Gone are the days of smartphones being expensive or exclusive pieces of kit. In just over a decade since the iPhone was launched, smartphones have become a technology genre in their own right, and manufacturers have emerged at all levels of the market to provide hardware to suit any price range. Of course, if you want to play mobile games, a smartphone is by far your best option over any ‘dumb’ phone model, at least if you want to move beyond the likes of the Nokia classic Snake and particularly that 5g has now launched.
But nowadays, you don’t have to spend the earth to get access to the best mobile games. From first-person shooters to a selection of the top mobile casinos, there is now a wide range of smartphones giving change for £200 that can see you on your way to playing a plethora of mobile games. Without further ado, here’s our recommended top 5.
Motorola has a long track record in manufacturing high-quality phones, dating back over the decades to the very earliest models. Build quality was always a hallmark of Motorola handsets, and while the company hasn’t managed to command anywhere near the same share of attention in the smartphone market, they have nevertheless put together a very strong offering in the form of the Moto G5.
The phone feels robust and looks great, considering the sub-€200 price range. There’s also a decent allocation of resources for gaming, so you won’t feel like the phone is holding you back tech-wise. The battery could do with being a bit better, but it feels like that may be one of the sole compromises in what is an incredibly cheap device. For those hoping for a handset that’s up to the challenge of mobile gaming, as well as doing all the core smartphone functions well, the Moto G5 is hard to beat.
Another blast from the past here is Nokia. The company which once dominated the mobile market with its hugely successful 3210 and 3310 models, has returned from a decade in the wilderness, crowded out by the explosion of iPhones and subsequent Android manufacturers. Today, it’s enjoying something of a revival, and this can be seen most acutely in the company’s smartphone efforts.
Previous dalliances with the technology saw Nokia partnering up with Windows and other players, but the move to Android has ensured that Nokia now has a viable contender in the under-€200 category. The Nokia 5 is it, complete with the large screen surface, impressive performance, and a nice camera is thrown into the mix. This phone has everything you need for an excellent gaming experience, and the fact you’ve now got access to the Google Play Store means there’s plenty of choice for what to play.
Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus
A lesser-known name in the world of smartphones, Wileyfox has put together an impressive offering for the price tag in the form of their Swift 2 Plus. This has the appearance of a much more expensive handset, and you could easily fool all but the most tech-savvy, with its sleek curves and large screen area.
Performance-wise, this isn’t the best of the bunch, and there are a few notable flaws along the way that will confirm its place in the lower value smartphones bracket. The screen quality is decent, if not the best we’ve seen, and there’s still enough processing power to make games flow seamlessly, so from that perspective, it definitely does its job – and well.
But the larger plus model, which still clocks in at under €200, is an enlarged version of a much cheaper phone, which at times shows. If you want a basic smartphone that does the job, as well as allowing you to play a range of mobile games online and through apps, this is still a good choice.
Elephone P8 Mini
Elephone is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, and you may have to jump through the hoops of importing their handsets if this is the one that tickles your fancy. However, it’s well worth the additional effort, given that it actually improves on the Moto G5 in a number of key areas. This is specifically of interest for gamers, in that the screen and phone performance are both incrementally better than that which you’d find on the leading Moto model – not bad for less than £200.
From a phone perspective, the Elephone P8 Mini does everything you could want in a small, compact package, reminiscent of the sizing of previous generations of iPhones. It fits neatly in the hand but packs a powerful punch, and it’s great value for money – especially if you’re just a casual gamer.
Similarly, their S7 brings strong performance, memory, and visuals to the party in a style that’s reminiscent of some Samsung models. Aesthetically, this is stunning, and you have to look very carefully to see that this isn’t some high-end expensive model. Beneath the veneer, the engine driving this phone is strong and optimized for gaming and web browsing, so you’ll feel like you’re getting a great experience for the money. The Elephone S7 just goes to show you don’t have to spend a fortune for a smartphone that’s perfect for gaming.
Each of these handsets relies on the Android operating system, which by some margin, outstrips Apple’s iOS in terms of market share. That means that whenever you buy one of these smartphones, you can rest assured in the knowledge you’ll have access to the fullest gamut of mobile games, including apps and in-browser versions.
The decision then comes down to the hardware itself – which of these smartphones is best for you? From a gaming perspective, they’ll all do the job, so it’s up to you to get a feel for the different features and benefits of each respective device before settling on a winner.