Best Smartphones for Gaming in 2023

In our time, it is no longer even necessary to argue that portable gaming is at least as popular as “stationary” gaming. Someone takes a Nintendo Switch or even an exotic Steam Deck with them on the road, but the smartphone remains the main mobile device for games. Models at a similar price give no less performance, and they can do a lot more – from calls to high-quality photos.

By the way, choosing a smartphone for games and not only is no easier task than configuring a high-quality PC. Therefore, we have prepared a selection of smartphones for different wallets, which in the fall of 2022 are perfect for games.

Keep in mind that in the current situation on the market, when many manufacturers have officially left Russia, you will have to buy their models through unofficial channels – up to sellers of “gray” devices and stores on sites like Aliexpress. So if you have not found an interesting model in large federal retail chains, then take the choice of the seller responsibly – it may be worth overpaying a few thousand rubles, but buying a device in a store that has a lot of good reviews.

Realme GT Master Edition – nothing more

  • Screen:4”, 2400×1080, Super AMOLED, 120Hz
  • Processor:Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G (8 cores)
  • Memory (RAM / ROM):8 / 256 GB
  • Cameras (main / selfie):64 MP / 32 MP
  • Battery: 4300 mAh
  • Security:oleophobic coating
  • Connectors:USB-C, 3.5mm
  • Fingerprint sensor:under the screen
  • NFC module:yes
  • Average price for October 2022:30 000 ₽

In order to play comfortably at high settings, today even a flagship is not necessary – the average segment of smartphones has grown significantly in terms of power and quality in the last couple of years. Perhaps there will not be advanced features like a camera with adequate night mode, but not everyone needs this.

Realme GT Master Edition fits perfectly into the concept of a not too expensive and stylish smartphone that pulls Genshin Impact and Call of Duty Mobile well (albeit not at maximum speed) and does not disappoint otherwise. Priced around £30,000 for the 256GB version with 8GB of RAM, it features a pre-top Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, a bright 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with rich colors and 2400×1080 resolution, and a decent camera system from Sony. In terms of design, the gray ribbed version even won the prestigious iF Design Award 2021.

The Master Edition is a slightly simplified version of the Realme GT flagship model. However, its simplifications are spotty: a slightly smaller battery, a slightly weaker processor (for most games, it’s still in excess), a slightly worse camera (too much noise in the twilight). Of the significant shortcomings, one can only note the lack of a slot for microSD cards and the lack of protection against moisture. But in general, this is a very interesting device, which is not much inferior to the rest of the heroes of our selection in terms of performance, but is the cheapest.

POCO F4 is a “strong midrange” for games

  • Screen:7”, 2400×1080, AMOLED, 120Hz
  • Processor:Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 (8 cores)
  • Memory (RAM / ROM):8 / 256 GB
  • Cameras (main / selfie):64 MP / 20 MP
  • Battery:4500 mAh
  • Protection:from moisture and dust (IP53)
  • Connectors:USB-C
  • Fingerprint sensor:side
  • NFC module:yes
  • Average price for October 2022:35 000 ₽

If you are a fan of Xiaomi or want a device on top-end hardware, then POCO F4 would be an interesting option . It has the same Sony main camera as the Realme GT Master Edition, but it’s better calibrated by the software, resulting in more natural colors and less noise in dim light. But the processor is almost flagship: Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 is a modified version of the famous 865 model on a smaller process technology, which improved energy efficiency and made it possible to almost get rid of throttling. Such a chip is enough today for most mobile games at maximum settings.

The flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 spoils everything throttling

As for the design, the smartphone looks like a premium device, with edges cut according to the new fashion, but the body is not made of glass or metal, but of glossy plastic. The latter leads to a permanently stained rear wall. But there is some protection against splashes and dust according to the IP53 standard (will withstand rain, but not immersion in water).

Otherwise, the specifications are similar to the Realme GT Master Edition: a large 6.7-inch AMOLED screen with a frequency of 120 hertz and a resolution of 2400×1080, 256 gigabytes of storage and 8 gigabytes of RAM in our recommended configuration (128 / 6 is already not enough for games).

The POCO F4 is not much more expensive than the Realme GT Master Edition, while it has a slightly better camera and some headroom for gaming performance. Perhaps, in terms of price-quality ratio, this is the best device in the entire collection. However, check out the other options first.

Black Shark 5 Pro is a powerful gaming smartphone for a reasonable price

  • Screen:7”, 2400×1080, OLED, 144Hz
  • Processor:Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (8 cores)
  • Memory (RAM / ROM):8 / 128 GB
  • Cameras (main / selfie):108 MP / 16 MP
  • Battery:4650 mAh
  • Protection:from scratches
  • Connectors:USB-C
  • Fingerprint sensor:side
  • NFC module:yes
  • Average price for October 2022:45 000 ₽

The previous two heroes of the collection did a great job with games, but were not gamers in the full sense. After all, this means not only high power, but also design and various amenities specifically for the players. The most famous gaming smartphone today is probably the ROG Phone from ASUS, but it is quite expensive and we will talk about it towards the end of the article. All the same company XIAOMI has prepared an analogue for reasonable money and with its own chips. We are talking about Black Shark 5 Pro .

The heart here is the fresh Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. Compared to the previous Snapdragon 888, it already heats up and throttles much less, especially in gaming models, where they worked extra on cooling. The cyberpunk-style back cover design also betrays the gaming focus: light lines reminiscent of microchip tracks, a neat S-shaped logo with fins on the bottom of the case and a bright LED of an unusual shape on top. The camera block also looks intricate: its edges follow the shape of the path lines.

