The best gaming phones 2022

The best gaming phones are so much more than high-powered thumb tappers in your pocket. They combine hefty batteries with high refresh rate displays, powerful processors, and plenty of storage to see you through releases big and small. Not only that, but with the rise of Xbox’s Cloud Gaming solutions, smaller screens are becoming even bigger business. 

However, there are many models out there – all claiming to be the best gaming phones on the market. That makes it difficult to work out exactly what you need from your smartphone, and how much you need to pay for a gaming-specific device. Thankfully, as gaming phones develop, we’re seeing prices on the biggest and best falling slightly down the scale. That means there’s now options for all budgets, and we’re rounding up our favorites right here. 

Our team of experts is on hand to point out the best gaming phones currently gracing the market, not to mention the best prices. We’ve drawn on our own hands on experience with the latest and greatest releases to ensure you’re getting an overview of the whole space before making that critical decision. Of course, you’re not going to get the performance of a gaming laptop, or even the best gaming tablets, here – but for a pocket-sized thumb twitcher, these are the models we’d recommend. 

The best gaming phones available now

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(Image credit: Future/Brendan Griffiths)

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(Image credit: Future/Brendan Griffiths)

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(Image credit: Future/Brendan Griffiths)

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1. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The best gaming phone overall

Specifications

Screen size: 6.2″ OLED external / 7.6″ AMOLEDResolution: 2268 x 832 external / 2208 x 1768 internalProcessor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888Cameras: 12-mp ultrawide, 12-mp wide, 12-mp telephoto, 4-mp front (under display), 10-mp front (front cover)Storage: 256GB, 512GBWater resistance: IPX8 (up to 1.5 meters)Dimensions: 158.2 x 67.1 x 16.0mm (folded) / 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm (unfolded)Weight: 9.55 oz (271g)

Reasons to buy

+The tablet/phone hybrid we’ve been dreaming of+Multitasking app support is fantastic+Feels like a more polished product overall+120Hz on every screen

Reasons to avoid

-Some apps are buggy in Flex mode-Under display camera isn’t great

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 finally achieves what the foldable phone movement set out to achieve all those years ago. The latest iteration feels like the first to truly deliver on that promise of smartphone form factor and tablet functionality, with an impressive set of specs under the hood and some incredible UI improvements up top. 

The horizontal folding action means you’re getting a full 7.6-inch display when fully open, which we found excellent for multi-tasking (especially paired with split view) and gaming alike. From browsing the web while checking emails to adding an extra window for on the fly Spotify controls, Samsung has moved beyond providing a larger phone screen here and more into the world of a tablet productivity machine. 

When it comes to gaming, the impressive tech on display certainly doesn’t disappoint either. We never ran into any heating problems while running heavier titles like Call of Duty Mobile, and the 120Hz refresh rates on every screen meant we were really pushing those demanding apps for their fullest potential. We did, however, stumble across a slight issue with some more retro side-scrolling titles – losing a moment of control as we slid over the crease in the middle of the two screens. There was only one game that we tested that produced this, however.

We also got some great action out of those Dolby speakers. Aside from their obvious employment in streaming and music apps, they performed brilliantly in our gaming tests as well, carrying a full sound stage with plenty of detail. 

Speaking of streaming, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 finally brings some innovations to its entertainment apps. While ‘Flex’ mode (fold the screen horizontally like a laptop for playback controls on the lower half of the panel) is yet to be implemented across some apps, Netflix ran beautifully while propped up in this way. 

It’s certainly costly, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 takes foldable phones’ first real steps into the future, and it’s easily the best phone released this year. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

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(Image credit: Future)

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2. Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro

The most powerful gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.8″ AMOLED, 120HzResolution: 1080 x 2400Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1Cameras: 64MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, 16MP frontStorage: 256GB, 512GBWater resistance: NoneDimensions: 166.3 x 77.1 x 10 mmWeight: 8.29 oz (235g)

Reasons to buy

+Sophisticated cooling technology+Efficient processing power+Detailed gaming-focused program+Striking but solid design+Speedy fast-charging

Reasons to avoid

-Cameras can’t compete with others-Software can be frustrating

The Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro is an absolute beast of a gaming phone. You’re getting some incredibly powerful components in that Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 18GB RAM, and 120Hz AMOLED display – which all converge to create a mobile gaming experience like no other. 

The raw horsepower built into this monster is going to tear through anything you can throw at it.

