Opinion: I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never been a fan of gaming phones.
With their flashy designs, I’ve always found it awkward to take a gaming phone out of my pocket in public, while the quality of the camera gets overlooked in favor of a performance boost.
And did I mention it’s ridiculously expensive? The new Asus ROG Phone 6 costs £899, while the ROG Phone 6 Pro is over £1099 – you can buy two PS5 units for that much money.
But despite my reservations about gaming phones, there is no doubt that they serve a clear purpose. ROG Phone 6 Pro delivers fast gaming performance, featuring a high 165Hz refresh rate for smooth and responsive visuals making it easy to shoot an in-game target.
Sure, the Nintendo Switch OLED and Steam Deck are fierce competitors as gaming consoles on the go, but both are limited to a 60Hz panel. This means that they are not quite able to compete with gaming phones in the competitive multiplayer space.
This is evidenced by the huge esports scene in mobile gaming, especially with the likes of PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile. You certainly won’t see any serious competitors appear using Steam Deck instead of smartphone.
But this key feature of gaming phones may soon disappear thanks to Nvidia’s GeForce Now platform. GeForce Now is a subscription service that lets you play a wide variety of PC games via the cloud – meaning the power of your hardware is irrelevant, even if you want to play CyberPunk in 4K.
Of course, GeForce Now is nothing new, as it has been appearing on Android phones since 2019. And since GeForce Now was initially locked to a 60Hz frame rate, the service still couldn’t compete with the gaming experience. Provides the phone.
But that’s about to change as Nvidia (via The Verge) confirmed that it has started rolling out 120Hz support for Android smartphones. Provided you have a fast enough internet connection, this means that you only need a smartphone with a refresh rate of 120Hz (such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus) to achieve similar, if not better, performance than what a gaming phone can do.
You can make the argument that gaming phones let you play games while you’re abroad, while using GeForce Now makes you dependent on an internet connection. However, some of the most popular mobile games – such as Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact – actually require an internet connection in order to play.
There is one big drawback, because in order to play games at 120fps you will have to subscribe to Nvidia’s most expensive plan which costs £17.99 per month (or £89.99 for every six months).
This sounds incredibly expensive, but it could take more than six years for the subscription fee to reach the cost of a high-end gaming phone like the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro. And yes, you’ll still need to buy another 120Hz phone, but you can buy the likes of the Realme X50 5G for less than £150.
Subscribing to GeForce Now will also eliminate the need for a high-end gaming PC, allowing you to play games on multiple devices regardless of their specifications. If you like to play games on both mobile and PC, then it can be said that you are getting good value for money.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think GeForce Now is for everyone as it needs such a fast internet connection and only works with a select group of games. But I think it’s a better value option than buying a gaming phone.
Ctrl + Alt + Delete is our weekly computing-focused opinion column where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals, and more. You can find it in Trusted Comments every Saturday afternoon.