Mobile gaming has exploded over the last few years with millions of apps being readily available, most of which can be downloaded free. The more high tech and demanding these games become, the more the phones have to match that, which is why we are seeing phone prices raise to highs of nearly £800 at times, but is the most expensive phone necessarily the best for gaming?
When looking into gaming on phones there are a few things you should look at, the processor & processing power, the battery life, the screen size and the latest version of software it supports, and if it looks like this will be updated regularly.
Oh, and never buy an iPhone… Sorry Apple fans.
Anyways, here are our picks for the top 10 gaming phones in 2017:
1. OnePlus 3T
Price: £401 (January 2017)
Screen Size: 5.5 inch
Processor: Snapdragon 821 Quad Core 2.35GHz
Camera: 16.0MP Front & Back Camera
Features: Corning Gorilla Glass 4, Optic AMOLED Screen OxygenOS, Finger Print Sensor, Type-C Quick Charge
The worthy successor to the OnePlus 3 is now here with the 3T. The upgrade sees the phone equipped with a faster processor, a bigger battery and a higher resolution, everything that the 3 needed to be a truly quality gaming phone.
This flagship phone is around £100-200 cheaper than the rest of it’s competition, purely because of the fact it’s a Chinese smartphone (I actually prefer Chinese phones, I feel like they are better built) and they don’t spend as much money advertising in the UK as some of the other rivals.
OnePlus are becoming a big, trusted, name in the market so start picking them up now before the price begins to align with some of the other rivals, cause it will happen soon.
2. Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
Price: £242.39 Used, £383 New (January 2017)
Screen Size: 5.2 – Inch 1080p
Processor: Snapdragon 810
Camera: 23MP Rear, 5.1MP Front
Features: Palm friendly size, frosted glass rear, a finger print scanner (new Z series addition)
I’ve always been a very big fan of the Sony Xperia, I owned the predecessor the Z3 which was a good little phone that did everything I needed and with a great battery, with the Xperia I always tend to find that the compact is better, the original versions are a bit to clunky.
The Z5 Compact is the obviously improved older brother of the Z3 Compact, the new phone has a much better processor with the recent Snapdragon 810 octa-core chip which also sees it move to 64-bit. The camera is also 23MP which can shoot up to 4K resolution, it brings a new finger print scanner to the party, and has a slightly improved battery giving it a 2 day lifespan, which I found was one of my favourite things about the Z3.
The phone is perhaps a little bit older than the rest of the list but that’s reflected in the price, and it will still do the job and play all games without a hitch.
3. HTC 10
Price: £475.98 new, £389.43 used (January 2017)
ROM: 32/64 GB
Screen Size: 5.2 Inch, Quad HD
Processor: Snapdragon 820 2.2GHz
Camera: 12MP rear, 5MP front
Features: Corning Gorilla Glass, All Metal Body,
I always think of HTC as some of the best looking phones and the 10 is no exception with it’s all metal body, but that won’t help you when gaming, so lets take a look at what’s inside. The Snapdragon 820 processor that offers 2.2GHz along with the 4GB of RAM to help it out means it is truly one of the best gaming phones out there. It also claims a 2 day usage just like the Z5 Compact, which is great for if your wanting to game and not constantly be attached to a plug socket, but if you do happen to be near one it also has fast charging that can get you 50% battery in just 30 minutes.
Other things of note include them claiming it has the best smartphone camera available on the market due to based on their DxOMark score, it’s a 12MP 4k camera which is enhanced with something they refer to as UltraPixel.
HTC’s are always a safe bet, there good quality phones that look good and perform well, but that’s reflected in the price.
4. LG G5
Price: £349 (January 2017)
Screen Size: 5.3 inches
Processor: Snapdragon 820
Camera: 16MP back, 8MP front
Features: Dual-SIM capability, wide camera angle, fast charging USB C
Again previously I’ve had the LG G3 which I loved for the fact it was better than it’s Samsung rival at the time and cost a lot less. The G5 has a strong processor which is great for gaming with a Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4GB of RAM it storms some of the competition.
The only downside I would perhaps point out about it is that the battery is only 2800mAh which isn’t awful, but it’s not fantastic either! It say you’ll get about 20 Hours talk time, but I’d probably put that down to as little as 4-6 hours gaming time (estimate), so you may need to carry round a charger with you if your going on a day trip I’m afraid.