In games, Black Shark 5 Pro is not much inferior to flagships

Well, to the most important. On the right side there are two retractable triggers – just like on gamepads! It is convenient to press them with your index fingers when the smartphone is in a horizontal position (the front camera should be on the left). And besides this, the Black Shark series is distinguished by the proprietary Shark Space built-in menu with convenient quick functions (turn off incoming calls and messages, set up a macro, etc.) and performance statistics:

All in all, the Black Shark 5 Pro is an almost perfect smartphone for a gamer. “Almost” because some may not be satisfied with the lack of water resistance, a memory card slot or a wired headphone jack. But other than that, it’s a very pleasant smartphone to use, with a trendy design and flagship performance.

iPhone 11 is Apple’s most balanced smartphone in 2022

  • Screen:1”, 1792×828, IPS, 60Hz
  • Processor:Apple A13 Bionic (6 cores)
  • Memory (RAM / ROM):4 / 128 GB
  • Cameras (main / selfie):12 MP / 12 MP
  • Battery:3110 mAh
  • Protection:from dust and moisture (IP68), oleophobic coating
  • Connectors:Lightning
  • Fingerprint sensor:no
  • NFC module:yes
  • Average price for October 2022:55 000 ₽

If new unusual models often come out in the Android camp, then Apple has become very conservative in recent years. Visually, smartphones change very little (even the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max models, having received a new screen cutout, retained a similar back wall design). The filling formally becomes more powerful, but even in the 11th model it surpasses the needs of most users and gamers. This is probably why the iPhone 11 is the most popular smartphone in the world from Apple today.

Perhaps the most important drawback of this model is the lack of a 120 hertz OLED screen, but IPS has a more natural color reproduction, and 60 hertz for super-smooth iOS interfaces is enough for the eyes (and in games it’s still rare which mobile device gives out more 60 fps). But the main camera still bypasses the vast majority of smartphones, even in a higher price category. First of all, this concerns the night mode and, of course, video shooting (the main advantage of the latest generation iPhone cameras) – with a maximum resolution of 4K 60 FPS and high-quality stabilization.

Camera tests of three generations of basic iPhones

In terms of games, there is nothing to complain about. On Apple smartphones, it has always been great with optimization due to the predictability of hardware and software, so even on the iPhone 11 (the device of 2019!) any of the most “graphical” games still run smoothly at maximum settings. Perhaps someone needs not 60, but 120 FPS and the same number of hertz for eSports disciplines. But we think that there are a minority of such buyers of smartphones (even for games).

ASUS ROG Phone 6 is a smartphone for hardcore gamers

  • Screen:8”, 2448×1080, AMOLED, 165Hz
  • Processor:Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (8 cores)
  • Memory (RAM / ROM):8 / 128 GB
  • Cameras (main / selfie):50 MP / 12 MP
  • Battery:6000 mAh
  • Protection:from dust and moisture (IPX4)
  • Connectors:USB-C, 3.5mm
  • Fingerprint sensor:under the screen
  • NFC module:yes
  • Average price for October 2022:60 000 ₽

ASUS ROG Phone 6 is the flagship gaming smartphone of 2022, a representative of probably the most famous series of such devices. Interestingly, in the maximum configuration, the smartphone comes in a large box with a gamepad, a stylish case and a stand with a built-in cooler. But such a set will cost up to twice as much. Therefore, we rather focus on the basic version, which today costs an average of 60 thousand rubles.

ROG Phone 6 has 128GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM. And for most tasks, including games, this will be enough. The screen here is set to as much as 165 hertz. It boasts an AMOLED matrix with full DCI-P3 coverage and a resolution of 2448×1080. The 50-megapixel main camera shoots great in any conditions, and the 12-megapixel front camera does a good job of selfies and recording stories.

As for the processor, the ROG Phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. This is a slightly overclocked version of the chip that also serves as the heart of the Black Shark 5 Pro mentioned earlier. And thanks to the powerful cooling with the help of the evaporation chamber, in games, its results exceed all expectations:

Unfortunately, in Russia the device is still difficult to get. But if you can buy it for no more than 65 thousand rubles, then it will be a great purchase for both games and everyday needs. If the design confuses, then in the ROG Phone 6 case it will not look so catchy. And the performance, comfort of use and durability (there is even a powerful IPX4 moisture protection) will please you for several more years.

OnePlus 10T is a pre-flagship for geeks

  • Screen:7”, 2448×1080, AMOLED, 120Hz
  • Processor:Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (8 cores)
  • Memory (RAM / ROM):8 / 128 GB
  • Cameras (main / selfie):50 MP / 16 MP
  • Battery:4800 mAh
  • Protection:from scratches
  • Connectors:USB-C
  • Fingerprint sensor:under the screen
  • NFC module:yes
  • Average price for October 2022:60 000 ₽

Not everyone loves a gaming design, so for those who want powerful specs with a quieter look, we’ve selected another model, the OnePlus 10T . In recent years, smartphones from this brand have been competing almost equally with iPhones at a lower price.

The processor here is the same as in the ASUS ROG Phone 6 – Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. It is cooled by a not as fancy as that of ASUS, but still an evaporation chamber. And it is enough for the smartphone to keep stable performance in games:

True, the cameras here are simpler than those of ASUS. They are excellent in daylight, but lose in the dark. In addition, there is no water protection. However, if this is not critical for you and you do not like the overtly gaming design of the ROG Phone, then the OnePlus 10T will be a good alternative for the money.

The selection includes only models that are balanced in terms of performance and price, which run all modern mobile games at maximum settings. In rubles, the prices turned out to be not so small, but still much cheaper than the latest iPhone model. Nevertheless, write in the comments if you would like material about current budget smartphones suitable for games. If there are many such comments, then we will try to compile an appropriate selection.



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