Best gaming phones 2024

Almost any phone can run free-to-play titles like Angry Birds or Subway Surfers, but for more graphically demanding games, you'll need one of the best Android gaming phones with beastly internals and superb optimization.

Some of the best Android games are PC or console ports that — even in their downgraded state — run significantly better with more powerful chips, a lot of memory, and faster displays. Cloud streaming services like Xbox Game Pass for Android may process data outside of your phone, but a smooth 120Hz and above panel and strong GPU still make a tangible difference. So you have every reason to make sure your next phone delivers all of it in stride.

We think the ASUS ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is the best overall gaming phone, but if that doesn't strike your fancy or is out of your price range, there are plenty of other options worth considering. Here are some of the best Android phones for gamers.

At a glance

Best overall

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro review

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)
Best overall

Specifications

Display size: 6.78"
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Memory: 12GB/16GB/24GB RAM, 256GB/512GB/1TB storage
Battery: 5500mAh

Reasons to buy

+
165Hz AMOLED display
+
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip
+
Ultra fast
+
Great battery

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Only two guaranteed OS updates

ASUS and its offerings continue to push the limits of what we expect from smartphones, and that applies especially to the world of mobile gaming. The new ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro is among the most powerful we've ever seen, taking the crown for best Android phone for gaming by far.

Powering all of your games is some of the best silicon in the business. The ROG Phone 8 Pro contains the mighty Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which has better processing speeds and improved efficiency than the previous generation. According to the tests conducted during our review, the ROG Phone 8 Pro absolutely toppled every other Android phone in terms of performance benchmarks, including its predecessor.

Beyond the chipset, the ROG Phone 8 Pro beats its competition in the hardware specs arena by most other gaming metrics. You get up to a whopping 24GB of RAM as well as up to 1TB of internal storage, which is absolutely top tier. You'll have no trouble fitting a bunch of games on your phone at once.

Let's also not forget the customizable ultrasonic triggers built into the shoulders of the phone, the loud stereo speakers that sound phenomenal, and the dual USB-C ports found on this amazing gaming phone from ASUS. Outfitted with such beastly gear, the ROG Phone 8 Pro handles high-res graphics or fast-paced shooters with absolute ease. If you're in the market for a dedicated smartphone and have cash to spare, this ASUS phone has our vote.

Best multipurpose

The green Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with its S Pen on the back

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best multipurpose

Specifications

Display size: 6.8"
Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
Memory: 12GB RAM, 256GB/512GB/1TB storage
Battery: 5,000mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful 6.8" AMOLED screen
+
Fantastic battery life
+
Seven years of OS and security updates

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey
-
Uses PWM dimming at all brightness levels

Samsung doesn't explicitly market the Galaxy S24 Ultra as a gaming smartphone, as it focuses more of its marketing machine on other features like the S Pen. But the brand wouldn't be wrong to throw in a comment or two about its gaming chops. With an IP68 water and dustproof rating, the S24 Ultra is robust for its large size. Pop the hood and you'll let out a long, impressed whistle of admiration.

The S24 Ultra excels at streaming games from Xbox Game Pass, working like a charm when pairing it with a compatible Bluetooth controller. The 120Hz refresh rate gives the screen the fluidity necessary to keep games looking smooth, while the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy inside is more than enough to handle today's latest mobile titles. The S24 Ultra even supports ray-tracing.

The 6.8-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x screen is hands down one the best on the market, providing plenty of screen real estate for gaming. The new anti-glare filter really impressed us in our review and will keep your games looking crisp even when playing outside in the sun. Battery life holds up well because the 120Hz refresh is dynamic so it doesn't kick in for everything you do on the device. Even at 100% brightness,  we were able to get two days of use from a single charge in our review.