5. Huawei P9
Price: £504 (January 2017)
Screen Size: 5.2 Inch
Processor: Mali T880 MP4 Octa-core 2.5GHz
Camera: Dual 12MP back camera, 8MP front camera
Features: Dual lens tech, fast finger print scanner, decent battery life
The Huawei is an undoubtedly great phone, it used to be a lot cheaper as it was being introduced to the UK market from China, but now they have established their name a little bit it’s become more expensive. It’s easy to determine why as despite it’s low price it can compete with some of the flagships of 2017.
It’s a great phone with a fantastic 1080p display and a choice of 3 & 4GB of RAM (always go 4!) it’s also able to upgrade to Nougat. It’s definitely worth it if your looking for a top end phone at a lower price.
The only thing I would say lets the Huawei down slightly is the processor, it doesn’t have your standard trusted Snapdragon processor, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad as it’s an Octa Core 2.5GHz but I tend to find that the Mali processors don’t seem to benchmark as well as the top Snapdragon ones, from experience.
6. Google Pixel
Price: £699 (January 2017)
Screen Size: 5 Inch
Processor: Snapdragon 821
Camera: 12MP back camera, 8MP front camera
Features: USB-C Fast Charging, fast processor, latest android version
Labelled as “the” iPhone rival the Pixel is Google’s first proper introduction into the mobile phone market under their own brand, although they have obviously collaborated with other phone companies in the past.
It’s one of the first phones to receive the latest version of Android and is equipped with the latest Snapdragon 821 processor giving it an addition factor to most competitors. It’s great for gaming in terms of the high quality display, high amount of RAM and of course the processor to back it up.
There are a few issues with the Pixel I foresee though, it’s going to frustrate a lot of people that there isn’t a 64GB version and the battery is a bit on the week side compared to other flag ships with 2770mAH.
7. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Price: £505 (January 2017)
Due to the amount Samsung have plowed into advertising there isn’t too much more that I could tell you about this phone that you may not already know. It’s a few months old now but it’s still perhaps one of the top phones on the market, many believe it’s the best due to its popularity, but don’t be fooled by good marketing.
I’m not saying that the phones bad, it’s not, it’s fantastic and would be great for gaming – it is definitely one of the best flagships. Just don’t write off all the other competitors that may be cheaper. It’s got great RAM and one of the latest processors despite being released almost a year ago, the high quality display and decent size also provide a good gaming quality.
8. Lenovo Moto Z
Price: £369 (January 2017)
Screen Size: 5.5 Inch
Processor: Snapdragon 820
Camera: 13MP back camera, 5MP front camera
Features: Micro SD slot, USB-C fast charging, finger print sensor
The Lenovo Moto Z is a great phone at an affordable price, I would say it’s just a little bit off of the top flagship phones mostly down to the quality of design and the battery in it is only 2600mAH.
In saying that, it’s a lot of phone for being around £200 lower than some of the top flagships and the processor is high quality with the top level of RAM and some great features. It’s definitely worth a shout!
9. ZTE Axon 7
Price: £373.91 (January 2017)
Screen Size: 5.5 Inch
Processor: Snapdragon 820
Camera: 20MP back, 8MP front
Features: Micro SD slot, Finger print, USB-C fast charge
Never heard of ZTE? Well that is reflected in the price.
This is possibly my favourite on the list, it’s not the strongest in terms of performance but it has some great features that are better than some of the other phones in the list. The most important one for me is the battery, it’s 3250mAH which along with fast charging which charges 83% in 30 mins you shouldn’t be short of battery life, having a short battery life is one of the worst things when gaming on your phone.
It’s also supported with one of the top processors and 4GB RAM which is all you will need to run the top games with ease.
10. Huawei Nexus 6P
Price: £586.99 new, £380.91 used (January 2017)
Screen Size: 5.7 Inch
Processor: Snapdragon 810
Camera: 12.3MP back, 8MP front
Features: finger print sensor on the back, fast charging
Huawei have made the list twice? Huawei fan boy!
No seriously, they do deserve to make this list twice, they are really excelling in the UK market of recent.
It’s one of the older phones in the list and it doesn’t offer one of latest processors or highest RAM available but for some reason it just seems to perform really well. It’s also supported by a 3450mAH battery, the best in the list so far, which as previously mentioned is a big pain point for gamers.
It does everything that any of the new phones would, and it’s got a much better battery to go with it. Not to mention, the phone looks fantastic!