Choose the right mobile phone
What do you want most out of a phone?
Today's best smart phones are gaming powerhouses. Mobile phones once played second fiddle to handheld consoles like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS, but these days the power of high-end smart phones is racing ahead, with many of them packing multi-core processors and graphics chips, oodles of memory and huge, high-resolution screens.
Some of the biggest gaming titles were birthed on mobile phones, too. Rovio's smash-hit Angry Birds series is a classic example, having generated over £100m in revenue in 2011 alone.
The truth, though, is that you don't necessarily have to have a very expensive handset with more cores than a nuclear reactor in order to enjoy games on the bus. There are plenty of brilliant puzzlers or 2D arcade games that run perfectly fine on cheap, single-core phones. That said, if you like your action in 3D and moving at silky-smooth frame rates, you'll need a much higher-end handset.
Processor, GPU and RAM When it comes to 3D games on phones it's not just the processor that's important. The type of graphics processing unit (GPU) built in to the processor has a massive influence on the number of frames per second games will run at.
Memory is important too, as usually the more RAM available, the faster games will run. This is because it allows data to be fed faster to the processor and GPU. However, the phones with the fastest processors generally have the beefiest GPUs and most RAM, so choosing a phone for 3D gaming isn't really that difficult.Apple's iPhone 5, for example, has a dual-core 1.3GHz processor with a PowerVR graphics unit that runs even really demanding games at high frame rates. Sony's Xperia Z Android handset has an even meatier quad-core 1.5GHz processor with an Adreno 320 graphics unit for lightning-fast gaming performance. A quality display There's no point pushing all those pixels around if you can't see them clearly. As mobile games use onscreen controls, a larger display is generally better. On phones with smaller screens your fingers and thumbs can take up a lot of precious onscreen real-estate, obscuring some of the action. Displays with higher resolutions, such as the retina screen on the iPhone 5 or the huge 5-inch 1080p screen found on the Xperia Z, are ideal as they can show off the crisp 3D in-game visuals at their best. Battery stamina You should also look for a phone with long battery life, as playing 3D games usually maxes out both the processor and graphics unit with the result that they draw more power. You can tell this because mobiles generally become warmer to the touch when they're running 3D games. As a result, a phone with longer battery life will let you enjoy a good gaming stint without leaving you worrying that you're going to have nothing left to call your other half and ask them what you need to pick up from the supermarket on the way home. Games library If you want the largest possible library of games, you really need to opt for either an iOS or Android-based phone. Other platforms like Windows Phone and BlackBerry offer a decent number of good games, but they just can't compete with the vast library of quality titles available for iOS and Android. Here's a list of some of our current favourite games and the platforms they're available for:
- Angry Birds Star Wars (Android, BlackBerry 10, iOS, Windows Phone)
- Modern Combat 4 (Android, iOS)
- Fifa 13 (iOS)
- Galaxy on Fire 2 (Android, iOS)
- Super Hexagon (Android, BlackBerry 10, iOS)
- Jetpack Joyride (Android, iOS)
- Minecraft (Android, iOS)
- Ilomilo (Windows Phone)
- Rayman Jungle Run (Android, iOS)
- Real Racing 2 (Android, iOS)
- Fast, multi-core processor
- Speedy graphics processing unit
- Lots of RAM
- Long battery life
- Large, high-resolution screen