Asus ROG Gaming Smartphone

List of Best Budget Gaming Phones with Android Under $500 in 2018

Nowadays we use our smartphones everywhere. The most significant use of them is for gaming. This is where the real potential of the phone is tested. These days almost any mid-range or budget device can run the majority of the games smoothly. In this post, we have shortlisted some of the best budget gaming phones which is affordable. They are excellent value for your hard-earned money.

When frame rates really matter, not all devices perform well. The device needs to have a powerful SoC with enough RAM. There must be plenty of storage space and a big battery, as games drain the battery very fastly. Also, the ergonomics of the phone, display size and sensors also influence your performance in the game. So considering all the factors that a gamer need in his/her smartphone we have compiled this list of best smartphones for gaming under $300.

Budget Gaming Phones: Our Recommendations

Our choice includes phones which might not be available in all the markets but are good at what they do. So, keeping that in mind, let’s go ahead and start with our top suggestions.

Redmi Note 5

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Starting with the phones in the range of $150 that will let you play most of the games much problem. Redmi Note 5 is the first one. It offers excellent value to the price. It has got a 5.99 inches full HD IPS LCD with a 77.4% screen to body ratio, so you don’t have strain your eyes. It runs on Android Nougat 7.1.2 OS out of the box. It is powered by Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 3/4 GB of RAM and 32/64 GB storage capacity.

This combination is powerful enough to play the majority of the phones without any lag or hang. This smartphone is not only useful in games but also in photography. It gets a 12 MP camera on the rear side and a 5 MP side on the front side. It gets fingerprint scanner and a giant 4000 mAh battery.

Redmi 5 Plus Specifications
Display 5.99 inches IPS LCD
77.4% screen-to-body ratio
1080 x 2160 pixels resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
403 PPI density
CPU Snapdragon 625 Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU  Adreno 506
RAM  3/4 GB
Inbuilt Storage  32/64 GB
Rear Camera 12 MP (f/2.2, 1.25 μm)
Front Camera 5 MP, 1080p
Operating System Android 7.1.2 (Nougat)
Weight 180 g
Dimension 158.5 x 75.5 x 8.1 mm
Battery 4000 mAh

Mi Max 2

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If you are looking for a smartphone with a larger display than most of the smartphones, Mi Max 2 will be a great pic. Do note that the Mi Max 3 is also rumored to be coming this year with an even larger display around 7 inches with ultra thin-bezels. But again there is no confirmation. Even if it comes buying a Xiaomi phone in a flash sale is a headache. Also, the Mi Mix 3 will have a slightly high price. So moving ahead with the option we have, the Mi Max 2.

It has a large 6.44 inches full HD display with 16:9 aspect ratio and protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Out of the box, it runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS. Snapdragon 625 2 GHz octa-core processor also powers it. It has 4 GB RAM and comes in three storage options 32/64/128 GB which you can further extend up to 256 GB.

It gets a 12 MP camera on the rear side and a 5 MP camera on the front. Both cameras take decent pictures. It gets a 5300 mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support to keep the phone always ready for gaming. The main USP of the phone is its large display. You can get even better SoC at this price but if a large screen is at priority Mi Max 2 is still a great phone for gaming.

Mi Max 2 Specifications
Display 6.44 inches IPS LCD
74.0% screen to body ratio
1080 x 1920 pixels resolution
16:9 aspect ratio
342 PPI density
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Adreno 506
RAM 4 GB RAM
Inbuilt Storage 32/64/128 GB, expandable up to 256 GB (hybrid slot)
Rear Camera 12 MP (f/2.2, 1/2.9″, 1.25µm),
Front Camera 5 MP, f/2.0
Operating System Android 7.1.1 (Nougat)
Weight 211 grams
Dimension 174.1 x 88.7 x 7.6 mm
Battery Li-Ion 5300 mAh

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1

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The newly launched Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 gives strong competition to the Redmi Note 5 Pro. It features a 5.99 inches full HD IPS LCD with 18:9 aspect ratio at 402 PPI density.  No doubt it has one of the best display of its class that’s why we have picked up this phone for smartphone gaming on a budget. It is preloaded with Android 8.1 Oreo OS.

It is equipped with Snapdragon 636 Octa-core 1.8 GHz Kryo 260 cores processor with Adreno 509 GPU. It comes in three variants, 3/4/6 GB RAM with 32/64 GB inbuilt storage which is expandable up to 400 GB using the dedicated card slot.

