Gaming phones faceoff: Best choices for high-end mobile gaming fun

Smartphones are steadily becoming mean machines for handheld gaming. Since the mobile gaming industry is growing bigger than ever, more and more phone-makers are offering handsets specifically pieced for unparalleled gaming. Then there are also smartphones that don't have the console-like looks and shoulder triggers but have the display refresh rates, game modes, and cooling systems that are apt to offer a console-like experience. With so many options out there, selecting a gaming phone can be a task. Head down for our selection of the five best gaming phones you can get this holiday season, and narrow down your choice.

Asus ROG Phone 3

When we talk of gaming phones Asus ROG Phone 3 is the undisputed king following the footsteps of its predecessor. This gaming device is the best in class when it comes to high-end specifications – in particular the processing power. ROG Phone 3 has the 3.1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G 64-bit octa-core SoC paired to the Adreno 650 GPU and 16GB LPDDR5 RAM capable of playing the most graphics-intensive games smoothly for hours at end. Likewise, the 512GB UFS 3.1 storage brings fast loading times and tons of space for downloaded games. The visual output is also top-notch as the 6.59-inch AMOLED display has a 144Hz refresh rate. The gaming shoulder buttons dubbed Air Trigger 3 on the phone have been upgraded for better input.

To enhance the gaming experience, there are dual front-firing speakers enabled with Dirac HD sound and smart amplifiers for a thumping output. In fact, ROG Phone 3 has the finest audio quality there is and it's optimized for gaming. The 6,000mAh battery and ultra-fast charging ensure you never run out of juice if you're a hardcore gamer.

Playing for an extended duration is bound to generate heat, for this the phone has a vapor cooling chamber and copper vent connected to heat pipes to keep the temperatures in check. For further dissipation of heat, the gaming phone comes with the AeroActive Cooler 3 accessory. Asus has its own certified line-up of modular accessories including gamepads, docs, and headphones.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

For someone who's deeply rooted in the Apple ecosystem, the newly announced iPhone 12 Pro is the way to go for a premium gaming experience. The smartphone has the 5nm manufacturing process-based A14 Bionic chipset, which is the fastest processor on a phone you can currently get. It has better battery management and processing power than its predecessor. The powerhouse comes with 6GB of RAM that might be down on the numeric count compared to other Android-powered devices but in real-life performance, it delivers the needed multitasking capabilities. The high-speed 512GB storage capacity should have you covered for your gaming needs.

5G-enabled iPhone 12 Pro has one the finest display in the line-up of four iPhones that Apple released earlier this month. It has a 6.1-inch OLED display (2532x1170 pixel resolution at 460 ppi) that brings out sharp visuals while gaming. The phone doesn't have gaming triggers like other gaming devices but that can be neutralized with third-party gaming accessories – gamepads or controllers. The battery on the phone will last through long gaming sessions and that is a huge plus for an iPhone.

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel

Another gaming phone that'll suffice all your pro gaming demands without ever letting you down. The Legion Phone Duel has 16GB LPDDR5 RAM and is powered by the Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, tweaked to deliver 3.09Hz frequency with zero performance throttling. This enables the beast of a device to leverage the full capability of the CPU and GPU. Legion Phone Duel comes with a dual 2,500mAh battery having a dual Type-C 90W turbocharging that makes it one of the fastest charging phones out there. It can go from zero to full charge in just 30 minutes sans any overheating thanks to its dual-liquid mid-thermal floating cooling system.

The device has a 6.65-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel (2340x1080 resolution) that supports dual x-axis vibration for immersive feedback. With a refresh rate of 144Hz, 33ms touch latency, and a touch sampling rate of 240Hz, the phone will bring a strategic advantage to multiplayer games. The UFS 3.1 512GB storage should be enough for your high-end collection of modern games.

Nubia RedMagic 5S

For gamers who want to have the best experience without burning a hole in their pocket, Nubia RedMagic 5S is the way to go. The gaming smartphone matches the king – ROG Phone 3 – in most of the aspects and won't leave you complaining or scratching your head. It has a 144Hz refresh rate 6.65-inch display (1080x2340 resolution at 338ppi) and the current second-best Snapdragon 865 SoC, which by no means is a slow processor. To match up, there is 16GB RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage for ultra-fast game loading speeds.

The phone has excellent heat dissipation hardware, which keeps the temperatures down even during the most intensive gaming action. The speakers deliver appropriate audio quality, while the shoulder trigger buttons and the 320Hz sampling rate gives gamers a slight tactical advantage over noob players. RedMagic 5S has a 4,500mAh battery paired to a 55W ultra-fast charger which promises non-stop gaming for extended hours. Nubia has its own ecosystem of gaming accessories including cooling systems, gamepads, and controllers to go with the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is by no means a dedicated gaming phone, but it makes the cut because of its superior processing power and the freedom to choose from compatible third-party gaming accessories to enhance the experience. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a dynamic 6.9-inch AMOLED display (3088x1440 resolution with 496 ppi). It delivers a variable 120Hz refresh rate, which makes the device capable of handling high frame rates for a competitive edge.

The flagship smartphone has the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus powering its guts. The SoC is paired to 12GB of RAM and ultra-fast 512GB storage, the device will future proof all you're gaming needs for at least a couple of years. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra gets an edge over other equally capable smartphones that are not branded as gaming phones because of the superior processor on-board. The phone's 4,500mAh battery clocks in about six hours of screen time during intense gaming.