When it comes to portable gaming devices, smartphones are perhaps the most popular go-to gadget for playing games. In fact, there are several mobile companies that manufacture phones dedicated to gaming like Asus ROG Phone 2 and Razer Phone 2.
But that doesn’t mean lower-end phones are should be given a pass. For those that do not have deep-pocketed privileges, there are many affordable smartphones with reliable chipsets (e.g. Qualcomm Snapdragon 660) and feature-heavy specs that can handle various mobile games regardless of light or graphic-intensive titles.
Which processor is best for mobile gaming?
Besides considering RAM (memory) and ROM (storage) as well as the mAh value (battery life), with a decent processor, it ensures that your phone can handle speed and performance well for mobile gaming and other multitasking purposes. Without it, your phone will suffer from lags and stutter when you surf the web, browse through your social media platforms, watch videos and run various apps at once.
There are basically four ranges to a phone: flagship, high-end, mid-range and entry-level/budget. As we will cover mainly affordable gaming phones, we will redirect our focus to appropriate processors instead. While there are many different processors out there, we've narrowed down some of the most popular options that are great for mobile gaming:
i) Snapdragon 439
The budget-level processor Snapdragon 439 comes with an octa-core CPU that is capable of running light-to-medium mobile game titles.
Although the number of cores means how much it can handle multitasking (this processor offers up to 25% performance efficiency), demanding games like PUBG Mobile may seriously lag unless you lower the quality settings.
ii) Snapdragon 632
A mid-range processor; the Snapdragon 632 offers a smoother mobile experience of up to 40% improved performance as well as improve the efficiency of battery life.
If coupled with a better-than-average GPU, the processor can further deliver up to 10% increase in speed when rendering both game graphics and interfaces. It can also run PUBG Mobile, though running on low settings is recommended for best performance.
iii) Snapdragon 660
Finally, Snapdragon 660 is common in most mid-range smartphone models. It has a couple more advantages such as supporting long battery life as well as improving graphics at up to 30% more as well as 3D gaming performance.
And how about its power? This processor can support game titles with heavy graphics such as Asphalt 9: Legends and Call of Duty Mobile.
Here are the best budget gaming phones worth considering:
With entry-level specs, the Xiaomi Redmi 8 functions best when it runs light/casual games rather than heavy ones like PUBG Mobile. You can still play the latter, however, as long as you lower the settings and cope with the frame drops.
The phone’s Snapdragon 439 octa-core processor does a decent job of multitasking such as watching videos, browsing websites and running social media platforms. And at such a price point, you get a larger-than-life 6.22” HD+ display with a huge 5,000mAh battery value. It runs on 3GB of RAM and has 32GB worth of onboard storage.
add_circleGood screen despite the use of an LCD screen
add_circleHigh-settings are possible for games
remove_circleBattery efficiency is just average when gaming
Despite low in price, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro has a lot to offer. For starters, it has both a MediaTek Helio G90T octa-core processor and LiquidCool technology which offers better-than-expected GPU performances while keeping your phone cool. That’s definitely useful for gamers regardless of light or high-graphics games such as Candy Crush and PUBG Mobile respectively.
The phone’s long-lasting battery life also makes it a tough cookie, thanks to its 4,500mAh capacity that is able to sustain up to 10 hours. To make mobile gaming more enjoyable, the phone boasts a huge 6.53” Full HD+ with a bezel-less display, having a 91.4% screen-to-body ratio.
Equipped with Qualcomm’s mid-range octa-core Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB of RAM, the Xiaomi Mi A3 is capable enough in multitasking and gaming. On the latter, it offers decent-to-good gameplay experience and can cope with games like Asphalt 9: Legends and Temple Run 2.
The phone also has a 4,030mAh battery value which can sustain up to 13 hours of gaming. Design-wise, its 3D curved exterior and 6.088” bezel-less AMOLED display make viewing visuals and games more immersive. Although the phone already has 64GB/128GB of built-in storage, it can be expanded up to 256GB via microSD card.
A budget subsidiary of leading phone brand Huawei, HONOR made an incredibly affordable phone that holds plenty of notable features such as a Kirin 710 chipset and GPU Turbo 2.0. Both features are helpful in handling the likes of medium and high-intensity mobile games decently without killing the 10 Lite.
Users can enjoy the phone's large-size 6.21” display and a vivid 1080 x 2340 pixel resolution. This helps visuals to look great regardless of gaming or watching videos. The phone also packs 3GB of RAM together with a storage space of 32GB. If you are worried having only that little space, rest assured that there’s a microSD card slot that supports up to 512GB.
Playing Mobile Legends require loads of power to run. In that case, the Samsung Galaxy A30s is great as it packs an Exynos 7904 chipset with 4GB of RAM and 64GB worth of internal storage space which is expandable up to 512GB via microSD. Suitable for general multitasking, the phone can support popular game titles such as Mobile Legends and PUBG Mobile.
With a large 6.4” Infinity-V Super AMOLED display and HD+ resolution, players can enjoy edge-to-edge viewing/gaming pleasure as well as vibrant colour reproduction. The A30s also has a good battery life as well, powering on a 4,000mAh capacity that can last up to 15 hours or so.
Want to know what makes the Honor View 10 capable of running such an intense game like Fornite? It has a Kirin 970 processor, 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM and an Intelligent Game Suite feature optimised for a faster and smoother gaming experience. Even if you don't play Fornite, this is a reasonably-priced smartphone for budget-conscious avid mobile gamers.
Other key features that the View 10 has includes a 5.99” FHD display with a full-view experience at 18:9 aspect ratio. The phone also has a decent 3,750mAh battery capable of lasting 5 to 6 hours of gaming.
Your focus shouldn't just be on its affordable price tag; the Vivo V11 performs well in both gaming AND photography. It packs a Snapdragon 660 processor with a 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM. It also sports a beautiful 6.41” Super AMOLED display with a bezel-less screen-to-body ratio at nearly 92%.
That sweet RAM offering means Vivo V11 will be able to handle the likes of Arena of Valor and PUBG Mobile efficiently without any lags and noticeable drop in frame rates. The phone’s AI Game Mode is also a handy feature that allows gamers to perform other tasks without leaving the game.
Onto the camera; its primary snapper consists of a dual 12MP together with a 25MP front-facing lens. The former produces reasonably accurate colour without compromising on details and contrast. regarding the front-facing camera, selfie lovers can benefit from the phone’s AI Backlight HDR as well as AI Face Shaping which lets you refine your existing facial structure.
If there’s one thing about gaming on a phone, it's that phones overheat quite fast compared to other portable consoles. Thankfully, Xiaomi's Pocophone F1 integrates a LiquidCool technology to keep things under control. This feature especially keeps your phone’s processor cool while maintaining performance stability.
Speaking of the processor; Pocophone F1 packs quite a reasonably fast Snapdragon 845 chipset that's combined with a 6GB RAM. There is also a 64GB of storage which is expandable with a microSD card of up to 256GB. Moreover, this phone gets a durable 4,000mAh battery which can support Quick Charge 3.0 power efficiency.
Although the Moto G7 Power isn’t specifically meant for gaming, it can at least run casual game titles. Plus, it has the advantage of a 5,000mAh capacity which means your phone won't die too fast after a gaming session.
In the phone, you get a decent Snapdragon 632 processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB’s worth of internal storage. Not to worry if you think that space is not enough; the phone supports expandable storage up to 512GB via microSD slot. Additionally, its large 6.2” HD+ display is sufficient enough for vibrant gaming and that 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!