If buying a smartphone today wasn’t confusing enough already due to the sheer variety of brands and variants at hand, we have smartphones dedicated to gaming now. These devices aim to offer a better gaming performance, focussing on areas that would matter more to gamers than others, like faster storage and a better processor over a multi-sensor camera.
If you’re looking to buy a gaming phone or simply, a phone that can do better than average when it comes to games, here are some important factors to consider.
1. Internals and cooling
The first and foremost aspect to consider when buying a phone to play games is the processor and other internals. Your phone will need to be fast, so look for at least a Snapdragon 700-series device or an 800-series one for best compatibility and performance. You can also consider phones running on the higher-end MediaTek Dimensity series chips like the Dimensity 1000 and Dimensity 1200.
Also, your phone will need to have a decent amount of RAM and fast internal storage. Look for at least 8GB RAM to make sure your device is good with all newer, resource-heavy games and also a little future-proof.
On the other hand, you can get by with slower UFS2.1 storage, but prefer faster UFS 2.2, UFS 3.0 or UFS 3.1 storage for faster load times for apps and games. Ideally, also make sure your device has enough storage space as modern titles can get pretty big on storage size and even bigger if you factor in the additional downloadables.
If your phone is going to be running games, it is going to get hot, and that will require good cooling before the heat starts affecting the performance of your processor. This process is called throttling and is something gamers look to stay away from. Many phones targeted at gaming will have some advanced form of cooling mechanism inside the device.
While not all of them may be equally good (and some could be straight-up gimmicks), a good way to gauge the cooling abilities of your next gaming phone is to look up trustworthy reviews on the device that talks about the gaming and cooling performance of the phone in detail.
3. Battery capacity vs charging speed
The more you play games on a smartphone, the more power it will draw out. It is hence, a good idea to make sure your phone has a decently big battery capacity. Note that factors like a higher resolution and higher refresh rate also drain the battery quickly, and so do higher graphic settings on games. Make Sure your phone has at least a 4,500mAh battery to ensure a decent battery life while longer gaming hours.
Charging speed is also important, but we suggest always picking more battery capacity over higher charging speeds over faster-charging phones with smaller batteries. For games like Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG Mobile, where a single battle royale match can go on for over 30 minutes, it may be more beneficial to have a higher capacity battery that can offer longer gaming hours in a single stretch.
4. Screen resolution, refresh rate and touch sampling rate
For your games to look good, it is imperative that you have a higher resolution screen. More importantly, modern screens on gaming phones will also come with 90Hz or 120Hz support. The higher refresh rates can be beneficial on games where every frame counts while making split-second decisions. A higher refresh rate display shows you more frames per second compared to traditional 60Hz screens.
However, one important factor many people overlook is the high touch sampling rate on modern phone screens is the touch sampling rate. The touch sampling rate of your phone’s screen determines how quickly the games will react to your touches on display. The higher the touch response the better, but users should expect at least 180Hz touch sampling screens.
5. Shoulder buttons
While you will only find a shoulder button on higher-end phones, they make important additions to gaming phones. For a number of games, having one or two physical buttons can be really handy. Phones like the Asus ROG series and the Black Shark series come with shoulder triggers that you can map to controls of your choice and take your gameplay to the next level. Even the upcoming Poco F3 GT is rumoured to have retractable shoulder buttons.
6. Support for 3.5mm audio and third-party accesories
The 3.5mm jack may start to feel like it is becoming redundant on modern phones as more and more people switch to Bluetooth-based audio solutions like true wireless earbuds. However, gamers will swear by 3.5mm headphones or earphones because they come with zero latency (the minute difference in time between a game sound being generated, and it reaching your ears).
The presence of a 3.5mm jack may not be crucial, but for absolutely lag-free experiences, users can look at phones that do support the input mode.
On the other hand, a number of mid-range to high-end gaming phones come with support for third-party accessories. These should also be considered while buying a new phone as not all accessories will be compatible with every phone.
There are universal accessories like the Razer Kishi control pad or the OnePlus Triggers, that fit the most recent phones. However, accessories like the ROG Kunai gamepad will work only with specific devices of the same brand. If you plan on enhancing your game with accessories immediately or later in the future, it is a good idea to look into accessory support ahead of time.