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 get more Chicken Dinners, you're going to need a phone for that truly stands out from the pack, and in 2020 that's the OnePlus 8 Pro. Not only is it a great phone packed with the latest internals and a 120Hz AMOLED display, but you also get the best software on Android right now.
- Best Overall: OnePlus 8 Pro
- Best All-Purpose: ASUS ROG Phone 2
- Best for Less: Nubia Red Magic 5G
- Best Display: Samsung Galaxy S20+
- Best for International Gamers: Huawei P30 Pro
- Best for iOS: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Best Overall: OnePlus 8 Pro
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 8 Pro fits the bill, with 8GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 865 chipset both delivering 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 Fnatic 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 smooth 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. There's 30W wired and wireless charging, IP68 dust and water resistance, and for what you end up paying, you are getting a lot for your money.
- 30W wired and wireless charging
- Smooth 120Hz display
- Incredible internal hardware
- IP68 dust and water resistance
- Fnatic Mode included
- No 3.5mm headphone jack
- No expandable storage
Best All-Purpose: ASUS ROG Phone 2
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 an upgrade to the Snapdragon 855 Plus, 12GB of RAMm and a massive 512GB 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 6.6-inch AMOLED display, which has an improved and incredible 120Hz refresh rate.
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 2 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.
- 6.6-inch 120Hz AMOLED Display
- 12GB of RAM
- 6,000mAh battery
- Unique cooling system
- Enhanced AirTrigger controls
- Game Genie cuts out distractions
- No water resistance
- No wireless charging
Best for Less: Nubia Red Magic 5G
Nubia isn't a name you would've come across a lot, but the Red Magic 5G is one of the best gaming phones you can get for under $600. The phone is packed with the latest hardware, including a 6.65-inch 144Hz AMOLED panel with 100% DCI-P3 color gamut.
The screen sets the Red Magic 5G apart from other devices on this list, and you also get global 5G connectivity thanks to the Snapdragon 865 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 4,500mAh battery with 55W 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 5G is a fantastic choice for gamers.
- Insane 144Hz display refresh rate
- 5G connectivity
- Liquid cooling
- Shoulder buttons
- 55W fast charging
- Software has its share of issues
Best Display: Samsung Galaxy S20+
There's a lot of things that make the Galaxy S20+ an easy recommendation for gamers, but we're going to focus in on the display. Samsung continues to lead the pack with a beautiful and massive 6.7-inch AMOLED display that offers the best brightness and color clarity available. The best part about this year's Samsung flagship, however, is that it packs a 120Hz display.
It's also running the latest Snapdragon 865 chipset and offers 12GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage on the base model. All that, paired with a 4,500mAh 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, which helps minimize distractions while you game, 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 shouldn't be a dealbreaker given industry trends.
- 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED is stunning
- 120Hz refresh rate makes things smooth
- Game Booster software is really useful
- Game Genie cuts out distractions
- No headphone jack
- Costlier than other picks
Best for International Gamers: Huawei P30 Pro
Despite Huawei releasing the P30 Pro early into 2019, it still remains in the conversation as one of the best phones of the year. Not only is this phone visually stunning from front to back, but it also delivers serious specs for gamers.
Huawei's Kirin 980 chipset might not be as fast as the Snapdragon 855, but it's still plenty powerful for gaming with 8GB of RAM to keep things running smoothly. You get a 6.5-inch curved OLED display that's big, bright, and nearly bezel-less, albeit with a slower refresh rate than some of its competition. It's also got one of the most impressive camera set ups of the year, which is great for those times when you're not playing PUBG Mobile.
Most people will be aware of the issues Huawei has run into in the U.S., meaning this great phone may be hard to come by stateside. However, for international gamers looking for an impressive phone that won't stutter or struggle when playing PUBG Mobile, it's a great choice.
- Big 6.5-inch display is nearly bezel-less
- Outstanding battery life backed by fast charging
- Delivers excellent performance for gaming
- One of the best phone cameras of the year
- Single, down-firing speaker
- Not widely available in U.S.
- 60Hz display refresh rate
Best for iOS: iPhone 11 Pro Max
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 11 Pro Max stands out as the best gaming iPhone because it delivers all-day battery life, runs on Apple's latest A13 Bionic chipset, and has a huge 6.5-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 4GB 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.
- iOS is very user friendly
- 6.5-inch display is dynamic and bright
- Largest iPhone battery yet
- Huge bright screen
- No headphone jack
- Only 4GB of RAM
- No higher display refresh rate
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 8 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
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.
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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