How To Choose The Right Smartphone For Gaming

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Smartphones are essential to gamers, but you don’t need to break the budget to find one that suits your needs.

Where would we be without our smartphones?

The most recent report from market researchers at Newzoo shows that more than 85 percent of Canadian adults own one.

smartphone selection

Joining The Smartphone Community

I recently joined the smartphone club as I inherited Mrs. CBB’s Samsung 7 since she purchased a Google Note 10 Plus.

That’s significantly higher than the percentage that wears a wristwatch, which I would expect today.

This is the communication age, and with everything else going on in the world, it’s more important than ever to keep in touch with loved ones.

Yet we all know that “phone” is almost becoming a misnomer, as making telephone calls is virtually a peripheral function with a modern handset.

Apps And The Rise Of Mobile Gaming

More than 80 percent of smartphone use involves one app or another.

There’s an app for just about anything these days, and you might use your phone to engage with friends on social media, order some shopping, check your bank balance, or even watch a movie.

But look at the most popular downloads on Google Play or Apple’s App Store; one thing is immediately apparent: 25 percent of the apps downloaded are games.

That’s a country mile higher than the second most popular category, at 10 percent.

Gaming used to be seen as something for either kids or nerds who have never grown up, and even I play games to pass the time.

Yet, over the past decade, all that has changed.

Over the past decade, gaming has become a mainstream leisure activity for all, including our son, who loves to play kids’ games.

And the smartphone has driven the revolution for gamers.

It has led to an increase in games aimed squarely at the adult market, from social-focused sims of the Farmville genre to word games such as Words With Friends to casino platforms that are strictly adult-only.

In 2020, more than 50 percent of gaming takes place on mobile. In other words, mobile gaming is more popular than PC and console gaming combined.

Exploring A Budget Smartphone For Your Gaming Needs

Do You Need A New Smartphone? Not really.

From all this, we can see that gaming is a hugely important part of smartphone ownership.

When I usually can’t find my smartphone, I know who has it and what he’s doing with it.

It’s amazing how kids can’t figure out how smartphones work when playing educational games.

But how do we reconcile that with not everyone wanting to spend a four-figure sum on a gaming phone like the Razer?

The short answer is that you can get a good gaming experience without spending that money.

Even a bargain-basement smartphone can meet most people’s gaming needs.

The problem is that consumers often believe that the more money they spend, the better their smartphones will be.

That’s not the case, and you shouldn’t be bound to a particular smartphone to play your favorite games.

Niche hardcore gamers might look to a specialist product, but as Razer’s shift from hardware into eSport shows, this demographic is in the minority.

However, there are some questions you need to ask yourself and some specifications to check to ensure your new phone meets your gaming needs.

What’s Your Game?

This is the fundamental question; the answer will guide your thinking when choosing your next phone.

If you are a devotee of mobile eSport games like Arena of Valor or Clash Royale, processing power and display quality become critical.

However, despite the growing popularity of this genre, the vast majority of us enjoy simpler games.

Consider one of the examples we mentioned earlier.

Online casino gaming is hugely popular in Canada and became even more so when physical casinos had to shut their doors for several weeks earlier this year.

Review site CasinoBlox provides a summary of the many mobile casino sites available in Canada nowadays, and you can see new sites being added every week.

Yet despite the hundreds of different ones available, casino games are simple.

After all, we played card games on our old Nokia handsets in the 1990s!

You can say the same about many other casual game apps.

Scrabble or sudoku will not require your phone’s processing power, and you don’t need a crystal clear high-definition display.

Considering the following factors, always have the type of game you want to play at the forefront of your mind.

Android or iOS Smartphone?

OK, other operating systems exist, but 99 percent of smartphones use iOS or Android.

Is one better than the other for gaming?

It’s a question that gamers have been discussing for years, and the debate is not helped by the fact that people can be so partisan about their operating system of choice.

Apple often gets first dibs on the latest games, with developers tending to release them to the App Store a few weeks before they turn up on Google Play.

So if downloading and playing the newest releases is essential to you, that’s a factor.

On the other hand, Google has a significantly broader range of games available, as it seldom deletes anything from its Google Play site, unlike Apple, which has regular purges.

Android also offers a broader choice of handsets that appeal to consumers when an option is available.

If you choose iOS, that means getting an iPhone, which doesn’t necessitate spending four figures.

The release of the new iPhone 12 means some great deals are available on the iPhone 11, a handset that still outperforms most of the competition.

Processing Power Of A Smartphone

In the day, assessing processing power was easy – the bigger the number, the better.

Today, in the age of octa-core chips, things are not so clear-cut.

For example, Google Pixel 3 has a reputation as a great all-rounder with a sensible price tag.

Look at the CPU and see the slightly baffling “2.5 GHz + 1.6 GHz 64-Bit Octa-Core.”

The point is that those cores are not all aimed at performance; some are dedicated to power conservation and preserving battery life.

If you play a game that needs more processing power, more cores will kick in.

So more cores do not necessarily mean more performance and a hexacore might even give a better gaming experience.

Avoid getting hung up on the number of cores. Instead, focus on when the chipset was released.

Anything that came out in the past year or two should be able to handle any game you can throw at it.

Smartphone Memory Needs

Fortunately, the question of RAM is less complex.

Big is beautiful here, and games with complex graphics with different textures and geometries will need plenty.

If you are playing games like these, look for 3GB of RAM as a minimum.

That still doesn’t mean spending a fortune on a top-end phone, where 8GB is nothing unusual.

Battery Needs For Your Smartphone

Smartphone batteries have come on in leaps and bounds over recent years.

But still, playing even a simple game tends to drain the power.

You don’t want to leave your granny hanging in your game of Words With Friends, so regardless of your gaming habits, make a good battery a priority.

The critical number to look at here is mAh or milliampere-hour.

As with RAM, it’s a case of the bigger, the better, but as a general guide, look for one rated at 3,600 mAh or more unless you want to be plugging in after every gaming session.

Smartphones Aren’t One Size Fits All

Today, smartphones have evolved so that even the cheapest handset can cope comfortably with many popular games.

However, if you plan on devoting more than a few minutes of each day to gaming, looking closely at factors like RAM and battery capacity is worthwhile.

Choosing the right smartphone will make all the difference in enhancing the quality and convenience of your gaming experience.

Have fun!

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