Which Gaming Smartphone Should You Buy Now?
October 20, 2019 Andrew Cheng

Gaming smartphones have really taken off this year. What began as a niche segment has slowly become more mainstream, especially with the rise of more affordable options. Now that we’re almost at the end of the year, there are quite a number of choices for those who are looking for a gaming smartphone in Malaysia.

It can be a little overwhelming to go through each one of them, so we’re highlighting some of the most noteworthy smartphones for gaming in the market right now. Whether you want the absolute best gaming device or one that offers the most value for money, this list should help you find the best fit for you.

Asus ROG Phone II

Out of all the smartphones in this list, the ROG Phone II is really the most complete gaming device here. It has a fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chipset paired with 12GB of RAM, a 6.59-inch 1080p AMOLED display with a high 120Hz refresh rate, as well as the very useful AirTriggers ultrasonic buttons, which will give you an edge in shooters like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile.

Other specifications of the ROG Phone II include 512GB or 1TB of internal storage, a huge 6,000mAh battery, a dual camera system (48MP f/1.8 primary + 13MP f/2.4 ultra-wide angle), a 24MP f/2.2 front-facing shooter, and a quick in-screen fingerprint sensor.

Without a doubt the ROG Phone II is a premium, high-end gaming smartphone through and through, so it’s no surprise that it is also the most costly option in this list. For the Malaysian market, the 512GB variant retails at RM3,499, while the 1TB model goes for a whopping RM4,499.

It is not an affordable device, but for those who want a no compromise gaming smartphone, the Asus ROG Phone II fits the bill.

Black Shark 2 Pro

If the ROG Phone II’s asking price is a bit too steep for you, there’s the Black Shark 2 Pro. just like Asus’ offering, this gaming smartphone is also powered by a Snapdragon 855+ chipset paired with up to 12GB of RAM; it should be able to match the ROG Phone II in the performance department.

But that’s where the similarity ends, unfortunately. See, the Black Shark 2 Pro only comes with a conventional 6.39-inch 1080p AMOLED display locked at 60Hz. Sure, a 60Hz refresh rate is still good enough to provide an enjoyable gaming experience, but it’s not quite as impressive as a much faster 120Hz, or even 90Hz screen.

Nonetheless, the Black Shark 2 Pro does make up for this with its more affordable pricing. The 128GB + 8GB model retails at RM2,499, while the 256GB + 12GB option costs RM2,999. For that kind of money, you’re also getting a 4,000mAh battery, two rear cameras (48MP f/1.75 primary + 8MP f/2.2 telephoto), a 12MP selfie shooter, and an in-screen fingerprint sensor.

Nubia Red Magic 3

Want something even more affordable? Then the Nubia Red Magic 3 is the perfect option. Unlike the other two aforementioned devices, the Red Magic 3 has a slightly older Snapdragon 855 SoC paired with up to 12GB of RAM. While this means it is not quite a powerful, it has a fast 90Hz 6.65-inch 2340 x 1080 AMOLED display, giving it the edge over the more expensive Black Shark 2.

Rounding out the specifications of the Red Magic 3 are two touch-sensitive shoulder buttons (just like the ROG Phone II’s AirTriggers), 128GB or 256GB of internal storage, a single 48MP f/1.7 rear camera, a 16MP f/2.0 selfie shooter, and a generous 5,000mAh battery.

So much how does the Nubia Red Magic 3 cost? Currently, the more affordable 128GB model with 8GB of RAM goes for only RM1,999, and the 256GB variant with 12GB of RAM is priced at RM2,699. Given its feature set, the Red Magic 3 definitely offers great value for money.

Razer Phone 2

Even though the Razer Phone 2 is the oldest device in this list, it is still worth a mention. After all, its asking price has dropped drastically since it was introduced in Malaysia earlier this year. Originally going for RM3,449, you can now get it for only RM1,899.

Of course, it’s also the least powerful gaming smartphone here, given that it comes with last year’s Snapdragon 845 chipset. But on a brighter note, it’s also the only other device in this list with a fast 120Hz 5.72-inch UltraMotion IGZO 1440p display, so that’s a plus point.

Other specifications of the Razer Phone 2 include 8GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, a dual camera configuration (12MP f/1.75 main + 12MP f/2.6 telephoto), an 8MP f/2.0 front-facing shooter, IP67 rating (other devices here don’t have this feature), and a 4,000mAh battery.

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro

Now, even though the Mi 9T Pro is not marketed as a gaming smartphone, it’s a great option for those who are tight on budget. After all, it offers similar hardware as the rest of the smartphones in this list for a lot less money. Retailing from only RM1,599, it undercuts the ROG Phone II’s asking price by more than half.

Then again, it’s also not quite as powerful as the Asus device. The Mi 9T Pro features a Snapdragon 855 chipset paired with 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, a 6.39-inch 2340 x 1080 AMOLED all-screen display – thanks to the use of a 20MP f/2.2 pop-up camera – an in-screen fingerprint sensor, and a 4,000mAh battery.

In the camera department, the Mi 9T Pro also has the most versatile camera system. It has three shooters on the back: a 48MP f/1.75 primary sensor, an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens, and a 13MP f/2.4 wide angle camera. As for pricing, the Mi 9T retails at RM1,599 and RM1,799 for the 64GB and 128GB variants respectively.

All in all, any of the smartphones in this list will serve you well as a gaming device. The Asus ROG Phone II and Black Shark 2 Pro are made for those who want the best gaming performance, while the Nubia Red Magic 3 and Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro are meant to appeal to those who want the most bang for their buck.

As for the Razer Phone 2, it’s a great option if you want a 120Hz display at a lower price point, not to mention the IP67 rating of the phone. Compare the feature set of these phones against your budget, and go from there to choose the best device for you.