Best gaming phones (2022) - updated May - PhoneArena

Best gaming phones (2022) - updated May

Best gaming phones (2022) - updated May
Gaming phones used to be a niche thing, with crazy designs and bloated software, but that has gradually changed in recent years. Even if you aren't necessarily a hardcore mobile gamer, you'll likely appreciate gaming-capable smartphones for their powerful specs, high refresh rate displays and often superior speakers than the average mainstream flagship phone.

And speaking of mainstream, high-end mainstream phones are so powerful nowadays, that we can't overlook them as viable gaming options either.

So, are you a gamer who's looking for the best gaming phone, that will help ensure your winning streaks in your favorite multiplayer shooter? Well, you've come to the right place!

Best phones for gaming in 2022, summarized:

Asus ROG Phone 5s

The best gaming phone from Asus is no longer the Asus ROG Phone 5 (Ultimate or no ultimate edition). To keep up with the tide of time, Asus has updated its lineup, practically retiring ROG Phone 5 series and swapping it with the ROG Phone 5s.

And even though the differences between the two aren't that big, they are still present. The ROG Phone 5s comes equipped with the Snapdragon 888+ chipset - an overclocked version of the 888 found in the ROG Phone 5. The touch sampling rate of the display has been bumped up from 300Hz to 360Hz, and that's pretty much it.

You can get the Asus ROG Phone 5s in three configurations - 16/512GB, 12/512GB, and 18/512GB, and they cost €1000, €1100, and €1300 respectively. The 18GB version matches the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate, and when we factor in the faster 888+ chipset, it turns out that the ROG Phone 5s is the best Asus gaming phone out there. At least for now.


Asus ROG Phone 5

Asus ROG Phone 5

Asus ROG Phone 5

The Good

  • Amazing speakers
  • Super-smooth AMOLED screen
  • Long battery life and 65W charging
  • Highly customizable
  • AirTriggers
  • Optional ROG gaming accessories
  • Striking, stylish design

The Bad

  • Limited availability

The Asus ROG Phone 5 is the gaming smartphone to get right now. It delivers outstanding all-around performance, thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G processor and 16GB of RAM.

The ROG Phone 5 also sports arguably the greatest, fullest-sounding dual stereo speakers on any Android smartphone to date, which is key for a fantastic multiplayer gaming experience. In addition, the ROG 5 has a huge battery, a super-smooth OLED display (144 Hz refresh rate) and two AirTriggers, which are touch-sensitive areas on its top frame that you can use as mappable buttons for your games.

But you don't have to use touch controls if you don't want to – the ROG 5 is compatible with first-party accessories like the awesome ROG Kunai 3 Gamepad.

And if you love customizing your smartphone, you'll be happy to know that the ROG 5 and its limited edition ROG Phone 5 Ultimate variant offer all the customization options you may want for making your gaming experience perfect.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

Sony Xperia 1 IV

Sony Xperia 1 IV

The Good

  • Light and comfortable
  • Camera records very good video
  • Headphone jack, notification LED
  • Stereo speakers sound great
  • Runs buttery smooth

The Bad

  • Exorbitant price
  • Camera photos are not as great
  • Three different camera apps, none of them feels fully fleshed out
  • No charger, no cable, no earbuds in box
The Sony Xperia 1 IV is not a dedicated gaming phone but Sony has an immense gaming pedigree when it comes to consoles and handhelds. And it shows in every Xperia model in the last couple of years. The Xperia 1 IV is no exception.

This phone comes with a gorgeous 6.5-inch 4K AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate - a gamer's dream. It's a 21:9 screen in typical Sony fashion and there are no notches, cutouts or other eyesore to hamper your gaming experience.

The Xperia 1 IV uses the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, coupled with 12GB or RAM and the phone also comes with a microSD card slot - that's definitely a plus when it comes to gaming. Last but not least, Sony offers a great gaming software in the face of Game Enhancer - a tool to tweak all the setting, including things like touch sampling rate, display refresh rate, notifications, audio settings, and more.

The only downside to this phone is its price. You need to cough up $1,600 to get it, and for that kind of money you can buy a PS5 (if you can find one) with a extra controller and a couple of games. But then again, the Xperia 1 IV is also a phone, and a camera, and a computer - you know, your daily personal communicator. Your choice.

Read More:Sony Xperia 1 IV review

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2

Although it's not out yet, expected to be released in Europe this May for a price starting at €799, the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 already impresses. Likely to challenge the ROG Phone 5 and even replace it as our favorite gaming phone of 2021, the Legion Phone Duel 2 sports a large 6.92-inch 144Hz AMOLED display, the Snapdragon 888 processor and up to 18GB of RAM.

Like the ROG 5, the Legion Phone Dual 2 too has AirTrigger-like touch sensitive, mappable sensors that can be used as shoulder buttons, but it also has some extra party tricks. For example, its two 2,750 mAh batteries can be "Turbo" charged not just via a single USB Type-C port, but via its two ports at the same time. This way the phone can fully charge at 90W for just 30 minutes.

