Features

9 Best Gaming Smartphones (Q2 2018)

Choose your weapon for mobile gaming!

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We’re almost midway through the year, so it’s time to update our Best Gaming Smartphones list! Our initial list during the first quarter of 2018 included six suggested phones, but for the second quarter, we now have nine. Some have stayed, and there are definitely new entries.

Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best gaming smartphones:

Apple iPhone 8

Whether you like iOS or not, you can’t deny that iPhones (especially the latest releases) are one of, if not the best mobile gaming platform. Apple’s devices run smoothly and are favored by developers so it’s a no-brainer that games released for iOS are guaranteed to be in tip-top shape. We chose the iPhone 8 Plus here because of its larger display at 5.5 inches and bigger battery compared to the iPhone 8’s, and it doesn’t have a notch that gets in the way like with the iPhone X.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus Review

Motorola Moto Z2 Play

Motorola’s game-changing Moto Mod accessories make their Moto Z series special. If you pair the Moto Z2 Play with the Gamepad Moto Mod, it’ll be an instant portable console. The Gamepad adds dual control sticks, a D-pad, and four tactile action buttons which mean you don’t have to rely on touch controls anymore. Also, the Moto Mod magnetically attaches to the phone with no wireless pairing required and has its own built-in battery. The gaming accessory works with the powerful Moto Z2 Force, as well. The phone is already due for an update, and the Moto Z3 Play’s announcement is just around the corner.

SEE ALSO: Moto Z2 Play Review: To mod or not to mod

Nokia 7 Plus

Nokia is definitely back in the game and the Nokia 7 Plus is our choice from their arsenal. Why? It’s got a flagship-grade processor and it runs pure Android. It’s like having a Pixel-like device but at a fraction of the cost. The tall aspect ratio is also a good feature for better gaming.

SEE ALSO: Nokia 7 Plus: The Android One midranger

OnePlus 6

The latest OnePlus 6 phone is now out and it’s definitely one of the best smartphones you can buy for gaming. It’s powered by the latest Snapdragon 845 processor and comes with 6GB of memory — a combo that’ll surely deliver without hiccups and lags. The display notch can get in the way of your game though, but that can easily be fixed in the Settings menu.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus 6 is officially a complete Android flagship phone

Razer Phone

When we were shortlisting our gaming smartphones, the Razer Phone was already on the top of the list. The phone is focused on being a true gaming smartphone since it’s made by Razer. It’s got the latest specifications to play popular and demanding games, a 5.7-inch IGZO panel with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, front-facing stereo speakers, and a long-lasting battery. It also has other features to make it a daily driver, but you can immediately tell that the Razer Phone is built for gaming.

SEE ALSO: Razer Phone Review: Best smartphone for gaming?

Samsung Galaxy S9+

We’re replacing the Galaxy Note 8 with the latest Galaxy S9+. The premium Galaxy phone comes with the latest specifications — may it be the Snapdragon or Exynos variant. It also has one of the most beautiful phone displays with curved edges that make gaming more immersive.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ Hands-On: AR Emoji and super slow-mo

Sony Xperia XZ2

Another fresh entry on the list is Sony with the Xperia XZ2. It has powerful specifications and a gorgeous HDR display just like the other phones here, but it has something that makes it standout: the Dynamic Vibration System. You can feel the game (or even video) on the Xperia XZ2 thanks to its DualShock-like vibration system that mimics a similar experience on PlayStation controllers.

SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia XZ2 Review: Flexing more camera muscles

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

When Xiaomi launched their latest borderless flagship phone earlier this year, it was the fastest Android phone on AnTuTu’s test and even in real-world usage! Packed with the latest Snapdragon 845 processor and up to 8GB of memory, the Mi Mix 2S will be able to run even the most demanding mobile games. It’s also priced competitively just like the OnePlus 6, but this one doesn’t have a notch. 😉

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S Review: Faster, smarter

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 (AI)

We’re putting two Xiaomi phones on the list, because why not? While we wait for the successor to the Mi Max 2, the best budget-midrange phone from Xiaomi is the Redmi Note 5. It can handle the latest titles, although they might not be at the highest settings. For a budget phone, it’s already an impressive feat to be able to run popular titles, so no complaints here.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Hands-on: The new budget smartphone king?

Reviews

Google Pixel 4a Unboxing & Review: Unbelievably Good?

A direct contender of the iPhone SE and OnePlus Nord

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Google’s ‘a'(ffordable) line-up may be long overdue because of the pandemic — but after several months of waiting, we finally have one on our hands.

Cheaper than last year’s US$ 399 Pixel 3a, the US$ 349 Pixel 4a might just be the most affordable flagship killer contender you can get over the 2020 iPhone SE and the OnePlus Nord.