RedMagic 7 Pro review

With a 960Hz multi-finger touch sampling rate keeping your on-screen movements clean and precise, and a set of shoulder buttons sitting atop the device itself, inputs felt snappy and comfortable. While these shoulder buttons are touch-based, rather than relying on the actuation of a physical clicker, they quickly merged into muscle memory. Add RedMagic’s own Red Core 1 chip to direct non-essential processing tasks away from the Snapdragon chipset, and the 20,000RPM fan keeping everything cool, and we found that not only is the 7 Pro incredibly powerful on paper, but it also manages to squeeze every last ounce of juice out of its components as well.

While we were frustrated with some of the menu navigations and everyday software bugs still present in our test device, the 7 Pro still managed to hold its own as a standard smartphone on top of its gaming prowess. Sure, the cameras won’t be competing with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy range or the iPhone 13 Pro, but with 120W fast-charging (outside of the US – 65W in North America and Canada) and a solid battery life there’s plenty going on here.

The Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro is the best gaming phone for those on the hunt for the most powerful device on the market.

Read more: Nubia RedMagic 7 Pro review

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(Image credit: Future)

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3. Apple iPhone 13 Pro

The best Apple gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1″ Super Retina XDR OLEDResolution: 1170 x 2532Processor: A15 BionicCameras: 12MP ultra wide – 12MP wide – 12MP telephoto – 12MP frontStorage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TBWater resistance: IP68 (up to 2 meters)Dimensions (HxWxD): 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7 mmWeight: 7.2oz (204g)

Reasons to buy

+120Hz refresh rate+Powerful processor upgrade+Groundbreaking camera features

Reasons to avoid

-Still pricey

The iPhone has struggled to truly be recognised as one of the best gaming phones in its lifetime, but there’s no reason it can’t truly step into the space with Apple Arcade and its own gaming network in Game Center. The iPhone 13 Pro is the first real movement towards integrating that gaming focus into Apple’s smartphone hardware, though. 

The 120Hz variable refresh rate – sorry, ‘ProMotion’ – display really helps some Apple Arcade greats shine, as well as larger standalone games like Elder Scrolls Blade, Minecraft, and Call of Duty Mobile. The A15 Bionic processor barely wobbled when put under the stress of even every day apps that used to make our iPhone 12 cry (Duolingo, for some reason) and temperatures were well maintained even during the longest of gaming sessions. 

The OLED panel still offers a gorgeous overall experience, keeping games like Magic The Gathering: Arena feeling as crisp as ever, and displaying streaming apps like Netflix with aplomb. 

Even with all systems go we were impressed by the battery life. In fact, in lighter usage over a weekend away (an hour or so on maps, a few hours of screen-off Spotify, intermittent Safari searches, a couple of YouTube videos, some location services switched on, but admittedly only connecting to 4G) we didn’t have to recharge once. 

Perhaps one of the most noticeable updates here is the excellent video features. The iPhone 13 Pro’s camera system and accompanying software can perform some truly impressive focus pulling functions and can shoot in Dolby Vision at 4K 60fps. The results are extremely satisfying, making the iPhone 13 Pro well worth the investment for the camera system alone if you’re a content creator.

Read more: iPhone 13 Pro review

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(Image credit: Samsung)

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4. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The best single-screen Samsung gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.9″ Super AMOLEDReslution: 1440 x 3088Processor: Snapdragon 865+ (US)/Exynos 990 (EU)Cameras: 108MP wide, 12MP telephotot, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP frontStorage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and expandableWater resistance: IP68 (up to 1.5 meters)Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mmWeight: 7.3 oz (208g)

Reasons to buy

+Epic display+Superb camera+S-Pen enhances multiple apps 

Reasons to avoid

-Very expensive

When you’re looking for one of the best gaming phones, you’ll also want to make sure you’re getting a phone that kicks ass in other departments too. With that in mind, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra takes no prisoners.

With a gorgeous full-screen 6.9-inch display, now running at an adaptive 120Hz, games have never looked better on a cell phone. We found that all that extra space makes FPS titles much easier to enjoy too, with your thumbs not taking up as much real-estate on the screen. Meanwhile, subtle software tweaks mean you’ll get better performance from your battery and the phone runs cooler than most rivals when playing graphically-intensive games on high settings.

