Perfect imaginable phone for gaming in 2019: Razer 2 vs. Asus ROG, Xiaomi Black Shark, Nubia Purple Magic Mars – CNET

Presently mobile avid avid gamers have get admission to to a wide selection of phones similar to the Razer Phone 2, Asus ROG, Nubia Red Magic Mars and Xiaomi Black Shark. The specs on the ones phones are compatible higher-priced flagships similar to the Galaxy S10, Pixel 3 and OnePlus 6T, merely now not the associated fee. Gaming phones are designed particularly for gaming. They supply a mix of choices, like superfast processor speeds, complicated cooling strategies, gaming-specific controls and displays with a best refresh charge. Interestingly enough, all of the ones phones run on Android.

The iPhone XS and XR have a additional difficult processor and get admission to to newer and distinctive game titles. Alternatively Apple’s phones lack gaming choices to make the phones additional compelling to play on. And like Android flagships, iPhones are expensive — a baseline iPhone XS starts out at $999.

Fortunately for customers, the four gaming phones I looked at have prices ranging from $385 to $900: the Razer Phone 2, Asus ROG, Xiaomi Black Shark and Nubia Purple Magic Mars.

Perfect imaginable gaming phones

I evaluated each phone in relation to design, specs, potency and, most importantly, gameplay. (P.S.: All of them have the Snapdragon 845 chipset this is came upon throughout the Remember 9, OnePlus 6T and Pixel 3.) Beneath are my ideas and an in-depth breakdown of gameplay, design, battery life and cooling strategies on each phone. Be told on to seem which phone comes out on best.

Remember that CNET would possibly get a proportion of profits from the sale of products featured on this internet web page.

Now playing: Watch this: Asus ROG Phone is the best phone for taking part in PUBG


Alternatively first, some notes on worth

Presently, three of the phones value underneath $500. The Razer Phone 2 is a scouse borrow right now, specifically since its in the beginning retailed for $800. When compared with the other phones, the ROG is the most costly. For the price of one ROG, you must acquire the Purple Magic Mars and Black Shark and also have a few dollars left to your pocket.

Although you got an upgraded Black Shark with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, it is still just $425. Moreover, as of the writing of this analysis, there are discounts on the Black Shark and Purple Magic Mars as new models are expected to be introduced in the US at the end of Would in all probability or June.

I’m really not saying don’t acquire the ROG the least bit (as you’ll be able to be informed briefly, I extraordinarily suggest it). Alternatively the phone you’ll be able to acquire will in all probability depend on your value vary.

Perfect imaginable common gaming phone: Asus ROG


The Asus ROG dressed in its detachable fan on the once more.

Josh Miller/CNET

The Asus ROG phone (which stands for Republic of Avid avid gamers) supplies necessarily essentially the most power, the best ergonomics and necessarily essentially the most thoughtful design. Its 6-inch AMOLED divulge refreshes 90 circumstances a 2d — a number one for any OLED phone. The higher refresh charge manner a lot much less motion blur and sooner response circumstances. It is not as best a charge since the Razer Phone 2’s 120Hz LCD visual display unit has, on the other hand I however spotted a noticeable expansion over other phones when playing video video games.

The phone’s innovative AirTriggers which may also be pressure-sensitive corners that double as bumper buttons for video video games, expanding game regulate previous the visual display unit. Its trustworthy X mode gives you an optimized gaming revel in that can be made a lot more at ease when the use of the phone’s detachable fan accessory, which is included throughout the box. The ROG moreover has the longest battery life throughout the group of workers, and has necessarily essentially the most gaming accessories that you’ll be able to acquire — though the detachable fan comes included with the phone.

The disadvantage is that, at $900, you’re going to pay such a lot for the ones refinements and innovations.

Be told: CNET’s Asus ROG phone review

3DMark Slingshot Endless


Longer bars indicate larger potency

Perfect imaginable gaming phone for regularly use: Razer Phone 2


The Razer Phone 2 sports activities actions a divulge with a 120Hz refresh charge.

