Pubg Oneplus 9 Pro Lifestyle 2 CroppedSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Best phones for PUBG Mobile Android Central 2021

PUBG Mobile is a graphics-intensive game that demands a powerful phone. If you want the best results and more Chicken Dinners, you're going to need a phone for that truly stands out from the pack, and in 2021 that's the OnePlus 9 Pro. Not only is it a great phone packed with the latest internals and a 120Hz QHD+ AMOLED display, but you also get the best software on Android right now.

Best overall: OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro reviewSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

PUBG Mobile has been developed to run pretty well on old and new phones alike, but you'll need a phone with admirable specs to run it at the highest graphics settings. The OnePlus 9 Pro fits the bill, with 8GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 888 chipset, which both deliver enough memory and processing power for great gaming performance.

OxygenOS continues to deliver a simple and speedy software experience that allows for customization, including the gaming mode, which offers fine controls for avoiding distractions while gaming. You can limit notifications to alarms and calls or set custom notifications for displaying messages while you game.

You also get a 120Hz QHD+ AMOLED panel, making it a delight to play games on the phone. That means everything will look silky smooth to your eye, whether you're blasting your way to glory in PUBG Mobile or scrolling through Instagram. OnePlus offers stereo sound as well, with a secondary speaker tucked away above the display. Additionally, there's 65W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, IP68 dust and water resistance. For what you end up paying, you're getting a lot for your money.

Pros:

  • 65W wired charging and 50W wireless charging
  • Smooth 120Hz QHD+ AMOLED display
  • Incredible internal hardware
  • IP68 dust and water resistance
  • Customizable gaming mode

Cons:

  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No expandable storage
  • Sub-par battery life

Best overall

Oneplus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro

A truly incredible gaming phone

With a stunning 120Hz QHD+ AMOLED display and the latest internal hardware, the OnePlus 9 Pro is the best gaming phone in 2021.

Best value: Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21 iin Phantom VioletSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

Big names like Samsung have fallen into the habit of launching not one, not two, but three flagship models each year. The Samsung Galaxy S21 is this year's base flagship, and it's rather fetching in terms of looks as well as internals. If you want a big beautiful display but don't have Galaxy S21 Ultra kind of money, the Galaxy S21 will run PUBG just fine.

On the inside, the Galaxy S21 is very similar to the Galaxy S21 Ultra with some key differences. It has the same Snapdragon 888 SoC and a smaller but identical 6.2-inch 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. The two top-of-the-line phones from Samsung also share a lack of expandable storage and headphone jack. The Galaxy S21 has 8GB of RAM just like the S21 Ultra's base model and 128GB or 256GB storage variants.

The Galaxy S21 sports a smaller 4,000mAh battery but you also get 15W wireless and 4.5W reverse wireless charging and IP68 dust and water resistance. With the Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung didn't include anything over the top but you won't feel like anything is missing. PUBG plays beautifully well thanks to the phone's stellar performance and gorgeous 120Hz display. Yes, the cameras are a significant downgrade from the S21 Ultra, but the Galaxy S21 is still the best value buy on this list.

Pros:

  • Beautiful 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Game Booster software is really useful
  • Game Genie cuts out distractions
  • 15W wireless and 4.5W reverse wireless charging
  • IP68 dust and water resistance
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • No headphone jack
  • No expendable storage
  • Cameras aren't as good as Galaxy S21 Ultra
  • Smaller 4,00mAh battery

Best value

Samsung Galaxy S21 Render Phantom Violet Back Official

Samsung Galaxy S21

Everything you need and nothing you don't

The Samsung Galaxy S21 brings some great specs to the table while maintaining its price, making it the ultimate value buy for PUBG.

Best all-purpose: ASUS ROG Phone 5

ASUS ROG Phone 5 ReviewSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The ASUS ROG Phone wasn't the first gaming smartphone to hit the market, but it did deliver a number of compelling features that helped it stand out from the pack. For the follow up, ASUS stepped up the specs with the Snapdragon 888, RAM options from 8-16GB, and 128GB / 256GB of internal storage. That's plenty of power and storage to get the best performance playing PUBG Mobile — and anything else you do with your phone.

