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When it comes to portable gaming devices, you could say that smartphones have become a popular go-to gadget for playing games. In fact, there are few mobile companies dedicated to manufacturing gaming-centric phones with popular names including the likes of Asus ROG Phone 2 and Razer Phone 2.
But that doesn’t mean both entry-level and mid-range phones are being left out altogether. For those who do not possess deep-pocketed privileges, some of the affordable range of smartphones with reliable chipsets (e.g. Qualcomm Snapdragon 660) and feature-heavy specs are enough to handle various mobile games regardless of light or graphic-intensive titles.
Which processor is best for mobile gaming?
Apart from RAM (memory) and ROM (storage) as well as the mAh value (battery life), a decent processor ensures your phone can handle both speed and performance for mobile gaming and other multitasking purposes. Without it, surfing web/social media platform, watching online videos and running various apps will be a bane.
There are basically four categories: flagship, high-end, mid-range and entry-level/budget. Since our topic primarily covers affordable gaming phones, we redirect our focus to the latter two processors instead. While there are plenty of different processors out there, we narrow them down with some of the popular options made suitable for mobile gaming:
i) Snapdragon 439
Basically a budget-level processor, the Snapdragon 439 comes equipped with an octa-core CPU capable of running light-to-medium mobile game titles.
Although the number of cores are designed to handle multitasking up to 25% performance efficiency, playing demanding games like PUBG Mobile can seriously lag unless the game’s quality settings are lowered.
ii) Snapdragon 632
This mid-range Snapdragon 632 processor benefits from smoother mobile experience up to 40% improved performance as well as increasing the efficiency of battery life.
With a better-than-average GPU, the processor is capable of delivering up to 10% speedier rendering on both gaming graphics and interfaces. It can run PUBG Mobile, though usually at low settings for best performance.
iii) Snapdragon 660
The Snapdragon 660 is commonly found in most mid-range smartphone models. It has a few advantages such as the ability to support long battery life as well as offering up to 30% improved graphics and 3D gaming performance.
In terms of power, the processor can support popular game titles with heavy graphics such as Asphalt 9: Legends and Call of Duty Mobile.
Here are the best affordable gaming phones worth considering for:
Given its entry-level specs, the Xiaomi Redmi 8 functions the best when you stick to light/casual games rather than, say PUBG Mobile. Of course, you can still play the latter as long as you don’t mind lowering the settings and cope with the frame drops.
Other than that, the phone’s Snapdragon 439 octa-core processor does a decent job for general multitasking such as watching videos, browsing websites and running social media platforms. And for such a price point, you’ll get a larger-than-life 6.22” HD+ display with a huge 5,000mAh battery capacity, a 3GB of RAM and 32GB worth of onboard storage.
Despite its low price range, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro doesn’t skimp on features. It has a both MediaTek Helio G90T octa-core processor and LiquidCool technology to offer better-than-expected GPU performance while keeping your phone cool. That’s useful for mobile gamers regardless of playing light or high-graphics games such as Candy Crush and PUBG Mobile respectively.
Mobile gamers can also benefit from the phone’s long-lasting battery life, thanks to its 4,500mAh capacity that is able to sustain up to 10 hours. To make mobile gaming more immersive, the phone boasts a huge 6.53” Full HD+ with a bezel-less display at 91.4% screen-to-body ratio.
Powered by Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 665 with an octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB of built-in storage, the Xiaomi Mi A3 is adequate enough for multitasking and gaming purposes. For the latter, it offers decent-to-good gameplay and can cope with the likes of Asphalt 9: Legends and Temple Run 2.
Then, there’s the 4,030mAh battery which is capable of sustaining up to 13 hours of gaming. Design-wise, the 3D curved exterior and its 6.088” bezel-less AMOLED display make viewing displays or gaming more immersive. Finally, if you need more space to store your mobile games, the phone’s storage can be expanded up to 256GB via microSD card.
This incredibly affordable Honor 10 Lite manages to cram plenty of notable features such as its Kirin 710 chipset and GPU Turbo 2.0 Both features will help to handle the likes of medium and high-intensity mobile games decently.
