Most promising smartphones to play games in 2021

At times it might seem like there are only two smartphone makers on the market – Apple and Samsung. Wander down the high street or into any department store and the two brands dominate. However, when it comes to high performance mobile gaming, these two titans are often eclipsed by lesser known makers. Of course, it depends on what sort of games you are playing, live casino games for example run fine on just about any smartphone. When it comes to video gaming though, here are several of the most promising smartphones for 2021.

Asus ROG Phone 5

The ROG Phone 5 improves on the already impressive ROG Phone 3, in a number of notable ways. Beneath the hood, a Snapdragon 888 Chipset has been paired with 16GB RAM, and a screen boasting a massive refresh rate of 144hz, making it an excellent choice for gaming.


  • Size: 172.8 x 77.3 x 10.3mm
  • Operating System: Android 11
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2448
  • CPU: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8 – 16GB
  • Storage: 128 – 256GB

Speaking of screens, you get a huge one with the Asus ROG Phone 5 ideal for playing games on, especially in landscape mode, all powered by a massive 6,000mAh battery, offering extended bouts of game time.

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel

Famous for making laptops, the Legion Phone Duel is Lenovo’s first gaming phone. As such it comes with a host of great features for players looking for a smartphone with a gaming focus. Fast charging is supported, the phone has an excellent processor on board, and landscape mode is a dream thanks to software optimisation.


  • Size: 169.2 x 78.6 x 9.9mm
  • Operating System: Android 10
  • Screen: 6.65-inch
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2340
  • CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus
  • RAM: 12 – 16GB
  • Storage: 256 – 512GB

The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel is a little pricey, and some have grumbled about the camera quality, but for a solid gaming smartphone, it makes a top choice.

Black Shark 3

Black Shark 3 comes from the Xiaomi family of brands, and might not perform as well as the previous two gaming phones, but it makes up for it in price. What the Black Shark 3 does have is surprisingly good specs for the price tag, and quality cameras that work quite well in low lit environments.


  • Size: 168.7 x 77.3 x 10.4mm
  • Operating System: Android 10
  • Screen: 6.67-inch
  • Resolution: 2080 x 2440
  • CPU: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB

Where the Black Shark 3 loses points is its relatively lower refresh rate of 90 Hz, and its lack of gaming-centric features. Worth checking for budget conscious mobile gamers though.

Final Word

Here are three of the most promising smartphones you can buy for playing high end games on. However, there are plenty of mainstream options for those who would prefer a great phone that can also play games on the side. Remember, brute power is not the only thing to look for when shopping for the best gaming phone. Keep in mind cooling systems, touch sensitive options, and high refresh rates. Extras like these make smartphones better equipped for longer gaming sessions.

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