5 best phones for gaming

ByKim Staples
Mobile game

Mobile gaming has come a long way since the days of Snake. Today our phones are full-blown gaming consoles with specs good enough to handle the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Minecraft.

But which ones are the best equipped? We've looked at some of the most important things an avid gamer needs on a smartphone: a big screen, a high res display, powerful processors, a wide range of available games, and good battery life. Here are our five favourites.

5. iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 Plus has two big advantages when it comes to gaming: a whopping 5.5-inch HD screen, and Metal technology, which cuts out some of the work between the phone's hardware and the game. It's got the latest Apple chipset, the A8, and a dual-core Cyclone processor. That may not sound as impressive as the eight cores some Android models have, but thanks to Apple's slick software it does the job perfectly well, with very few performance complaints at all.

Developers are pretty keen to make games for iOS, so your choice of games is hardly limited - though there are still only a few that are really optimised for an iPhone this size and resolution… and Android is beginning to take over the mobile gaming market.

Unfortunately, intensive gaming does drain the battery life a bit - and the lack of a memory card slot might inhibit how many games you can download.

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4. LG G4

LG G4

The G4's display has an incredible resolution: 1440x2560 pixels, meaning a density of a huge 538ppi. Add that to the screen's very slight curve, and you've got a pretty immersive gaming experience. Hexa-core processors, a Snapdragon 808 chipset, and 3GB RAM mean basically seamless performance on games - although, some apps crashed a couple of times when we reviewed it, and it may not be as future-proof as some other phones.

Again, the battery life isn't the greatest either, which can bring a bit of a downer to your gaming sessions. But rest assured, you'll have a good game while it lasts.

Read our review of the LG G4.

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3. Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3

The Xperia Z3 has a quad-core processor, a 5.2-inch HD screen, 3GB RAM… and a decent battery! Not only can the Z3 handle high-powered games, comfortably play them on your commute as much as you like, with nary a worry about draining the battery for the rest of the day.

Sony knows electronics, including speakers - and it's packed some of its audio tech in to the Z3 too, with internal noise cancelling and features that boost the sound. The phone's body is water and dust resistant too, so you can game wherever you are, whether you're bored in the shower or waiting for a bus in the rain. And the screen is nice and bright, meaning you can see what you're playing even when you're outside.

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2. HTC One M9

HTC One M9

Sony may offer some nice audio tech, but with a HTC phone you'll get it double. The BoomSound speakers either end of the One M9 mean that when you hold it in landscape, the sound is almost cinematic: loud, clear, and in stereo. Perfect for getting lost in a game or two.

In fact, this is a handset built for media. At five inches, the screen is nicely sized for games and movies - and you could always upgrade to the M9+ for a bigger, more high-resolution one, if that's your bag. Its Snapdragon 810 chipset makes for impressively fast processing, sailing through games and apps with barely a crash or stutter.

Unfortunately, it's yet another phone where gaming will soon drain the battery - and it's when the power saving mode is switched on that things start to judder a bit. Still, if you're willing to carry a charger around with you, the One M9 could be very much worth it to a keen gamer.

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1. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung's Galaxy range continues to steal the show. The S6 is pretty much the best phone on the market right now - but that little bit more screen real estate with the S6 Edge is always good when you're using it for gaming. Especially when that screen is in stunning QHD resolution. In fact, it's another good all-rounder for media, with fantastic features like AdaptSound that analyses your headphones and outputs the best audio for them.

Performance-wise, the Galaxy S6 Edge boasts two quad-core processors - a 1.5GHz one for day-to-day tasks, and another 2.1GHz one that gets drafted in for the more intensive things like movies and high-powered games. What that means is a wonderfully slick gaming experience that isn't easily slowed down.

It's only let down by the lack of an SD card slot - meaning you'll have to cram all your games into the internal storage. On the other hand, of course, loading from internal storage is easier and quicker, so it'll at least give your apps a performance a boost.

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