Best smartphones for gamers (late 2015 edition)

By now it's clear that phones have taken over the place of dedicated portable gaming gear, and while they are still far off from replacing a PC or a console for the hard-core gamer, the quality of games on a mobile has improved tremendously.

The whole landscape has changed quite a while in the past couple of years as now we have an established division between smaller-sized phones and the larger phablets.

Naturally, for a gamer, screen space is of paramount importance, and that's why when going on a quest for the best gaming smartphone, phablets with their larger display, larger batteries and better heat management are the optimal choice.

When compiling this list we also considered the sheer amount of new games and their quality, an area where Apple is still particularly strong. Apple's iPhone is - obviously - compatible with all the latest games on the App Store, while on Android, we've had compatibility issues with even rather popular games. These, along with the huge performance gain that Apple brought with the A9 chip were among the main reasons to order the phones in this article in the way they are. With this in mind, check out the best new phones for gamers as of late 2015.

#1. Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Price: $750
System chip: Apple A9

The 5.5-inch Apple iPhone 6s Plus has the larger display that gamers will appreciate, the latest games and even some early titles with support for the innovative new 3D Touch functionality. Then, you have the great performance of the Apple A9 system chip, the very good battery life that Apple is able to squeeze out, and even things like support for accessories like gamepads is on the side of Apple's 6s Plus to grant it our recommendation as the best smartphone for gamers right now.

It's not without its flaws, though: the phone is the most expensive one in this round-up, yet its base model features merely 16GB of internal storage, while lower-priced Android alternatives have now made the jump to the much more manageable 32 gigs.

#2. Nexus 6P

Price: $500
System chip: Snapdragon 810

Second on the list is the Huawei-made Nexus 6P. A device with an excellent build quality, a spacious 5.7-inch display with pleasing colors, the refined and zippy Snapdragon 81- system chip, the Nexus 6P is not only powerful - it's an amazing value for the money Google asks for it. At just $500 you get the 32GB version, and for a slight premium you have the option to get a 64 gig version and even a 128GB model. Keep in mind that the dual front-firing speakers are particularly powerful and a great thing to have for games, an important advantage.

#3. Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Price: $670 (via MobileCityOnline)
System chip: Exynos 7 Octa

Third on the list is the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, another 5.7 incher in the Android camp that has the extremely capable Exynos 7 Octa chip under the hood. The Note 5 is a bit on the expensive side when compared to the Nexus 6P, though, while the two are comparable in pretty much every aspect. At this point, if money is not an absolute priority, you won't do any wrong if you pick either of the two - the Nexus or the new Note - just select the one with the design you like better. Let's also mention that the Note 5 comes with a model with 32GB of storage as base, which is nice.

#4. Motorola Moto X Pure

Price: $400
System chip: Snapdragon 808

The Motorola Moto X Pure is the budget option: a $400 buy, it's a 5.7" phone with a great feel in the hand. There is one main compromise: the system chip. The Snapdragon 808 on board the Moto X Pure is not nearly as powerful as the others in this list and some more demanding games might run at lower framer rates. If you want the best budget option, though, the Moto X Pure has little competition with its large, good-looking display, front-facing speakers and combination of specs for the price.

#5. Xiaomi Mi Note Pro

Price: $500
System chip: Snapdragon 810

If you want to stay out of the mainstream, there is another phone you should know about: the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro. A 5.7-inch monster from China, you can import it for around $500, the same prices as that of the Nexus 6P. It's hard to say whether this is worth it, but the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro has a lot going for it: the powerful Snapdragon 810 SoC roaring under the hood, an extremely sleek design that seems to have served as an 'inspiration' to companies like Samsung and its current designs, and it also runs on the sleek-running MIUI skin. You also get a lot of phone at $500: 64GB of internal storage and 4 gigs of RAM are on board.

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If the T-Rex HD component of GFXBench is demanding, then the Manhattan test is downright gruelling. It's a GPU-centric test that simulates an extremely graphically intensive gaming environment that is meant to push the GPU to the max. that simulates a graphically-intensive gaming environment on the screen. The results achieved are measured in frames per second, with more frames being better.

Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6s Plus
Google Nexus 6P
Samsung Galaxy Note5
Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)
Xiaomi Mi Note Pro


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