gaming phone
Play the mobile versions of all your favourite titles, from PUBG to Genshin Impact, on a smartpone that can take the heat. Image Credit: Unsplash/Screen Post

Are you an on-the-go gamer? Maybe long commutes on the Metro or waiting times at restaurants have made your fingers itch for the console or PC back at home. A powerful mobile phone fills this niche for the serious player, who can throw heavy titles at the device without sacrificing speed or battery.

In fact, popular titles in the UAE gaming community, from PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battleground) to COD (Call of Duty), are all available on mobile platforms. It only takes an app and a robust handset to game like a pro, wherever you are. But, shopping for a gaming phone isn't quite like picking up the latest flagship smartphone.

Is a gaming phone better than a regular phone?

There are key differences in the hardware and software of these phones. We spoke to Saeed Sharaf, the president of the Syrian Esports Association and the CEO of Esports Middle East in Sharjah, an operation base for professional gaming tournaments and leagues in the Middle East, including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and PUBG Mobile.

"Just as how video game consoles rolled in with a higher computational power than the regular PC (personal computer), gaming phones went through a similar evolution. Mobile versions of PC games needed specific specs to support smooth graphics and perform complicated calculations. The gaming market realised this niche and began manufacturing special phones," explained Sharaf.

Two main components of the software make gaming phones blazingly fast - the CPU (central processing unit) and the GPU (graphics processing unit). ASUS' ROG Phone 7, for instance, offers up to 16GB of RAM and runs on the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, both integral to supporting heavy graphics, battery life and computational power.

What features should I look for in a gaming phone?

asus rog phone
Look into the screen features, battery life and cooling technology. Image Credit: Unsplash/Reg Chien

To make the most of your high-end specs, without lag or tear, start by evaluating the screen of a gaming phone. "The higher the refresh rate, the better. In fast-paced shooting games or high-action titles, you'll want the movement to be as smooth as water from edge to edge," said Sharaf, adding that devices today offer up to 240Hz refresh rate.

Next, consider multi-touch points. Sharaf says that since mobile phones don't have a dedicated input peripheral, like a mouse or a keyboard, gaming screens should support several touchpoints at once. 'Multi-touch problem' is also a frequent topic of discussion on gaming Reddit forums.

"If you were to play a simple game on the phone, such as Flappy Bird, you'll use only one finger. But, in intensive games like the Mobile Legends, you need the thumbs as well as other fingers to perform a sequence of actions," he explained. Latest screen technology should support 10 fingers, said Sharaf.

Then comes touch sensitivity and responsiveness. Whatever touch, no matter how light, should reflect quickly on the screen, to avoid hand fatigue. We can test this with the touch sampling rate and the sensitivity settings of a phone.

Some gaming mobile phones are beginning to morph into standalone controllers in design. Extra hardware features, such as the shoulder triggers on the ROG phone, give players so much of a competitive advantage that they're banned from professional leagues, says Sharaf.

Finally, watch out for the battery capacity - the current models max out at 6,000 mAh (milliampere hour). This is impressive, as our regular smartphones go up to 5,000 mAh. With a big battery and fast processor, phones running games for hours can heat up quickly. Sharaf advises playing without a phone cover, shutting down all background apps, and disabling power-consuming sensors, like Bluetooth and location services.

Here are some of the best gaming phones, based on advice from our expert, that you can shop for. You'll find consoles, gaming laptopsheadphones and more on Amazon. To get free, fast delivery, order as a Prime member.

1. Best Overall: ASUS ROG Phone 6, Diablo Immortal Edition


  • Unrivalled air triggers that even perform gyroscope aiming
  • Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset with 16GB RAM
  • 6,000 mAh battery capacity
  • 165Hz refresh rate
  • Cooling system takes temperatures down to 10 degrees Celsius


  • Only 512GB of storage space

While it's still early days for the recently released ASUS ROG Phone 7, its predecessor isn't too far behind. Tagged at a reasonable price, this beast of a handset runs on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, and has 16GB of RAM to accommodate all your heavy titles. The ROG Phone 6 employs three different cooling methods, including a fan, to bring temperatures down to 10 degrees Celsius. What of the screen? Enjoy stunning colours on the 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 165Hz refresh rate and a 720Hz touch-sampling rate, meaning low latency and super-fast response times. As we mentioned above, this phone caused a bit of a frenzy in the world of mobile gaming. Two touch buttons on the shoulder of the phone, where your index fingers would fall naturally with a controller, let you slide left and right, shoot, swipe and use gyroscope sensors in COD Mobile and other shooter games. And, of course, you can expect some booming haptic feedback. Our pick is a limited edition Diablo Immortal-themed phone.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh283.25 for 12 months with select banks.

