The 7 Best Budget Gaming Phones: Let the Games Begin- CellPhoneDeal

A budget gaming phone might seem like an oxymoron, but we assure you it is possible. It requires some searching and a bit of compromise, depending on your budget. You want something that you’ll be able and happy to use for the next few years, but you similarly want to make sure that you have money left over to live your life.

The good news is that as smartphones have improved over the years, more phones are designed for gaming, and general phones that still have great gaming chops available for sale. What was once the cutting edge of gaming is now standard fare, and you can have a great time with a budget gaming phone. You just need to know what to look for.

Here is what you need to know about great budget gaming phones, as well as some of our top recommendations:

How We Created Our List of the Best Budget Gaming Phones

Not everything is essential to a gaming phone, but much of what is important to a standard smartphone is good for gaming purposes. And since you’ll be using it daily, you want a phone that can do it all. Here are the things we looked at when deciding which budget gaming phones were best:

Screen Size and Resolution: When playing a game on your phone, you want the game to look good. Part of that is what the processor is capable is putting out, but the display is the other half of the equation. You want at least a 1080p resolution even on a budget phone, and ideally, something better than that. There are also 4K resolution phones on the cutting edge, but you, unfortunately, aren’t going to find a budget phone that offers it.

The screen’s refresh rate also matters, as do metrics such as brightness range. Don’t underestimate the importance of the screen when buying a budget gaming phone.

Processing and Graphics Power: What makes the games run and run well? Generally, it’s the hardware under the phone's hood, so to speak, and the processor is the most important thing here. New chipsets are released regularly, though you’ll want to compare them when comparing phones. And some games require more power than others. How much this matters and what your cutoff point depends on the games you like to play.

Note that while we would also talk about RAM and storage space more often, phones have different versions with different storage space sizes and amounts of RAM. More is better in both cases, but it’s all relatively straightforward.

Battery Life: Gaming uses up a lot of power on any device, and that means that if you want to play for more than an hour without plugging your phone in, then you want a phone that has a decent battery. It also helps if the battery itself will last a long time. And finally, a battery that can charge quickly makes for a better gaming phone, even if it isn’t the most important thing.

Build and Design: There are better and cheaper hand warmers than your phone, so we want you to be comfortable playing your games. Overheating is often an issue; some people might find themselves uncomfortable with a phone that isn’t designed well for their hands. In some cases, there is little avoiding it.

Extra Features, Ports, and More: The little things and additional features often result in the best gaming experience. You might find that something as simple as a headphone jack can make or break a phone. Some phones have buttons that might make gaming easier. Be on the lookout for features you might use daily and in gaming sessions.

Price: Naturally, we also need to discuss price when discussing budget phones. In fact, for many people, it might be the first and (hopefully not) only thing looked at. Your budget will be different from other readers’, so judge according to your own situation, but do keep it in mind. For our part, we sought out phones that provided great value.

It should also be noted that while we are reviewing and recommending these devices as budget gaming phones, they are also regular smartphones, and we anticipate using them as such. If a device won’t work well as a phone, it’s out of the running in our view. The good news is that a lot of what makes a phone great for gaming makes it great in general.

Best Budget Gaming Phones 2022

Here are our top seven picks for budget gaming phones in 2022. Some might be older models that still have great usage today, while others might be built for budgeters while having the things gamers still need.

1.Xiaomi Poco X4 Pro

Our first choice and perhaps the all-around budget gaming phone we’d recommend to anyone who doesn’t want to read; further, the Xiaomi Poco X4 Pro stands out through its balance of all of our concerns. Performance-wise, it has a Snapdragon 695 5G chipset and 8GB of RAM, allowing you to do a bit more than some other budget phones regarding gaming. And it will look decent enough to your eyes with the 120Hz 6.67 IPS display, providing a resolution of 2400 x 1080p. HD gaming can fit right in your hand.

It's a good phone overall, but do note that it had a few issues with bugs at launch, and you might not see as much support for it over the years as other phones. The camera isn’t the best in the industry, but most budget phones will not provide that unless you selectively seek out a phone with a fantastic camera (and not much else).

You can find it on sale most of the time, and if that is the case for you, then it only stands higher in our eyes, and you should seriously consider it for your immediate budget gaming needs. 


  • This phone will provide great value, lasting a while (all the while good for gaming) for at least a few years).
  • Excellent battery efficiency, making it less of a problem down the line while helping with those marathon gaming sessions.
  • Good processing power for the price. As of this writing, it should be able to play most games on decent settings.


