(Pocket-lint) - The mobile gaming community continues to grow, with hot new titles hitting download stores and an ever-expanding fanbase of dedicated players. Manufacturers have noticed this, too, creating handsets specifically tailored for players.
It's not a brand new concept, but with a number of brands now into production of their second- or third-generation devices, we run down what's out there in the gaming phone market that's worth considering, alongside which special features might make it worth buying one device over another.
Nubia Red Magic 5G
Nubia's Red Magic is the first phone to ever feature a 144Hz display. That means it offers ultra-smooth play that's technically a step beyond any competition.
It's also incredibly high spec, with a Qualcomm SD865 processor, liquid cooling to keep things moving, and a large battery capacity to keep you playing.
Built-in triggers are a nod to the gaming potential here, too, although to get the most out of this surprisingly affordable gaming phone you'll want to grab the additional controllers (sold separately).
Black Shark 3
This phone manages a seriously impressive feat by bringing superb responsiveness and gaming performance to the table alongside really reasonable pricing.
It's practically mid-range cost-wise, but you'll find that it creams through any mobile game out there right now. Plus, you get 5G connectivity to make sure that you can stream and play online at the best speeds.
Use Black Shark's additional physical controller clip-ons to really upgrade your gaming on the go.
Asus ROG Phone 3
Perhaps the most outward looking 'gaming phone' aesthetic of them all comes from Asus. It's so powerful that it can feel a bit like a mini console that's a veritable gaming feast.
On the downside its design makes it about as far from a day-to-day handset as you could want, with overall thickness and limited battery life when you're actually using it to game notching it down a few pegs. However, with a higher refresh-rate than many there's clear appeal.
Razer Phone 2
Razer is no stranger to gaming, as one of the most fluent gaming laptop makers on the market. It's a company especially well-known for producing hardcore spec machines without the all-out exoticness of some rivals. The Razer Phone 2 follows that same mantra: it's a subtle-looking handset that's super powerful, but its brick-like looks won't appeal to all.
The main spec that really sells it beyond its competition is its screen's 120Hz refresh rate (most devices are half of this, at 60Hz). This is royalty in the gaming sphere, allowing for sync with faster frame-rate games, delivering silky smooth motion in everything it does. No, not all games can output at such a refresh nor high frame-rate, but a handful of titles can, giving the Razer a unique selling point beyond any of its competitors.
Unlike the Black Shark 3 (see above), however, there's no adept add-on controller system and the physical proportions of this device as a day-to-day product let it down when you're not in gaming mode.
Huawei Mate 20 X
If you want a big handset specifically for gaming then, well, nobody goes bigger than Huawei at present. The Mate 20 X's 7.2-inch display is not only massive - to almost tablet-like proportions - it's of great quality at this scale. While we at first thought it was too big, having lived with the device we've found this screen to have massive benefits for gaming and media immersion.
Powerful innards from the company's own Kirin processor ensure an optimised gaming experience, but it's the phone's other specs that really sell it. A huge battery capacity of 5,000mAh sees it last and last, while an optional slip-on controller gives an added edge for gamers wanting a thumbstick controller.
Vivo NEX Dual Display
Vivo's NEX Dual Display might be pitched as an 'all about selfies' phone, but this handset makes a lot of sense for gamers too. Why? Because it has a second screen to the rear that's almost full-size and always active, which can be utilised for rear presses in certain titles. So not only is there enough RAM on board to run two versions of Android both front and back, that rear screen can also be used as an additional trigger - great for doubling-down on the controls.
Problem is, this device is only available in China right now, with a software setup that's not really ready for the western world just yet. But we do think that Vivo is a major player to watch in the future at an international level.