Once upon a time gaming was a niche pursuit, with insular wars fought between the console fanatics and the PC junkies. But a quick look at the numbers shows that there is serious growth in gaming on the mobile side thanks to a changing player landscape. Market research firm Newzoo predicted that the number of mobile gamers worldwide will grow to 1.82 billion in 2017. And the mobile segment of the gaming market is set to exceed $41b in that same year. That’s a lot of second screen screentime!
Now that everyone and their grandma is a gamer and women ages 18 and up are dominating the gaming space, what it means to be a gamer is changing once again. Does it mean playing ‘serious’ games? Looking for the best mobile processor for gaming? Or is it simply playtime that earns the sobriquet?
While the democratization of gaming has been much debated, the good news is that the broadening of the definition means more devices are hitting the market with the kind of features that enhance play whether you’re firing up Monument Valley or N.O.V.A. 3: Freedom Edition. Here are five of the best smartphones for gaming:
The LG G Flex2
Sexy curves make gaming on this phone a little more immersive (and carrying it in a back pocket a little more comfortable). A blazing-fast CPU makes for a top notch experience with any game. Even better, there’s almost no chance of blacking out said game because LG has taken all the buttons off the side of the case. It takes some getting used to, but reception has been positive.
The LG G4
This device has been called a gaming beast, and for good reason. Performance wise, a set of really solid, carefully chosen specs makes for beautiful graphics paired with speed and smoothness. It can handle anything even the most serious gamers will throw at it.
The HTC One M9
You can play even the fastest, most graphically demanding games on this phone without a hiccup. Frames drops? Are a thing of the past.
That kind of smooth game play is amazing enough, but a mobile gaming session can become a truly immersive experience on this device thanks to the addition of awesome Boom Sound Speakers.
The Sony Xperia Z4v
This variant on the company’s flagship offers souped-up data speeds, super speedy battery recharge with Quick Charge 2.0 and optimized 4K video. It’s also capable of handling even high intensity graphics with some pretty amazing results and has the ability to stream Playstation 4 games from anywhere in the user’s home via PS4 Remote Play.
The OnePlus 2
If you’re thinking “The what?” you’re not alone – this may be the most anticipated smartphone you’ve never heard of. Chinese company OnePlus has created a device with decent gaming specs and enough processing power to easily play 4K video for less than $400 unlocked, which means it’s a relatively friendly option for gamers on a budget.
There are plenty of games and apps out there designed to render passably on almost any smart device, but today’s best titles have been designed specifically for devices with dual- or quad-core processors, high def displays and stereo speakers. When you’re phone shopping, it pays not to skimp on the details. An amazing processor is a must for high quality visuals, speed and sound. While the tech may always be changing, you can future proof your gaming experience to some degree by buying the latest and greatest. Eventually, games will be released that surpass your smartphone’s specs – but choose wisely and that won’t happen for a very long time.