Best Gaming Smartphones in Malaysia (Reviews 2020)

best gaming smartphones malaysia feature image

Gaming on smartphone is getting more mainstream nowadays. E-sport is no longer exclusive for console or pc gamer.

Mobile games are getting better in graphics and competitive in nature with the rise of games like PUBG mobile, Mobile Legend, Garena Free Fire and many more. Competitive gamers are more demanding with their smartphone in order to get an edge over other gamers

Due to the increase in demand, there’s a new emerging breed in the smartphone market – gaming phone, including Razer, Asus ROG, Xiaomi BlackShark, Nubia and so on.

Jump to our top gaming smartphone pick :-

  1. Best budget gaming smartphone Malaysia
  2. Best gaming smartphone overall
  3. Best high-end gaming smartphone Malaysia
  4. Best gaming smartphone under RM1000 (Honorable mention)

How we pick the best gaming smartphone?

Gaming smartphones should have the best SoC (or in layman’s term, CPU), great display screen, large battery, optimal cooling, updated software. Additional physical buttons for gaming is a plus point.

With all these requirements, the “best gaming smartphone” will not be “truly affordable”.

Here, we split the gaming smartphones into 3 price categories. For gaming smartphones, our budget range will start at more than RM1500.

Smartphone tierPrice range
Budget gaming smartphonesRM1500 – RM2000
Mid-tier gaming smartphonesRM2000 – RM3000
High end gaming smartphonesMore than RM3000

Do note that we will only focus on reviewing gaming phones that are released in 2019 and 2020.

Without further ado, let us begin!

List of gaming smartphones in Malaysia

Here’s a quick reviews of the gaming smartphones we have shortlisted:

ModelQuick ReviewPrice
Pocophone F2 Pro -6GB RAMBest budget gaming smartphone out there. Full-stop. It is the cheapest gaming smartphone you can get in Malaysia. RecommendedBuy from RM1799
Pocophone F2 Pro – 8GB RAM A slightly upgraded version of the Pocophone F2 Pro. It is a good upgrade if you can afford it. NeutralBuy from RM2199
NUBIA RED MAGIC 5GChina brand gaming smartphone, not well-known in Malaysia. But it comes with great gaming feature and accessories, worth to check it out. RecommendedBuy from RM2450
ASUS ROG PHONE 2Release in 2019, shipped with Snapdragon 855+. Huge battery, active cooling accessories, dual USB port and RGB lighting! Old but good. NeutralBuy from RM2499
Black Shark 3 ProComes with shoulder triggers, sleek design, 65W charging capability. Downside? It is really expensive for a gaming smartphone. Not recommendedBuy from RM4199
Samsung Galaxy S20+A Samsung flagship for gaming? Why not? But there’s one big downside! Malaysians only can get the Exynos variant. Not recommendedBuy from RM3999
Apple iPhone SECheapest iPhone with A13 Bionic chips. But also the smallest screen size across all iPhone models. Not recommendedBuy from RM2199
Apple iPhone 11 ProReleased in 2019. It’s stable, supports Xbox and Sony Dualshock controller, buttery smooth makes it a great smartphone for gaming. However, its smaller screen, big notch and small battery lead to us to stick with Android gaming phone. RecommendedBuy from RM4399

Best Budget Gaming Smartphone

1. Pocophone F2 Pro

best budget gaming smartphone poco f2 pro

Pocophone F2 Pro is the best gaming phone under RM2000.

✔ Snapdragon 865
 Distraction-free full-screen display
Super AMOLED screen
Best value for money

Best deal on Lazada Best deal on Shopee

There are hardly any contenders for the best budget gaming smartphone. Almost no smartphone manufacturers can make a phone with Snapdragon 865 but still maintain a reasonably low. We found that only Pocophone F2 Pro made it on the list!

Here is the full spec list for Pocophone F2 Pro:

Specification
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 865, Adreno 650 GPU
SIM SupportDual-SIM, nano-SIM
RAM6GB, LPDDR4X
Storage128GB, no external SD Card support
ScreenCorning Gorilla Glass 5, Super AMOLED, 1080 x 2400 pixel, 6,67″
Back CameraQuad camera module,
64MP main module,
5MP telephoto module,
13MP ultrawide module,
2MP depth module
Front CameraMotorized pop-up 20 MP
Wi-Fi CapabilityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6
NFCYes
3.5mm headphone jackYes
Battery4700mAh battery with 30W fast charging. Compatible with USB-PD and Quickcharge 4+.
Fingerprint sensorUnder-display, optical
PriceRM1799

Performance

Pocophone F2 Pro, equipped with the current top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865. It features a Corning Gorilla Glass 5, 6.67″ Super AMOLED Display with HDR10+ support, Wi-Fi 6 capability, 5G capability and a large 4700mAh battery.

