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Top 10 best Android gaming phones

The current best gaming phones for all budgets
Product: Top 10 Android charts | Format: Android
Top 10 Android charts Android, thumbnail 1
We could tell you to be patient.

The Motorola Atrix, LG Optimus 2x, Samsung Galaxy S II, and so on are all about to hit mobile stands across the country, bringing about the next generation of Android handsets and (potentially) opening up a number of new doors for Android gaming.

But patience is for the boring.

So here's our list of the top ten best Android handsets for gaming on right now, the criteria for judgement being a mixture of intense research and the application of the office Ouija board.

We’ve tried to pick from all ranges of the spectrum when it comes to price, so if your books don’t smell of rich mahogany there should still something of interest here.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

android-xperia-play-1The Xperia Play is the first (and only) Android phone that's so serious about its gaming potential that it's gone and put a proper controller where the keyboard/pad should be.

The unofficial (insofar as the name is concerned) PlayStation Phone, the Xperia Play offers the best of both worlds of portable gaming - one half a touchscreen device, the other a PSPgo-esque controller.

With the promise of fully optimised games for the new system, along with the ability to play classics from the PlayStation 1 era on the go, it's the phone that should have mobile gamers salivating.

Samsung Galaxy S

If you were looking at it from far away, you could be forgiven for mistaking the Galaxy S for an iPhone 4. You could still be forgiven if you got a lot closer, since even the menu icons are laid out in the same way.

The AMOLED screen is an impressive sight when compared to a standard LED models, however, and makes the phone far easier to look at in direct sunlight than Apple’s iThing.

The Hummingbird processor and swift responsiveness of the touchscreen means that the Galaxy S is the de facto choice for high-end Android gaming right now.

HTC Desire HD

Android-HTCDesireHD-2That screen. There’s no denying the Desire HD has one of the sharpest, glitzy screens outside the iPhone. At 4.3” it’s a monolithic beast.

It’s also one of the fastest and most powerful devices available. It’ll perfectly run any game you throw at it, thanks to a 1Ghz processor and 768 MB of RAM. And it’ll look gorgeous while doing so.

In typical HTC fashion, you’ll be lucky to get more than a day of solid use out of it - pilots in World War One lived longer than this battery.

HTC Incredible S

Android-HTCIncredibleS-3Another HTC effort (there’ll be a few of these). Like some of these handsets the Incredible S runs a slightly older version of Android. But a good 4” screen at 480x800 resolution make up for it, along with a powerful processor and 768MB RAM.

It also has very satisfying camera quality, in case you wanted to take pictures of your cat. Which obviously you do.

Samsung (Google) Nexus S

Android-NexusS-4Plasticky and minimalist, the Nexus S is slim and stylish from the front and wonky black Tupperware from behind. It has 16GB of internal storage but no microSD card slot for extra memory, which is almost unforgivable for anyone looking to pack it to its curvy gills.

A 1Ghz Hummingbird GPU keeps apps running smoothly though, just like the similarly-named Galaxy S.

Being the current Google favourite means that Android updates come faster than the rest, which is something worth bearing in mind should you be one of those that is absolutely hell-bent on being bang up-to-date.

HTC (Google) Nexus One

If that lack of a card slot annoys you, there’s always the Nexus One, which comes with only 4GB of internal memory but at least allows for a further 32GB in card form.

It’s similar in almost every other respect specs-wise, except that it uses a Snapdragon chipset, which is starting to show its age now, and a trackball which can either be great fun or unnecessarily fiddly (depending on how much you pine for Marble Madness).

It also helps that the Nexus One will be a touch cheaper than the Samsung as well.

HTC Desire

Android-HTCDesire-6Although it lacks its brother’s gargantuan frame and beer-crisp picture quality, this is still a hardy piece of kit. The screen is 3.7” compared to the HD’s 4.3” but the memory and processor are still very capable.

The Snapdragon CPU/GPU inside it won’t be pumping out the most recent 3D visuals and the touchscreen lacks the responsiveness of the Desire HD, but it is cheaper and still a lovely-looking piece of kit.

Motorola Defy

Android-MotoDefy-7Marketed as nigh-impossible to destroy, the Defy is also reasonably impressive when it comes to speed and memory. And the fact that it usually comes cheaper than the highest spec devices makes it the scrappy middleweight fighter in this contest.

The Motoblur UI may not be to everyone’s liking, but the 800Mhz processor and the hi-res capacitive display make it a decent choice for those on a budget.

Samsung Galaxy Ace

Android-SamsungAce-8With a relatively high processing power (labelled at 800Mhz) it is a gaming phone on paper – at least, as much as any phone can be called a ‘gaming phone.’

Yet it can be sluggish at times. This might be down to the amount of megabytes of RAM. The exact number of which, nobody seems to know.

Despite this, there are worse offerings. It’ll run Angry Birds for you. That is what matters.

Motorola Milestone

Android-MotoMilestone-10Sold as the Droid in the US, this jagged, robotic-looking guy was among the first phones to open people’s eyes to Android.

Its power has long been surpassed but it still harbours a half-decent chipset for gaming.

You might not get the newest 3D releases running smoothly but if you’re not fooled by shiny graphics and just want to enjoy less demanding casual titles, the Milestone can usually cope.

Reviewer photo
Brendan Caldwell 5 April 2011
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