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What Are The Best Gaming Phones On The Market?

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Games have been available on feature phones and smartphones for years. In the past, most of these games were basic affairs like puzzle games. The gaming landscape on smartphones continues to evolve and mature today, though. More and more powerful games with high definition graphics and fleshed out features continue to hit the market. These days, a handful of smartphones prioritize gaming with powerful hardware and tuned software. Even companies like Razer and ROG have jumped into smartphones.

No longer do smartphone manufacturers treat gaming like a secondary feature. Entire devices cater to the gaming industry in everything from hardware and software to physical design. Without a doubt, nobody should be surprised about these developments. Mobile gaming in general, regardless of audience, is a multi-billion dollar industry. Game developers have reaped these profits through budget smartphones and premium devices alike. In manufacturers eyes, there is money to earn in gaming-focused smartphones.

For gaming, consider the following smartphones the best options right now:

Asus ROG Phone 2 launch date released - The Geek HeraldAsus ROG Phone 2
Republic of Gamers (ROG) is a sub-brand of Asus. The brand itself lives and breathes gaming, producing everything from laptops to graphics cards and gaming accessories. With the Asus ROG Phone 2, overkill doesn’t begin to describe this particular device. It features the newest Snapdragon 855+ processor with 12GB of RAM and a 6,000 mAh battery. Users will find a 6.59-inch AMOLED screen and a plethora of extra peripherals. Consumers won’t find a more powerful or larger-than-life device today.

 

Razer Phone 2
Powered by the Snapdragon 845 and 8GB of RAM, the Razer Phone 2 is all about the screen. A 5.72-inch LCD screen with 2K resolution and a 120 Hz refresh rate makes this phone a dream to play on. Plus, the Razer Phone 2 is often available on sale these day and features excellent software for maximizing gaming performance. Everything on the Razer Phone 2 screams premium aside from lackluster camera performance. Razer knows a thing or two about gaming, and this device makes sense for hardcore gamers.

 

Original Asus ROG Phone and Original Razer Phone
The ROG Phone 2 and Razer Phone 2 obviously top the list of gaming smartphones. However, their predecessors remain viable options as well. Both devices feature 8GB of RAM, but the ROG Phone packs a Sanpdragon 845 processor and 6.0-inch AMOLED screen. Razer’s original device comes with a Snapdragon 835 and 5.7-inch LCD screen. Then again, Razer’s device wins out with a higher resolution and refresh rate compared to the ROG Phone. Each device is a capable mobile gaming machine nonetheless. Don’t forget that both phones see regular sales due to being 2017-2018 devices!

 

Samsung Galaxy S10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro
Flagship devices from Samsung and OnePlus don’t cater to gamers specifically. Regardless, both the S10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro include many features gamers will love. This includes 6.40-inch and 6.67-inch screens, respectively, as well as high refresh rates just under 90 Hz. Both devices feature the Snapdragon 855 processor and at least 8GB of RAM, so performance is excellent here. With either device, gamers will experience high frame rates in mobile games and excellent software features.

When it comes to mobile gaming, the average person doesn’t need a high-end phone to play games. Obviously, many hardcore gamers want high-end hardware and software to enjoy their games with crisp visuals and excellent performance. Asus, Razer, and a couple other manufacturers produce gaming-centric hardware. These devices feature large screens, large batteries, and other features gamers love. On the other hand, high-end flagships from Samsung, OnePlus, and others make sense for many people.  Such devices also make sense for users that want a portable but powerful device.

If you want the best gaming phones, however, you’ll have to opt for the behemoths. Nobody would describe the Asus ROG Phone 2 or Razer Phone 2 as pocketable. In this case, both devices are apologetically designed for gamers by gamers. Manufacturers will likely release other smartphones and devices designed for gamers that want it all. Gamers stand to benefit with pocketable power, and manufacturers stand to profit handsomely.


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Gaming News

5 ways phone gaming will get better, thanks to new Qualcomm chip

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Mobile gaming is picking up some new desktop gaming tricks for better gameplay overall.


Angela Lang/CNET

Two digital pinballs roll slowly across the screen, one a dull grey blob, the other a dynamic orb with light and shadow dancing off its surface as it rolled. This is one demo Qualcomm used this week to show off how its new 5G chips for 2020 — the Snapdragon 865 and 765G — will upgrade gaming on your future phone. 

