Best phones for gaming in 2024

With hundreds of mobile phones for sale, it’s tricky to know which models are best for gaming. So, we’ve put together a guide of phones that are optimised for gaming to give you the best audio-visual experience possible.

Key features of a good gaming phone

When choosing your phone, it’s important to know which features to look out for, as there are technical elements that make some smartphones well suited to gaming.

Processors

  • Central processing unit (CPU): a CPU is important for running your game smoothly, even if you have other programmes open in the background, as well as gaming aspects like AI behaviour.

  • Types of CPUs: different manufacturers use different CPUs. For example, Qualcomm Snapdragon is used in some Samsung phones, Google Tensor is used in Google phones, and Apple Bionic custom chipsets are used in iPhones

  • Graphics processing unit (GPU): popular GPUs include Adreno (Qualcomm), Mali (Arm), and Apple Bionic custom GPUs. GPUs are needed for rendering graphics and texture mapping.

Hardware

  • RAM: the more RAM you have, the better. A minimum of 6-8GB RAM is needed for fast gameplay and multitasking.

  • Storage: modern games – particularly 3D games – tend to be large, so you’ll need at least 64GB of storage.

  • Cooling system: if your phone gets hot, this will impact the performance of the CPU, so pick a phone with a vapor or liquid cooling system.

Display

  • Screen size: you can game on a small-screen phone, but a phone with a large screen provides a richer and more immersive gaming experience.

  • Resolution: a high-resolution screen – or a high number of pixels-per-inch – will result in clearer graphics.

  • Display type: display types include: LCD, OLED, or AMOLED.

  • Brightness: this is important when gaming outdoors and is measured in nits.

  • Refresh rate: this is how often your display updates and is measured in hertz (Hz). For gaming, 60-120Hz is ideal.

  • Touch sampling rate: a high Hz rate means more accurate controls.

Battery life

  • Battery life: gaming is very demanding on a phone’s power, especially games which use 3D graphics. Therefore, it’s important to choose a phone with a powerful battery – ideally one with a battery life of 4000mAh or more. See our guide on the best phone for battery life

  • Fast charging: if you regularly game while out and about, choose a phone with fast charging capabilities.

  • AI (artificial intelligence): right now, some phones use AI to understand when you’re on your phone the most to prolong battery life. However, AI in phones is developing fast and will likely have a large impact on mobile gaming in the future.

Connectivity

  • 5G: 5G connectivity is essential for online multiplayer games, so be sure to choose one of our 5G phones

  • Fast WiFi: the speed of your broadband will impact the amount of lag you experience. Check out our broadband deals to see the speeds we can provide.

So, what’s the best phone for gaming?

There are several factors to consider when choosing your gaming phone. The best gaming phone will be different for everyone and depend on things like budget and hand size. However, we’ve summarised the models we think make an excellent overall gaming experience:

•Best gaming phone overall: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

•Best big screen for gaming: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5

•Best Samsung gaming phone: Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

• Best Google Pixel gaming phone: Google Pixel 8 Pro

• Best HONOR gaming phone: HONOR Magic5 Lite 5G

• Best Motorola gaming phone: Motorola Edge 40

Best Samsung gaming phones

Generally, Samsung phones are great for gaming because of their large screens and fast processors, especially those in Samsung’s S series or Z series. Here are our top picks from both series.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Experience the new era of mobile AI with Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra 5G. Use Circle to Search with Google²,³ to effortlessly search while browsing. No need to type, just use your S Pen or finger to circle an item on your screen, and you’ll see the Google Search results instantly

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5

Become immersed in your game with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5’s epic screen – that’s 7.6 inches of super-vibrant gaming graphics. What’s more, the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon® Gen2 processor promises a gaming experience like never before on a Z series phone.

Samsung phones that are great for gaming

Screen size

6.8 inches

7.6 inches (open)

6.7 inches

6.2 inches

6.7 inches (open)

Resolution

QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (3,120 x 1,440)

QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (2176 x 1812)

QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (3,120 x 1,440)

FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (2,340 x 1,080)

FHD+ (2640 x 1080)

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon® 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy

Snapdragon® 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

Exynos 2400

Exynos 2400

Snapdragon® 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

Storage

256GB | 512GB | 1TB

256GB, 512GB, 1TB

256GB, 512GB

128GB, 256GB

256GB, 512GB

RAM

12GB

12GB

12GB

8GB

8GB

Battery

5000mAh

4400mAh

4900mAh

4000mAh

3700mAh

Best Google Pixel phones for gaming

Powerful batteries and processors mean that many Google phones are fantastic for gaming – if you’re after a Google phone with a long-lasting battery the Google Pixel 8 Pro is ideal.

