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May 15

Best Phone For Gamers

Update May 2017: The Samsung Galaxy S8 has surpassed the Galaxy S7 as the best phone for gamers — but the GS7 is still remains a great option! Moto Z Play is still the best for battery life, and the HTC 10 still has the best touch responsiveness.

  • Best overall
  • Best value
  • Best for battery life
  • Best for touch responsiveness

See at Amazon   See at AT&T   See at Sprint  See at T-Mobile   See at Verizon

It should come as little surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been dethroned as the best phone for gamers by its follow up, the Galaxy S8. Whether you go with the Galaxy S8 or the slightly larger S8+, you’ll be getting an outstanding device that can handle pretty much any game you throw at it.

It features a brilliant AMOLED display capable of scaling up to QHD+ resolution — that’s 2960 x 1440. Depending on your region, the Galaxy S8 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor with a beefy 3,000 mAh battery tucked into the phone’s thin frame. It combines beautiful design with raw processing power to create a phone that delivers all the gaming action you can handle with nary a hiccup in gameplay.

On top of just being a fantastic phone with top-tier specs and a brilliant display, Samsung has done a great job of revamping the Game Tools first introduced on the S7. If you’re serious about mobile gaming and can afford the upgrade, the Galaxy S8 or S8+ is a quality investment to make.

Bottom line: Samsung has done a better job integrating Game Tools features with the Galaxy S8. On top of that, it’s easily the best phone you can buy right now.

One more thing: Make sure to turn on the setting that stretches the game to fill the Galaxy S8’s unique aspect ratio.

Why the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best

The best just keeps getting better.

What else can we say? Samsung has gone in and improved nearly every aspect of the things that made the Galaxy S7 the best phone for gamers in 2016, making the Galaxy S8 and easy pick in 2017. The Samsung Galaxy S8 has all physical components needed to handle the most resource-hogging games in the Google Play Store.

Both Game Launcher and Game Tools are back and better than ever, with Samsung making strides to improve their integration into the overall experience of the phone. Game Tools especially, which has been built into the navigation bar and appears any time you load up a game. It includes the same features for turning off distracting notifications while also including important new features for addressing the curved edges of the screen and temporarily turning off the “invisible” home button so you don’t accidentally press it during gameplay. If you’re the type that likes to stream as you game, you’ll love the built-in screen recorder tools which let you record at 720p and use the front-facing camera to record your reactions as you play.

Simply put, the Galaxy S8 is packed with all the specs and features you need for the gaming performance you desire.

See at Amazon   See at AT&T   See at Sprint  See at T-Mobile   See at Verizon

Samsung’s 2016 flagship is still a great phone to pick up in 2017, and you’ll be able to get one at a discounted price with the Galaxy S8 now available.

Featuring a brilliant 5.1-inch AMOLED display powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4GB of RAM, the S7 will have your games looking great and running smooth as butter no matter how much of a resource hog they happen to be. With 64GB of on-board storage and a dedicated microSD slot you should easily be able to load up all your favorite games. Not only will current games run will on this phone, but Samsung’s decision to jump ahead of Google in supporting Vulkan APIs for higher quality gameplay meant the S7 was among the first to usher in a new wave of graphically superior mobile games.

On top of all the standard features that make the S7 an outstanding device, Samsung’s software includes built-in features that make gaming both fun and social. If you’re a serious gamer, you’ll definitely want to dive into the advanced settings and turn on the Game Launcher and Game Tools. They help to optimize the phone for gaming so you never feel bogged down or distracted from your game, and let you share that game with others through live streaming.

Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy S7 was seemingly designed to be a gamer’s best friend, from the top-tier hardware to its convenient software tools for gaming.

One more thing: There are deals to be had for the Galaxy S7 as carriers and electronics stores look to clear out last year’s flagship.

See at Motorola

We’ve all dealt with the battery drain of extended gaming sessions when you’re gaming on the go. There’s nothing worse than getting all caught up in the heat of the action, only to have a low battery warning ruin things. If you suffer from battery anxiety when gaming off charger, the Moto Z Play is the perfect device to alleviate that stress.