It has a dual 13 MP + 5 MP camera on the rear side and an 8 MP selfie shooter camera on the front. But the 6 GB RAM variant gets an even better camera with 16 MP + 5 MP sensors on the rear and 16 MP camera on the front side. Max Pro M1 receives flash on both the sides. A 5000 mAh battery gives outstanding backup and still, this phone weighs 180 grams which is kind of good considering everything the phone packs.

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 Specifications
Display  5.99 inches IPS LCD
77.0% screen to body ratio
1080 x 2160 pixels resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
402 PPI density
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
Octa-core 1.8 GHz Kryo 260
GPU  Adreno 509
RAM  3/4/6 GB
Inbuilt Storage  32/64 GB, expandable up to 2 TB (dedicated card slot )
Rear Camera Dual: 13 MP (f/2.2) + 5 MP
Dual: 16 MP + 5 MP (6 GB RAM model only)
Front Camera  8 MP (f/2.2)
16 MP in 6 GB RAM model
Operating System  Android 8.1 (Oreo)
Weight  180 grams
Dimension  159 x 76 x 8.5 mm
Battery  5000 mAh

Redmi Note 5 Pro

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Redmi Note 5 Pro, one can say the best phone under $200, not just for gaming but also for the camera and a good battery life. The main difference in the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro is the camera. Also, the Redmi Note 5 Pro beats the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 in the camera department. Elsewhere the Asus phone is better and relatively a bit cheaper. So if you are confused between the two Asus and Redmi. If the camera is also important, choose the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Otherwise, just for everything else, Asus Max Pro M1 offer same performance at the slightly cheaper price.

I hope you won’t get confused between these three. So moving ahead to the Redmi Note 5 Pro. It gets the same 5.99 inches full HD IPS LCD with Snapdragon 636 SoC. But this smartphone runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box and gets 4/6 GB RAM and 64 Gb unbuilt storage on both the variants.

You get a dual camera on the rear side with 12 MP + 5 MP sensors with dual-LED flash and a 20 MP selfie camera with LED flash. Redmi Note 5 Pro gets Bluetooth 5.0 and a fingerprint scanner along with rest of the necessary sensors. A 4000 mAh Li-Po battery gives more than average backup.

Redmi Note 5 Pro Specifications
Display 5.99 inches IPS LCD
1080 x 2160 pixels resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
403 PPI density
77.4% screen to body ratio
CPU  Snapdragon 636 Octa-core 1.8 GHz Kryo 260
GPU  Adreno 509
RAM  4/6 GB
Inbuilt Storage  64 GB
Rear Camera Dual: 12 MP (f/2.2, 1.25µm) + 5 MP (f/2.0, 1.12µm)
Front Camera  20 MP (f/2.2, 1/2.8″, 1µm), LED flash, 1080p
Operating System  Android 7.1.2 (Nougat), MIUI 9
Weight  181 grams
Dimension  158.6 x 75.4 x 8.1 mm
Battery  4000 mAh

Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro

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Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro is a bit overpriced considering other smartphones in the market. But the brand value and durability of the Samsung phone gives justification to its price. A 5.5 inches Super AMOLED full HD display is the best in its class. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat and power by Exynos 7870 octa-core processor with Mali-T830 MP1 GPU.

It packs 3 GB RAM which is enough to play even massive games smoothly on the Android platform. The inbuilt storage is 32/64 GB which is further expandable up to 256 GB via dedicated card slot. It gets 13 MP camera on the front and rear side with LED flash for both the cameras.

It gets a fingerprint scanner on the front side and powered by a 3600 mAh Li-Ion battery. Overall the phone has a pretty decent hardware, and all aluminum body feels quite durable. The only issue is with the price of the phone. Samsung needs to lower the cost a bit.

Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro Specifications
Display 5.5 inches Super AMOLED
73.1% screen to body ratio
1080 x 1920 pixels resolution
16:9 aspect ratio
401 PPI density
CPU Exynos 7870
Octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Mali-T830 MP1
RAM 3 GB
Inbuilt Storage 32/64 GB, expandable up to 256 GB (dedicated card slot)
Rear Camera 13 MP, f/1.7, LED flash
Front Camera 13 MP, f/1.9, LED flash, 1080p
Operating System Android 7.0 (Nougat)
Weight 181 g
Dimension 152.5 x 74.8 x 8 mm
Battery 3600 mAh

Xiaomi MI A2

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One of the most awaited lower mid-range smartphone and successor of the Mi A1 is the Mi A2. The Mi A2 has a 5.99 inches LTPS IPS LCD with 18:9 aspect which is perfect for the Android games. It will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 which is the best SoC to date for the budget devices. It will run on Android 8.1 Oreo, stock Android.

