10 Best Phones for Gaming

Wally Nowinski
editor

The best phones for gaming have exceptional CPU performance, a lot of RAM, a high refresh rate display, and great battery life for long gaming sessions. Some phones, like ASUS ROG models and Nubia’s Red Magic series, are specifically tailored purely for gamers, with gaming-specific hardware such as shoulder triggers, haptic feedback, and vapor cooling. However, many flagship models from other brands also offer a smooth gaming experience. Our experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our phone database and find the best gaming phone available in 2023. Here are our top picks.

Our criteria for the best phone for gaming:

  • Size: We focused on phones with big screens.
  • Battery: We prioritized phones with long battery life.
  • Performance: We picked high performance phones that can handle the latest games.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized phone recommendation
Get your personalized recommendations

10 Best Phones for Gaming

1
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.9
Size: Largest Android
Camera: Excellent
Battery: Best in Class




Expert Summary
If you're looking for a premium phone with top-of-the-line features, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra might be a great choice with its excellent camera system including a very capable 200-megapixel main camera and a 10x optical zoom telephoto lens. It also comes with an integrated stylus, which can be quite handy for note-taking or drawing. The high-resolution OLED display is large, and it offers a high refresh rate for smooth visuals. Moreover, it supports 5G connectivity for faster data speeds. The Galaxy S23 Ultra runs on Android and offers a high-quality build with a glass back. However, all these advanced features come at a premium price. Keep in mind that there is no headphone jack or SD card slot, so if those are important to you, you might need to look at other options.
Pros
  • High-resolution OLED screen
  • Very capable 10x optical zoom
  • Integrated stylus
  • Excellent overall camera quality
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Heavy weight
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No SD card support
2
BEST RATING
Videos:
4.9
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Excellent
Battery: Excellent




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max is a high-end device with a premium price tag. It boasts a large 6.7-inch OLED display with a high refresh rate and always-on capability, providing excellent screen quality. Its A16 processor and 6 GB of RAM offer top-tier performance. The phone has a highly capable camera system, with a 48-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens and a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, all contributing to what is considered excellent overall camera quality, including best-in-class still photo and video capabilities. It has a substantial battery life and offers 5G connectivity, but doesn't come with a headphone jack and can't expand storage with an SD card. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is designed with a glass back, supports wireless charging, and is rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, ensuring good durability. It operates on iOS and comes with a Lightning port for charging and data transfer. If you're looking for one of the best displays and cameras on a smartphone and are willing to invest in a premium device, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a strong choice.
Pros
  • Excellent camera photo quality
  • Outstanding camera video quality
  • Dependable battery life
  • Premium screen quality
  • Powerful A16 processor
Cons
  • No headphone jack
  • Lacks SD card slot
  • Higher price point
  • Heavier weight
3
BEST RATING
Overall Camera:
5.0
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Best in Class
Battery: Excellent




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max has a premium price and is a high-end smartphone featuring 256GB of storage, released in September 2023. It runs on iOS and the back is made of glass. The battery capacity is large, offering long hours of use before needing to recharge. It has a large 6.7-inch OLED screen with high resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate for smooth visuals. Its camera system is top-of-the-line, with a main 48MP camera and additional 12MP ultrawide and telephoto lenses, supporting high-quality photo and video capture including 8K recording. The phone does not have a headphone jack but includes front-facing stereo speakers, 5G connectivity, NFC, and fast wireless charging capabilities. Additionally, it is water and dust-resistant, ensuring durability. This phone is best suited for users looking for the latest technology and best possible camera in a smartphone, prioritizing premium features and performance over cost.
Pros
  • Top-notch photo quality
  • Superb video capabilities
  • Long battery life
  • Bright and vivid OLED display
  • Fast A17 processor
Cons
  • Lacks 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No SD card slot
  • Expensive compared to rivals
  • Heavy at 7.8 ounces
4
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.6
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 14 Plus comes with a high-end price tag and offers a large 6.7-inch OLED screen, which is great if you prefer a bigger display for streaming or gaming. It runs on iOS and has a strong glass build. You'll find a potent A15 chip inside, paired with ample storage for your apps and media. Camera capabilities are excellent, with a high-quality 12 MP main camera that supports advanced features like Dolby Vision video recording. The battery is robust, likely to last a full day on a single charge, and it supports wireless charging. However, if you're looking for a high refresh rate display, you should know this model is capped at 60Hz, which is lower than some competitors that offer smoother visuals. The phone lacks a headphone jack, which is common in newer smartphones, but it has a notably good sound system. For connectivity, it uses the proprietary Lightning port over the more widely used USB-C. Overall, if you're invested in the Apple ecosystem and prefer a larger screen and strong performance, this phone is a solid choice, though it comes at a premium price without some features found on competitors, like high refresh rate screens or USB-C ports.
Pros
  • Large 6.7-inch OLED screen
  • Excellent still photo and video quality
  • Long battery life up to 9.3 hours
  • Runs on the smooth iOS platform
  • Wireless charging capability
Cons
  • No high refresh rate display
  • No always-on display feature
  • Lacks a headphone jack
  • Maximum brightness could be higher
5
BEST RATING
Performance:
4.9
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 15 Plus comes with a premium price tag and is a high-end offering from Apple's 2023 lineup, released in September. It operates on iOS and features a glass back. The phone has a large battery and a 6.7-inch OLED screen without curved edges, offering a crisp viewing experience with high peak brightness, although it lacks a high refresh rate. The A16 processor and 6GB of RAM ensure top performance, while its 128GB storage is ample for most users. Camera enthusiasts would appreciate its excellent photo and video capabilities, with the main camera boasting a high megapixel count and additional features like RAW output and Dolby Vision for HDR video. The device supports 5G but omits a headphone jack and SD card slot. It is equipped with a USB-C port, offers great battery life, and is built to withstand dust and water exposure. If you value top-notch camera performance and a large screen in an iOS device and are not deterred by the high cost, the iPhone 15 Plus is an impressive choice.
Pros
  • Excellent still photo quality
  • Excellent video quality
  • Premium OLED display
  • Very good screen brightness
  • Powerful A16 processor
Cons
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No high refresh rate
  • No always-on display
  • Limited battery capacity
6
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.4
Size: Large Android
Camera: Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ is a budget-friendly phone with a glass body and released in January 2021. It operates on Android, featuring a sizable 6.7-inch OLED display with a high refresh rate of 120Hz for smooth visuals, though it doesn't have a curved screen edge. With a battery capacity that allows for around 8 hours of battery life, it should last most users a full day on a single charge. Photographers will appreciate its good-quality triple camera setup including a 12MP main, 64MP telephoto, and a 12MP ultrawide lens; it also supports HDR10+ video, captures still photos well, and can record video at high resolutions, including 8K at 24fps. The phone offers solid performance with the Snapdragon 888 processor and 8GB RAM, ensuring apps and games run smoothly. It does not have a headphone jack, but it supports NFC, 5G connectivity, and wireless charging, including reverse wireless charging. Lastly, while it does not support SD cards, the internal storage of 128GB should be adequate for most users.
Pros
  • High-quality OLED display
  • Strong overall camera performance
  • 5G connectivity for rapid data
  • Robust processor for smooth performance
  • IP68 water and dust resistance
Cons
  • No headphone jack
  • Average battery life
  • Lacks microSD card slot
  • No charger included in the box
7
OnePlus