If you’re spending this much on a phone though, you want it to be a top performer for streaming, taking pictures, shooting video, social media, and everything else. Luckily, the Note 20 Ultra dominates the competition. The camera has a massive 50x zoom, only beaten by the 100x zoom on the S20 Ultra (and given the fact that picture quality nosedives at that level and overheats the phone, we’re fine with 50x). There’s a 108MP camera for closer shots as well, providing incredibly detailed images.

We’re big fans of the S-Pen Stylus for taking notes (it’ll even convert your handwriting to editable text), match-3 titles, and turn-based RPGs, not to mention using it as a shutter button when taking pictures. If you want to try something different we’d recommend using the pre-installed Penup app which is great for talented artists and utter newbs alike thanks to a wide range of tools and user-friendly interactive tutorials. Due to the massive canvas-like display and vastly improved stylus latency (there’s basically none now), doodling is a great way to pass the time. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

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(Image credit: Asus)

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5. ASUS ROG Phone 3

The best gaming phone for heavy games

Specifications

Screen size: 6.59-inch AMOLEDResolution: 1080 x 2340Processor: Snapdragon 865+Cameras: 64MP wide, 13MP ultra wide, 5MP macroStorage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GBDimensions: 171 x 78 x 9.9 mmWeight: 8.47oz (240g)

Reasons to buy

+Incredibly powerful+Stunning display

Reasons to avoid

-Camera doesn’t hold up-No wireless charging

The ASUS ROG Phone 3 is the latest in an impressive range of industry-leading gaming smartphones. While those more aggressive design choices have been filed down to suit a mainstream audience here, the RGB logo shining vibrantly from the back isn’t the only thing that separates this monster of a handset from everyday devices. A Snapdragon 865+ processor clocking in at 3.1GHz makes for an exceptionally powerful phone, and that 144Hz refresh rate, luxurious set of dual speakers, and a suite of extra gaming controls all work together to show us exactly how good mobile gaming can be. 

Gaming-specific features aren’t just limited to in-depth software, however. We were impressed to find that the hardware here is tailor-made for the best gaming experience possible as well. An additional USB-C port to the side allows for comfortable charging while held horizontally and also powers a wide range of accessories like the included cooling fans. 

The ROG Phone 3’s Air Triggers are the piece de resistance for us. Sitting at the top of the phone when held sideways, they provide a full suite of shoulder buttons for a more console-like experience. We were impressed by the quality of these, and it makes going back to touch control in first-person shooters or Fortnite a real pain. Namely, it’s so much easier and actively improved our K/D ratio.

Overall, the ASUS ROG Phone 3 excels in both the gaming arena and as an everyday workhorse. A gorgeous display and massive 6,000mAh battery offer endless hours of luxurious scrolling, and even the craziest of Twitter feeds shine just as bright as a PUBG victory here. It’s worth noting that all this power seems to come at a sacrifice in camera quality, but that’s an easy compromise to make when it comes to getting the best gaming phone.

Read more: Asus ROG Phone 3 review

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(Image credit: Samsung)

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(Image credit: Samsung)

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6. Samsung Galaxy S20

The best gaming phone for discounts

Specifications

Screen size: 6.2″ Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED (120Hz refresh)Resolution: 3040 x 1440Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990Cameras: 12MP ultra wide – 12MP wide – 64MP telephoto – 10MP frontStorage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GBWater resistance: IP68 (up to 2 meters)Dimensions (HxWxD): 151.7mm x 69.1mm x 7.9mmWeight: 5.74oz (163g)

Reasons to buy

+120Hz refresh rate+Excellent chipset with loads of power+5G capabilities

Reasons to avoid

-No headphone jack

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is the tip of the spear when it comes to mobile technology, and that makes it a strong contender for the best gaming phone. With a phenomenal screen, powerful specs, and 5G capabilities, this is an exceptional piece of kit. 

For starters, it’s fitted with either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 processor depending on your region. This is complemented by either 8GB of RAM for 4G models or 12GB on 5G equivalents. That’s more than enough to handle any game you throw at it, to say nothing of everyday use. Yes, the lack of a headphone jack is annoying. But on the bright side, it’s been removed to make room for a superior battery. That means you can be playing on the S20 for longer.

One of the coolest features in the latest Galaxy S-phone would be the display’s 120Hz refresh rate, though. This makes for an incredibly smooth scroll, and it’s double the amount you’d find on other screens. Because this is paired with a 6.2-inch display, a resolution of 3040 x 1440 (when activated in the phone’s settings), and 240Hz touch sensitivity for more responsive gaming, the S20 is easily the best gaming phone for Android users.

