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.
Or at least… some of them are. If you're a big fan of the old vidya games, you'll want a smartphone that can handle them. That usually means:
- powerful processors that can run games as smoothly as possible
- a good-sized, crystal clear display so you can see all the details
- enough storage space for all your favourites
- decent battery life
- good speakers to get you completely immersed in what you're playing
- and even some clever apps to help improve performance.
Here's our pick of the top five best smartphones that we think tick all the boxes.
5. iPhone 7 Plus
Processing power: Apple's fastest chipset yet, the A10 Fusion, with a quad-core CPU. It may sound a bit lacking compared to some of the processors out there, but remember this is Apple - teamed with iOS, the 7 Plus runs incrediblyfast.
Screen: A nice, Full HD 1080x1920p LCD display. We recommend the Plus model over the regular iPhone 7, simply because you get more screen real estate at a higher resolution.
What else?: If you spring for the top-end version, you'll get a whopping 256GB of internal storage space to play with. That's enough room for, like, every single game.
Processing power: Snapdragon 810, octa-core chipset, plus 3GB RAM. It's a Nexus, so it's able to run Android very efficiently indeed - leaving lots of power free for running your games.
Screen: An amazingly clear 1440x2560p AMOLED display. At 5.7 inches this is a pretty big phablet too, so you can see your games' graphics in remarkable detail.
What else?: The 6P has got everything you need for a good gaming experience - including a nice large battery (3450mAh) so you can play all day, and lots of storage (up to 128GB). It's got a big ugly camera bulge on the back though, so it's not ideal for gripping for a long time.
One major advantage it does have, however, is that it's the cheapest phone on this list. It's your top choice if you don't want to completely break the bank.
3. Moto X Force
Processing power: Snapdragon chipset, octa-core, 3GB RAM. Together they make for very smooth performance indeed - especially as this phone is running raw Android.
Screen: A gorgeous, QHD AMOLED offering, which also happens to be shatterproof. It's 5.4 inches in size, which is a nice balance: it's big enough to get immersed in a game, but still small enough that you can comfortably hold it.
What else?: It's got a humungous stonker of a battery at 3760mAh. This is your best pick for playing Pokémon Go, or just high-powered games that are a tad too addictive.
2. HTC 10
Processing power: Quad-core CPU, Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM.
Screen: 1440x2560p Quad HD, 5.2-inch display. Not only is it wonderfully high-res, it also tests very well for touch responsiveness - perfect for games where you need to act quickly.
What else?: How about Boost+? The HTC 10's app management system lets you tweak the performance of your games to make them run more smoothly; use the 'game battery booster'; or lock the home button so you don't accidentally swipe it during a session.
And then you've got the speakers. HTC's flagships always impress with their audio, and the 10 is no exception. The speaker at the top handles the treble, while the bottom is a subwoofer. It's not ideal when you're playing a game in landscape - the stereo ones on the old HTC One M9 are better for that - but hoo boy are they good quality.
1. Samsung Galaxy S8
Processing power: Models in the UK have an Exynos 8895 Octa chipset - plenty of power to play around with.
Screen: A quite stunning 1440x2960p Super AMOLED display. Spreading right to the edges and all the way down the sides, you've got quite a lot of screen space. You could even opt for the S8+ if you want more.
What else?: Oh boy, where do we start? To put it simply, the Galaxy S8 is the best phone on the market for gaming right now, because it's got a bit of everything and then even more.
Along with the incredible screen and Hulk-strength processors, the S8 and S8+ come with a special Game Launcher to make your gaming just that bit better. With the Launcher, you can block notifications while you're playing, take screenshots and video, alter the quality, lock the keys, and more. The phone is even water-resistant so you can game in the bath (go ahead, we won't judge).
All that doesn't come cheap though, and the 64GB of storage is a little disappointing - bear in mind that you can't store games on the SD card with this one. But for the experience of playing, there really isn't anything better out there.