11

BEST RATING
Performance:
4.8
Size: Large Android
Camera: Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The OnePlus 11 is an Android phone with high performance at an upper midrange price. It has ample storage, and the battery life is respectable. The camera system offers very good still photo and video quality, with features like Auto HDR, and can handle advanced tasks such as RAW output and HDR video. It sports a large 6.7-inch curved OLED display with high brightness and a 120Hz refresh rate, promising a top-notch viewing experience. Note that there is no 3.5mm headphone jack, SD card slot, or wireless charging, which may be important considerations for some users. It's built with quality materials and includes a high-performance charger in the box.
Pros
  • High-performance fast charger included
  • Long battery life
  • High refresh rate OLED display
  • Very good camera quality
  • 5G enabled
Cons
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No wireless charging
  • No SD card expansion
  • No IP water or dust rating
8
BEST RATING
Performance:
4.8
Size: Large Android
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a premium-priced phone with a high-quality glass build and a large 6.6-inch OLED screen. It operates on the Android system and is equipped with a very good camera setup including a 50-megapixel main camera and a 10-megapixel telephoto camera, offering excellent photo and video quality. It features a 4700 mAh battery, which provides a decent battery life. Being a recent 2023 model, it also supports 5G connectivity. It has a considerable amount of storage space and does not have an SD card slot for expansion. There is no headphone jack, but it does support NFC, Wi-Fi 6e, and both wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. The device is also water and dust resistant. If you're looking for a high-performance device with a top-tier camera system and modern features, and you're okay with the absence of a headphone jack and SD card slot, the Galaxy S23+ could be suitable for you.
Pros
  • Latest Android operating system
  • Large screen size at 6.6 inches
  • High battery capacity for extended use
  • Exceptional photo and video quality
  • Supports 5G for fast connectivity
Cons
  • No headphone jack included
  • No room for SD card expansion
  • No support for stylus input
  • Moderately heavy weight at 6.91 ounces
9
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.7
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max comes at an upper midrange price offering 128GB of storage and runs on iOS. It features glass on the back and houses a hefty 4352mAh battery. The display is a 6.7-inch OLED screen without curved edges but with a high refresh rate for smoother visuals. Its screen delivers peak brightness for visibility even in bright conditions. The A15 processor paired with 6GB of RAM ensures top-notch performance. Camera capabilities are very good for both stills and videos, supporting HDR video and RAW output. It has a 12MP main camera as well as telephoto and ultrawide lenses. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is capable of 4K video recording and supports 5G connectivity. Note that it lacks a headphone jack, but offers NFC and dual SIM capabilities. If you're looking for high performance, excellent camera quality, and long battery life with premium screen features, this phone is a strong choice, albeit at a higher price point.
Pros
  • Large, high-quality OLED screen
  • High refresh rate for smooth visuals
  • Exceptional camera with RAW and HDR video
  • Long battery life
  • Solid build with water and dust resistance
Cons
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No SD card slot for expandable storage
  • No always-on display feature
  • Heavy compared to some other phones
10
BEST RATING
Overall Camera:
4.8
Size: Large Android
Camera: Excellent
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Google Pixel 8 Pro is at the upper end of midrange prices and includes a high-capacity 5050mAh battery, offering 7.8 hours of life. It sports a durable glass back, a large 6.7-inch OLED display with a high refresh rate of 120Hz for smooth visuals. The screen is not curved and has an always-on option for convenience. The phone comes with 128GB of storage, runs on Android with exclusive Pixel features like call screening and "Hold For Me". The cameras provide excellent photo quality and very good video capabilities, led by a 50MP main camera. It lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack but includes 5G connectivity, wireless charging, and offers high-end performance with a Tensor G3 processor and 12GB of RAM. The phone is water and dust resistant, supports face unlock and under-display fingerprint sensing, but doesn't accommodate an SD card or stylus, and the bootloader can't be unlocked.
Pros
  • Excellent photo quality
  • Very good video quality
  • Long battery life
  • Large, high-brightness OLED screen
  • 5G capable
Cons
  • No telephoto camera
  • No expandable storage
  • No headphone jack
  • Relatively heavy