BEST OVER ALL Samsung Galaxy Note 7
It sort of goes without saying that Samsung's launch of their newest flagship phone didn't go as planned. But battery issues aside, the Note 7 is hands down one of the best phones you can buy in 2016 — especially if you're a gamer.
Featuring a brilliant 5.7-inch AMOLED display powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset and 4GB of RAM, the Note 7 will have your games looking great and running smooth as butter no matter how much of a resource hog they happen to be. With 64GB of on-board storage and a dedicated microSD slot you should easily be able to load up all your favorite games. And let's not forget the versatility of the S-Pen, which can totally change the way you play puzzle games. It takes a fantastic game like Brain It On! and makes it even greater by giving you the precise input you need to master every level.
On top of all the hardware features that make the Note 7 an outstanding device, Samsung's software has built-in features that make gaming a breeze on the Note 7. If you're a serious gamer, you'll definitely want to dive into the advanced settings and turn on the Game Launcher and Game Tools. They help to optimize the phone for gaming so you never feel bogged down or distracted from your game.
Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was seemingly designed to be a gamer's best friend, from the top-tier hardware to its convenient software tools for gaming.
BEST FOR BATTERY LIFE Moto Z Play
We've also dealt with the battery drain of extended gaming sessions when you're gaming on the go. There's nothing worse than getting all caught up in the heat of the action, only to have a low battery warning ruin things. If you suffer from battery anxiety when gaming off charger, the Moto Z Play Droid is the perfect device to alleviate that stress.
The latest in Motorola's modular lineup, the Moto Z Play comes with a massive 3,510mAh battery that's optimized by a more efficient processor and a lower-resolution display. Granted this your display won't get quite as bright as other UHD displays, but the color calibration and viewing angles remain great. You'll definitely enjoy the outstanding extended battery life you'll get in exchange. When it's time to top up, you'll be able to give your phone up to 9 hours of charge in just 15 minutes with Motorola's TurboPower wall charger.
Still not enough power? Take advantage of the Moto Z Play's modular design and slap on the Incipio off GRID Power Pack and add an extra 2,260mAh battery to your phone, along with charging efficiency and the added ability to wirelessly charge both the pack and your phone.
All this battery life business would be pointless if the Moto Z Play was a pain to use, but fortunately that's not the case. As AC's Daniel Bader wrote in his Moto Z Play preview, if you're a fan of the Motorola's past offerings — including their handy gesture and voice controls — you'll be happy to know they're all present in the Moto Z Play:
For anyone who has used a Motorola phone over the past three years, the software experience is a known quantity. [...] I like it because it's fast and fluid all the time, even with 3GB of RAM and a low-cost processor, and has truly useful add-ons that improve my life.
Bottom line: Starting at just over $400, the Moto Z Play is the perfect companion for the mobile gamer with battery anxiety.
BEST FOR TOUCH RESPONSIVENESS HTC 10
Serious gamers know that input lag is simply unacceptable. Any amount of lag can have a devastating effect whether it's a coming down to a photo finish, or a frantic deathmatch shootout. While traditional gaming allows for full controller customization (whether we're talking keyboard and mouse or controller), mobile gaming on a touch screen ultimately relies on the touch responsiveness of the sensors on the phone.
In that regard, there's no better phone than the HTC 10. With their 2016 flagship, HTC boasts the 10 has the lowest touch latency of any smartphone on the market — iPhones included. While that's not typically a frequently touted spec in 2016, it does make a difference for gaming.
Beyond touch responsiveness, as mentioned in our official review the HTC 10 is a fairly impressive phone that features outstanding high-definition audio output, a capable 12 megapixel camera, and fast performance thanks to the Quad-core 2.2GHz Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB RAM. It's all wrapped up in an aluminum unibody design with a curved back that's ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand.
Bottom line: Never blame your poor performances on lag again with the super responsive HTC 10.