Josh Miller/CNET

If you’re in search of a gaming phone that can double as a day-to-day driver, I love to counsel the Razer Phone 2. It sort of feels the part of a gaming phone, on the other hand doubles as a terrific phone to use on a daily basis, when you find yourself now not gaming. The Razer Phone 2 is the only phone throughout the group of workers with IP67 water resistance and wireless charging.

Out of the four, I similar to the Razer Phone 2’s design necessarily essentially the most. There are many people who could be grew to turn into off by way of the “monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey” turns out. Alternatively the marquee function on the Razer Phone 2 is its good 120Hz visual display unit. Whether or not or no longer you’re gaming or now not, animations like scrolling pages look supersmooth and graphics are crisp. It has amazingly loud built-in audio device and seems as designed for avid avid gamers as it is for any person who lives on a nutrition of flicks and song.

In my initial analysis the battery wasn’t great, on the other hand with the substitute to Android 9 Pie, the battery life has complicated fairly slightly. Perfect imaginable of all, this phone is best $499 right now.

Be told: CNET Razer Phone 2 review

Perfect imaginable value gaming phone: Nubia Purple Magic Mars


The once more of the Nubia Purple Magic Mars phone.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Nubia Purple Magic Mars is the follow-up to 2018’s Purple Magic phone. A Purple Magic Mars with 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM in the beginning value $399. Now that can get you a way with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.

The Purple Magic Mars crams in a large number of choices like capacitive shoulder buttons, an innovative cooling software and a terrific game mode at a wallet-friendly worth. Excluding its custom designed gaming mode, the phone runs stock Android 9 Pie. Its biggest problem is the visual display unit: It’s merely OK, and in that area the Purple Magic Mars cannot compete with the Razer and ROG phones.

As a substitute of that, the phone is solid. Alternatively in case you are taken with grabbing a Purple Magic Mars, I’d wait, or at least retailer spherical. First, the Black Shark is steadily discounted and in recent years its worth has been hovering between $380 and $400.

2d, Nubia offered the Purple Magic Mars 3 final week. It packs an upgraded Snapdragon 855 processor, a 90Hz OLED visual display unit and an within fan. The ones are enormous upgrades. It merely offered in China and is predicted to hit the US at the end of Would in all probability. Perfect imaginable of all is the associated fee; a way with 64GB storage and 6GB of RAM could be 2,899 yuan or roughly $430.

Be told: CNET en Español Nubia Red Magic Mars phone review

Perfect imaginable gaming phone with the best accessory: Xiaomi Black Shark


The Black Shark with the Gamepad on the left and the Gamepad 2.0 on the suitable.

James Martin/CNET

Xiaomi’s Black Shark comes with a Gamepad that slides onto the end of the phone. Having a physically joystick made a huge difference in gaming for me. Unfortunately, it felt lopsided when I used it, so there could also be a Gamepad 2.0 for $89 that has a additional symmetrical design. Similar to the Nintendo Switch, it has a left and suitable controller that slide and lock onto each end of the phone.

Similar to the Purple Magic Mars, the Black Shark runs with regards to a stock fashion of Android. It’s Android 8.1 Oreo and now not Android 9 Pie, on the other hand the use of the phone’s UI for nongaming stuff felt like the use of a Pixel 3 when it first were given right here out.

There are some downsides though, similar to the lack of a headphone jack and the very “cheap” plastic in reality really feel to the gamepad accessory.

At free up the Black Shark value $499 on the other hand you’ll be able to to find it for spherical $380 these days. In March, Xiaomi offered the Black Shark 2. It accommodates an up-to-the-minute Snapdragon 855 processor, a touch-sensitive visual display unit similar to Apple‘s three-D Touch, an in-display fingerprint reader and mappable onscreen left and suitable controls. Just lately it’s on sale in China for 3,200 yuan, which converts roughly to $475. No word however on US availability.

Be told: CNET en Español review of Black Shark phone

Lets play a game?

I carried out more than a few video video games on all of the ones phones from RPGs and aspect scrollers to puzzles. Beneath are five video video games I carried out on each phone and my notes on the revel in.