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(Image credit: Apple)

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7. iPhone SE (2020)

The best budget Apple gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 4.7″ Retina HDResolution: 1334 x 750Processor: A13 BionicCameras: 12MP wide – 7MP front cameraStorage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GBWater resistance: IP67 (up to 1 meter)Dimensions (HxWxD): 150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mmWeight: 5.2oz (148g)

Reasons to buy

+Affordable+A great iPhone experience+Surprisingly powerful

Reasons to avoid

-It’s a bit small

Pitched as an entry-level alternative to flagship models like the iPhone 11, this revamped iPhone SE gets you into the Apple ecosystem without breaking the bank. In terms of sheer bang for buck, it’s the best gaming phone from Apple.

So, what are you getting for your cash? This 2020 re-imagining offers an excellent 4.7-inch Retina HD display with a resolution of 1334 x 750, and that’s more than enough to make most games look great. It also harbors the same A13 Bionic processor as the iPhone 11 range, giving it plenty of oomph when it comes to specs. As such, the new SE is surprisingly good value.

Because it’s based on the older iPhone 8, this model still has a Home button with Touch ID as well – something that took a little getting used to in our testing. That’s not usually the case for Apple’s newer phones, so we appreciate its inclusion here – as we do its light, breezy weight of 5.22oz (148g). It’s smaller as a result, yes, but we loved that the iPhone SE 2020 still manages to find room for a lot of great features.

Read more: iPhone SE (2020) review

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8. Samsung Galaxy A50

The best budget Android gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.4″ Super AMOLEDReslution: 1080 x 2340Processor: Octa-coreCameras: 25 MP wide – 8 MP ultra wide – 5 MP depth – 25MP frontStorage: 128GBWater resistance: IP68 (up to 2 meters)Dimensions: 158.5mm x 74.7mm x 7.7mmWeight: 5.86 oz (166g)

Reasons to buy

+Near-fullscreen display+Holds its own on high settings+The best budget Android phone

Reasons to avoid

-Higher game settings can drain the battery faster 

Picking up a cheaper gaming phone doesn’t mean limiting yourself to match-three puzzlers or go with an unknown brand. The Samsung Galaxy A50 costs a small fraction of its flashier siblings like the S20 or Note series, but this is still a great phone and a stone-cold bargain if you want to spend less, but get a phone that won’t let you down.

I was testing this for gaming against some very expensive phones and I almost had to have a word with it and explain how it needed to stop showing up the big boys. Call of Duty Mobile on high settings for graphics and frame rate. Why not? Sure, it wasn’t quite as smooth or detailed as your $1000/£1000 flagship phones, but at less than a third of the price, the A50 is way better than it should be.

As a day to day phone, the Samsung Galaxy A50 has a very good camera, with only the night pictures being prone to a loss of detail if there are too many artificial light sources. Amazingly for a phone at this price, it has a dual-SIM slot, making it handy if you have separate work/home SIMs or if you’re picking up a cheap data card when traveling abroad. There’s a newer Galaxy A51 out there now, which aside from an upgrade to 48MP/32MP (back/front) camera lenses, carries the same internal spec and display, so we’d stick with the A50 for the generally cheaper cost, but if you’re curious, here are the latest Galaxy A51 prices (opens in new tab).

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(Image credit: Apple)

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9. iPhone XR

The best older Apple gaming phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1″ Liquid Retina LCDResolution: 1792 x 828Processor: A12 BionicCameras: 12MP rear camera – 7MP front cameraStorage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GBWater resistance: IP67 (up to 1 meter)Dimensions (HxWxD): 150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mmWeight: 6.8oz (194g)

Reasons to buy

+Same power as the XS/XS Max+More affordable+Comes in five different colors

Reasons to avoid

-LED screen doesn’t match OLED

The iPhone XR has all the pros of the X model and few of the cons. Sure, we’ll miss the OLED display and those dual cameras. But when it comes to gaming? The XR is a force to be reckoned with. 

More specifically, the A12 Bionic processor has enough horsepower to get you through the most demanding games. They’ll look great on that Liquid Retina screen, too. And because the battery shows an improvement over previous iPhones, you won’t always be looking out for power points. That gives you more time playing your favorite games or watching movies on the morning commute.

