Gaming on mobile phones has come a long way in only a few short years. As phone screens get larger, and processing power increases, game manufacturers are able to release more exciting games for phones than ever before. With gaming, however, all phones are not created equal. Discover six essential features serious gamers should consider when shopping for a new phone.
Image via Flickr by Judy **
Graphic-intensive games can’t run on older phones, largely because the older models don’t have the necessary processing power.
Cutting-edge phones have dual or even quad-core processors, so they have the power and speed to run high-end games and applications. High-speed graphics processing, in particular, is necessary for serious gaming on a smartphone.
Smartphone screens have gotten so large that people often joke about the newer iPhones and iPad Minis merging into a single device. This observation isn’t accurate — even the latest iPhone is still much sleeker than a small tablet — but screen sizes on some phones are approaching 6 inches.
In addition to screen sizes, resolutions keep getting better, too. You’ll find options such as Retina and AMOLED starting to pop up across different platforms. You’ll also discover an obvious relationship between screen size and the ability to enjoy gaming, both in terms of visual pleasure and touchscreen accuracy. Look for a phone, such as the LG G6, with features such as a quad HD screen, daylight mode, and high-contrast display that will enhance your gaming experience in all conditions.
Games are a drain on battery life. What’s the point in having a phone that offers a powerful gaming experience if you’re always shutting down your game to preserve your battery power?
You might be willing to make this tradeoff when you find creative workarounds. If you keep a charger in your car and a power bank handy — and you put your phone and power bank on a strict recharging schedule — you can live with a shorter battery life.
With augmented reality games such as Ingress, we are entering an era where your camera might become integral to video gaming on mobile phones. The extreme popularity of Pokémon Go will encourage game manufacturers to move toward augmented reality more quickly.
Modern smartphones are usually equipped with cameras that capture images at 8 megapixels or higher, a level which should be adequate for gaming in the near future.
The accessories that are compatible with your phone can make a difference in your gaming experience. Bluetooth speakers and HDMI cables already let you use your phone as a processing unit and expand your phone’s gaming experience into a home theater experience.
Some phones can be mounted on a pocket controller to offer a tactile experience that rivals a home gaming system. Virtual reality (VR) goggles are already on the market for smartphones as well. Gaming manufacturers are also experimenting with how to use smartwatches as gaming accessories, so expect more from that technology in the near future.
Of course, you can use a Bluetooth speaker at home, but the point of gaming on your phone is having access to your game wherever you go. Earbuds are great, but wearing them for long periods of time is uncomfortable. Luckily, with some phones, your gaming experience doesn’t have to be diminished when you take the earbuds out of your ears. Some phones have dual front-facing speakers, built-in amplifiers, and Dolby Surround sound. If audio is an important part of gaming for you, put great sound on your preferred features list.
Cellphones keep growing toward being replacements for our tablets or laptops. That growth has allowed phone gaming to move far beyond the simple puzzle games that people used to play to kill time. Today’s phones can support full-version gaming, with rich graphics, complex programming, and high-level sound quality. The next wave in gaming, augmented reality, wouldn’t have been possible on computers or set-top gaming devices; these games require mobility and the built-in cameras of mobile phones. Where will mobile gaming take us in the future?