Smartphones have evolved a lot in the last 15 years, with the latest models having components that are capable of rivalling many computers. 2020 and 2021 flagship models have come with six and eight-core 64-bit processors and between four and 16 gigabytes of memory. While not entirely comparable, this is more than most consumer laptops on the market today.
With such powerful chipsets under the hood, smartphones have become great gaming machines striking a balance between portability and quality. But if you’re a gamer looking for a new pocket-sized gaming machine, you may be wondering about whether to get an iPhone or an Android.
The truth is, both offer similarly great experiences, though there are a few minor differences that may sway you in a particular direction.
For the vast majority of people, cost is a major consideration whenever we buy a new phone. The price of a new handset has been creeping up a lot over the past five years or so, with the “pro” versions of most flagship devices costing more than $1,000.
While Apple’s iPhone is regarded by most to be a pricier “premium” product, it isn’t quite that simple. Pound-for-pound, other flagship Android smartphones like the OnePlus 9 and Samsung Galaxy S21 do cost less than the iPhone 12. However, dedicated gaming phones and “pro” models from companies like Samsung can set you back more than even the top-end iPhone.
If price isn’t your biggest concern, then you can find great iPhones and Android devices, but if you’re on a budget, you may find more Android options that suit your requirements.
Choice of Games
iPhone and Android gamers have a pretty similar selection of games to choose from. Both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store have around a million titles in their catalogues, with a large proportion being the same games. The main differences are around independent games that have only been released to one ecosystem.
Browser-based titles mean there’s even more choice for mobile gamers too, with both iPhones and Android devices able to run most HTML5 games within a mobile web browser.
Although it’s now possible to play Google’s Stadia games on iOS devices, they are better supported on Android. So if you’d like to use the revolutionary streaming platform, you may be better opting for Android.
One benefit that iPhones do have over Android devices is that they grant you access to Apple Arcade, the Californian company’s subscription service that has a growing selection of great titles that are ad and microtransaction free.
If graphics are your number one priority, then mobile gaming may not be your best choice. After all, you’re going to get much better visuals playing on a PlayStation 5 than you are on an iPhone 12.
That said, mobile gaming graphics have come on leaps and bounds in recent years, thanks in part to those beefy components that manufacturers have managed to cram inside.
There’s little between the two here as well, with similar screen resolutions on flagship Android devices and the iPhone 12. However, Apple continues to stick with 60Hz refresh rates for all its models while Android manufacturers are releasing handsets with 90Hz and 144Hz displays.
This increased refresh rate creates a smoother transition between each frame. While not everyone can notice the difference, for many gamers, this is a big deal.
If you are someone that needs smoother graphics while you play, then Android is your only option. One of the best models on the market right now is the Asus ROG Phone 5, a dedicated gaming phone that has a FullHD+ display with a resolution of 2448 x 1080 pixels and a 144Hz refresh rate. The specially designed OLED panel delivers a brighter image, with better contrast, and improved colour vibrancy.
In some cases, it may also be possible to get even better performance on Android devices by using a game boosting application, though results on newer devices may be negligible.
There is little between iPhone and Android smartphones today. They are both great for playing mobile games on, though they each have a few minor differences that may make them more preferable to some. It is very difficult to say one is better for gaming than the other, though Android does offer more flexibility and choice, meaning it’s likely to be a better option for more people.