Alto’s Odyssey

Black Shark: After 7 minutes, the phone got warmth. The physically buttons on the Gamepad were nice, on the other hand I didn’t to find a large number of an advantage over visual display unit taps.

Razer: After 8 minutes, the phone warmed up on the facets and corners. The visual display unit made the frequently shifting graphics look very good.

Purple Magic Mars: In darker scenes, it was difficult to seem details on the divulge. Similar to the ROG, the touch shoulder buttons were OK, on the other hand I most popular the onscreen controls for this game.

ROG: After 4 minutes the fan accessory kicked in. The phone remained lukewarm all through gameplay though. The primary game controls are tapping and tapping-and-holding on the visual display unit. I tried the use of the pressure-sensitive AirTriggers as a substitute, on the other hand for speedy jumps and protective flips I came upon additional nuance from the onscreen controls.


Black Shark: Having the joystick on the Gamepad accessory and actual buttons changed PUBG for me. It was in reality simple to run and switch. With my hands off the visual display unit I would possibly simply see the game larger, too. Remember that the Gamepad roughly bends and feels find it irresistible’s a sneeze transparent of breaking. It makes the Nintendo Switch in reality really feel like a powerful piece of German engineering.

Razer: After 12 minutes the phone was very hot. Game regulate was OK, but when I carried out with the not obligatory $150 Razer Raiju Mobile game controller it was a a lot more enjoyable revel in — specifically since I didn’t have to hold onto a warmth phone with my bare hands.

Purple Magic Mars: The phone got warmth after 20 minutes. The capacitive shoulder buttons are great to have, specifically for gunfire and kneeling.

ROG: The fan popped on immediately at a low pace, on the other hand the phone certainly not got sizzling. Mapping onscreen controls to the pressure-sensitive shoulder buttons (AirTriggers) was easy and made playing PUBG much more clear-cut.

Sdorica Sunset

Black Shark: Within minutes the phone got in point of fact sizzling.

Razer: The song and effects sounded entire over the built-in audio device. Alternatively man oh man did the phone get sizzling.

Purple Magic Mars: The audio was thin and when the volume grew louder it moreover sounded muddy. And no longer the usage of a case, this is my favorite phone to hold for taking part in Sdorica.

ROG: The phone remained warmth on the other hand certainly not got sizzling.

Shadowgun Legends

Black Shark: Every now and then the joystick on the Gamepad 2.0 accessory would send me throughout the unsuitable trail. Recalibrating didn’t be in agreement.

Razer: The phone was warmth bordering on sizzling. I used the included USC-B DAC headphone dongle and a pair of Sennheiser over-the-ear headphones and was amazed by way of the usual of the sound.

Purple Magic Mars: It was surprisingly at ease to hold without getting sizzling. I didn’t in reality really feel any exact advantage the use of the capacitive shoulder buttons over onscreen controls.

ROG: Shadow Legends got the ROG cooking pretty sizzling and the fan grew to turn into on best immediately. Shoulder buttons weren’t sought after for this game.

Nimian Legends BrightRidge

Black Shark: This was every other game where the joystick accessory massively complicated gameplay.

Razer: I topped out the usual of the graphics, effects and frame fees with this game. The Razer got sizzling instantly. No less than the game seemed surprising on the divulge.

Purple Magic Mars: The capacitive shoulder buttons helped in positive sides of the game.

ROG: The AirTriggers were nice for gameplay.

That ‘gamer look’

If you want to have a gaming phone, it needs to look the segment. Angular strains, exposed copper heat sinks, a dash of neon or good colors are all hallmarks of a gaming phone. The steel crimson color of the Purple Magic Mars screams so that you could make a choice it up and play.  

The ROG phone looks like something Frank Gehry would have designed if he were a gamer. Somewhere underneath all the exposed copper heat sinks, carbon fiber and angular cutouts lies a smartphone. Its different textures and asymmetrical grooves don’t in reality really feel like several phone I’ve ever used. A casual poll of friends and coworkers came upon that individuals were divided on the look: Section liked it, on the other hand phase hated it.