Another bonus is the fact that you’re getting a high-quality Apple experience without the expense. The XR is a very capable iPhone, but it manages to sidestep the often-crippling cost of other models. If you’re not dead set on getting the latest and most powerful gaming phone, this one is well worth considering.

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(Image credit: ASUS)

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10. ROG Phone 2

An older alternative

Specifications

Screen size: 6.59-inch AMOLED 10-bit HDRResolution: 2340 x 1080Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855Cameras: 48MP main lens – 13MP ultra wide – 24MP frontStorage: Up to UFS 3.0 1TBWater resistance: IPX4 (splash resistant)Dimensions (HxWxD): 170.99mm x 77.6mm x 9.48mmWeight: 8.47oz (240g)

Reasons to buy

+Air Triggers+Attractive design+Power to spare

Reasons to avoid

-Camera isn’t as good as competitors

There aren’t many phones that specifically target gaming, but one stands head-and-shoulders above the rest – the ROG Phone 2. Alongside bonus cooling and powerful innards that put the competition to shame, it has a unique selling point that’s beyond useful: ‘ultrasonic’ Air Triggers. 

These are touch buttons on the side of the device that act just like the bumpers on a PS4 or Xbox One controller. Used when the device is in a landscape position, they allow for easier, more accurate control schemes that would otherwise be impossible without extra attachments. Because they’re linked to onscreen commands through an easy drag-and-drop method, these Air Triggers can be assigned to aim-down-sights or shooting in the likes of Call of Duty Mobile. That offers up a more traditional experience, allowing for greater comfort and leaving your thumbs clear for moving or reloading. As you’d expect, this provides an edge in combat where speed is of the essence. Frustrated by imprecise mobile controls? This is your answer.

That practicality is matched by overclocking capabilities and additional cooling attachments that bring down the system’s overall temperature in the middle of a long gaming session. Don’t worry about the ROG Phone 2’s day-to-day tasks suffering as a result, though. Those gaming features are matched by an admirable performance in everyday usage, not to mention an arresting design and reskinned OS built on the Android system. The world’s first 120Hz/1ms AMOLED HDR Delta-E display doesn’t hurt, either.

Read more: Asus ROG Phone 2 review

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(Image credit: Sony)

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11. Sony Xperia XZ2

The best budget Sony gaming phone

Specifications

OS: AndroidScreen size: 5.7″Resolution: 1080 x 2160Dimensions (HxWxD): 153mm x 72mm x 11.1mmWeight: 198gStorage: 64GBCameras: 19MP, 5MP front cameraCPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

Reasons to buy

+Haptic feedback+Stereo audio+Great performance+4K HDR recording

Reasons to avoid

-Limited options

When you want a quality smartphone experience for gaming, look no further than the manufacturer of the PlayStation 4 itself: Sony. The Sony Xperia XZ2 is an exercise in decadence that may not measure up to the rest of the never-ending cavalcade of smartphone releases over the rest of the year, but it still sports several features that push it quite far ahead of the rest of the pack. 

Its top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845 chipset powers a stunning 1080 x 2160 HDR display with 5.7 inches of screen real estate that’s perfect for any game, bolstering performance in a big way. But other phones offer largely the same setup – it’s the Xperia XZ2’s stereo speakers that end up setting it apart. Its dual front-facing speakers are something to marvel over, especially when playing games where sound matters and earbuds just won’t do. Coupled with its haptic feedback, dubbed the “Dynamic Vibration System,” it offers one of the closest things to a true console experience any other smartphone has yet to deliver. 

With decent battery life and microSD support for an abundance of storage, Sony’s excellent smartphone is a viable contender for on-the-go gaming, no matter what your preferences lean toward. Note: low stock levels are driving prices up in some countries.

How we test gaming phones

Each handset that passes our pockets goes through a series of tests to see if it’s worthy of being listed as one of the best gaming phones on the market. First and foremost, though, we live with these devices to see just how well their form factors, cameras, screens, and – crucially – battery lives hold up under every day use. That’s why we adopt each model as our own throughout the testing period, putting each phone through its paces in both standard use and through heavy gaming sessions. 

After that, we run each gaming phone through a series of titles to determine their performance as well as how much battery they consume. Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG, Magic The Gathering: Arena, and Fortnite (on Android) are our primary titles. 

You can find out more about how we make our recommendations in our full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.

Now that you’re kitted out, you’ll find all the best iPhone games and the best Android games ranked. 

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