Software support

Software-wise, it comes out of the box with the latest Android 10, MIUI 11. Xiaomi promised that this phone will be upgraded to the latest MIUI 12 soon. In short, Xiaomi is doing a fine job keeping the Pocophone F2 Pro updated.

What makes Pocophone F2 Pro the best budget gaming phone…

Pocophone F2 Pro features a true full-screen super AMOLED display, with the front camera being a motorized pop-up camera that only appears when needed. It gives the users the best full-screen gaming experience, P

As a gamer, especially competitive gaming like PUBG, you would not need to fear that the notch or the punch hole becomes a blind spot. There’s no blindspot on Pocophone F2 Pro!

Did we mention that this Pocophone F2 Pro still features a 3.5mm headphone jack? It is because this is definitely something worth mentioning! Easy plug-and-play for the headphone is a huge trouble saver.

The combination of powerful Snapdragon 865 chipset, 6GB RAM, great screen, WiFi 6 support, headphone jack makes it a very compelling gaming phone.

Pricing

Furthermore, this phone is priced at only RM1799 for the 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM. Which is the biggest reason we are recommending it as the best cheap smartphone! For those who are willing to spend more than RM2000, can consider the 8GB +256GB ROM variant.

Xiaomi is still the king of budget smartphone in Malaysia. It is ideal for both leisure and serious gamers. Get Pocophone F2 Pro now.

Best Overall Gaming Smartphone Malaysia

2. Nubia Red Magic 5G

best over gaming smartphone malaysia - nubia red magic 5g

Nubia Red Magic 5G is the best gaming phone for hardcore gamers.

✔ Snapdragon 865, 8GB RAM
 144Hz refresh rate display
Shoulder trigger buttons, gaming-centric hardware
Gaming-centric software

Best deal on Lazada Best deal on Shopee

Next, we have Nubia RED Magic 5G, ASUS ROG PHONE 2, Pocophone F2 Pro (8GB + 256GB Variant), and even Apple iPhone SE for the mid-tier gaming phone

We have done a side-by-side comparison for the phones mentioned above:

NUBIA RED Magic 5GASUS ROG Phone 2Pocophone F2 ProApple iPhone SE
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 865Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+Qualcomm Snapdragon 865Apple A13 Bionic Chip
GPUAdreno 650Adreno 640Adreno 650Apple GPU
SoftwareAndroid 10, Redmagic 3.0Android 9, ROG UI (upgradable to Android 10)Android 10, MIUI 11Apple iOS 13
SIM SupportDual-SIM, nano SIMDual-SIM, nano SIMDual-SIM, nano SIMSingle-SIM, nano SIM
Storage128GB, UFS 3.0128GB, UFS 3.0256GB, UFS 3.1128GB, NVMe
RAM8GB8GB8GB3GB
IP RatingnonenonenoneIP67
ScreenAMOLED, 1080 x 2340 pixel, 6.65″, 144Hz refresh rateAMOLED, 1080 x 2340 pixels, 6.59″, 120Hz Super AMOLED, 1080 x 2400 pixel, 6,67″Retina IPS LCD, 750 x 1334 pixels, 4.7″
Back CameraTriple Camera Module,
64MP main ,
8MP ultrawide ,
2MP macro
Duo Camera Module,
48MP main,
13MP ultrawide

64MP main,
5MP telephoto,
13MP ultrawide,
2MP depth
12MP single camera
Front Camera8MP24MPMotorized pop-up 20 MP7MP
Wi-Fi capabilityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/adWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6
NFCYesYesYesYes
3.5mm headphone jackYes (32-bit)Yes (24-bit)Yes (24-bit)No
Battery4500mAh battery with 55W fast charging6000mAh battery with 30W fast charging4700mAh battery with 30W fast charging1821mAh battery with 18W fast charging
Fingerprint sensorUnder-display, opticalUnder-display, opticalUnder-display, opticalHome button
PriceRM2450RM2499RM2199RM2199

We know there is one questionable choice in our list, but hear us out.

You might be wondering why we choose iPhone SE for gaming? Well, Apple AppStore has the largest gaming app collection and iPhone SE has a powerful A13 Bionic chipset. iPhone SE 128GB only cost RM2199. So we wish to keep users aware of such a cheap gaming iPhone option actually available.

Performance

Released this year, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is the best SoC in the market. Both Nubia RED Magic 5G and Pocophone F2 Pro uses Snapdragon 865. So, gamers would not need to worry about the performance of these two smartphones.

Just slightly behind Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 would be the Apple A13 Bionic Chip. Based on a performance test done by Android Authority, Apple A13 Bionic single-core performance is still better than Snapdragon 865. But the multicore score is slightly poorer than Snapdragon 865.

image 8
Image credit: Android Authority

What about Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+? Well, it is an overclocked version of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. An overclocked Snapdragon 855 is still lag behind Snapdragon 865. Besides, more heat will be generated due to overclocking .