The Black Shark turns out necessarily essentially the most like an ordinary phone. The graceful angled once more has a raised area like contour strains on a topographic map — that’s the position its lights are hidden.

Out of the four, the Razer Phone 2 has necessarily essentially the most minimalist design. It has a rectangular shape with right-angled corners and edges. I understand this fashion isn’t for everyone, on the other hand out of the bunch, I to find it necessarily essentially the most attention-grabbing.

The not obligatory Razer Phone 2 wireless charging dock lights up as you value.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Does the phone unnecessarily illuminate?

  • Black Shark: Certain, the brand and four bowtie-looking corners on the once more.
  • Razer: Yep, the once more Razer brand glows the color of your choosing.
  • Purple Magic Mars: Certain, there is a long LED strip on the once more.
  • ROG: Certain, the Asus brand on the phone and the detachable fan illuminate any color you choose.

Built-in physically game controls

three of the phones use buttons and/or capacitive or pressure-sensitive touch to be in agreement fortify gameplay. The Purple Magic Mars and Black Shark phones each have a physically switch that triggers a game mode to organize your video video games, optimize settings and offer protection to your gaming categories from interruptions. The Black Shark calls its gaming mode “Shark Area.” Every time I carried out on the Black Shark I felt at risk of whisper to myself, “Going into Shark Area.”

The ROG and Purple Magic Mars have fake shoulder buttons that can be mapped to different actions for video video games like triggering a gun. The ROG moreover has a 2d USB-C port on the aspect, in order that you keep the phone plugged in while playing it in landscape, though the cable does fall between your hands. The other three phones best value at the bottom, which made them awkward to hold while gaming and charging at the equivalent time.

The Razer Phone 2 is the only phone of the group that doesn’t have a physically function to fortify game controls or ergonomics.

After playing video video games for hours on each phone a large number of those additions were nice, on the other hand didn’t yield enormous expansion when it were given right here to controls. I came upon that excellent mobile video video games must be carried out with onscreen controls. Alternatively, having capacitive touch buttons for taking part in video video games in the beginning designed for a console was useful.

There is one function I’d add if I were to design a gaming phone: a joystick. I’d want a thumbstick that will lie flat when now not in use and telescope up for gameplay. Imagine something like an iPhone 8, where the home button popped up to be used as a mini joystick.

As phones switch transparent of getting bezels, foreheads and chins around the visual display unit, my joystick dream does no longer seem find it irresistible would possibly simply develop into a truth. Alternatively since gaming phones generally tend to eschew mainstream tendencies, perhaps it could happen at some point.

Now playing: Watch this: Razer Phone 2 gets unboxed


Equivalent processor on the other hand one is faster

All of the ones phones use a Snapdragon 845 processor, which is pushed previous commonplace speeds for gameplay. For example, the ROG can get a sustained 2.96GHz out of the processor while all the other phones max out at 2.8GHz. For perspective, the Pixel 3 tops out at 2.5GHz.

Cooling strategies are tkey to a gaming phone

All of the ones phones have an within cooling software to stick problems from getting too sizzling. That is likely one of the the most important important aspect of a gaming phone.

The Razer Phone 2 and ROG use a vapor chamber cooling software to maximize the arena to fritter away heat. The result is that there’s no longer a decided on part of the phone that feels sizzling to the touch. The ROG moreover uses a built-in cooling pad and copper heat sink to combat heat. And if that weren’t enough, there could also be moreover a tiny fan that attaches to the once more of the ROG that Asus calls the AeroActive Cooler.

The Black Shark uses a liquid cooling software. As a result of it’ll get hotter, explicit liquid evaporates into gasoline and collects into cooler areas of the chamber, in the end turning into liquid all over again. The Purple Magic Mars uses a vapor heat sink too, at the side of four air intakes to stick problems cool.

As expected, all four phones got warmth when I carried out video video games, on the other hand the ones cooling strategies are all about longevity. I came upon the ROG with its fan accessory and the Purple Magic Mars were necessarily essentially the most at ease to hold for long categories of gameplay.

