regular updates, and open-sourced optimizations for gaming. Its 5050mAh battery gives it a long battery life and its fast and wireless charging options add to the convenience, making it a great choice for extended gaming sessions.

For the renaissance gamer who also enjoys photography, the Pixel 8 Pro sports a versatile triple camera setup with a 50 MP main camera, complemented by a 48 MP telephoto and a 48 MP ultra-wide lens. 

Pros

This Android phone is a great pick for serious mobile gamers. The high 120Hz refresh rate on the OLED display provides fluid and immersive gameplay.

The Pixel 8 Pro’s top-notch performance, courtesy of the Tensor G3 chipset, places it among the best gaming phones available.

Cons

The Pixel 8 Pro may not be the most budget-friendly option for everyone, and it has other cons that make it less suitable for gaming than other phones on this list. Like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, there’s no expandable storage, which means you might run out of space to download bigger games. Plus, like many other newer phones, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can either use Bluetooth headphones or find an adaptor to plug into the charging port.

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4. Galaxy Z Fold5

Unlike the flip phones of yesteryear, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold5 is a serious mobile gaming phone. It showcases a 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED display that folds inward, paired with a 120Hz refresh rate. Gamers can also utilize the 6.2-inch front cover display, sharing the same refresh rate and HDR support, to easily switch from gaming to daily tasks.

At its core, the Galaxy Z Fold5 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, ensuring all gaming experiences are smooth and responsive. Complemented by 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB of internal storage, it offers ample space and speed for even the most storage-intensive games. The device runs on Android 13, providing an intuitive interface for gamers.

Battery life is important for gaming, and the 4400mAh battery in the Z Fold5 does not disappoint. It supports fast charging, Qi wireless charging, and even reverse charging in case you want to let a gaming friend get some battery from your charged-up device. The camera system, featuring a 50 MP main, 10 MP telephoto, and 12 MP ultra-wide lens, stands ready to facilitate live game streaming if that’s your thing.

Pros

The Galaxy Z Fold5’s processing power and high refresh rate screen are exceptional compared to other phones, enhancing every gaming session. The foldable design is a game-changer, offering a larger screen for a huge and immersive mobile gaming experience. Its great battery life and fast charging capability mean less downtime and more gameplay. 

Cons

Excellence comes at a price, though — the Galaxy Z Fold5 is an investment for serious mobile gamers. Its unique foldable design, while innovative, adds to the device’s bulk, potentially making it less comfortable for extended use. Additionally, the phone can demand frequent charging during intense gaming sessions despite its large battery capacity.

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5. iPhone 14 Pro Max

Despite being last year’s model, the iPhone 14 Pro Max remains one of the most powerful Apple iPhones on the market today. It isn’t specifically tailored for gaming, but with a 6.7-inch display, and all-screen 120Hz refresh rate, it could still be a great gaming phone. 

As an Apple product, it runs on the A16 Bionic chip. It has a six-core CPU and a five-core GPU with a 16-core neural engine. It runs on iOS 16 and is compatible with all App Store applications.

The combination of these features makes it the perfect compromise for anyone who is looking for more gaming support but isn’t necessarily looking for a phone that’s specifically centered around gaming. 

Pros

The Pro Max is one of the premier smartphones in the world, with impressive processing power and a lot of utility. Only the iPhone 15 series and the best Android phones can hold a candle to the 14 Pro Max. It has a great camera (with an ultrawide telephoto lens), high refresh rate, complex operating system, and sleek design.

Cons

This is not a gaming phone — you need to go out of your way if you want a gaming experience. Just like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, this option does not come with extra shoulder buttons. Unlike the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it doesn't include the Action Button feature, so you would need to find external accessories that are compatible with Apple products if you want to use it that way. The screen is also not optimized for gaming either.

Also, due to certain capability issues, not all games can be played on iOS or the Apple Arcade — because of these limits, make sure that what you want to play is available on the device. This is a better overall phone than most gaming-specific phones, but it does not cater specifically to gamers.

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6. Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

No list of gaming phones would be complete without featuring the latest ROG Phone from Asus. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is easily one of the best gaming devices currently available, and it’s easy to see why.

The 6.78-inch AMOLED display sports an incredible refresh rate of 165Hz and features HDR10+ support. Underneath the surface, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and uses the Android 13 operating system. 

The Ultimate edition of this phone comes with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage to provide gamers with plenty of space. The rear camera features 50MP and a 13MP ultra-wide option, but the front camera truly shines with 32MP, making live streaming while you play come through even more clearly. 

The last feature that helps this phone make the list is the incredible battery life, thanks to the two 3000mAh batteries. The combined 6000mAh of juice means the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate can last around 18 hours without charging. When it comes time to charge, the 65W fast charging capabilities can get you back in the game in no time. 

Pros

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate might be the best gaming phone to date. The long battery life and vivid screen can have you enjoying your games for hours on end. The headphone jack allows you to directly plug in, and limits the latency used by Bluetooth headphones. The last thing worth mentioning is the AirTriggers feature that can help you take your gaming experience to another level.

Cons

The biggest issue with the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is the price. You can expect to pay well over a thousand dollars for this phone, so it’s not for casual gamers. The only other issues with this phone are fairly minor. For example, it’s a bit heavy and bulky, which makes it a little less comfortable than other gaming options. Also, the USB-C cord isn’t centered, which can make it frustrating when trying to play while charging or plug in other accessories. 

It’s also a tricky phone to get in the States, plus carriers like Verizon and UScellular don’t support it on their networks.

The Bottom Line

Gaming phones are very powerful devices, and choosing the right one could leave you with a miniature gaming PC in your pocket. The key is to find the one with the gaming features that are most suited to your needs. 

Popular phone series like the iPhone, Galaxy, or Pixel can be great gaming phones. For those looking for phones designed specifically with gamers in mind, then the ROG phone series might be a better fit.

At the end of the day, it’s important to thoroughly research each phone’s specs to evaluate which will be the best choice for your gaming experience. Whether you are looking for a gaming phone or just a regular smartphone, Navi can help you find what you need — try our free, unbiased Phone Deal Finder today. We search through thousands of phone deals to find the best choices for you.

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