You'll also be able to play longer thanks to the massive 6,000mAh battery. Things will look incredibly smooth on the 6.78-inch AMOLED display, which has an improved and incredible 144Hz refresh rate. ASUS built two USB Type-C ports into the phone, with one on the side so it doesn't get in the way when you charge and play at the same time.

One of the best returning features, aside from the 3.5mm headphone jack, is the AirTrigger controls. This feature give mobile gamers customizable capacitive shoulder buttons on the edge of the phone that can be mapped to areas of the screen. ASUS has reduced the latency and lowered the actuation force, meaning the AirTriggers will respond faster to the touch in the heat of the battle.

All in all, the new ASUS ROG Phone 5 is as future-proof a gaming phone as you'll find. If the raw power and AirTriggers doesn't help you get more Chicken Dinners in PUBG Mobile, then it isn't the phone that's the problem.

Pros:

  • 6.78-inch 144Hz AMOLED Display
  • Up to 16GB of RAM
  • 6,000mAh battery
  • Two USB Type-C ports
  • Enhanced AirTrigger controls
  • Game Genie cuts out distractions

Cons:

  • No water resistance
  • No wireless charging

Best all-purpose

Asus Rog Phone 5 Reco

ASUS ROG Phone 5

All the extras you need

The ASUS ROG Phone 5 is a premium gaming phone that was designed specifically for those who demand the best performance.

Best for less: Nubia Red Magic 6

Nubia Red Magic 6 LifestyleSource: Nubia

Nubia isn't a name you would've come across a lot, but the Red Magic 6 is one of the best gaming phones you can get for under $600. The phone is packed with the latest hardware, including a 6.8-inch AMOLED panel with an unbelievable 165Hz refresh rate.

The screen sets the Red Magic 6 apart from other devices on this list, and you also get global 5G connectivity thanks to the Snapdragon 888 chipset. There's a dedicated gaming mode that ensures your games aren't throttled, and you get 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage on the base model.

The phone also has an aggressive design that's aimed at gamers, and you get shoulder-mounted air triggers that let you assign in-game actions. There's a 64MP camera at the back, and under the hood, you get a 5,050mAh battery with 66W fast charging. There really isn't anything missing here on the hardware front, and when you consider the number of features on offer for under $600, the Red Magic 6 is a fantastic choice for gamers.

Pros:

  • Insane 165Hz display refresh rate
  • 5G connectivity
  • Unique cooling system
  • Shoulder buttons
  • 66W fast charging

Cons:

  • Software has its share of issues
  • Design not for everyone

Best for less

Red Magic 6

Nubia Red Magic 6

The latest features money can buy

The Red Magic 6 has an incredible 165Hz screen and the absolute latest hardware, including global 5G connectivity.

Best display: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

There's a lot of things that make the Galaxy S21 Ultra an easy recommendation for gamers, but we're going to focus on the display. Samsung continues to lead the pack with a beautiful and massive 6.8-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that offers the best brightness and color clarity available. The best part about this Samsung flagship, however, is that it packs a 120Hz display so everything will run smoothly.

It's also running the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset and offers 12GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage on the base model. All of that, along with a 5,000mAh battery and Samsung's Game Booster software, means you're going to get obscene performance while gaming on this phone.

Samsung has been including these gaming-centric software enhancements for years. They disable the navigation buttons so you don't accidentally exit out of the game in the middle of a match, and give you quick access to screen recording and other tools while you're playing PUGB Mobile. Samsung has ditched the headphone jack, but this shouldn't be a dealbreaker given industry trends.

Pros:

  • 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X is stunning
  • 120Hz refresh rate makes things smooth
  • 15W wireless and 4.5W reverse wireless charging
  • IP68 dust and water resistance
  • Game Booster software is really useful
  • Game Genie cuts out distractions

Cons:

  • No headphone jack
  • Costlier than other picks

Best display

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Render Navy Blue

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

All the upgrades you care about

The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a gorgeous 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X display and offers the latest internals available today.

Best for international gamers: Lenovo Legion Duel 2

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 LifestyleSource: Lenovo

Lenovo launched the Legion Duel 2, also known as the Legion 2 Pro, in international markets in April 2021. None of the Legion phones have made it to the U.S. but fortunately, you can always get the global version shipped to you. The Legion Duel 2 sports a unique design with RGB lights on the back and rear cameras situated in the center.