Which gaming phone is the fastest?

Each phone has potency enhancement tweaks that keep the phone fast and handle that pace right through extended gameplay. All four phones perform pretty close to each other and all four were quite a bit fast. Alternatively on paper, the Razer finally has the edge over the other phones.

3DMark Slingshot Endless


Longer bars indicate larger potency

3DMark Ice Typhoon Endless


Longer bars indicate larger potency

Geekbench v.4.0 single-core


Longer bars indicate larger potency

Geekbench v.4.0 multicore


Longer bars indicate larger potency

High refresh charge divulge

Near to all phones have displays that refresh 60 frames consistent with 2d (fps). The Razer Phone 2 has a refresh charge of 120 fps, which results in sharper footage and text along with smoother animations. There are not a ton of mobile video video games designed for 120 fps, on the other hand those that were seemed wonderful. And even video video games designed for lower refresh fees seemed excellent.

The only other phone with a best refresh charge is the ROG, which has a 90Hz visual display unit. Like on the Razer, problems are sharper and animations are smoother. The Razer Phone 2 has a a long way brighter visual display unit while the ROG’s OLED divulge had larger colors that were additional vibrant.

The Purple Magic Mars’ visual display unit is the weakest part of the phone. It’s dim and feels lower top quality when regarded as next to the other phones.

OS: Android 9 Pie and Android 8.1 Oreo

  • Black Shark: Android 8.1 Oreo. It is not known exactly when Android 9 Pie could be available.
  • Razer: Android 9 Pie.
  • Purple Magic Mars: Android 9 Pie.
  • ROG: Android 8.1 Oreo: Asus offered it’s going to strengthen to Android 9 Pie at some point this 12 months.

Solid battery life even supposing gaming

The Razer Phone 2 and Black Shark every have a 4,000mAh battery and right through our take a look at for stable video playback on aircraft mode, the phones lasted on the subject of the same amount of time. The Black Shark stayed on for 10 hours and 25 minutes and Razer Phone 2 lasted 10 hours and 31 minutes. It’s worth noting that when I first reviewed the Razer final fall, it best lasted 9 hours and 11 minutes. That impressive additional hour or so is because of the Android 9 Pie substitute.

The ROG moreover has a 4,000mAh battery on the other hand lasted even longer in our exams at 13 hours and 40 minutes. I believe a large number of that has to do with the phone’s OLED visual display unit, as a substitute of an LCD one like the other three phones.

The Purple Magic Mars has the smallest battery of the four at 3,800mAh, on the other hand managed a time of 14 hours and 7 minutes in our exams.

In regularly use, all four phones got through a day on a single value merely sure.

Speedy Fee toughen

  • Black Shark: Speedy Fee 3.0
  • Razer: Speedy Fee 4.0+
  • Purple Magic Mars: Speedy Fee 3.0
  • ROG: Speedy Fee 4.0

Huge audio device identical large sound

The built-in audio device on the Razer and ROG are loud and offer a rich audio revel in whether or not or no longer playing a game or looking at films. The Razer moreover has 24-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) by the use of a USB-C dongle. With a excellent pair of headphones, audio sounded warmer and fuller.

Why we didn’t consider the Galaxy S10E and iPhone XR

My priority was comparing phones designed around the gaming revel in firstly. Would the Samsung Galaxy S10E   or the iPhone XR be an excellent phone for gaming? Totally. They every have difficult processors and a large number of RAM and are a tad additional fairly priced than their flagship siblings, the iPhone XS and Galaxy S10.

Alternatively neither is focused simplest on the gaming revel in and custom. The iPhone supplies an enchanting predicament on account of iOS tends to get new video video games first, and a number of video video games keep iOS exclusives. To that end, Apple offered it could be providing a gaming subscription service filled with exclusives called Arcade. The platform supplies some very good gaming experiences that were built totally for the iPhone. At this degree, the supplier is predicted to free up this autumn on the other hand there’s no word however on how so much the subscription could be.


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