If you're in the market for a new phone and you're reading this, then there's a good chance you'd quite like to play some games on it.

Not many websites place such an emphasis on gaming performance when making their smartphone recommendation, so we like to offer a unique gamer's perspective on the matter.

While you no longer need to spend a fortune on a phone to get a good gaming experience, there's an undoubted improvement when you shop at the top of the market.

With that in mind, here are our picks for the very best gaming smartphones as of early September 2017 - money no object.

iPhone 7 Plus

At the time of writing Apple is less than two weeks away from announcing a brand new iPhone - and likely less than a month away from actually releasing it.

So why on Earth would we make the outgoing model our top pick? Simple really - because the iPhone 7 Plus is still the best gaming smartphone on the market by some margin. As has been the case for years now, it will only lose its place when the next one arrives.

The reason for this is simple: the App Store. There are simply more and better games available on iOS - and they're often better optimised for Apple hardware too.

On the hardware front, the iPhone 7 Plus is a very powerful device courtesy of Apple's A10 Fusion CPU, which continues to outperform many a newer Android rival. It also has a large 5.5-inch 1080p display and stereo speakers.

We've nominated the iPhone 7 Plus above the iPhone 7 for its superior display, but the iPhone 7 is a great pick if you want something smaller or just cheaper.

Samsung Galaxy S8

You simply can't argue with the quality of Samsung's hardware. It's been a fair way ahead of Apple on this front for a couple of years now.

If you need evidence of that, just keep the Samsung Galaxy S8's specs to hand while you're watching the iPhone 8 announcement on September 12. I suspect you'll note a few similarities, despite the fact that the Galaxy S8 hit shops back in April.

More importantly, the Galaxy S8 is a great gaming phone. It's got the best display in the business - a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED QHD display that's bigger, sharper, and more colour-rich than any iPhone.

It's also got a strong Exynos 8895 (or Snapdragon 835 if you're in the US) CPU that will run the games well for years to comes. Did we mention it's the most beautiful phone on the market, and that it has a great camera? well it is and it does.

If it had access to the App Store rather than the Google Play Store, it would likely be our top pick.

OnePlus 5

Some tech critics have been a little dismissive of the OnePlus 5, but here's all you really need to know about the phone as a gamer:

This is a beautifully built, all metal modern flagship smartphone with a decent 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display. That might be less sharp than the QHD displays listed elsewhere, but it's more than fine for anything other than VR, and games look great on it.

Despite this less demanding display, it has the fastest Android processor on the market in the Snapdragon 835, and more RAM (either 6GB or 8GB) than any of its rivals. It also has a lightweight yet customisable version of Android 7.0.

Put simply, it's a gaming machine - yet it only costs £450. That's hundreds less than the other Android phones in this piece. In terms of bangs per buck, it's the outright winner.

Google Pixel XL

It might have launched almost a year ago, but the Google Pixel XL remains a contender for the crown of 'best Android smartphone'. It's the first smartphone where Google has truly gone hands-on with its design, resulting in an iPhone-like marriage of hardware and software.

Its slick stock Android experience remains unmatched by any 2017 rival - including the Galaxy S8 - and its camera is arguably the best around. Meanwhile its 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display is sharp vibrant.

That's it not the best Android gaming phone is simply a matter of its older hardware. The HTC-made phone's Snapdragon 821 CPU is still more than up to the job of playing the latest games, but it's simply not as fast or future-proof as the phones above on newer hardware.

A new and (presumably) improved Google Pixel phone will be along some time in the next couple of months, but if you see the Google Pixel XL for significantly less than its £720 asking price you should still give some serious consideration.

The same goes for its little brother, the Google Pixel, which has a smaller and less sharp 5-inch 1080p display.


HTC has been in the smartphone wilderness for a while now, but the HTC U11 represents an impressive return to form.

It's a beautifully designed premium phone with top-of-the-range specs, including a Snapdragon 835 CPU and a 5.5-inch QHD display.

It also has extras like strong audio output (from the speakers and from the superior bundled earphones), the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, and unique shortcuts accessed by squeezing the phone's sides.

All this makes the HTC U11 our new, quirky, alternative pick.