Coupled with a large-size 6.21” display and a vivid 1080 x 2340 pixel resolution, it looks great upon playing games or watching videos. The phone also packs 3GB of RAM with onboard storage of 32GB. If you are worried about running out of space, rest assured that there’s a microSD card slot capable of supporting up to 512GB.
The Samsung Galaxy A30s packs an Exynos 7904 chipset with 4GB of RAM and 64GB worth of internal storage space that’s expandable up to 512GB via microSD. Made suitable for everyday multitasking, it can support some of the most popular game titles such as Mobile Legends and PUBG Mobile.
In terms of design, the A30s boasts a large 6.4” Infinity-V Super AMOLED display with HD+ resolution that offers edge-to-edge viewing/gaming pleasure while ensuring better colour reproduction. It has a good battery life as well, packing a 4,000mAh capacity that can last up to 15 hours or so.
Built with both multitasking and mobile gaming in mind, the Asus ZenFone Max M2 packs all the essentials in a phone under a budget-friendly price. This includes a performance-driven Snapdragon 632 processor with a 4GB RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. There’s even a microSD slot that allows you to expand your existing storage space up to 2TB.
Together with a huge 6.3” bezel-less HD+ display that offers a full view at a 19:9 aspect ratio makes your gaming experience for intense games like Free Fire feels immersive. Not to mention the phone’s slim metal build feels light and durable.
Speaking of durable, the 4,000mAh battery capacity is made to last for at least a day’s use. Even if you are a heavy gamer who plays Free Fire nonstop for an extended period, the Asus ZenFone Max M2’s battery can sustain up to 8 hours.
Kirin 970 processor, 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM and an Intelligent Game Suite feature optimised for faster and smoother gaming experience; that’s Honor View 10 for you. This reasonably-priced smartphone is made suitable for budget-conscious avid mobile gamers.
If you happen to be a fan of Fortnite, rest assured this is one of the Honor series compatible with the popular mobile game. Key features to enjoy include the 5.99” FHD display that offers a full-view experience at 18:9 aspect ratio and a decent 3,750mAh battery capable of lasting 5 to 6 hours of gaming.
The Vivo V11’s affordable price tag isn’t the only star attraction here; this phone does quite a good job in terms of gaming. It packs a Snapdragon 660 processor with a 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM and a large 6.41” Super AMOLED display with a bezel-less screen-to-body ratio at nearly 92%. With this phone, playing mobile game has never been this fun.
And speaking of fun, the Vivo V11 will handle the likes of Arena of Valor and PUBG Mobile efficiently without any noticeable drop in frame rates nor will it have lagging issues. You can also make use of the phone’s AI Game Mode; a handy feature that allows gamers to perform other tasks without leaving the game.
Then, there’s the camera which combines a dual 12MP + 25MP front-facing snapper. The former can produce reasonably accurate colour with a good level of details and contrast. For the latter, selfie lovers can benefit from the phone’s AI Backlight HDR and even AI Face Shaping that allows you to refine your existing facial structure.
If there’s one thing about long hours of mobile gaming, the phone will overheat at some point. But thankfully, Xiaomi Pocophone F1is able to reduce this common overheating issue, with its integrated LiquidCool technology. This feature is specially designed to keep your phone’s processor cool while maintaining its performance stability.
And speaking of processor, the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 packs a reasonably fast Snapdragon 845 chipset with a 6GB RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. There is also a microSD slot where you can expand your storage space at up to 256GB. Another highlight of this phone is the durable 4,000mAh battery which can support Quick Charge 3.0 power efficiency.
Although the Moto G7 Power isn’t specifically built for gaming purposes, this budget-friendly phone can at least run casual game titles. Best of all, it has the huge advantage of a long-lasting battery life, thanks to its massive 5,000mAh capacity.
Specs-wise, you’ll get a decent Snapdragon 632 processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB’s worth of internal storage. It also supports expandable storage up to a whopping 512GB via microSD slot. The large 6.2” HD+ display is sufficient enough for such a price point and it has an added scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3 exterior protection.
Disclaimer: The pricing shown is just a good indication of how much these products are worth. The prices could change based on the e-commerce promotions that are going on. If some of the products are not available, do email us at [email protected] Thanks!