It will be available in three variants 4/6 GB RAM with 64 GB inbuilt and the 6 GB RAM with 128 GB storage capacity. You can not expand the storage further as there will be no card slot on this phone. Mi A1 was known for its camera and this time Mi A2 has got even better one. On the rear side, you will see a dual 12 MP + 20 MP camera and the front gets a 20 MP camera.

It has a Type-C port for charging and ultra-fast data transfer. This phone has powerful hardware to knock down any game. The only reason for not buying this phone as a gaming device is its battery. It gets a 3010 mAh battery which gives average backup. So if you can compromise with the battery, this is the best you could get at this price.

Xiaomi MI A2  Specifications
Display 5.99 inches LTPS IPS LCD
1080 x 2160 pixels resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
403 PPI density
77.4% screen-to-body ratio
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
GPU Adreno 512
RAM 4/6 GB
Inbuilt Storage 64/128 GB, expandable up to 256 GB (hybrid slot)
Rear Camera Dual:12 MP (f/1.8, 1/2.9″, 1.25µm) + 20 MP (f/1.8, 1/2.8″, 1.0µm)
Front Camera 20 MP (f/1.8, 1/2.8″, 1.0µm)
Operating System Android 8.1 (Oreo); Android One
Weight  168 g
Dimension  158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm
Battery 3010 mAh

ZTE Nubia Z18 Mini

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ZTE has launched the Z18 Mini with an awesome camera, powerful SoC and plenty of RAM at a very competitive price. This phone has a 5.7 inches full HD display with 18:9 aspect ratio and 424 PPI density. This phone is quite slim and sleek and weighs 153 grams. It can be operated with one hand. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC coupled with 6 GB RAM.

The 64/128 GB storage is enough to install plenty of games on your device. Even if inbuilt storage feels less, you can add up to 256 GB micro SD card in the SIM 2 slot. The dual 24 MP + 5 MP camera on the rear and 8 MP camera on the front is fantastic in capturing pictures. This phone also gets Type-C port for charging, the fingerprint scanner on the rear side and Bluetooth 5.0. A 3450 mAh Li-Po battery power up the phone.

ZTE Nubia Z18 Mini Specifications
Display  5.7 inches LTPS IPS LCD
1080 x 2160 pixels resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
424 PPI density
80.2% screen-to-body ratio
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Kryo 260 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260)
GPU  Adreno 512
RAM  6 GB RAM
Inbuilt Storage  64/128 GB, expandable up to 256 GB
Rear Camera  Dual: 24 MP (f/1.7) + 5 MP
Front Camera  8 MP (f/2.0, 1.12µm)
Operating System  Android 8.1 (Oreo)
Weight  153 g
Dimension  148 x 70.6 x 7.6 mm
Battery Li-Po 3450 mAh

Huawei Honor 9i

Best Bezel Less Mobiles Phones

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Back in 2017 when Honor 9i was launched, it was praised for the four cameras at an affordable budget. Now the scene has changed, every other phone is now coming with the dual camera. Honor 9i has a 5.9 inches full HD display. HiSilicon Kirin 659 octa-core processor powers it. This phone gets 4 GB RAM and 64 GB inbuilt storage capacity which is further expandable up to 128 GB.

It won’t disappoint you doesn’t matter you play games, do multitasking or use it for photography. It has dual 16 MP + 2 MP camera on the rear side and a 13 MP + 2 MP camera on the front side. Out of the box, this phone comes preloaded with Android Nougat and powered by a 3340 mAh battery. Frankly speaking, this is not the best phone here but is powerful enough to be on this list of best budget phones for gaming.

