Best gaming phones 2020: great phones to play games

Get our picks for the best gaming phones of 2020 with this definitive list

Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Pro
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

You want one of the best gaming phones around, and we can help: playing games is one of our favourite ways of passing the time, and with the best gaming phones you don't need an Xbox or PlayStation to get stellar graphics and audio. A growing number of dedicated gaming phones are appearing on the market, and these are our top picks.

The best gaming phones combine top-tier components with the latest software to deliver amazingly immersive experiences, and that's a combination we love here at T3: we're very keen on both premium phones and premium games.

Even better, you can often find some juicy deals on the best smartphones for gaming from the likes of Razer, OnePlus and Asus – check the widgets on this page for the latest deals, picked from the leading retailers on the web.

If you're serious about your mobile gaming, read on for the best phone picks for 2020: we've selected a carefully curated variety of phones geared specifically towards gamers and power users, giving you an excellent starting point to finding the best gaming phone you can buy.

These are the best gaming phones

Razer Phone 2 best gaming phone 2020

1. The best gaming phone for most people: Razer Phone 2

The best gaming phone gets even better

Weight: TBC
Dimensions: 158.5 x 79 x 8.5mm
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 5.7 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 + 12MP f/2.6
Front camera: 8MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Sharp, bright display+Improved cooling

Razer certainly knows what it's doing when it comes to gaming, and it's followed up the impressive Razer Phone with the even more impressive Razer Phone 2. The screen is brighter, the speakers are louder, and there's more power under the hood to push those frame rates on the most demanding games that the Android platform has to offer.

With a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels, the 5.7-inch display is super-sharp at 513 pixels-per-inch – and with a 120Hz refresh rate, you shouldn't miss any of the action. Plus, an improved cooling system inside the chassis means the Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of RAM can really get to work without overheating becoming a problem on the phone.

Maybe the improved IP67 water resistance and dual-lens 12MP+12MP rear facing camera won't be of as much concern to gamers, but they mean the Razer Phone 2 is also going to do an excellent job when it comes to being a normal smartphone too. Built for gamers, by the gaming experts, this is the best gaming phone full stop for most users out there.

the best gaming phone Asus ROG Phone II

(Image credit: Asus)

2. The best premium gaming phone: Asus ROG Phone II

The best gaming phone for crazy high-end performance

Weight: 240 g
Dimensions: 171 x 77.6 x 9.5 mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.59 inches
Resolution: 1,080 x 2,340 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 855 Plus
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Battery: 6,000 mAh
Rear camera: 48MP f/1.8 wide + 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide
Front camera: 24MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Dedicated gameplay buttons+Advanced case cooling

There's no doubt that the Asus ROG laptops are some of the best in the business for gamers, so what about the similarly branded smartphones? Again, we have to give Asus two thumbs up for what it's managed to do here – it packs in some excellent specs, and throws in plenty of extras designed specifically to appeal to gamers.

Take the customised in-case cooling solution, for example, so you can get the most out of the Snapdragon 855 Plus processor and 12GB of RAM (the dedicated X Mode in the phone software should help here too), or the way that the charging and audio ports are on the side of the device so you can easily hold it in landscape mode. Then there's the advanced, ultra-responsive AirTrigger sensors on the ends of the phone to make it easier to control the in-game action.

It's all topped off with a 6.59-inch screen running at a refresh rate of 120Hz, so games are going to look their absolute best too. With all this power packed into the case and a whopping 6,000mAh battery, the phone is of course not the slimmest or lightest on the market , but if you've got some gaming to do it's undoubtedly one of the best gaming phones of 2020.

Xiaomi Black Shark 3 best gaming phones 2020

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

3. Best budget gaming phone: Xiaomi Black Shark 3

One of the best gaming phones gets even better

Weight: 222 g
Dimensions: 168.7 x 77.3 x 10.4 mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.67 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 4720 mAh
Rear camera: 64MP f/1.8 wide + 13MP f/2.3 ultrawide + 5MP f/2.2 depth
Front camera: 20MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Aggressive, solid design+Huge, vibrant screen+Some neat accessories

The latest handset in Xiaomi's Black Shark gaming line is just as impressive as the first two: it's packed with power and functionality, as well as a host of features that are going to appeal to people wanting a superior portable gaming experience. It's hard to pick a fault in anything the Black Shark 3 offers from a gaming perspective (and there's the Pro version too if you need a bigger screen).

