The best gaming phones in 2024

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro playing PUBG
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best gaming phones: Quick menu

More and more of us are looking for the best gaming phones as the titles available on our iPhones and Androids become ever more impressive to play. Most new phones are capable of running an entertaining app or two, but the ones on this list are certified powerhouses with great displays and batteries — all important when you're wanting to dive into an immersive single-player or competitive multiplayer experience.

Of these phones, some are familiar flagship phones from big companies like Apple or Samsung, with the camera and software quality (and price) that you'd expect as a result. Others from companies like Asus ROG and RedMagic are specifically aimed at gamers and have extra features like trigger buttons, enhanced cooling and unique software. Neither is strictly worse than the other, it'll just depend on what else you want from your phone, if anything.

Whatever your needs are, these are the best gaming phones you can get right now.

The quick list

The best gaming phone overall

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro playing PUBG

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Your best phone for gaming right now

Specifications

Display size: 6.8-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080)
Refresh rate: 165Hz
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM: 16GB, 24GB
Storage / Expandable: 512GB, 1TB / No
Cameras (back / front): 50MP main, 13MP ultrawide, 32MP 3x telephoto / 32MP selfie
Weight: 7.9 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 18:48 (adaptive battery mode)

Reasons to buy

+
Battery lasts longer than ever
+
Powerful chip with generous RAM
+
New water-resistant design
+
First telephoto camera for an ROG Phone

Reasons to avoid

-
Overall photo quality below average
-
Expensive compared to most other gaming phones
-
Limited two-year update schedule

By adding in some features normally found on non-gaming flagship phones, Asus has made the ROG Phone 8 Pro a far better-rounded product while keeping true to its gaming focus.

The phone's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, joined by up to 24GB RAM, offers the best performance you can get on an Android phone right now, while its capacitive triggers and customizable gaming software add-ons let you reach even more of your playing potential. And when you're done gaming, you can appreciate the 3x telephoto camera Asus has added, and the fact the phone's now waterproof, meaning less risk of catastrophic damage.

Just prepare to spend a lot of money to get the ROG Phone 8 Pro: $1,199 minimum. Also while we are happy to see a camera upgrade for this phone, its images still don't match up well with more photo-focused phones. Plus we wish Asus offered more than two years of software updates in a world where four years or more is becoming the norm.

That said, this is a gaming phone that's still a practical choice when the time comes to use it for more productive purposes. And that counts for a lot.

Read our full Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro review.

Best gaming iPhone

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in handEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best gaming phone for iPhone users

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch OLED (2778 x 1284)
Peak refresh rate: 120Hz
CPU: A17 Pro
RAM: 8GB
Storage / Expandable: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB / No
Cameras (back/front): 48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP 5x telephoto / 12MP
Weight: 7.8 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 14:02

Reasons to buy

+
A17 Pro chip is a big step forward
+
120Hz display is bright and colorful
+
Strong battery life
+
Action button has potential gaming uses

Reasons to avoid

-
20W charging is slow
-
Even more expensive than before

Apple's gone in hard on gaming with the iPhone 15 Pro series and its new A17 Pro chip, and the best way to experience that is on the iPhone 15 Pro Max's large 6.7-inch display. 

As well as having a more spacious screen, the Pro Max comes with a fantastic battery life and a 5x telephoto camera that the smaller Pro can't match.  The new titanium frame means the phone's lighter and less exhausting to hold for long sessions, and the Action button's impressive flexibility means with a little fiddling you can turn it into an instant gaming shortcut, or you can simply leave it to do one of Apple's pre-set actions.

As with all Pro Max iPhones, this phone's very expensive, even more so than previous years (although you get 256GB storage by default now). Also, Apple's gone another year without upgrading its charging systems, meaning it'll take a while to fill up the iPhone when it does finally drain its power cells. But in the end, these are minor problems for a phone that'll not only serve your gaming needs and then some, but provide one of the best-rounded phone experiences you can buy today.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro Max review.

Best value gaming phone

Motorola Edge Plus 2023 best gaming phones

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best gaming flagship phone for less

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch pOLED (2400 x 1080)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM: 8GB
Storage / Expandable: 512GB / No
Rear cameras: 50MP (f/1.8) main; 50MP (f/2.2) ultrawide; 12MP (f/1.6) portrait
Front camera: 60MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 7.1 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 15:47 (auto), 13:18 (165Hz)

Reasons to buy

+
165Hz display
+
Epic battery life
+
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset deliver best Android performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Curved display can lead to accidental touches

You don't have to pay top dollar for top-of-the-line Android performance. The Motorola Edge Plus (2023) features the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset found in leading Android phones like the Galaxy S23 series and the OnePlus 11, but at $799, it's a much more affordable option than a lot of competing devices. Throw in a 6.7-inch display that can offer a 165Hz refresh rate, and you've got a phone that mobile gamers will certainly find appealing.