Huawei Honor 9i  Specifications
Display 5.9 inches full HD IPS LCD
1080 x 2160 pixels resolution
CPU HiSilicon Kirin 659
Octa Core Clocked up to 2.36 GHz Processor
Network 4G/3G/2G(Volte): Dual SIM
RAM 4 GB
Inbuilt Storage 64 GB, expandable up to 128 GB (hybrid slot)
Rear Camera Dual: 16MP + 2MP
Front Camera Dual: 13MP + 2MP
Operating System Android Nougat 7
Weight 164 grams
Dimension 156.20 x 75.00 x 7.50 mm
Battery 3340 mAh

Asus Zenfone 5

Android Phones With Notched Screen

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The beauty of iPhone X and power of Snapdragon 636 makes Asus Zenfone 5 a stylish gaming smartphone in the budget. Asus Zenfone 5 features 6.2 inches notched full HD IPS LCD with 83.6% screen to body ratio. The Snapdragon 636 is coupled with 4/6 GB of RAM makes it a killer gaming machine. The 64 GB inbuilt storage is enough to store all the games you need. Moreover, you can add up to 400 GB micro SD card in the Hybrid SIM slot.

Asus Zenfone 5 has a dual 12 MP + 8 MP camera on the rear side with gyro EIS for electronic image stabilization. The front gets an 8 MP with AI features. You will also get to see the fingerprint scanner, Bluetooth 5.0 and Type-C USB port. It gets power from the 3300 mAh battery. Overall, the same configuration Asus Zenfone 5 offers you can get at a lower price in Redmi Note 5 Pro and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1. But the main USP of the phone is the iPhone X like notched display and relatively large screen to body ratio. So if you are a fan of a notched display, it is a good option. Otherwise, you can opt for better one or save some money by choosing the former options above.

Asus Zenfone 5 Specifications
Display  6.2-inch Super IPS display
Full HD+ resolution (2246 x 1080 pixels)
19:9 aspect ratio
Processor  Snapdragon 636 SoC
Internal Storage  64 GB or 128 GB internal, microSD card support up to 2 TB
RAM  4 GB or 6 GB RAM, LPDDR4X
Rear Camera  Dual Cameras (12 MP + 8 MP)
Front Camera  8 MP f/2.0, wide-angle 120-degree
Battery  3300 mAh
Operating System Android 8.0 Oreo, ZenUI 5, AI-Powered, upgradable to Android P
Weight  155 grams
Dimension  153 x 75.7 x 7.9 mm

Nokia 7 Plus

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Nokia 7 Plus is the beauty with the best performance. Snapdragon 660 octa-core 2.2 GHz processor powers this mid-range smartphone. The processor is coupled with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB inbuilt storage. You can further use up to 256 GB micro SD card for that you have to remove your second SIM card. It has a 6 inches full HD IPS LCD with 18:9 aspect ratio.

This phone on Android 8.1 Oreo, Android One. This configuration is powerful enough to play almost every game on the Play store without any problem. But your smartphone is not just for the gaming. So moving to the camera, Nokia offers dual 12 MP + 13 MP camera on the rear side and a 16 MP camera on the front side with Carl Zeiss Optics. It has a 3800 mAh battery, Bluetooth 5.0 faster data transfer and more range and USB Type-C port for charging. Personally, I am very impressed with the design, performance and build quality of the phone.

Nokia 7 Plus Specifications
Display 6 inches IPS LCD
1080 x 2160 pixels resolution,
18:9 aspect ratio
403 PPI density
77.2% screen-to-body ratio
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Kryo 260 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260)
GPU Adreno 512
RAM 4 GB RAM
Inbuilt Storage 64 GB
Rear Camera Dual: 12 MP (f/1.8, 1.4µm) + 12 MP (f/2.6, 1.0µm)
Front Camera  16 MP (f/2.0, 1.0µm)
Operating System Android 8.1 (Oreo)
Weight  183 g
Dimension  158.4 x 75.6 x 8 mm
Battery  3800 mAh

Honorable Mentions

Besides our budget-oriented gaming smartphones, we have also added few high-end smartphones. These smartphones are manufactured keeping in mind the gaming as the priority. So let’s move on the list, not a long one this time.

ZTE Nubia Red Magic

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ZTE Nubia Red Magic has a 6 inches LTPS IPS LCD having 18:9 aspect ratio at 402 PPI density. It is a dual-SIM smartphone with an RGB light panel on the back to give this phone a unique look. It runs on Android 8.1 Oreo and gets Snapdragon 835 processor. It is available in two variants, 6 GB RAM with 64 GB storage and 8 Gb RAM with 128 GB of storage. There is no card slot, so you can’t expand storage further.

As far as the camera is concerned, there is a 24 MP camera on the rear side and an 8 MP camera on the front side. Along with all this, it comes with Bluetooth 5.0, Type-C USB port and a fingerprint scanner on the rear side of this gaming machine. It gets power from a 3800 mAh Li-Po battery which lasts for the whole day easily with moderate usage.