Best value

RedMagic 9 Pro

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
Best value

Specifications

Display size: 6.8"
Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Memory: 12GB/16GB RAM, 256GB/512GB Storage
Battery: 6,500mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic REDMAGIC OS 9.0 software
+
120Hz display with low flicker
+
Snapdragon Gen 3 with Red Core 2 packs serious power
+
Sleek, appealing design

Reasons to avoid

-
Lackluster front camera
-
No CDMA support

You don't need to be very familiar with Nubia or even recognize that it's a sub-brand of ZTE. What you do need to know is that the brand's RedMagic 9 Pro is one of the most fully-featured gaming phones you can buy, so if your interest in mobile gaming has you seeking something unique, you owe it to yourself to consider picking it up.

There's a lot about the RedMagic 9 Pro that stands out. Starting first with its display, the phone sports a notch-less 6.8-inch AMOLED, along with a 120Hz refresh rate. Its smoothness contributes to a wonderful gaming experience, just as Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 does. The addition of the Red Core 2 Pro gaming co-processor results in speedy performance unlike any other Android phone right now, as we found in our review. With up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage, including 5G connectivity, it has plenty to enjoy a good game with.

Being a gaming phone, it really stands out with features catering to those expectations. The RedMagic 9 Pro has built-in, RGB-lit triggers on the phone's frame for more precise controls, plus an improved cooling system that includes an active fan to keep those rising temperatures in check when necessary. Embracing the full-blown gamer aesthetic, the cooling fan features RGB lighting just like the triggers. That's a technically laudable feat and one you won't find on another phone.

Even with all that, Nubia managed to squeeze in a 6,500mAh battery and include a 80W charger. Your RedMagic 9 Pro can recharge from empty to full within a mere 20 minutes.

Best budget

OnePlus 12R Genshin Impact Edition at MWC 2024

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best budget

Specifications

Display size: 6.78"
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Memory: 8GB RAM 128GB storage, 16GB RAM 256GB Storage
Battery: 5,500mAh with 80W charging (US)

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous design
+
Vibrant AMOLED display with 120Hz support
+
Outstanding battery life with ultra-fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as many updates as OnePlus 12
-
No wireless charging
-
Games limites to 60fps

If you're looking for strong performance on a budget, the OnePlus 12R should be on your short list. This phone is powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC we saw in last year's flagships, and it still has plenty of power for all of the latest games. You can get a 128GB model with 8GB of RAM or a 256GB model with 16GB of RAM is you need the multitasking performance.

While the 6.78-inch AMOLED panel supports 120Hz, games are limited to 60fps. Even so, this is a vibrant and responsive panel that's great for general multitasking as well as gaming. It ships with Android 14, so you've got support for the latest software features, with three OS updates planned, so you can keep using this phone for years without being out of date.

Available in black, blue, this phone has a design that looks a lot like the OnePlus 12 with a slightly smaller cameras hump. The cameras underneath also get a cut, so if you really care about camera performance, get the flagship OnePlus 12. Still, the OnePlus 12R gets a large 5500mAh battery and supports up to 80W charging in the U.S. with the included SuperVOOQ charger.

Best foldable

S Pen Fold and Slim S Pen for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)
Best foldable

Specifications

Display size: 7.6"
Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Memory: 12GB RAM, 256GB/512GB/1TB Storage
Battery: 4,400mAh (dual 2,200mAh batteries)

Reasons to buy

+
Large 7.6-inch AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate
+
Outstanding internal hardware
+
Outer screen is useful for day-to-day tasks
+
IPX8 water resistance
+
Noticeably better performance over last generation

Reasons to avoid

-
No expandable storage
-
Costly

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a fabulous foldable that takes gaming to a whole new level. The differentiator for the Z Fold 5 is the foldout screen that unfurls to a massive 7.6 inches, giving you a large canvas for playing the latest games. The inner and outer AMOLED screens have a 120Hz refresh rate, ensuring smooth playback of your favorite games.

As for the hardware itself, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy is the best chipset you'll find on Android, delivering more than enough power for even the most demanding of games. With 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 1TB of UFS 4 storage out of the box, there's more than enough memory for multitasking here, and you can easily store all of your games.