Built for high-end devices, the Snapdragon 865 chipset contains the lion’s share of the new features, which you should expect to see on phones like a future Samsung Galaxy S11 or LG G9. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 765G is a midprice 5G chip made just for gaming phones, a distinction from the regular Snapdragon 765 that should help nudge more phones for gamers into the market.

Mobile gaming is an enormous business, and growing every day. Fortnite had nearly 250 million players around the world in March 2019, according to Statista. Esports viewers will surpass every pro sports league by 2021, and 80% of gamers in China will pay more for a gaming phone according to Qualcomm. 

We’ve already seen gaming phones such as the Razer Phone 2 and Asus ROG Phone II help push the demand to bring desktop gaming benefits, which include higher screen refresh rates that make graphics smoother and software modes that keep the focus on the game, to mobile. 

Here’s how gaming on phones can look more like desktop gaming.

5G rendering speeds for premium and midrange phones

Any phone in 2020 that uses either the Snapdragon 865 or 765G chips will work with 5G networks, and that’s good for gaming. 

Faster speeds mean you’ll be able to download large game files faster, and it’ll also make real-time gaming possible. You might even gain an advantage against cloud gamers on 4G, who will be hampered by slower reaction times. (The 765G’s Adreno 620 GPU renders graphics 10% faster than the standard 765.)

Snapdragon 865 supports 5G speeds up to 7.3Gbps, while 765G supports up to 3.7Gbps downloads over 5G.

digital-pinball-qualcomm-snapdragon-865

A demo phone with Snapdragon 865 inside powers this digital pinball machine.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Up to 144Hz screen refresh rate

Higher-than usual screen refresh rates are starting to hit the mainstream, thanks to support for 90Hz displays in the Pixel 4 and OnePlus 7T, and 120Hz screens in the Asus ROG Phone II and the Razer Phone 2. 

That means smoother graphics rendering and faster response time for gameplay, which promises to make the experience smoother overall. Snapdragon 865 will support up to 144Hz display refresh rates, which is a first for mobile and the gold standard for desktop, Qualcomm said, especially among competitive gamers and eSports players.

Qualcomm added that PUBG Mobile now has a 90fps gaming mode that’ll roll out soon, after working with Qualcomm to optimize the refresh rate.

google-pixel-oneplus-7t-comparison-2

The Pixel 4 and OnePlus 7T both use 90Hz refresh rates on their displays.


Angela Lang/CNET

Unoptimized games get a graphics makeover

There are a lot of engines baked into Snapdragon’s Elite Gaming platform to make games look their best, like adding support for over 1 billion colors and 10-bit HDR gaming. 

But for games that aren’t designed for such high-resolution graphics from the ground up, Qualcomm’s chips aim to automatically enhance the graphics’ colors and details on all games running on Snapdragon, without having to make changes to game code. 

One example is Lineage II: Revolution, which has made over $1 billion in revenue and commands an average of four hours’ gameplay in a single session. In the demo we saw, playing on Snapdragon 865 changed the fast-paced action and scenery from blurry and glassy to saturated and sharper just by enhancing the color, which in turn helps differentiate details.

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Lights and shadows

Let’s return to pinballs bouncing around the screen. Snapdragon’s gaming suite is designed to apply desktop-level depth of field, dynamic lighting, shadows and motion blur to make the little details more immersive and realistic.

In addition, a new hardware feature, called Adreno HDR Fast Blend, can accelerate the rendering of particle effects such as fire, snow and smoke, which use up a lot of resources to process well. This tool helps squeeze out those details quickly and accurately, without churning through battery and overheating your phone.  

Get driver updates straight from Google Play

PC gamers can update their drivers frequently, to fix bugs, and also boost performance. Being able to update individual GPU drivers wasn’t possible on Android, but a partnership with Google has made it so. 

You’ll soon be able to download drivers from the Google Play store, starting with Qualcomm’s app, called Adreno GPU Driver. You’ll be able to access those drivers after you’ve had your phone for awhile, not only just after it’s launched.

Qualcomm announced a heap of other news this week, including how Android R will let you store a digital version of your driver’s license, and support for phones with 200-megapixel cameras.

Originally published earlier today.

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