ZTE Nubia Red Magic Specifications
Display  6.0 inches LTPS IPS LCD
78.5% screen to body ratio
1080 x 2160 pixels resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
402 PPI density
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)
GPU  Adreno 540
RAM  6/8 GB
Inbuilt Storage  64/128 GB
Rear Camera  24 MP (f/1.7)
Front Camera  8 MP (f/2.0)
Operating System  Android 8.1 (Oreo)
Battery  Li-Po 3800 mAh
Weight 185 g
Dimension 158.1 x 74.9 x 9.5 mm

Xiaomi Black Shark

Xiaomi Black Shark is another gaming oriented high-end smartphone. It has a large 5.99 inches full HD display having an aspect ratio of 18:9. Out of the box, this gaming smartphone runs on Android Oreo. It gets the Qualcomm’s best SoC till date Snapdragon 845 with Adreno 630 GPU that makes it a killer gaming machine. It is available in two variants 6 GB with 64 GB and 8 Gb RAM with 128 GB inbuilt storage with no card slot on both the models.

You tell us the name of the Android game, and it can run that smoothly. If you want a high-end gaming smartphone, this is a great phone. Also, there are a lot of aftermarket accessories that you can buy to enhance your gaming experience further. Unlike, the rest of the phone, Xiaomi Black Shark does not have a primary camera. It gets a dual 12 MP + 20 MP camera on the rear side and a 20 MP camera on the front. Overall, it is a powerful gaming device without compromising rest of the things you get on a flagship phone.

Xiaomi Black Shark Specifications
Display  5.99 inches IPS LCD
1080 x 2160 pixels
18:9 aspect ratio
403 PPI density
CPU  Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
GPU  Adreno 630
RAM  6/8 GB
Inbuilt Storage 64/128 GB
Rear Camera  Dual: 12 MP (f/1.8, 1.25µm) + 20 MP (f/1.8, 1.0µm)
Front Camera  20 MP, (f/2.2, 1.0µm), 1080p
Operating System  Android 8.0 (Oreo)
Battery  Li-Ion 4000 mAh
Weight 190 g
Dimension 161.6 x 75.4 x 9.3 mm

Razer Phone

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Razer Phone sounds like a gaming device, and it is. This gaming smartphone has a 5.7 inches IGZO IPS LCD with 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution at 515 PPI density. Its display is one of the best displays among all the phones here. The colors are very bright and vivid even in the daylight. Out of the box, Razer Phone runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat and upgradable to Android 8.1 Oreo.

It is equipped with Snapdragon 835 and 8 GB of RAM to handle even the most graphic intensive games with ease. For storage, there is 64 GB inbuilt, and you can also add micro SD card up to 400 GB in the dedicated card slot. It gets a decent camera with dual 12 MP + 12 MP sensors on the rear side and an 8 MP camera on the front side. For charging this phone has a Type-C USB port with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 for fast charging. It draws power from a 4000 mAh battery.

Razer Phone Specifications
Display 5.7 inches  IGZO IPS LCD
72.7% screen-to-body ratio
1440 x 2560 pixels resolution
16:9 aspect ratio
515 PPI density
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)
GPU  Adreno 540
RAM  8 GB RAM
Inbuilt Storage  64 GB, expandable up to 400 GB via dedicated card slot
Rear Camera Dual: 12 MP (f/1.8, 25mm) + 12 MP (f/2.6)
Front Camera 8 MP, f/2.0
Operating System Android 7.1.1 (Nougat), upgradable to Android 8.1 (Oreo)
Battery Li-Ion 4000 mAh
Weight 197 g
Dimension 158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm

Asus ROG Gaming Smartphone

Asus is soon going to launch a gaming smartphone under their ROG (Republic of Gamers) brand. Their ROG branded laptops have quite a fan following in the gamers community, and this time Asus is bringing the same quality and performance to the smartphone. As of now, no specs were disclosed but we based on expectations here are some guesses about the hardware.

Asus ROG gaming smartphone might be powered by Snapdragon 845 as it is the best SoC to date for Android phones. There might be 8 GB of RAM with a high refresh rate for butter smooth performance. Rest of the things are unknown at this time. The pricing of the phone will also play an important factor in deciding the future of phone. So stay tuned with us, we will update you once something comes up about this phone.

Disclosure: We are a professional review website that sometimes receive compensation or free units from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

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