Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

Galaxy S8

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It should come as little surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been dethroned as the best phone for gamers by its follow up, the Galaxy S8. Whether you go with the Galaxy S8 or the slightly larger S8+, you'll be getting an outstanding device that can handle pretty much any game you throw at it.

It features a brilliant AMOLED display capable of scaling up to QHD+ resolution — that's 2960 x 1440. Depending on your region, the Galaxy S8 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor with a beefy 3,000 mAh battery tucked into the phone's thin frame. It combines beautiful design with raw processing power to create a phone that delivers all the gaming action you can handle with nary a hiccup in gameplay.

On top of just being a fantastic phone with top-tier specs and a brilliant display, Samsung has done a great job of revamping the Game Tools first introduced on the S7. If you're serious about mobile gaming and can afford the upgrade, the Galaxy S8 or S8+ is a quality investment to make.

Bottom line: Samsung has done a better job integrating Game Tools features with the Galaxy S8.

One more thing: Make sure to turn on the setting that stretches the game to fill the Galaxy S8's unique aspect ratio.

Why the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best

The best just keeps getting better.

The Galaxy S8 isn't new, but it's the perfect combination of size and performance in a phone today. And that beautiful Super AMOLED just makes everything, from the simplest puzzle game to the most resource-intensive MOBA, look amazing.

Both Game Launcher and Game Tools are back and better than ever, with Samsung making strides to improve their integration into the overall experience of the phone. Game Tools especially, which has been built into the navigation bar and appears any time you load up a game.

It includes the same features for turning off distracting notifications while also including important new features for addressing the curved edges of the screen and temporarily turning off the "invisible" home button so you don't accidentally press it during gameplay. If you're the type that likes to stream as you game, you'll love the built-in screen recorder tools which let you record at 720p and use the front-facing camera to record your reactions as you play.

Simply put, the Galaxy S8 is packed with all the specs and features you need for the gaming performance you desire.


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Best for smoothness

Razer Phone

See at Razer  

Razer burst onto the Android scene in 2017 with its first smartphone that was designed for the gamer on the go.

Razer went all out on the specs for this phone and it's a beast, with a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835 chipset, a whopping 8GB of RAM, a huge 4,000mAh battery, and a 5.7-inch display that supports a refresh rate of up to 120Hz — capable of producing the most buttery-smooth frame rate you've seen on a phone. It's also got front-facing speakers that sound amazing and 64GB of on-board storage along with a dedicated microSD slot.

It all sounds so promising, so why didn't it snag the top spot on our list? Well, as Alex Dobie discovered in his review of the Razer Phone, while the phone certainly features some impressive specs, it manages to falls short in a number of areas, most notably the shoddy camera performance, lack of waterproofing, and abysmal screen brightness that makes the screen hard to see in natural lighting. Basically, despite the top-tier specs and revolutionary display refresh rate, the Razer Phone falls short performing some of the basic features you'd expect from a $700 phone in 2017 — and that's without mentioning the massive bezels that go against current industry trends.

Bottom line: In designing a phone for gamers, Razer seemed to lose focus on other aspects of a well-rounded mobile experience. And there still aren't many games optimized for 120Hz.

One more thing: That massive battery is one of the largest you'll find in an Android phone and should ensure your gaming sessions are never cut short by a low battery warning.

Best value

OnePlus 5T

See at OnePlus

OnePlus continues to deliver outstanding hardware at a great value, and the OnePlus 5T is another great flagship that is bound to turn a lot of heads.

You get premium specs at the starting price of just $499, which include 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a gorgous 6-inch AMOLED display and a 3,300 mAh battery, or you can bump up to the $559 model that packs in 8GB of RAM and 128GB. But specs aren't everything, and along with the mostly stock OxygenOS that OnePlus is known for, the company has also included some software features that are perfect for longer gaming sessions.

Take the do not disturb mode for gaming, which blocks notifications from peeking in from the top of the screen while playing specific apps. It's entirely customizable so you'll never be distracted while playing your favorite games.

Combine the price, the great specs, and the great do not disturb feature for gaming and that's one heck of a value for gamers.

Bottom line: If you're looking for a brand new phone, the OnePlus 5T is a top-tier contender at a mid-range price.

One more thing: The OnePlus 5T has a dual camera setup featuring 16MP and 20MP sensors.

Best for accessories

Moto Z2 Play

See at Motorola

The latest in Motorola's modular lineup, the Moto Z2 Play features a slightly smaller battery than its predecessor at 3000 mAh, paired with a Snapdragon 626 processor and 4GB of RAM.

But the real advantage to the Moto Z2 Play are the Moto Mods. Battery life still not enough? Take advantage of the Moto Z2 Play's modular design and slap on the Incipio offGRID Power Pack and add an extra 2,260 mAh battery to your phone, along with charging efficiency and the added ability to wirelessly charge both the pack and your phone.

One Moto Mod that's specific for gamers is the GamePad Mod which lets you trade touch screen controls for physical joysticks and buttons

Bottom line: Starting at around $499, the Moto Z2 Play is a pretty great phone that's only made better with the right Moto Mods.

One more thing: Other awesome Moto Mods available for the Moto Z2 Play include a JBL Soundboost 2 speaker, Hassleblad True Zoom camera mod and the Moto InstaShare Projector.

Conclusion

For the best Android gaming experience, look no further than the Galaxy S8. It's got all the top-end specs you need to any game in the Google Play Store at the highest settings, and that's not going to change anytime soon. If battery life is your biggest concern, the Moto Z Play is your best bet, especially with an optional Moto Mod to expand that battery life further. If you think lag is a real drag, the HTC 10's touch responsiveness is what you want.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at AT&T   See at Sprint See at T-Mobile See at Verizon

It should come as little surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been dethroned as the best phone for gamers by its follow up, the Galaxy S8. Whether you go with the Galaxy S8 or the slightly larger S8+, you'll be getting an outstanding device that can handle pretty much any game you throw at it.

It features a brilliant AMOLED display capable of scaling up to QHD+ resolution — that's 2960 x 1440. Depending on your region, the Galaxy S8 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor with a beefy 3,000 mAh battery tucked into the phone's thin frame. It combines beautiful design with raw processing power to create a phone that delivers all the gaming action you can handle with nary a hiccup in gameplay.

On top of just being a fantastic phone with top-tier specs and a brilliant display, Samsung has done a great job of revamping the Game Tools first introduced on the S7. If you're serious about mobile gaming and can afford the upgrade, the Galaxy S8 or S8+ is a quality investment to make.

Bottom line: Samsung has done a better job integrating Game Tools features with the Galaxy S8. On top of that, it's easily the best phone you can buy right now.

One more thing: Make sure to turn on the setting that stretches the game to fill the Galaxy S8's unique aspect ratio.

Update November 2017: We've added the new Razer Phone to our list, but its shortcomings failed to knock the Samsung Galaxy S8 from the top spot.