Weighing in on Gaming Phones

Weighing in on Gaming Phones

The biggest mobile technology trend for 2018 seems to be the rise of the gaming phone. Games have always been a big part of mobile phones, circa back to 2000 when Snake was the hottest thing on the Nokia phone. From the Razer Phone to Xiaomi’s Black Shark and the latest ASUS ROG Gaming Phone, manufacturers are fighting to dominate this latest technology trend.

Partly, this is due to how games and players have evolved. Look at the popularity of MOBAs, or survival games like PUBG and Fornite. An increasing number of gamers are now converted to mobile gamers, and probably a large chunk are mobile gamers only. Gaming on the go has become so convenient. We can play on public transport, at cafes, shopping centres, while waiting for people, and even for some, at work.

Across the different gaming phones available now, the Xiaomi Black Shark appears to be the most cost effective.

I saw the Xiaomi Black Shark on promotion at around S$680, which I thought was cheap for the specifications. Snapdragon 845 @ 2.8GHz w/ Adreno 630 GPU, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, 4000mAH battery. It’s actually comparable to a high end phone such as a the Samsung Galaxy S9 or Xiaomi own’s Mi 8. I thought the unique bit about the Black Shark was the compatibility with the Shark GamePad which adds a left joystick for better control in gaming.

That’s also where I am really impressed with the ASUS ROG Phone which really went all in to build an ecosystem for the mobile gaming platform. It’s really cool to have access to features such as:

  1. Gaming Dock
  2. Twinview Dock a second display screen (we still need our social media)
  3. Cooling fan
  4. Full gamepad controls

The phone itself comes with a useful feature set for games.
1. 90Hz Refresh Rate
2. 512GB of storage
3. AirTriggers – Remember HTC Edge? You can tap the edges of the phone to interact with games to keep your fingers off the screen
4. Supports landscape charging to prevent cable from getting in your way
5. Two USB-C Ports
6. Overclocked Snapdragon 845

Overkill for the Ecosystem? Perhaps. But it is an ambitious and impressive effort by ASUS to build up this mobile gaming ecosystem. The phone isn’t available yet, nor are pricing details available but it ain’t gonna be cheap.

We will probably start to see more gaming phones launched by other manufacturers soon as they attempt to grab a bigger slice of the growing pie. Hopefully, we will also start to see better designed and higher quality third party mobile gaming accessories. The “gaming phone” category is still new and there isn’t a real need to have a gaming phone at this current juncture. Unlike that of traditional PCs, where you need a gaming PC to play the latest games; or at the highest graphics. I don’t think we will ever cross that line. However, I think what’s likely to happen would be along the lines of what ASUS ROG is doing, in terms of making it much more friendly gaming experience for gamers.