Top Mobile Devices for Gaming (Plus the Games You Should Be Playing)

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Smartphones and tablets now outnumber PCs. Mobile is massive. And the gaming world is evolving so quickly you probably don’t know half of what’s hot. But that will change, too. At the 2014 Mobile Gaming USA conference Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, predicted that console gaming is dying – thanks in part to a fast-growing mobile games industry. It’s currently a $7 billion market in the U.S., with growth of $1 billion predicted for the coming year. Whether the technology is fueling that expansion or transformations in tech are the natural result of gamers who can never get enough, the current crop of mobile devices is pretty much awesomeness incarnate.

Here are three that put everything you could possibly want in a gaming platform in the palm of your hand:

The LG G3 is all about the screen, so much so that the 5.5″ display has literally been a marketing focus. And why not? This phablet sports 16m colors, 1440×2560 pixels and 538 ppi – unsurprising since LG already makes some of the best screens in the world. The hype is pretty well deserved, with the G3’s clarity, colors, sharpness and brightness all trumping what can be found on competitors’ screens. What is maybe a little surprising is that with everything the G3 has going for it – good looks and smooth play – the battery life is stellar.

Sony’s 10″ Xperia Z2 was built with the latest Sony TV tech optimized for mobile, including Live Color LED, so it looks great from edge to edge. Slim, light and fast, not to mention compatible with the DUAL SHOCK 3 PS Wireless Controller, it brings a lot to the table. One standout feature of the Z2 is the amazing S-Force Front Surround audio technology that offers the kind of powerfully immersive gaming experience not usually associated with mobile.

Finally, the Galaxy S5 from Samsung has the looks (in a full HD screen) and the sound (with plenty of bass) but that’s probably less important than the top rating from Rightware, which rated this phone fastest thanks to its Basemark X benchmark. You can look for lag but you’re not going to find it here.

So what do these three devices have in common? A kickass mobile GPU. They’re all powered by the mega-powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, which offers up maximum power and speed plus ultra HD video without the kind of battery drain you might expect.

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As to what you should be playing, start with Deus Ex: The Fall just to get a feel for how good mobile gaming can look on the right device. Then download the much lauded RPG Chaos Rings that features enhanced graphics built on a new rendering engine, gorgeous music and a deep story that doesn’t suffer at all on the small screen. For FPS fans, N.O.V.A. 2 has serious action and the kind of super smooth controls you can’t beat when things get hot. When you need something less intense, Osmos steps in with what it describes as the “ultimate ambient experience.” It’s beautiful and serene, and entirely absorbing thanks to the stellar graphics. And then there’s Cordy. IGN called it “”One of mobile gaming’s most accomplished platformers,” and it’s been featured in The New York Times – you’ll see why when you fire it up.

All in all, it’s a very good time to be a gamer on the go.

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