Don't worry that a drained battery will cut short your gaming sessions. The Motorola Edge Plus held out for more than 15 hours on our battery test — one of the best times we've seen posted in the last 18 months. Even when the screen was set to its maximum 165Hz refresh rate, the phone still lasted more than 13 hours, which is an outstanding result. Motorola may not be the first name you think of when it comes to gaming phones, but all the features you'd want are certainly there in the Motorola Edge Plus.

Read our full Motorola Edge Plus (2023) review.

Best value gaming phone for performance

OnePlus 12 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)
An Android flagship phone with strong gaming cred

Specifications

Display: 6.82-inch AMOLED (1440 x 3168)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM: 12GB, 16GB
Storage / Expandable: 256GB, 512GB / No
Rear cameras: 50MP (f/1.6) main, 48MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 64MP (f/2.6) 3x telephoto
Front camera: 32MP (f/2.4)
Weight: 7.76 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 17:41

Reasons to buy

+
Well-priced for chip/memory specs
+
Stunning display
+
Hasselblad cameras with new 3x zoom
+
Wireless charging is back

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited AI features
-
Photography weak compared to other all-rounder phones

Another great gaming phone that doesn't shout about it, the OnePlus 12's standout feature is its price. It's a Galaxy S24 Ultra/iPhone 15 Pro Max rival that costs the same as the entry-level versions of those phones, and boasts higher storage and/or RAM than both.

As well as using the same chip as the current top-flight Samsung phone, the OnePlus 12 does a decent job of challenging its photography credentials with OnePlus' best camera system to date. It's not quite up there with the best camera phones, nor does the OnePlus offer quite as many software and AI-powered features as its rivals, but you'll happily forgive that in exchange for the hundreds of dollars or whatever your local currency is that going for the OnePlus 12 will leave in your bank account.

Read our full OnePlus 12 review.

Best gaming phone cooling tech

The RedMagic 9 Pro playing Asphalt 9

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Strong value with a built-in cooling fan

Specifications

Display: 6.8-inch AMOLED (2480 x 1116)
Peak refresh rate: 120Hz
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM: 12GB, 16GB
Storage/Expandable: 256GB, 512GB / No
Cameras (Back/Front): 50MP (f/1.9) main, 8MP (f/2.2) ultrawide / 16MP (under-display, f/2.0)
Weight: 8.07 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Latest Snapdragon silicon means fantastic performance
+
Battery is larger and charges faster
+
Cooling fan and other gaming features 
+
Cheap starting price

Reasons to avoid

-
Disappointing cameras
-
Poor translation of software

It's hard to find more a gaming-focused phone than the RedMagic 9 Pro. It's got its own RGB cooling fan built-in, what else do you need to know?

Well, there are a few things. First, it uses a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 with up to 16GB RAM to run your games smoothly and sharply, a huge 6,500 mAh battery with 80W charging, and more software to help you play. With the flick of a dedicated switch, you can enable capacitive triggers, change your RGB lighting settings or just quickly access your games.

Sadly RedMagic still struggles to translate its software to English, so it's sometimes a bit confusing when you're trying to alter specific settings. Plus the dual rear cameras do not produce particularly strong photos. But then when you look at how little this phone costs, maybe you'll forgive the RedMagic 9 Pro for not being a master photographer as well as a performance machine.

Read our full RedMagic 9 Pro review.

How to choose the best gaming phone for you

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

As with all things, choosing the right gaming phone is a matter of priorities. If you're after the best performance — and you likely are if you're reading this — you'll want a phone with a Snapdragon 8-series chipset or Apple's A-series silicon. Emphasis on the Snapdragon, as Qualcomm's best silicon for Android phones is available in devices from a number of manufacturers.

But what about high refresh rates? That's something you'll only find on the more expensive end of the market, though it's a feature that will surely descend to more modestly-priced phones over time. Panels rated at 90Hz and above offer smoother scrolling and overall graphics than conventional screens, making you feel as if every swipe, tap and action is eliciting a response with no delay. If you're an especially serious competitive gamer, higher refresh rates will ensure you won't miss any of the action.