It's not a budget phone, but at a starting price of a little over £500 in the UK, this is very affordable considering what you get for your money – including a top-end Snapdragon 865 processor and an advanced cooling system. The 4720 mAh battery gives you plenty of time between charges as well, even when there are extended gaming sessions involved.

With a generous 6.67-inch display and plenty of RAM, as well as some striking ergonomics, this is undoubtedly one of the best gaming phones at the moment. We also like the official accessories on offer, including the clip-on charger that lets you keep playing while you're juicing up the handset, and the separate gamepad that makes it easier to control games without touching the screen.

Best gaming phones OnePlus 7 pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

4. OnePlus 7 Pro

A superb, powerful handset that's particularly good for gamers

Weight: 206g
Dimensions: 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8mm
OS: Android 9.0
Screen size: 6.67 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3120 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 855
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 48MP f/1.6 + 8MP f/2.4 + 16MP f/2.2
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of power under the hood+Gorgeous notch-free display+OxygenOS is quickly improving

It's not specifically marketed as a gaming phone, but let's count the ways the OnePlus 7 Pro is one of the best gaming phones of the moment anyway: that giant, 6.67-inch screen, for example, with its curved edges and no notch. Turn it sideways and it's perfect for gaming, with virtually no bezels (and did we mention, no notch?).

Then there's all the power and performance that this phone is capable of, with the latest Snapdragon 855 CPU running inside and a maximum of 12GB of RAM (depending on where in the world you're buying the OnePlus 7 Pro from). So fantastic visuals, fantastic performance, and fantastic audio as well, thanks to the Dolby Atmos-compatible stereo speakers.

The OnePlus 7 Pro also stands out due to its 90 Hz display refresh rate (for keeping up with your favourite first-person shooters), as well as an upgraded Gaming Mode to enhance the picture quality and to improve haptic feedback. The Gaming Mode can also block calls and notifications while you're playing.

best gaming phones iPhone 11

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Apple iPhone 11

The best gaming phone for Apple fans

Weight: 194 g
Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm
OS: iOS 13
Screen size: 6.1 inches
Resolution: 828 x 1,792 pixels
CPU: Apple A13 Bionic
Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 3,110 mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 wide + 12 MP f/2.4 ultrawide
Front camera: 12MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Polished, stable performance+Large variety of accessories

With its extra versatility and more in the way of customisation options, most of the gaming phone attention tends to go to Android, but let's not forget iOS completely – with blazing fast processors, powerful graphics performance and tight hardware/software integration, iPhones are also excellent choices when it comes to picking up a mobile gaming handset.

That brings us to the iPhone 11, perhaps the best gaming iPhone of the bunch right now – it's the cheapest of the models launched last September, with a generous 6.1-inch LCD screen, and of course the super-powerful A13 processor. If you couldn't tell already, this is a phone that we really like, and it's ideal for gaming.

From battery life to build quality, there are plenty of reasons to consider the iPhone 11 if you want the best gaming phone money can buy. It's difficult to beat in terms of raw power, you've got a vast choice of games to pick from on iOS (including Apple Arcade), and it's going to work seamlessly with any other bits of Apple kit you happen to have set up around the home.

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best gaming phones Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

One of the best gaming phones out there full stop

Weight: 186 g
Dimensions: 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.7 inches
Resolution: 1,440 x 3,200 pixels
CPU: Exynos 990 / Snapdragon 865
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,500 mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 wide + 64MP f/2.0 telephoto + 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 0.3MP f/1.0 depth
Front camera: 10MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Packed with power+Gorgeous appearance and screen

Of the three Galaxy S20 phones launched by Samsung, it may well be the S20 Plus that hits the sweet spot as far as gaming goes – though you can opt to pay less for the standard S20 or more for the S20 Ultra, and you won't be disappointed with your choice there either. If you want to know more about the three handsets and the differences between them, check out our comprehensive guide.

The Galaxy S20 Plus brings along with it a super-sharp 6.67-inch display which looks fantastic, and very little in the way of bezels (that small punch hole notch in the front display shouldn't distract too much from your games either). The screen refresh rate can ramp right up to 120Hz as well, which is a bonus for gaming.

Then there are the components under the hood, which you'll struggle to better with any of the phones launching in 2020: an Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865 processor (depending on where in the world you live), 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space (which can be expanded via a memory card). In terms of the best gaming phones out there, this is a very strong contender.