  • You might feel that some things are missing when compared with more premium gaming phones, though nothing essential to gaming is lost.
  • You might not get as much brand support as from a phone made by another manufacturer.
  • It is ultimately a middle-of-the-road gaming phone, and you might need to adjust your expectations.

Price: About $300, or less if you find a good deal.

Recommended if: You want an all-around good gaming phone that avoids breaking the bank and you don’t need too many extra features.

2. Red Magic 6R

Let’s just a bit more into premium territory for a moment here. The first thing you’ll see that captures and keeps your attention without going over $500 is the Red Magic 6R, which is the entry model for the company but is more than enough for many users.

It packs quite a bit of power, usually having a Snapdragon 888 5G processor and 12GB of RAM. You can get up to 256GB of storage, and connectivity will not be an issue with its Wi-Fi 6E compatibility. It’s very impressive, and you’ll be able to game like you weren’t on a budget when you bought the phone.

The display is also a major selling point for the Red Magic 6R, being a 6.67-inch AMOLED screen that can provide a 144Hz refresh rate for those who love high FPS mobile gaming.

There are also a few features gamers will love, such as touch triggers on the top of the phone when in landscape mode, which is great for shooters. You can make your gaming settings game-specific, making controlling games in general with this phone much nicer than with a non-gaming model.

It has some interesting touches and quirks, and you might need to experiment and explore the settings of the phone to work well for you, but we promise that the time to get used to it will be well worth it.


  • It has a nice aesthetic that doesn’t lean too much into being a “gaming phone” despite being very clearly a gaming-oriented phone.
  • Amazing specs for gaming that punch above its weight class, whatever game you’re interested in.
  • It is a large phone with a larger screen to accommodate gaming. Note that this might not be positive for everyone.


  • Out of the budget phones we talk about, it is on the pricier side.
  • You may not like the software installed by default on the phone.
  • The camera is nice enough but not comparable to the other excellent components of the phone.

Price: About $500 as of this writing, though it can be expected to get cheaper soon.

Recommended if: You want a dedicated gaming smartphone with fantastic features that is a bit pricier but by no means breaks the bank.

3. Infinix Zero 5G

The Infinix Zero 5G is something of a workhorse for a budget phone in that it does great by the numbers, but you notice there might be a few teeth missing, and you’ll want to check out that leg after a bit. It’s not exactly something to show off unless you dress it up. Yet if you’re interested in a budget gaming phone, then looks aren’t most important to you. 

It is from a relatively new company, and as such, some of the refinements aren’t there. Yet look beyond that, and you will find a solid budget gaming phone that should last you for a while. The screen is a full HD+ 120Hz display, though it is an LCD panel instead of an AMOLED one. The colors won’t be as great, but the frame rate for your games will be. It has 8GB of RAM and runs a MediaTek Dimensity 900 system on a chip. In short, this means that this phone will outperform most competitors for the same price, and you can run games at higher settings than you otherwise would.

It has a larger battery than many phones and should last a while except for under conditions of intense usage. And the camera is mediocre at best, easily outclassed by nearly any smartphone made today. Yet overall, the phone's strength lies in its processing power, and if that’s what matters most, go for it.


  • Great power for gaming for the price.
  • A generally solid, if unpolished, build that remains sturdy enough.
  • It provides 5G access for a low price.


  • If you want to feel comfortable gaming, you will need a case for this phone.
  • You might find a lack of polish compared to more experienced manufacturers.
  • The camera setup is lacking, with no ultrawide camera.

Price: About $250, depending on the retailer.

Recommended if: You want more power for your dollar and don’t mind the little things so much.

4. Samsung Galaxy A51

You might know the Samsung Galaxy line as being filled with very powerful and expensive phones, often being the flagship phone to get when it comes out. Yet not all of them are like that, and you will find that the Samsung Galaxy A51 is a good choice for budget gaming, especially if you want a phone from a trusted brand such as Samsung.

The A51 might not be as powerful or competitive as when it first came out, but it can still serve as an excellent example of a budget phone that can be used for some nice gaming on the commute or in the evenings. Yet note it was not designed as a gaming phone, and performance can be lacking with some programs or if you have too much going on at once. The 4GB of RAM holds it back. If you like to constantly play modern games at high settings, this might not be your phone.

Yet the A51 does have a lot going for it. You will get 128GB of storage with the option to expand that with a microSD card. The phone has a decent 4500mAh battery and charges quickly. It can utilize 5G connections. And it has a nice 6.5” AMOLED display that will make games look great.


  • By this point, the phone is very inexpensive for what you are getting.
  • While it isn’t the top of the Galaxy line, you can expect quite a few of the Samsung apps and support.
  • An excellent screen and generally good design and build quality so you can game with less worry.


