The Absolute Best Gaming Phones You Can Buy in 2021
Before we start with our list, it is important to explain that most mobile games will run decently enough on even mid-tier smartphones, albeit on low/mid settings. Depending on the type of games you play, you may not even need a gaming phone at all. However, if you are someone to whom a smartphone is a gaming console first, we have the absolute best gaming smartphones available in the UK listed up next.
Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate
In the past, several smartphones have been designed to act as a portable gaming console, and the oldest, as well as the best example of that idea goes back 18 years to the Nokia N-Gage (2003). In recent years, the Xiaomi Black Shark series, the Nubia Red Magic series, and of course, Asus’s own Republic of Gamers (ROG) series smartphones have been trying to do the same.
Out of the competition, Asus seems to be getting an edge as the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate outcompetes everything else in its wake, as far as pure gaming performance and player experience is concerned. Below you will find some of the several reasons why it reigns supreme as the absolute best gaming smartphone (Android) that you can buy today:
- It’s the only FHD+ smartphone display ever to simultaneously have a 144Hz, 10-bit OLED (6.78”) panel which supports true HDR 10+ with 800 – 1200 Nits of brightness
- Inside, there is an SD 888 SoC with one 2.84GHz Kryo 680 core, three 2.42GHz Kryo 680 cores, four 1.8GHz Kryo 680 cores, and an Adreno 660 GPU
- The powerful SoC is supported by 18GB of RAM, 512GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage and a massive 6,000mAh battery with 65W Fast Charging
- Twin DTS-X Speakers, each with a dedicated amplifier each
- Pressure sensitive touch zones create virtual trigger buttons
- Customisable Full-RGB lights on the back
- An entire arsenal of surprisingly useful first-party gaming accessories such as the AeroActive Cooler 5, the Strix Go BT Headset, and the Kunai 3 Gamepad, among others
The only real competition that this beast of a device has on the Android platform will be coming from the Xiaomi Black Shark 4 Pro, and the ZTE Nubia Red Magic 6 Pro.
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Note that we chose the iPhone Pro Max over the iPhone Pro which sports nearly identical specs, because of the larger display and better battery life. Considering the fact that the iPhone 12 Pro Max also sports the same amazing iOS 14 UI and stunning cameras, it is likely the best smartphone that anyone can buy right now. For the first time in a long time, Apple finally has some competition from the Qualcomm flagship chip this year, since the A14 Bionic chip does fall behind on some benchmarks. Nevertheless, the A14 bionic still managed to win more rounds than it lost to the SD 888 SoC, making it an even better mobile gaming chip than the SD 888.
Understand that this is not just a hypothetical scenario, but a proven one. Alongside having some significant hardware advantages over the SD 888, all games available on the iOS platform are also optimised to perfection, specifically for the chip to deliver buttery smoothness. Besides, the App Store has support for gambling and betting apps, while the Play Store does not. Not that you really need the Play Store or the App store to play casino games, mind you. Just pay a visit to Online Casinos, which is the number one UK platform for casino reviews, slot reviews, betting tips, gambling news, game guides and much more. Whether you own an iPhone or an Android smartphone, on this site here you will find reviews that can help you find the best casinos for any device in the UK.
Things will change once again in late 2021, as Apple will have released their next iPhones by that time. For now, though, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is quite simply the best gaming iPhone you can buy. All iPhones in the series have native and official support for the Sony PlayStation DualSense and SteelSeries Nimbus+ wireless controllers too.
ZTE Nubia Red Magic 6 Pro
The ZTE Nubia Red Magic 6 Pro is the best value gaming smartphone that you will find this year, provided that you actually manage to find one of course! If not, settle for the Nubia Red Magic 6R, which only sports a smaller screen and battery for an even lower price tag. If you can get your hands on the beast that is the Nubia Red Magic 6 Pro at the right price though, ZTE is offering an almost irresistible bargain to mobile gamers. Let’s discuss the main specs next, as would be most relevant to gamers:
- The same overclocked Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC with Adreno 660 GPU that powers the ROG Phone 5
- The same 512GB UFS 3.1 internal storage plus 18GB RAM combination as we see in the ROG Phone 5
- A 6.8”, 10-bit OLED, FHD+ panel that has a higher refresh rate of 165Hz, but a lower brightness capacity (635 nits) than the ROG Phone 5
- All the internals are powered by a respectable 5,050mAh battery with 66W Fast Charge support
- Pressure sensitive zones allow for virtual shoulder trigger buttons and the display feels ultra-fluid in any use case scenario, thanks to a 400Hz touch-sampling rate
- Full RGB LED lighting at the back, as we have all come to expect on gaming devices these days
There wasn’t one available to test on hand, so the Xiaomi Black Shark 4 Pro was not included on this list. However, with its 720Hz touch-sampling rate and competitive pricing, the Black Shark 4 Pro may very well be even better for gaming than the Red Magic 6 Pro, so do check it out as well before buying.
Two wonderful smartphone ranges that were left out of this list are the Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 series. They are each superb flagship smartphones as well, and both may provide a better overall experience to the average smartphone user than the bulky beasts on this list. However, as far as pure gaming performance is concerned, every one of the devices mentioned in this post will beat them outright.