Best gaming phones Sony Xperia 1

(Image credit: Sony)

7. Sony Xperia 1

The best gaming phone for an ultra-wide display

Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 167 x 72 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
Screen size: 6.5 inches
Resolution: 1644 x 3840 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 855
Storage: 64/128GB
Battery: 3300mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.6 + 12MP f/2.4 + 12MP f/2.4
Front camera: 8MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+21:9 aspect ratio, 4K-resolution screen+Light and premium in the hand
Reasons to avoid
-Still room for improvement in the overall design

If you're after the very best gaming phone of 2020 then there's a lot to like about the Sony Xperia 1: not least that 21:9 aspect ratio, 6.5-inch 4K resolution screen, which means games are going to look vibrant and sharp whether you love space racers or cerebral puzzlers.

Sony has packed all kinds of tech into this phone, including HDR support for the display and Dolby Atmos audio so your gaming (and movie watching) is guaranteed to be as immersive as possible. That Snapdragon 855 processor and the 6GB of RAM keep games ticking along nicely as well.

Away from gaming, that triple-lens rear camera is capable of some impressive shots while you're out and about, and it comes with Android 9.0 Pie on board as well. Definitely worth investigating for your next gaming phone.

best gaming phones Huawei P30 Pro

(Image credit: Huawei)

8. Huawei P30 Pro

An all-round powerhouse that's fantastic for gaming

Weight: 192 g
Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.4 mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.47 inches
Resolution: 1,080 x 2,340 pixels
CPU: Kirin 980
RAM: 6GB / 8GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 4,200 mAh
Rear camera: 40MP f/1.6 wide + 8MP f/3.4 telephoto + 20MP f/2.2 ultrawide + TOF depth
Front camera: 32MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Stacks of power and space+Full range of Android apps

Just about the last Huawei handset (to date) to feature the full suite of Google apps and the Google Play Store (essential for a gaming phone), the Huawei P30 Pro packs in some really impressive specs – your games should be super-smooth on this phone, even as the frame rates get cranked up and the visuals start getting more demanding.

This is a phone launched in 2019, but it still holds up well against the 2020 releases, and you won't be noticing any slowdown anytime soon. The Kirin 980 processor and 6GB or 8GB of RAM will see to that, while the generous 4,200mAh battery means that you'll have plenty of gaming time between charges.

With its spacious 6.47-inch display and very unobtrusive teardrop notch, games look fantastic on the Huawei P30 Pro as well. Storage options top out at a huge 512GB and you can expand that using a memory card too. Absolutely one of the best gaming phones of the moment and worth a place on your shortlist.

best gaming phones Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

9. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

A professional gaming phone that hits hard in every other department, too

Weight: 196 g
Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.8 inches
Resolution: 1,440 x 3,040 pixels
CPU: Exynos 9825 / Snapdragon 855
Storage: 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 4,300 mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.5-2.4 wide + 12MP f/2.1 telephoto + 16MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 0.3MP depth
Front camera: 10MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Comes with the S Pen+Brilliantly bright screen

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus from Samsung oozes power and style, and is an obvious choice for one of the best gaming phones of 2020 – as long as you have enough cash to afford it, you should be giving this some serious consideration. The integrated stylus is its main selling point, which can come in handy in a variety of games.

Aside from the stylus you get an Exynos 9825 or Snapdragon 855 processor, depending on where you are in the world, as well as 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage (which can be added to with a memory card). That should be more than enough power and space to handle any game that you want to throw at the Galaxy Note 10 Plus.

Then there's the giant 6.8-inch screen, interrupted only by a small punch hole notch. Just about any game out there is going to look fantastic on this top-tier AMOLED display, while the 4,300mAh battery should give you plenty of battery life between charges as well.

Apple iPhone XR

(Image credit: Apple)

10. Apple iPhone XR

The best gaming phone for iPhone users shopping on the budget

Weight: 194 g
Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm
OS: iOS 13
Screen size: 6.1 inches
Resolution: 828 x 1,792 pixels
CPU: Apple A12 Bionic
Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 2,942 mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 wide
Front camera: 7MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Strong all-rounder+Good battery life

The Apple iPhone XR is the cheapest phone Apple sells today, but that takes absolutely nothing away from its ability to deliver a great all-round usage experience. And, thanks to the phone's powerful A12 Bionic processor, that quality experience absolutely extends to mobile gaming. Anything you want to play on the App Store the iPhone XR can handle with aplomb.

What makes the iPhone XR a great gaming phone choice for Apple fans, though, is that it delivers in every other department, too. A 12-megapixel rear camera sensor is strong, its 6.1-inch LCD screen is crisp and clear, and its 2,942mAh battery runs and runs. The phone also looks stylish and comes in some really neat colourways.