Whether you’re hunting down the perfect phone for the hardcore gamer in your life or looking to treat yourself to an upgrade, the time has never been better. At present, there is a wealth of great options out there, especially for folks looking to play state of the art games on their smart phone. The following ten phones carry Hardcore Droid’s vaunted nod of approval for being the most hardcore Android phones for gaming on the go. If you are shopping for a phone for mobile gamer, you’ve come to the right place as any one of these bad boys is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of the most hardened, hardcore mobile gamer. If, on the other hand, you are just looking for a phone that stands out from the pack, and allows you to enjoy the best high-end mobile games in existence, you have also come to the right place as what follows is a list of the Most Hardcore Android phones of 2014.
HTC One M8
The HTC One was one of the best smartphones of last year and its successor does not disappoint. How does one improve on perfection you ask? Well let’s start with a gorgeous 1080px x 1920px Super LCD3 display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Throw in a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and finish it all off with a micro SD slot that can handle up to 128GB of expandable storage (that’s a lot of games). However to only highlight the guts of the M8 would be doing it a disservice. The phone is stunning. With a chassis machined out of a single block of aluminum, the HTC One M8 feels significant and sturdy. A truly high-end experience through and through.
Starting at $599.99
Just like you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the OnePlus One is proof that you should never judge a phone by its price. Coming in at $300 off-contract, this phone has no business being this good. Sporting a large 5.5” LTPS LCD display, a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, and 3 GB RAM, this has a lot of bang for your buck. The OnePlus One runs CyanogenMod – a modded version of Android that’s popular with the tinkerers out there – straight out of the box. The OnePlus One is currently only available through pre-order, but for a phone that is so well designed, customizable and affordable, it will be well worth the wait.
Starting at $299
Ok, so technically this phone was released late 2013, but it’s too good and still too relevant to be left off of the list. The Nexus 5 is a stellar, affordable option for those who are looking for a pure Android experience in an unlocked and hackable device. Manufactured by LG, The Nexus 5 packs a 5” True HD IPS+ display, a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor and 2 GB RAM. Do not be fooled by the specs, it might not have all of the bells and whistles of its newer counterparts, but it still offers strong performance and the speed that comes with not being loaded down by carrier bloatware. It should be noted that Lollipop, Google’s latest operating system, is already available for the Nexus 5 and upgrading is a simple process. At its current price the Nexus 5 is a steal; that combined with its hackable nature means that it’s a viable option for the ‘Droid gamer looking for a new phone.
Starting at $349
Samsung’s Galaxy S series has consistently developed smartphones that are the definition of state-of-the-art and the S5 is no exception. Being Samsung’s flagship smartphone means that they spared nothing when it came to creating this monster. Equipped with a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 2 GB RAM means that the phone will be able to handle any mobile game that you can throw at it. You’ll be playing those game on its big, bright, and beautiful 5.1” Super AMOLED display. Couple that with a 128GB expandable memory slot, a best in class 16MP camera, and the fact that it is both dust- and water-resistant straight out of the box and you have a phone that is almost too good to be true.
Starting at $649.99
Heralded by some as the phone that brought Motorola back to the table as leading Android phone manufacturer, the latest Moto X is a feature-rich, pure Android experience. The current model has a bigger screen than the previous version (5.2” Super AMOLED), a 13 MP camera on the back, and is running on a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. Internals aside, what really makes the Moto X worthy of being on this list are its features. It comes with a slew of smart battery saving features including, active notifications which light up only the pixels needed on your screen to show you a notification instead of waking up the entire screen just to show you that you’ve received a text. The X is also highly customizable, its rubberized, non-slip back is available in tons of colors and textures. All in all, though it may not blow your socks off as far as its internals, the X’s great battery life, bright display, and solid build quality make it an excellent option for the ‘Droid gamer.
Starting at $526.99
Maybe the best phone LG has ever produced, the G3 is everything a person could want from a phone. Sporting specs that read like an Android fan’s wish list, the G3 has a vivid 5.5” Quad HD display with a 1440px x2560px resolution, a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM and a 13 MP camera. The G3 has a sharp, modern style with subtle curves and a brushed metal finish. LG’s motto has been “Simple is the new smart” and nowhere is that more apparent than with the G3. It is simply an excellent phone.
Starting at $699.99
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Good things do come in small packages. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact bucks the recent trend that “bigger is better” and manages to be a powerhouse without bursting the seams on your pocket. The Z3 features a 4.6” LCD IPS display, a 2.5GHZ quad-core Snapdragon 801 and 2 GB of RAM. Also attached to the smaller form factor is an incredible 20.7 MP camera on the rear that takes stunning pictures. It also doesn’t hurt that the chassis is extremely water-resistant and essentially dust-proof. If you are looking for a lot of muscle in a small package, then the Xperia Z3 is just the phone for you. [Honorable Mention: The larger Z3 is also quite impressive. It sports a 5.2’ display and the increased size also means slight better specs. It has a higher resolution screen than its little sibling, a micro SD card slot for 128BG of extra storage, and 3 GB RAM.
Starting at $529.99
Motorola Droid Turbo
If the Moto X is one of the cool kids from high-school then the Motorola Droid Turbo is that kid’s even cooler older brother. It comes equipped with a 5.2” AMOLED screen (!), a 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805(!!), 3GB RAM (!!!), 21MP rear camera (!!!!). The back of the Droid Turbo can come in ballistic nylon which not only makes it sound like it could be a SWAT officer but also makes the phone’s construction feel strong and sturdy. It also boasts an impressive amount of battery life – roughly 48 hours on a single charge. Do remember though that the Droid Turbo is a carrier exclusive phone so those of us without Verizon are just out of luck. This phone will be able to take on any software you can throw at it, so go ahead, and game away.
Starting at $599.99
Galaxy Note 4
Oversized phone? Phablet? Call it whatever you want, but be sure to also recognize that it is one of the best all-around phones on the market today. Its 5.7” Quad HD Super AMOLED display features more pixels per inch than any other display they have ever made. That means the games you love to play will be amazingly bright and clear. The phone is running on a 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor and also sports 3 GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a micro SD slot that can accommodate up to 128GB of expandable memory. The Note 4 knows how big it is and has a few features that make it easier to use one-handed, including a reduce screen size feature which shrinks the display to a much smaller size. It also has a 16MP camera on the back complete with Optical Image Stabilization which ensures that even in low light, you still get good looking photos. If you are looking for a great phone with a lot of screen real estate then the Note 4 is a no-brainer.
Starting at $825.99
Moto G 2
The Moto G 2 is an excellent phone for those of us who want a capable phone but have to be a bit more budget conscious. Even though its specs are modest it is still quite the improvement over its predecessor. The G 2 has a larger screen (5”), improved camera (8 MP) and front facing speakers. It was the first phone in the world to receive Lollipop, Google’s latest operating system and runs an almost stock Android experience. The Moto G 2 absolutely crushes any other phone that is in its price class by almost any metric you could think of and that is why we recommend it for the ‘Droid gamers out there on a budget.
Starting at $219