Visuals aside, this phone also delivers serious specs for gamers. The Lenovo Legion Duel 2 features a gorgeous 6.92-inch 144Hz AMOLED panel that is unmarred by any notch or cutout thanks to the unusual side-mounted front camera that pops out of the phone. This means you can take in every little detail while you game without a distracting camera lens.

Powering this beast of a phone is the latest and greatest Snapdragon 855 chipset and 8GB/128GB memory specifications on the base model. You can get higher RAM variants of the Legion Duel 2, with the top-of-the-line option offering a whopping 18GB of RAM. Lenovo incorporated four ultrasonic shoulder triggers on the top of the phone and two capacitative touch buttons with Dual HaptiX feedback on the back. These six customizable gaming buttons are called an 'Octa-Trigger' setup and they deliver an experience similar to console controllers.

There's also a large 5,500mAh battery paired with 65W fast charging to keep your phone juiced up and ready for action. The Lenovo Legion Duel 2 may be missing the headphone jack, but apart from that, it's an excellent all-around device for long hours of PUBG Mobile sessions.

Pros:

  • Big 6.92-inch bezel-less AMOLED display
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • 6 gaming buttons
  • Delivers excellent performance for gaming
  • 65W fast charging

Cons:

  • No headphone jack
  • Not widely available in the U.S.

Best for international gamers

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 Reco

Lenovo Legion Duel 2

Great if you can get your hands on it

The Legion Duel 2 is a unique gaming phone with outstanding features and you'd be lucky to own one if you could find it.

Best for iOS: iPhone 12 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Iphone 12 Pro MaxSource: Android Central

Even though this is Android Central, we know that not everyone who plays PUBG Mobile is down with the green droid. In fact, there are millions of iPhone users who play PUBG Mobile, making it one of the most popular free-to-play games for both Android and iOS.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max stands out as the best gaming iPhone because it delivers all-day battery life, runs on Apple's latest A14 Bionic chipset, and has a huge 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display. Those are the two biggest factors because you definitely want a big and bright display to better see your enemies and battery life that won't leave you scrambling for your charging accessories in the middle of a match.

Even though it only has 6GB of RAM, PUBG Mobile and any other app should run nice and smooth thanks to Apple's focus on software optimizations. However, one tip we can give to iOS gamers is to avoid downloading the latest iOS betas since those can occasionally cause issues with games like PUBG Mobile.

The lack of a headphone jack might be an issue but there's always the Lightning-to-3.5mm dongle, which lets you use your favorite pair of wired headphones. Otherwise, your AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones will serve you just as well here.

Pros:

  • iOS is very user friendly
  • 6.7-inch display is dynamic and bright
  • Excellent performance
  • IP68 dust and water resistant
  • 15W fast wireless charging

Cons:

  • No headphone jack
  • No higher display refresh rate
  • Expensive

Best for iOS

iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro Max

The biggest and best iPhone to date

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is Apple's top flagship phone offering superb performance and the largest iPhone display yet.

Bottom Line

The wild popularity of PUBG Mobile has proven that there is indeed demand for a smartphone designed with gamers in mind. The core specs you'll want are a great display, long-lasting battery life, and enough RAM to keep things running smoothly — and you can find that on any of the phones on our list.

But what sets the OnePlus 9 Pro apart from other devices on this list is the combination of features and the overall software experience. All phones on this list deliver incredible performance and pack high-end hardware, but when it comes to software, OxygenOS has a huge leg up over the rest of the industry.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author: Namerah Saud Fatmi profile picture

Namerah Saud Fatmi is a freelance writer for Android Central. She has a passion for all things tech & gaming and has been an honorary Goodreads librarian since 2011. When she isn't writing, she can be found chasing stray cats and dogs in the streets of Dhaka or slaying dragons in the land of Skyrim. You can reach her on her Twitter handle @NamerahS.

Author:

Marc Lagace is the Apps and Games Editor at Android Central. He's been a gamer for most of his life and actually took a university course on Video Game Theory — which he aced! You can reach out to him on Twitter @spacelagace.

Author:

Harish Jonnalagadda is the Regional Editor of Android Central. A reformed hardware modder, he now spends his time writing about India's burgeoning phone market. Previously, he used to ponder the meaning of life at IBM. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

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