How could we possibly choose a phone that's got a tiny low-res 4.7-inch LCD display housed in a three-year-old design as our top mid-range pick?
Because it's an iPhone, that's why. We've explained our justification for leaning towards Apple's phones loads of times before. In brief, our position is: iOS is where all the best mobile games are, therefore iPhones are the best gaming phones.
The new iPhone SE might look a little creaky (it's basically an iPhone 8), but one crucial difference is that it runs on the same A13 Bionic CPU that powers the iPhone 11 family. This means it'll power through any current game with ease, and will continue to run the latest games for years to come.
Throw in a £419 price tag, and this is quite possibly the best-value phone Apple has ever made. It's certainly the cheapest way to access the best that that mobile gaming can offer - provided you can live with that small screen.
OnePlus has slowly changed its tune over the years. The company that used to be the champion of the mid-range market now makes our favourite Android gaming phone, the OnePlus 8 Pro, at a cool £899.
That's great, but the company has all but vacated the affordable middle ground, with the plain OnePlus 8 costing £599. Thankfully, you can find the still-great OnePlus 7T (essentially a OnePlus 7-and-a-half) brand new for close to £500 without too much digging around.
Its Snapdragon 855+ CPU will still handle games with ease, there's stacks of storage (128 GB), and the screen is a vibrant 6.55-inch AMOLED with a slick 90Hz refresh rate.
If you can stretch your budget another £100, the OnePlus 8 is a decent bet for its cutting edge CPU and one or two little extras. But there really isn't a lot in it.
Realme X2 Pro
One of the companies that's in the running to take the OnePlus crown for performance at a reasonably price is Realme, which has turned out some interesting handsets in the past year.
Chief among those is the Realme X2 Pro, which packs similar specs to the OnePlus 7T for a little less money. So, you get a 6.5-inch 90Hz AMOLED display and a Snapdragon 855+ CPU, as well as a 4,000mAh battery and 60W fast charging - all for well under £500.
It's not perfect. You have to make do with an ugly custom UI - something that might just be sufficient to drive you up to OnePlus's offerings. But otherwise, it's a solid all round pick.
Samsung Galaxy A90
To be brutally honest, we don't usually pay much attention to Samsung's mid-range offerings. It's way better and more competitive at the top end of the market, with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy A90 5G didn't initially alter that view. But now that you can pick it up for less than £500, it's become a lot more interesting.
You get a huge 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 855 CPU that will tackle any game on High settings, 5G connectivity (for whatever that's worth), and Samsung's ever-solid design.
Black Shark 2
The only overtly gamer-focused phone on this list, the Black Shark 2 from Xiaomi has the kind of aggressively nerdy style that only a mother could love. But that divisive appearance, together with its age (it launched in mid-2019), means that you can pick it up for less than £400 online.
For that money you get a compelling gaming phone with a punchy 6.39-inch AMOLED display. While that screen doesn't have a silky refresh rate like other phones, it does boast a 240Hz touch report rate and 43.5ms response time. Front-firing stereo speakers are a nice thing to have, too.
While the Black Shark 2's Snapdragon 855 CPU is no longer cutting edge, it does have the distinction of being liquid cooled. That means it can keep cooler when running at elevated speeds during gaming, which makes it a more power-efficient runner.
Oh, and there's RGB lighting. Everyone knows we gamers love that RGB lighting, right?