In terms of connectivity, you get global 5G bands and Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3. Oh, and a nifty addition this year is IPX8 water resistance, making sure that you can continue gaming while at the pool. And finally, there are stellar cameras here, so when you're not playing games, you can take stunning photos in just about any lighting scenario. The 4,400mAh battery ensures you get a full day's use, and there's 25W fast charging along with wireless charging.

It's not just the chipset and other internals that have seen improvement. Samsung has finally refined its flexible display technology, and the robust hinge is built to endure. You'll notice the improved hinge immediately compared to the last-gen Z Fold 4, especially now that the Z Fold 5 folds completely flat. This is a better, faster, and more power-efficient foldable in every way, making for a fun gaming experience.

Best software

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Best software

Specifications

Display size: 6.7"
Processor: Google Tensor G3
Memory: 12GB RAM,128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB Storage
Battery: 5050mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Best smartphone camera on the market
+
Seven years of software updates
+
Gorgeous display screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Tensor G3 isn't great for more graphically intensive games

With the Pixel 8 Pro, Google is finally offering a phone that is one of the best in its category. The phone has a vibrant LTPO OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh, and with Google's custom and powerful Tensor G3 chipset under the hood, it's fantastic for playing simpler games on the go. Google's in-house silicon will handle gaming usage for most players fine. However, the Tensor G3 still isn't exactly the most powerful chipset on the market, and more graphically intensive games might experience some slight stuttering.

It isn't lacking when it comes to memory or storage either; you get 12GB of RAM with up to 1TB of storage. And it doesn't hurt that the Google Pixel 8 Pro takes the best photos on any smartphone. As an added bonus, the 5,050mAh battery lasts all day — even with extended gaming sessions.

Your best Android gaming buddy

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If you're upgrading to a new phone and want something that can handle gaming with ease, the ROG Phone 8 Pro is your best bet. It's packed with pretty much all of the features you'd want for gaming and daily use. The ASUS gaming phone has some the beefiest internals available inside any Android phone right now, so you can rest assured that it is a gaming powerhouse.

Without a doubt, one of the best aspects of the Phone 8 Pro after performance is its display. It uses a Samsung-made AMOLED panel that is just as vibrant and colorful as ever and it enables a sublime 165Hz refresh rate. This results in your eyes being treated to one of the best displays that exist on a smartphone right now, which contributes to a better user experience whether you're gaming or using your phone for other tasks.

Another highlight of the ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro is its sheer specs. With a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, IP68 water and dust resistance, up to 24GB of of RAM and 1TB of storage, and a humungous 5,500 battery, this is a phone that's outstandingly fast, has plenty of room for all of your local files/games, and can easily get through a full day of use. The ROG Phone 8 Pro isn't a cheap or easily accessible device. However, if you have the means to buy it, it's without a doubt the best Android phone for gaming.

If you need something more readily available and versatile, the S24 Ultra is the obvious choice. It has high-end internals and an even better, more vibrant AMOLED screen. You still need to pay a lot more though, and the Samsung phone still lacks gamer-esque features like the ROG Phone's ultrasonic triggers, additional USB-C port, and an extra OLED on the rear.

Namerah Saud Fatmi
Editor — Accessories, speakers, and tablets

Namerah enjoys geeking out over accessories, gadgets, and all sorts of smart tech. She spends her time guzzling coffee, writing, casual gaming, and cuddling with her furry best friends. Find her on Twitter @NamerahS.

  • Mooncatt
    I recently upgraded to a Sony Xperia 1 V. I bought it mostly for other reasons, but I've been pleasantly surprised with its gaming abilities. Especially the game enhancer app. That app can let you set several performance options, but my favorite is the charging control. You can set it to only power the phone if gaming and plugged in, not charging the battery. That limits heat and stress on the battery to help prolong it. There's also an optional add on that gives you a cooling fan and extra connections, but availability on that seems limited.
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