Clearly the winner in performance wise is: Nubia RED Magic 5G and Pocophone F2 Pro

What makes Nubia Red Magic 5G the best overall gaming phone…

Gaming-centric hardware

The first and most important feature is the built-in shoulder trigger button. It is the game-changer. It improves gaming control and provides a more ergonomic holding posture for PUBG mobile players. Hooray for the claw-style gamers~!

nubia built in trigger button

It has dedicated gaming accessory – the Magic Adapter. This adapter lets users play the game and charging at the same time without any wire dangling with your finger. And it has 100MB ethernet port for a lag-free, low ping gaming session. Simply insane!

nubia red magic adapter

Nubia Red Magic has a built-in fan for active cooling too. Though it is a bit gimmicky, it does help to reduce 2-3 degree Celcius on average.

Besides, Nubia Red Magic has a big and fast UFS3.0 8GB RAM. And it has an FHD AMOLED 144Hz screen. Such a high refresh rate used to be only available on a desktop gaming monitor.

On top of that, it comes with dual stereo speaker and a 3.5mm headphone jack that supports a 32-bit audio output. Good news for gamer and audiophile!

Gaming-centric software

red magic gaming mode

Gaming mode is one of the unique features on Android customized OS. Red Magic has gaming-friendly function including game booster, gaming recording and turbofan control.

Considering all the criteria above, Nubia Red Magic 5G is no doubt the best value for money gaming phone in Malaysia. Fellow Malaysia hardcore gamers, grab your Nubia Red Magic 5G now.

Best High-End Gaming Smartphones

3. iPhone 11 Pro

best high end gaming smartphone malaysia - iphone 11 pro

iPhone 11 pro is the best high-end gaming smartphone for Malaysians.

✔ Super Retina 120Hz touch-sensing display
 A13 Bionic
iOS with great gaming ecosystem

Best deal on Lazada Best deal on Shopee

Sorting out high-end gaming smartphones is not an easy job. There are so many premium smartphones on the market, and not all of them are suitable for gaming! Regardless, we have hand-picked a few smartphones that in our opinions are good for gaming.

Our shortlisted high-end gaming phones are Black Shark 3 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S20+, and iPhone 11 Pro. Let’s check out the side by side comparison below.

Black Shark 3 ProSamsung Galaxy S20+Apple iPhone 11 Pro
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 865Samsung Exynos 990Apple A13 Bionic Chip
GPUAdreno 650Mali-G77 MP11Apple GPU
SoftwareAndroid 10Android 10, One UI 2iOS 13
SIM SupportDual SIM, nano SIMHybrid SIM, nano SIMsingle SIM or eSIM
Storage256GB128GB, external SD support64GB, NVMe
RAM12GB8GB4GB
IP RatingnoneIP68IP68
ScreenAMOLED, 7.1″, 90Hz refresh rateDynamic AMOLED 2X, 6.7″, 120Hz, HDR10+Super Retina XDR OLED, 6.5″, HDR10, 120Hz touch-sensing
Back CameraTriple camera ,
64 MP main ,
13 MP ultrawide ,
5 MP depth
Quad camera,
12 MP main,
64MP telephoto,
12MP ultrawide,
0.3MP depth
Triple camera,
12MP main,
12MP ultrawide,
12MP telephoto
Front Camera20MP12MP12MP
Wi-Fi capability802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6
NFC(no information)YesYes
3.5mm headphone jackYesNoNo
Battery5000mAh, 65W fast charging4500mAh, 25W fast charging3969mAh, 18W fast charging
Biometric SensorFingerprint, under-display, opticalFingerprint, under-display, ultrasonicFace ID
PriceRM4199RM3999RM4399

Performance

If we are just looking at the raw performance from the SoC and RAM size, then Black Shark 3 Pro equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and 12GB RAM offers the best performance amongst the listed smartphones, closely followed by Samsung Galaxy S20+ which is equipped with the Samsung’s own Exynos 990 SoC and 8GB RAM.

Released a year earlier, the performance on Apple A13 Bionic Chip is slightly at disadvantage but Apple iOS optimization would still provide a smooth gaming experience.

All three phones real world performance would be a tie.

Software support

Apple, on the other hand, is well known for keeping their phones up-to-date and have very long software support. You can expect the iPhone 11 Pro to receive iOS updates for another 4-5 years.

What makes iPhone 11 Pro the best high-end gaming phone

Getting a premium smartphone with a price tag of over RM3000 to RM4000+ solely for gaming feels a bit of a waste.

No matter how hard we try to justify it, we don’t think it’s wise to spend that much on a gaming phone when there is already cheaper option out there, the Nubia Red Magic at RM2450.