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Bask in the glow of your game with a brightness of up to 2400 nits and enjoy the convenience of fast charging – up to 50% charge in about 30 minutes¹.

Google Pixel Fold

Enjoy fast and efficient gaming performance with the Google Tensor G2, Pixel’s powerful processor. Plus, experience the generous 7.6 inch screen with pocket-sized portability.

Google phones that are great for gaming

Screen size

6.7 inches

7.6 inches (unfolded)

6.2 inches

6.1 inches

Resolution

1344 x 2992

2208 x 1840 (unfolded)

2400 x 1080

2400 x 1080

Processor

Google Tensor G3

Google Tensor G2

Google Tensor G3

Google Tensor G2

Storage

128GB

256GB

128GB, 256GB

128GB

RAM

12GB

12GB

8GB

8GB

Battery

5050mAh

4821mAh

4575mAh

4300mAh

More phones that are great for gaming

Outside Samsung phones and Google phones, here are the top gaming phones we recommend from other big brands.

Motorola Edge 40

With Ready For, you can connect wirelessly to a TV to play mobile games¹ and boost your battery for the entire day with less than 10 minutes of charging².

Frequently asked questions

Check your phone's specifications against those listed under the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Google Pixel 8 Pro. If your current phone doesn't quite meet those specifications, perhaps it's time for an upgrade - check out our current offers on Pay monthly phones

For a smooth gaming experience, we recommend between 6-8GB RAM. When it comes to gaming, the more RAM you have, the better.

Right now, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is the fastest Snapdragon® processor on the market. Android phones that have this processor include the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Gaming is demanding on your phone’s processor and overuse will cause it to heat up. This is why it’s important to have a phone with a vapor or liquid cooling system if you use your phone for gaming regularly.

Phone processors are sensitive to heat. When the phone gets too hot, the processor slows down to prevent itself from overheating which can cause lag.

Gaming without WiFi will use your data, but how much will depend on factors such as how long you game for. If you’re hitting your data limit while gaming, check out our SIM only deals with unlimited data so you’ll never be caught short.

Yes, the portability, versatility, and affordability (compared to console games) of mobile gaming mean it’s more popular than ever before.

Terms and conditions

¹Typical value tested under third party laboratory condition. Rated minimum capacity of S24 Ultra is 4,855mAh.

¹ Compared against Galaxy S22 Series.

² Typical value tested under third- party laboratory condition. Rated minimum capacity is 4855mAh.

¹ Typical value tested under third-party laboratory condition. Typical value is the estimated average value considering the deviation in battery capacity among the battery samples tested under IEC 61960 standard. Rated capacity is 4270mAh for Galaxy Z Fold5, and 3591mAh for Galaxy Z Flip5. Actual battery life may vary depending on network environment, usage patterns and other factors.

¹ Fast wired charging rates (up to 27W on Pixel 8 and up to 30Won Pixel 8 Pro) are based on use of the Google 30W USB-C® Charger plugged into a wall socket. Actual results may be slower. Adaptors sold separately. Charging speed based upon testing with device batteries drained to 1% and charged with the Google 30 W USB-C® Charger. Charging testing conducted by Google inmid-2023on pre-production hardware and software using default settings with the device powered on. Charging speed depends upon many factors including usage during charging, battery age and ambient temperature. Actual charging speed may be slower.

¹ Ready For wireless connection is supported with TVs that support Android smartphone screen mirroring (Miracast) only. Bluetooth© accessories sold separately.

² Median users can get up to 12 hours of battery life in 10 min of charge. Battery must be substantially depleted; charging rate slows as charging progresses. All battery life claims are approximate and based on the median user tested across a mixed use profile (which includes both usage and standby time) under optimal network conditions. Actual battery performance will vary and depends on many factors including signal strength, network and device settings, temperature, battery condition, and usage patterns.