Gaming phones have quickly become the new trend in 2018, but are they actually worth it? In this article, I take a look at all of the things to consider when looking at a gaming phone to purchase.
I’ve also explained what a ‘gaming phone’ is and how it differs from a typical smartphone. Hopefully, the information in this article will be useful to anybody that’s interested in learning more about gaming phones.
What are gaming phones and what makes them different?
Gaming phones are a relatively new thing that came to life thanks to the Razer Phone. I covered theirlive event last year and mentioned that the phone looked very impressive.
Looking back now, I still think the Razer Phone is a good device, but there are things that it doesn’t quite live up to when comparing it to other high end smartphones. I’ve found that this seems to be true for every other gaming phone currently available.
Gaming phones have very good hardware, putting their performance at the top of the game. Expect the very best Snapdragon processors, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, big batteries, and quite often a lot of internal storage as well.
Gaming phones are also designed to have good, high quality displays. Not only are gaming phone displays bright and colorful but they also have higher refresh rates. This means that more is shown on the screen every second.
This is important for fast paced action games but it surprisingly makes the entire operating system feel more fluid.
Gaming phones are also designed to have high quality speakers. If you often like to listen to videos, music, or the sounds from mobile games, you’ll really appreciate the quality you’ll find in a gaming phone speaker.
Here’s a quick overview of what gaming phones add to the smartphone experience:
Great speaker quality
Big, high quality display with faster screen refresh rate
Usually bigger batteries
The very best internal hardware possible for a smartphone
So now that we’ve taken a look at the positive features found in gaming phones, it’s time to look at what will make them struggle against other phones in the industry.
Whilst gaming phones have great features for viewing media and playing games on, the extra costs to add these features means that the manufacturers usually have to make sacrifices elsewhere.
The first area where sacrifices are being made is the camera. Gaming phone cameras just can’t compete with high end devices. They still produce fairly decent results, but when compared to a flagship device like the Galaxy S9 or iPhone 8, the images look flat and dull.
Another thing to consider is that gaming phones are often far bulkier than normal smartphones. By adding all of this extra bulk, it means the phones have better cooling solutions and this helps to improve performance whilst you play games.
That’s great for when you’re playing games at home, but not so useful when using your phone out and about, especially if you have smaller hands.
Below is a quick overview of the cons of gaming phones.
If, all things considered, you can look past these things, then it’s safe to say that you would be very happy with a gaming phone.
Gaming phones are bulkier and harder to handle
Gaming phones have poor camera performance when compared to high end devices
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering what gaming phones are actually available.
Right now, you’ve got the Razer Phone. It's a device with a 5.7 inch 120Hz display, 8GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 835, a 4,000mAh battery, and incredible dual front facing speakers.
The ASUS ROG phone has also been announced but that won't be available until quarter 3 2018. The ASUS ROG phone has a Snapdragon 845, which is a slight upgrade to the Razer. It also has a 6 inch 90Hz display. Everything else is very similar (8GB of RAM, 4,000mAh battery, and great speaker quality.)
The ASUS ROG also has an LED light on the back that can be customized and a number of accessories to improve the gaming experience.
The Xiaomi Black Shark is yet another gaming phone that can be picked up now, although it seems hard to do so in the west.
The Xiaomi Black Shark has a 5.99 inch display, 8GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 845, and a 4,000mAh battery. Interestingly, the Black Shark has a 20 megapixel camera. no news on whether it's actually any good yet. There is also an LED logo on the back.
On top of these three devices, many more gaming phones may come, including a potential contender from Huawei.
A quick recap:
The Razer Phone is available now in the UK
The ASUS ROG phone is coming in quarter 3 2018
The Xiaomi Black Shark is available, but you would need to import it
More gaming phones may be coming soon
What are your thoughts on this new gaming phone trend? Would you ever consider picking one up, or do these phones not capture your interest?
Ollie (zerodudex333) is a big mobile/tech fan. He posts blogs on Monday and Tuesday Mornings.