The latest in Motorola’s modular lineup, the Moto Z Play comes with a massive 3,510 mAh battery that’s optimized by a more efficient processor and a lower-resolution display. Granted this your display won’t get quite as bright as other displays, but the color calibration and viewing angles remain great. You’ll definitely enjoy the outstanding extended battery life you’ll get in exchange. When it’s time to top up, you’ll be able to give your phone up to 9 hours of charge in just 15 minutes with Motorola’s TurboPower wall charger.

Still not enough power? Take advantage of the Moto Z Play’s modular design and slap on the Incipio offGRID Power Pack and add an extra 2,260 mAh battery to your phone, along with charging efficiency and the added ability to wirelessly charge both the pack and your phone.

All this battery life business would be pointless if the Moto Z Play was a pain to use, but fortunately that’s not the case. As AC’s Daniel Bader wrote in his Moto Z Play review, if you’re a fan of the Motorola’s past offerings — including their handy gesture and voice controls — you’ll be happy to know they’re all present in the Moto Z Play.

Bottom line: Starting at just over $400, the Moto Z Play is the perfect companion for the mobile gamer with battery anxiety.

One more thing: Other awesome Moto Mods available for the Moto Z Play include a JBL Soundboost speaker, Hassleblad True Zoom camera mod and the Moto InstaShare Projector.

See at HTC

Serious gamers know that input lag is simply unacceptable. Any amount of lag can have a devastating effect whether it’s a coming down to a photo finish, or a frantic deathmatch shootout. While traditional gaming allows for full controller customization (whether we’re talking keyboard and mouse or controller), mobile gaming on a touch screen ultimately relies on the touch responsiveness of the sensors on the phone.

In that regard, there’s no better phone than the HTC 10. With its 2016 flagship, HTC boasts the 10 has the lowest touch latency of any smartphone on the market — iPhones included. While that’s not typically a frequently touted spec, it does make a difference for gaming.

Beyond touch responsiveness, as mentioned in our official review the HTC 10 is a fairly impressive phone that features outstanding high-definition audio output, a capable 12 megapixel camera, and fast performance thanks to the Quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB RAM. It’s all wrapped up in an aluminum unibody design with a curved back that’s ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand.

Bottom line: Never blame your poor performances on lag again with the super responsive HTC 10.

One more thing: The beautifully designed HTC 10 is available in three stylish colours: Carbon Gray, Glacier Silver, and Topaz Gold.

Conclusion

For the best Android gaming experience, look no further than the Galaxy S8. It’s got all the top-end specs you need to any game in the Google Play Store at the highest settings, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. If battery life is your biggest concern, the Moto Z Play is your best bet, especially with an optional Moto Mod to expand that battery life further. If you think lag is a real drag, the HTC 10’s touch responsiveness is what you want.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at AT&T   See at Sprint
See at T-Mobile See at Verizon

It should come as little surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S7 has been dethroned as the best phone for gamers by its follow up, the Galaxy S8. Whether you go with the Galaxy S8 or the slightly larger S8+, you’ll be getting an outstanding device that can handle pretty much any game you throw at it.

It features a brilliant AMOLED display capable of scaling up to QHD+ resolution — that’s 2960 x 1440. Depending on your region, the Galaxy S8 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Samsung Exynos 8895 processor with a beefy 3,000 mAh battery tucked into the phone’s thin frame. It combines beautiful design with raw processing power to create a phone that delivers all the gaming action you can handle with nary a hiccup in gameplay.

On top of just being a fantastic phone with top-tier specs and a brilliant display, Samsung has done a great job of revamping the Game Tools first introduced on the S7. If you’re serious about mobile gaming and can afford the upgrade, the Galaxy S8 or S8+ is a quality investment to make.

Bottom line: Samsung has done a better job integrating Game Tools features with the Galaxy S8. On top of that, it’s easily the best phone you can buy right now.

One more thing: Make sure to turn on the setting that stretches the game to fill the Galaxy S8’s unique aspect ratio.

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