Therefore we pick iPhone 11 Pro as the best high-end gaming phones that can be your daily driver and do not sacrifice your gaming experience.

Hardware and Software Integration

Apple A13 Bionic chip may not be the most powerful chip right now. It is already almost one year old. We know the upcoming Apple iPhone 12 would definitely come with a better and stronger chip. 

But we can’t deny that the A13 is still a very capable chip that works almost PERFECTLY with iOS due to Apple’s closed-loop ecosystem. 

Game developers can optimize the game for iOS more easily and efficiently. As opposed to Android, developers seldom tweak their game specifically for any Android phone model. This scenario and advantage of iOS make the iPhone 11 Pro or any apple device more performant and get better gaming experience. Example: PUBG mobile can run smoothly on the new iPhone SE with HD and high FPS options.

In gaming, especially competitive gaming, stable gaming experience means everything. Still have doubt? Check out the photo below in Malaysia PMCC 2019  (PUBG Mobile Campus Championship Malaysia).

Photo credit: ESL Malaysia

Have you noticed how every single of the players in the photo is using iPhone 8/7? This is a common scene in e-sport as well as the streaming community. Just a note that our very own local Mobile Legend streamer, Soloz is using an iPhone too

Well, it is not all good for the iPhone.

It has its shortcomings too, like poor heat dissipation and low battery capacity. But competitive gamers still prefer to stick with an iPhone speaks a lot for its credibility as a gaming phone.

iPhone 11 Pro is overall more versatile and its appearance is more suitable for daily use. If you’re a working adult, it could be a bit awkward to carry a Black Shark 3 or Asus ROG into a business meeting 😜.

We could sum up that the iPhone is a good investment if you plan to spend some good money on a reliable gaming handphone. Get your iPhone 11 Pro now.

Honorable mention- Best gaming smartphone under RM1000

4. Redmi Note 9 Pro

Redmi Note 9 Pro @₹13,999 - The Performance Beast - Mi India

Redmi Note 9 Pro with 6GB ram and 129GB from is the best gaming handphone under RM1000 in Malaysia. It is worth noting that the Redmi Note 9 Pro uses Snapdragon 720G of 8nm architecture. It is considered an upper-mid-range chipset.

The gaming experience on Redmi Note 9 Pro is overall great. At the same time, it has a better than average camera. It is a pretty good bargain for under RM1000.

Last but not least, it has a big battery size of 5020mAh too. Get a Redmi note 9 Pro.

Competition

Asus ROG 2 vs Nubia Red Magic 5G

ASUS is notorious for abandoning Android updates on its smartphone and updates, even on flagship smartphones. Zenfone 5 only got an Android 9 upgrade, and it is confirmed that Android 10 will be the last Android upgrade for Zenfone 5z from Android 8.

We would like to love the Asus ROG 2 but it is not recommended to buy any old Asus handphone model. You should probably wait for ROG 3.

iPhone SE vs Nubia Red Magic 5G

iPhone SE is the cheapest iPhone ever with A13 chipset. You practically get the same raw performance as iPhone 11. But iPhone SE only comes with 3Gb RAM while iPhone 11 has 4GB RAM. Regardless, it can run most games on HD with high FPS without problem.

BUT! We think the screen size is literally too small for today’s gaming standard. So, it is a big NO for us. And the 1821mAh battery size is another big NO.

BlackShark 3 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro

BlackShark 3 Pro ticks every box of a perfect gaming phone. It’s powerful, huge screen, huge battery, comes with shoulder trigger buttons and with insane 12 GB RAM (more than my laptop RAM). 

But the high price tag makes it an obsolete option. If you have some serious love for Xiaomi phones, just go for it.

Samsung S20+ vs iPHone 11 Pro

Samsung S20+ is our almost perfect high-end gaming phone. We decided that Samsung flagship series like S20 and Note 20 are just not a good buy in Malaysia.

We think that it’s unfair for Malaysians to get Exynos 990 chipset and other countries can get Snapdragon 866. We’re paying the same price but getting a different treatment. This situation has been forever and it must be stopped.

iPhone 11 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro Max has a bigger screen which enables a slightly better gaming experience compared to iPhone 11 Pro.

I bet those who can afford the iPhone 11 Pro Max won’t bother to read our reviews anyways.

For those who care for your hard-earned money, we think there’s really no need to spend the extra money during this pandemic crisis. And the iPhone 11 Pro screen size is just nice.

But, if you have the money, go for it

What do you think?

I would love to know what’s your opinion on our best gaming phones to buy in Malaysia. Let me know what other gadget you would like me to review.

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Kai

Kai is a tech enthusiast staying in Kuala Lumpur. Techrakyat.com is where he reviews on the best gadgets, apps, life hacks, tips for save money and make money.

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