2. Best Snapdragon Processor: Nubia RedMagic 8 Pro


  • Latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip at 16GB, with a secondary processor
  • 6,000 mAh battery capacity
  • Touch sampling rate of 960Hz
  • Cools phone down by 16 degrees Celsius
  • Touch shoulder buttons


  • Camera quality isn't the best

Bringing some of the core specs of the ROG Phone 6 at a more cost-effective value is the RedMagic 8 Pro. Our phone expert, Saroj Shrestha, a mobile technician head at repair store Minutes in Dubai, previously picked RedMagic as one of the phones to look out for in 2023. The latest instalment in the lineup works on an even more powerful chipset - the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 - along with a secondary processor for audio and haptic feedback. It also gives you more screen real estate at 6.8 inches, but sees some downgrade in the refresh rate (120Hz), compared to the ROG model. The multi-finger touch sampling rate is a whopping 960Hz, as you make use of the touch shoulder buttons, too. Here, the cooling system is made up of 10 layers, including a high-speed turbo fan, so expect up to 16 degrees Celsius cooler device. An aesthetic feature you might enjoy is the RGB lights at the back. Reviews say the camera is just passable, but if unrelated hardware details don't matter to you, then this could be your best gaming device.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh241.58 for 12 months with select banks.

3. Best Value: Black Shark 5


  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • Snapdragon 870 with 12GB RAM
  • 120-watt super-fast charging
  • Good response time
  • Tactile shoulder buttons


  • Lower battery capacity, compared to preceding options

If you can't afford the ASUS ROG Phone, try the latest from Xiaomi's gaming range - the Black Shark 5. This mid-range handset comes equipped with a Snapdragon 870 processor and a still impressive 12GB RAM. More surprising is its 144Hz refresh rate and 8.3ms response time, both faster than the RedMagic Pro 8. Instead of touch shoulder buttons, the Black Shark gives gamers tactile buttons that they can customise to trigger any shortcut. While the lower 4,650 mAh battery capacity may seem discouraging, the phone supports 120-watt Hyper Charge to juice up within minutes. Reviewers opt for this as their budget gaming phone and commend the excellent graphics, audio system and cooling. They mention running heavy titles, like Genshin Impact, with ease.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh199 for 12 months with select banks.

4. Best Budget: Realme GT Neo 3T


  • Value for money
  • Snapdragon 870 chipset with 13GB expandable RAM
  • Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate
  • Haptic feedback when gaming
  • Fast charging 5,000mAh battery


  • Camera could be better

For beginners wanting to test the waters, Realme GT Neo 3T is a decent mobile gaming option. This budget gaming phone shares its processor with the Black Shark 5, but performs on an 8GB RAM. You could expand it to 13GB by borrowing 5GB off the storage space, when running heavier games or apps. Even the 120Hz refresh rate adapts to the content, so that the power you need is reserved. At this value, the touch sampling rate peaks at 1,000Hz, too. All these demanding features never heat up the phone's core, as eight cooling layers in the internals knock the temperatures down by 18 degrees Celsius. What's more, the 5,000mAh battery charges in just 12 minutes, thanks to the 80-watt fast charger. If you're also a fan of anime, then this Dragon Ball Z special edition of the Neo 3T is made for you. Once again, reviewers remark that the camera could be better, though they find the performance and battery life to be satisfactory.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh89.08 for 12 months with select banks.

5. Best for Everyday Phone: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max


  • Beautiful 6.7-inch HDR OLED display
  • Hardware and software work together seamlessly
  • 29-hour video playback battery life
  • Storage options of up to 1TB
  • Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate
  • Excellent camera


  • Limited games on the App Store

Flagship phones can still perform just as well as dedicated gaming handsets. In fact, Sharaf tells us that most gamers prefer the iPhone because its hardware and the operating system (iOS) work seamlessly together, resulting in little to no lag, unlike different Android phones performing on different chipsets. If the iPhone 14 Pro Max is within your budget, it can function brilliantly as your everyday phone, alongside gaming. Carrying a bigger screen than the Pro model, the smartphone runs on its own A16 Bionic chipset, Apple's fastest yet, and offers amazing battery life at 29 hours of video playback. Let's not forget the pro-grade 48MP camera system that singlehandedly defeats every other sensor on this list. The 14 Pro Max has storage options of up to 1TB for all your favourite titles and in-game purchases, but expect to pay more for the upgrade.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh374.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.