Of course, the more a device is geared toward gaming with the appropriate features, the more phone makers ignore other considerations. While battery life is central to gaming (because games consume a lot of power), you'll have a tougher time finding gaming phones with great camera hardware and software, or perhaps conveniences like wireless charging and water resistance. If those things are important to you, you may want to focus your search on the more powerful handsets on this list that aren't strictly intended for gaming but can still very much hold their own, like the OnePlus 11, Galaxy S23 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

If you plan to stream games to your phone, consider one of our picks for the best wireless gaming mouse. And if you're curious how a foldable phone performs, here's why the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 falls flat as a gaming phone.

How we test gaming phones

In order for a smartphone to make any of our best phone lists — gaming phone or otherwise — it needs to excel on several tests that we run on every handset. We perform some of these tests in our labs and some in the real world.

When it comes to performance, we rely on such synthetic benchmarks as Geekbench 5 and GFXBench to measure graphics performance. These tests allow us to compare performance across iPhones and Android devices. We also run a real-world video transcoding test on each phone using the Adobe Premiere Rush app and time the result.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Geekbench 6 (single-core / multi-core score)Wild Life Extreme Unlimited (score / fps)
Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro (X Mode enabled)2,249 / 7,0795,196 / 31.1
iPhone 15 Pro Max2,783 / 6,9453,481 / 20.8
Motorola Edge Plus (2023)1,965 / 5,2043,658 / 21.9
OnePlus 122,188 / 6,5255,073 / 30.38
RedMagic 9 ProN/aN/a

To measure the quality of a phone's display, we perform lab tests to determine the brightness of the panel (in nits), as well as how colorful each screen is (DCI-P3 color gamut). In these cases, higher numbers are better. We also measure color accuracy of each panel with a Delta-E rating, where lower numbers are better and score of 0 is perfect.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Peak brightness (nits)DCI-P3 color gamut coverage (percent)Delta-E color accuracy score (lower is better)
Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro1,637112.40.31
iPhone 15 Pro Max1,55084.50.14
Motorola Edge Plus (2023)1,027137.30.39
OnePlus 121,11578.90.20
RedMagic 9 ProN/aN/aN/a

One of the most important tests we run is the Tom's Guide battery test. We run a web surfing test over 5G or 4G at 150 nits of screen brightness until the battery gives out. In general, a phone that lasts 10 hours or more is good, and anything above 11 hours makes our list of the best phone battery life.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 100 - 0% time on TG battery test (hours:mins)
Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro18:48
iPhone 15 Pro Max14:02
Motorola Edge Plus (2023)15:47
OnePlus 1217:17
RedMagic 9 ProN/a

Last but not least, we take the best phones out in the field to take photos outdoors, indoors and at night in low light to see how they perform versus their closest competitors. We take shots of landscapes, food, portraits and more, and also allow you to be the judge with side-by-side comparisons in our reviews.

Our look at how Tom's Guide tests and rates smartphones has more on the overall testing process.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

  • r.hensley1990
    Does the poco f2 pro not compare? bc from what ive seen the only draw back is 60hz display. and thats not truly a drawback for a cellphone. considering its on par with redmagic 5g ect... so may i ask why is the flagship killer not on the list? lol
    Reply
  • Kamese
    admin said:
    The best gaming phones won't let you down in the heat of battle. Here are our top picks.

    The best gaming phones of 2020 : Read more
    I used to follow Tom's Guide since I was in highschool & there were really fleshed out comparisons in such articles ... But recently, most posts are iPhone-centric (if that's passable as a term)
    In all honesty, I came here looking for a way to contrast brands before I level up from my ROG 3 ... Looking for non contradictory reviews basing on detailed perks that apply to actual gaming.

    On seeing that the iPhone 13 was number one, I smelled bias
    Sure the 5nm chip works wonders but the iOS platform misses out on open source perks so there aren't many accessories / peripherals nor titles that you can enjoy
    Take the Asus dock for example ... Giving you a PC experience at home with the key mapping while the Kunai pads give you a console experience (like any other snappy pads) but their perk is in having the mobile console experience ... Nostalgic when playing PsP games ... Hyper fusion, dual band wifi ... We all know that connectivity is a decider when playing multiplayer games ... But this article makes mention of cameras (not making any AR references btw ... More so it wouldn't matter) ...
    Man ... Forgive me for ranting but you can't make an all round ranking and base the final outcome with some things that hardly count and then leave out the plethora of perks others have

    The ROG 5 doesn't merely heat easily
    It dispenses heat away from the processor easily... So don't be touching the heat sink. -_-

    It's really disappointing to see someone create a ranking of GAMING PHONES and puts the first gaming phone at number 3 then goes a step further and says one of the cons is "gamer asthetic not for everyone" ... Dude! Gaming phones aren't for everyone... Many are called, few are chosen. This is disappointing
    It's like creating a ranking for supercars and you put a Rolls Royce at 1st (crediting its comfort) and puting a Lamborghini 3rd (and complains about its aggressive design)

    I'm sure most mobile gamers failed to complete reading this article due to obvious reasons
    Reply
  • Deandre777
    You're right, I DID fail to read the entire article. You make some good points, but my main issue: not only are some of the top phones in this list lacking a headphone jack, which should disqualify a phone from being a good "gaming phone" imo, but the bullet points for each phone make no mention of whether they have headphone jacks or not.