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 also has a pop-up "facecam" to be used while streaming gameplay, two built-in cooling fans and dual front-facing speakers.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Good

  • S Pen in a flagship, great for creatives
  • Industry-leading screen quality
  • Faster charging than before
  • 10X zoom camera is improved significantly
  • Video recording gets smoother stabilization
  • 4 years of major software updates!

The Bad

  • Battery life has gone down from the S21 Ultra
  • You get less RAM than last year
  • No microSD card slot, no headphone jack
  • Loudspeaker quality could be better
  • Jittery swiping, microstutter with gesture nav in One UI

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is Samsung's newest flagship smartphone and as such, it sports some of the best specs you can get on an Android phone right now. It's not about the S Pen this time, although it's a nice bonus. This phone is a powerhouse!

It has a game mode that will set its gorgeous, large display to refresh at 120 Hz and with its powerful processor (Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Exynos 2200 with AMD graphics) and 8GB of RAM, it's a fantastic phone for hardcore gaming. It also has a huge battery and beautiful design, making it a great all-around smartphone to rock out and game on for years to come.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

The Good

  • Amazing battery life
  • Super bright display with great colors
  • Fastest performance of any phone
  • Improved camera
  • Best video quality of any phone

The Bad

  • Lacks fast charging
  • Size is a bit extreme and it is a heavy phone
  • Cinematic Mode needs some more polish
  • No USB-C makes life more complicated

If you're leaning towards iOS gaming and the Apple Arcade subscription service, the most powerful phone for gaming from Apple you can get right now is the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Its high performance will crush any games at their highest settings without breaking a sweat, while its solid battery life will ensure that you'll be comfortable playing for hours on end without needing to recharge. In our 3D gaming battery test, the iPhone 13 Pro Max lasted a solid 10 hours. It also sports the largest display ever put on an iPhone.

Note to Fortnite gamers: Fortnite is currently unavailable on iOS, so you may be better off buying an Android phone.

Read more: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The Good

  • Solid build and feel, stable hinge
  • Excellent screens in and out
  • Both displays are 120 Hz
  • Improved software experience for multitasking
  • Smooth performance
  • Good speakers

The Bad

  • Folded, the phone is awkwardly thick and tall
  • S Pen is a separate purchase, which means most will miss out
  • Still has visible crease

If you're ready to go to the next level with your smartphone gaming, there is nothing like playing mobile games on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. It's a candy bar-shaped phone when you need it to fit in your pocket, but it can unfold into an extremely powerful tablet when it's time for play.

Games like PUBG play fantastic on it, plus its stereo speakers are superb in volume and richness. The phone feels great in the hands and is easy to game on, not too large or unwieldy as a tablet might be. Any game looks gorgeous on the Z Fold 3's large, foldable, smooth 120 Hz AMOLED display.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The Good

  • Beautiful styling, luxurious feel
  • Super smooth and snappy performance
  • Excellent camera quality for both photos and videos (auto-focus issue is fixed)
  • The biggest improvement to the S Pen so far
  • Outstanding 6.9” AMOLED screen
  • Cool features like Wireless DeX

The Bad

  • $1,300 starting price is a bit too much
  • Gigantic size might be a turn off for some, no smaller model available
  • Battery life is just okay, 120Hz takes a toll
  • No headphones in the box

The Note 20 Ultra is not just a huge, powerful smartphone that will deliver amazing 3D gaming experiences, but thanks to its included S Pen stylus, it's arguably the best phone to pick for casual gaming also.

For example, playing card games or chess with the S Pen can be a joy, much more convenient than using your finger. So for all-around versatility and a huge, almost 7-inch display, you can't go wrong with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, for any kinds of games.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

ZTE Nubia Red Magic 7

nubia Red Magic 7

nubia Red Magic 7

The Good

  • One of the fastest phones out there
  • 6.8-inch AMOLED with 165Hz refresh rate, 720Hz touch sampling rate
  • 12GB of RAM
  • Lightning fast charging
  • Active cooling
  • Big battery
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • The price

The Bad

  • The camera system is mediocre
  • No wireless charging
  • No SD card slot
  • No water/dust resistance
The ZTE subsidiary Nubia is also making great gaming phones, namely the Red Magic series. The latest iteration - the Nubia Red Magic 7 will give your ROG Phone a serious run for its money.

From its active cooling system (that's right, there's a fan inside the phone) to the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, this device is a top performer. The AMOLED screen comes with a whopping 165Hz refresh rate - one of the fastest in the industry. 

There’s an ample 4,500mAh cell that will give you hours of gaming, and also 12GB of RAM (there's a 16GB version too), which is more than enough. The best thing about the Nubia Red Magic 7 is its price. You won't need to dish out thousands of dollars for this puppy. Actually, it's cheaper than some of the midrange phones out there. You can get one for $629. How about that!

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