  • It lacks power compared to some of the other phones on this list. You will not want to have too many apps open at once on this phone.
  • Price: The listed price is $350, but you can likely find it for less than $250 with a bit of searching.
  • The phone is a tad dated as of this rating compared to other phones. If the phone lasts long for you, you might see little support down the line, or it will feel obsolete faster.

Recommended if: You are looking for a brand-name phone that won’t break the bank and was designed for people on a budget.

5. iPhone 11

We would be somewhat remiss if we did not include an iPhone in our list here, given how many mobile gamers wouldn’t use anything else. Yet getting the latest model would not be a budget purchase, however, as it would likely set you back more than a grand. However, there are still older models for sale, and they can be perfectly competent for gaming. A variation of the iPhone 12 might be good for a moderate price point (and a good option if you can afford it). However, we think the iPhone 11 is the way for the budget gamer. 

And with an iPhone comes the UI and effectively exclusive apps Apple is known for. You will enjoy Apple Arcade, a worthwhile subscription service for mobile apps. Many mobile games are not available on Android but are available on iOS. Your mind might already be made up based on what you want to playp.

The iPhone 11 comes with a wide and ultrawide camera lens, an A13 Bionic chip with a 6-core CPU, up to 128GB of storage, and 1792 by 828p resolution. Max brightness is 625 nits, and it has a haptic touch, which can be nice for gaming. You cannot expect the world from this phone, but it worked wonderfully for the gamers of just a couple of years ago. Gaming has not advanced that much just yet.


  • You will be able to get the UI and apps that Apple is known for at a small portion of the price most people are paying, and you can get Apple Arcade (an excellent value). 
  • An excellent screen for when it was made. Your games will still look great.
  • What is still competitive processing power that should still be enough for most games. 


  • It will not have the features you might hope for from newer iPhone models.
  • The iPhone 11 will likely get slower and feel dated very quickly compared to other phones.
  • You may need to purchase a larger variant to get a better experience for gaming, but this would be more expensive.
  • The iPhone 11 is not 5G compatible, which may date the phone quickly regarding connection speeds.

Price: Starting at $500.

Recommended if: You absolutely want to have an iPhone for gaming and will not accept anything else.

6. ASUS ROG Phone 5

The ASUS ROG Phone series has ever been at the forefront of smartphones built for gamers if a little flashy at times. At this price point, you’d be hard-pressed to call the ASUS ROG Phone 5 a budget phone, with ASUS selling it for $999.99 when it’s available (if ever). You can enjoy the ASUS ROG Phone 5 at a huge discount from other retailers, however, and at a much lower price than the new ASUS ROG Phone 6. Most premium gamers won’t give the 5 a thought now that the 6 is out. You don’t have to be one of them.

Why? Because the ASUS ROG Phone 5 still has most of what gamers need today. You can expect a 144Hz/1ms display for the screen, complete with highly responsive touch controls. You won’t be able to blame the phone for a bad play genuinely (though you can still blame the equipment, it is tradition, after all).

You can have up to 16GB of RAM on the phone, it uses a Snapdragon 888, and you can get up to 256GB of UFS 3.1 ROM. This phone is still a powerhouse, and enhancements beyond it get into the realm of diminishing returns. You might need to search a little to find it, but serious gamers who have a little more budget may want to consider the ASUS ROG 5


  • Features and a design built for gamers and extended mobile gaming sessions in mind. Even the sound system and touch design were created with high-level gaming in mind.
  • A fantastic 6000mAH battery for those long gaming sessions.
  • A display that is still hard to beat to this day, especially for the price.


  • You might feel like you’re lacking if you compare the phone to the extreme features and hardware of the ASUS ROG Phone 6.
  • While performance is impressive, you’ll have to be gentler with this phone or buy an amazing case. It isn’t as durable as most other phones on the market, a major weakness when most phones can take a few falls.
  • It might be harder to get ahold of this phone than other options on this list. Additionally, it is still expensive for a budget gaming phone.

Price: $600-$1000, depending on timing and the retailer.

Recommended if: You want a great phone built for gaming from the outset and don’t mind working with the previous premium model.

7. One Plus Nord N200

Last but not least, though perhaps least in price, is the One Plus Nord N200. It was designed as a budget phone and continues to be a popular budget phone, though it is better for gaming than some of its ultra-budget competitors. It has simple looks, a simple design, and nothing special to write home about in terms of extra buttons or features. It does have everything you need, though.