    That makes this article basically useless for me.
    Reply
  • Kube96
    When I saw the rog 6 at #3 I already knew I was in for some bs of a ranking lmaoo. ("You" is referring to the author of the actual blog post")

    1. How are you going to put OnePlus 10 Pro at #2 and OnePlus 10T at #7 when the 10T was literally made to be the better performing gaming variant. They cut back on various other aspect of the phone including the camera in exchange for better performance. Wild Life Extreme Stress Test(20 minutes): 10 Pro (went from a loop score of 2618 to 1631, 62.3% stability), 10T (went a loop score 2827 to 2537, 89.7%) There is a clear winner here. Sustained performance is a key part of what makes a good gaming phone.
    You literally said it yourself:
    -"OnePlus 10T offers a less expensive option"
    -"The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 delivers a performance boost over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1"
    -"The OnePlus 10T also features a new cooling system to keep the phone from overheating during marathon gaming sessions"
    So...10T is cheaper, better performing, and has a better cooling system and yet somehow the 10 Pro is better lul.

    2. Why is a Pixel on this list of gaming phones. Even Google's newest Tensor 2 chip that is to be released with their 7 series performs worst than Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and we already have Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. And in a couple of months Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is coming out so the Tensor chip is going to fall even more behind. There's also heating issues when gaming with the phone. Google Pixel isn't a gaming phone and it wasn't meant to be. It's a flagship level phone with a huge emphasis on camera and videography. It works as a daily driver for those that mostly use it for work, messaging, social media, apps, youtube, etc...which is why they can offer it at a lower price point than other flagships because they don't need to deck the phone out with the best performing specs.

    3. If we are talking about gaming phones, the red magic 7s pro should be way higher on this list. Rog 6 at #1 and 7s Pro at #2. In terms of performance, the phone rivals that of the Rog 6, and the cooling fan inside the 7s pro isn't just a gimmick. Also why are you factoring in camera quality for a gaming phone ranking. You think someone that is looking to buy a gaming phone is concerned about camera quality? Also, that under displa camera is something that I really liked about the phone and hope more companies would adopt it unlike iphone's giant ugly notch. I was hoping they get rid of it, but instead they decided to embrace it with the dynamic island thing. It even gets in the way of gaming and blocks the controls for some games...

    4. Another thing about gaming phones is their ability to dissipate heat. That's why these phones are thick and hefty because of the advance cooling system to prevent phone from overheating and allow users to play games for long durations without much drop in performance. Normal flagship phones may start off fine, but give it like 15 minutes and the phone will start to get hot and/or performance starts to greatly deteriorate. Gaming phones like the rog 6 has a power external cooling accessory people can use to greatly cool the phone down using the side usb-c port and the kunai gamepad gives users different gaming experiences - use bluetooth and use the kunai as a regular controller, or you can attach the controllers to the phone itself and now you got a nintendo switch like gaming experience.
    Reply
  • jedcutler
    To the author...tell me you're an iPhone fan boy without telling me lol. All actual gaming phones 4 star but the iPhone has a 5 star? What a joke lol.
    Reply
  • RM8pro
    The best gaming phone list 2023 couldn't be more wrong..I have personally used every phone on there with the exception of one. I'm not swayed by advertising or perks.. just an avid gamer that has real world experience with the phones on the list.. although red magic has some software issues related to daily use , the red Magic 8 pro stops the competition in the dirt..Asus rog is the close in competition to Red Magic.. when talking gaming phones cameras mean deadly squat.. gamers don't buy gaming phones to take selfies, let's be real..
    iPhones are really good for the first 15 minutes after that I don't care what anyone says you're going to experience frame drop, stuttering and lag.. what they are good for is frying an egg on that a16 bionic chip cuz they've failed in the department of heat dissipation.
    Again I say ,I speak from real world experience and gaming on these phones for long hours to test them.
    The only way the phones on the list can keep up with the red Magic 8 pro is by putting a cooler on the back of the phone as close to the chip as possible.. benchmark tests are just relative and don't mean much because they are not done under strict controlled condition..
    People want to buy a good gaming phone talk to someone that has actually used it for long periods of time
    Reply