Top 5 Android Phones For Gaming In 2023

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Are you planning to purchase an Android phone to play games like "Call of Duty: Mobile" and "Asphalt 9: Legends"? Well, you're not alone. Per a survey conducted by Statista in 2022, about 54% of the 7,000 U.S. residents used their smartphones to play video games regularly. Previously, users only enjoyed their favorite video games on consoles like the PlayStation or Xbox. Now, people can play video games on smartphones that are powerful enough to generate high-quality graphics, providing an exciting and engaging experience. Additionally, with the rise of cloud gaming services, users can play native console games on mobile. Considering this shift in consumer behavior, smartphone companies are now focussing on making gaming phones.

Gaming phones can do everything a regular phone does. They can browse the internet, make phone calls, and record videos. However, in addition to what regular phones can do, gaming phones come with special features, such as high refresh rate displays, powerful processors, and exceptional cooling mechanisms that enhance your overall experience. While you can game on a top-of-the-line Android flagship, like the OnePlus 11 or the Galaxy S23 Ultra, companies like Asus, Xiaomi, and Nubia put together smartphones exclusively meant for gaming. In this article, we'll explore five gaming phones you can purchase in 2023. 

Nubia Red Magic 8 Pro

First up on the list of top five Android phones for gaming is the Red Magic 8 Pro by Nubia. In the United States, the gaming phone is available to pre-order for $649 for the 12/256GB variant (matte finish), which makes it the most affordable model on our list. Those who wish to get the extra RAM and storage can go with the 16/512GB variant (translucent finish) by spending $799.

The Red Magic 8 Pro has minimalist design, as in, it doesn't come with that over-the-top gamer aesthetic. The gaming phone comes with the incredibly powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC (4nm). The chipset is combined with Adreno 740 GPU that supports ray tracing — a feature that is available in high-end consoles — an in-chassis cooling fan (up to 20,000 rpm) that maintains optimum temperature throughout your gaming sessions, and a tough-to-beat 6,000 mAh battery (up to 65W fast charging).

If you enjoy first-person shooter or racing games, you'll love the shoulder triggers (520 Hz) on the Red Magic 8 Pro. The phone has a 6.8-inch AMOLED (400 ppi) screen that supports up to 120Hz refresh rate and 960Hz touch sampling rate, making in-game movements feel precise. You get the Game Space app for managing all your game-related settings, such as touch sensitivity and frame rates. On the down-low, you get an average camera and occasionally buggy software, but the phone's gaming performance is unmatchable in its price. And yes, the phone comes with a headphone jack. 

Black Shark 5 Pro

Moving up the price ladder, we have the Black Shark 5 Pro by Xiaomi, which costs $729 for the 8/128GB variant. Like the Red Magic 8 Pro, the Black Shark 5 Pro is easy on the eyes. The phone doesn't have RGB lights or a fancy LED panel on the soft-touch glass back, but it also looks quite different from a regular smartphone on the market. It comes in two colors: Nebula White and Stellar Black.

Under the hood, the Black Shark 5 Pro runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC (4nm), which is slightly less powerful than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC but provides a seamless gaming experience. The chipset features Adreno 740 GPU (without ray-tracing). Additionally, there's a high-end model that features 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The phone comes with a 6.67-inch OLED screen that supports up to 144Hz refresh rate and a touch sampling rate of 720Hz.

On the Black Shark 5 Pro, you get Shark Space 4.0, which keeps all gaming features in one place. There's an Extreme Mode that pushes the CPU to its best, enhancing in-game performance. Unlike other phones, you get magnetic pop-up shoulder triggers which are quite responsive. Xiaomi also makes the Black Shark Gamepad and Monster Gaming Triggers. The phone comes with a Dual VC Liquid Cooling System, but several reviews suggest it could be better. Other downsides of the phone include an average camera system and the absence of a headphone jack.

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Perhaps the most popular model on our list, the ROG Phone 6 Pro, has the most flashy exteriors. It has a color OLED display on its back panel, which displays system notifications and custom animations. The ROG Phone 6 Pro costs $1,099.99, which makes it the most expensive gaming phone on our list.

The ROG Phone 6 Pro features a 6.78-inch AMOLED screen that supports up to 165 Hz refresh rate, which is the best on our list, with a touch sampling rate of 720 Hz. Powering the smartphone is a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC (4nm) with a maximum clock speed of 3.19 GHz. You also get 18GB of RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. To take your experience to the next level, you can purchase the ROG Kunai 3 Gamepad or the AeroActive Cooler 6.

The ROG Phone 6 Pro comes with a massive 6,000 mAh battery (up to 65W fast charging) and two USB-C ports to charge the phone in any orientation. Asus packs in the Armoury Crate app, which you can use to access your game library, fine-tune touch sensitivity, adjust the refresh rate, and boost the graphical performance, among other things. You get extensive gaming features such as the Game Genie for altering settings in real-time and the Air Triggers menu to manage the on-device and additional triggers you may connect. The dual front-firing speakers are among the best in the segment. To top it off, the company offers a headphone jack too.

OnePlus 11 5G

Yes, we know that OnePlus 11 is an Android flagship, but thanks to top-of-the-line specifications, you can not only run video games on the phone but push them to the maximum graphics settings. The OnePlus 11 5G comes in two colors: Eternal Green and Titan Black, and both models feature the circular "Black Hole" camera module on the back panel. Regarding looks, the phone is in line with popular models like the Pixel 7 or the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Despite carrying a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen (525 ppi) that supports up to 120 Hz refresh rate, the phone weighs just 205 grams, making it one of the lightest models in the segment. To compete with gaming phones, the OnePlus 11 relies on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4nm) SoC with ray-tracing, coupled with up to 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage, which gives it an edge over other Android flagships. To game for long hours, you get a 5,000 mAh battery that supports up to 80W of fast wired charging, surpassing all the other entrants in this list.

Now, the reason why you should choose the OnePlus 11 over a gaming phone is its camera system. The smartphone features one of the most versatile camera configurations on an Android device, which we've also mentioned in our detailed review of the OnePlus 11 5G. What makes the OnePlus 11 more compelling perhaps is its $699 price point.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

If you're looking for the absolute best Android flagship to play games, and you don't mind spending $1,199.99, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is for you. For that price, the Galaxy S23 Ultra offers a gorgeous 6.8-inch AMOLED (500 ppi) screen to play video games. The screen supports up to 120Hz of variable refresh rate and can achieve a peak brightness of 1,750 nits. The screen also comes with a 360 Hz touch sampling rate, which makes gaming smoother. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra features a slightly overclocked version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC (4nm). While the regular chipset maxes out at 3.2 GHz, the overclocked version on the S23 Ultra tops out 3.36 GHz. Like the OnePlus 11, the Galaxy S23 Ultra also features the fastest RAM (LPDDR5X) and storage (UFS 4.0), which reduces the game loading time significantly. It also houses a large 5,000 mAh battery, providing extensive gaming hours. Although the phone doesn't charge as fast as others on the list, it offers wireless and reverse wireless charging. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is also known for its elaborate camera setup, which consists of four cameras on the back and one on the front. You can read more about the Galaxy S23 Ultra's camera performance in our review. Last but not least, you get the S-Pen, which unlocks several useful features for daily use.