The display might be the first thing to note with the One Plus Nord N200. The 6.49-inch screen looks nice indoors or outdoors and provides 495 ppi for a great gaming experience. The 2400 x 1080 resolution is more than enough for most games, and you can run the screen at up to 90Hz to show off a nice frame rate. Not all games will go that high with this phone, though. It has 4GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 480 processor. Regarding storage, you’re starting with 64GB, but you can add a microSD card.

This might not be impressive, but keep in mind that you can get this phone for at most $240 and less than $200 if you search online and don’t care too much about the color. And you shouldn’t, given that a case solves whatever issues you might have with it. If price is your key consideration, start with the One Plus Nord N200.


  • Despite being very cheap, the phone can utilize 5G technology. This will be great for multiplayer gaming, depending on where you live.
  • A nice large screen that’s great for HD video watching or gaming.
  • A better camera setup than you usually find for a phone of this price point, though you will need to adjust your expectations.
  • Great battery life that will keep you going for hours and hours.


  • The RAM and processing power of the phone leaves a little to be desired, though this might be expected for the price.
  • Competitors will outmatch the haptics or physical feedback of the phone.
  • You might not get as much support for this phone as you will with other models or manufacturers.

Price: $240, though you may find it cheaper.

Recommended if: You want a phone on the much cheaper side that still can do most of the gaming you might get into daily.

Good Internet Speed for Gaming and Other Things You Should Know

Gaming is more than about the hardware. There are other factors involved. You might want to read additional sources if you want to get the absolute best from your gaming smartphone, but here are some key things to know:

  • There are a few facets to the topic of the right internet speed for gaming, given that internet speed has multiple meanings. However, you indeed want a good phone plan and a home internet connection to game well. In terms of gaming online, a good internet speed is at least 10Mbps download speed and 5Mbps upload speed. You can likely get away with something slower, but you may have intermittent problems. Yet beyond this is the just as if not more important ping rate. A ping rate of less than 30ms is ideal, while a ping rate of more than 150ms will cause significant problems.
  • Much of getting a good experience from your gaming phone will be tweaking the game settings and knowing what works best. You’ll want to experiment a little for this, which might take time. Eventually, you will get a feel for what’s best and possible for your phone.
  • Some peripherals can also enhance your gaming experience. There might be controllers, headphones, or something else that will make a huge difference. First, try out your phone without peripherals, but after that,, do some more experimenting and maybe make an investment if you think your experience will improve.
  • Both utilize and be careful of additional apps and helpful tools you can install on your phone. Some might be able to help you with performance, but many tools aren’t worth the money or even the space on your phone.

Saving Money on Your Phone

Since you’re reading an article on budget phones, you might be interested in some other ways to save money where your smartphone is concerned:

  • One of the things that you should be most aware of when trying to save money is that your phone is less than one-half of the equation. Your phone service will, over time, likely cost you much more, and saving money, there is vital. You can use this very site to compare options and plans, and you should be able to find something that works for your household if you are unsatisfied with your current provider.
  • You may run into different plans and service provider options. In fact, if you search, it is nearly guaranteed. However, you should know the difference between MVNO plans and regular plans. Regular plans are from one of the three major providers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile), and you will be able to get the best and fastest service from them. MVNO plans are significantly cheaper, but you will be deprioritized compared to users on a plan from a major provider. The choice is yours, but know what you are getting into.
  • You can save a lot of money by utilizing service bundles (perhaps with cable or internet service, though not as common as in other industries) or family plans. You don’t need to have any family members in your family plan, just people you trust.
  • You can also consider getting a used or refurbished phone to save more when buying your phone, but there are potential problems with this. Depending on the retailer, you might not get the greatest guarantee of the product. Additionally, even if the phone gets inspected and recertified as good, the phone was returned or turned in for one reason or another.
  • Such phones may not last as long as a new phone of a model that came out recently. You need to think not only about the price you are paying for your phone but the value you are getting out of it.
  • Be careful about where you buy your phone. Not every retailer, and especially not every online retailer, is reputable. Some online retailers might not send you what you think you are buying. If something seems too good to be true, then it is. Don’t get caught in a scam or buy someone else’s stolen property.
  • You may be able to get a better deal depending on the time of year. Older models might get clearance sales to move inventory if new models are out. The holiday season might also provide a great opportunity to get a new phone. Though don’t wait too long. You need a phone, and there will always be some deal available.


What is the best gaming phone for one person might not be the best for another. And when you have to factor budget heavily into that equation, that means it isn’t going to get any easier to decide what is right for you. We hope that from the above options, you can pick out a gaming phone that will last you for at least the next few years and will be able to bring you much enjoyment, whatever your game of choice. Keep on the lookout, come back to this page as you feel the need, and we wish you the best in your search and with your new phone.