But can the mid-tier specifications and less-fancy phone features justify its affordable price tag? Head over to our in-depth Pixel 4a review here.

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Best Smartphones

Best Budget Smartphones below $200

August 2020 Edition

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below US$ 200! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order

Redmi 9 (PhP 6,990 / US$ 141)

Quality build with baseline specs that can handle, well, the basics. This is what the Redmi line has been offering and that remains true with the Redmi 9. You’ll have to be bit creative with some of the apps you install (always go for the Lite versions), but the pre-installed Google apps run smoothly and should be more than enough to power you through.

Hands-On: Redmi 9

Redmi Note 9 (US$ 200)

This is a routine appearance for the Redmi Note line. Xiaomi continues to lord over the budget segment by offering fairly capable smartphones at such an affordable price.

Review: Redmi Note 9

Realme 6i (US$ 196)

Realme finally releases a budget phone with a USB-C port! That aside, everything here is standard Realme — which is great. Its cameras leave much to be desired but what this is a budget phone after all. It does pretty well everywhere else — can game, handle your usual daily things, and has an impressive battery life.

READ: Realme6i 

OPPO A5s (US$ 117)

The OPPO A5s perhaps is best looked at as a transition device more than anything else. It does what you expect out of budget smartphones. It’s good to have “for now” but you might look elsewhere for a more reliable daily driver.

REVIEW: OPPO A5s

Samsung Galaxy A20 (US$ 190)

Samsung’s revived Galaxy A-series proves that the company cares about every price segment. The Galaxy A20, in particular, is the most well-rounded below US$ 200 thanks to its ultra-wide camera, AMOLED display, and hefty battery.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A20

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Best Smartphones

Best Midrange Smartphones from $200 to $400

August 2020 Edition

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When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best midrange smartphones retailing from US$ 200 to US$ 400.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, upper-midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

realme 6 Pro (PhP 16,990/ US$ 339)

This is the only smartphone in this segment that offers a 90Hz screen refresh rate. It’s one thing if that’s the only thing it’s good at, but the realme 6 Pro has a 64MP quad-camera setup, a really clean UI, and Snapdragon 720G along with 30W VOOC charging. We’re convinced this is the best Android phone in this segment.

Review: realme 6 Pro

realme 6 (PhP 13,990/ US$ 280)

It’s pretty much everything its “pro” sibling is except it’s instead powered by a Helio G90T processor made for gaming. the RAM and storage combo is no slouch too (8GB/128GB) and yes, it also has a 90Hz screen refresh rate. Solid. Value.

Review. realme 6

iPhone SE (US$ 399)

One of the world’s fastest processors, a fantastic camera, at a midranger’s price. If we told you, we’re talking about an iPhone you probably wouldn’t believe us but here we are. The iPhone SE’s design is dated, but everything about its performance is near-flagship or flagship 2020 levels.

REVIEW: iPhone SE

Huawei Nova 7 SE (PhP 19,990/ US$ 399)

Barely making the price point, Huawei phones are facing a unique problem with the lack of Google Mobile Services. That said, Huawei Mobile Services is making a headway. But the reason the phone lands on this list is because of its 5G capabilities. This is one of the most affordable phones to support 5G and that has to count for something.

Hands-On: Huawei Nova 7 SE

Samsung Galaxy A51 (US$ 320)

Samsung’s on a roll with their Galaxy A-series. The Galaxy A51 builds on everything that was already great with the Galaxy A50 and A50s and just makes it even better. Much like everything on the Galaxy lineup this year, the Galaxy A51 sports a look that as of posting is still undeniably Samsung.

Pixel 3a (US$399)

The Pixel 3a barely makes this price range by being just a hair under $400. The camera alone easily makes this crème de la crème of this bunch. Add to that the vanilla Android experience and of course being in the priority list of Android updates, this is the Pixel to get for Android purists.

HANDS-ON: Pixel 3a

POCO X2 (INR 19,99/ US$ 279)

The future of Pocophone was up in the air for a while, but all of that was finally put to rest when the brand finally released the POCO X2. This isn’t exactly the successor to the POCO F1. In fact, this is just a rebranded Redmi K30 Pro. But it’s still a step in the right direction for a brand that quickly captured everyone’s attention only to go completely silent for over a year.

REVIEW: POCO X2

Samsung Galaxy M31 (INR 15,99/US$ 224)

This battery-powerhouse of a smartphone has never quite made it to more markets, but it has gotten a significant amount of attention thanks to its 6,000mAh battery. Something this long-lasting appears to still be one of the priorities of smartphone buyers.

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