PUBG places considerable strain on hardware, and as a competitive title, you'll need a handset that runs it smoothly.
I really want to treat PUBG as that one game that needs no introduction, but for those who are out in left field, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a multiplayer battle royale game that's credited for popularizing the genre. Matches begin with 64 players parachuting into a map with diversified regions, and players decide where they'll land as they fall. From there, they duke it out and explore the map for better equipment as they're pushed toward the center of the map by a "storm" mechanic that periodically closes in from the borders. This ensures that as the population drops, players continue to find and kill each other until only one remains. That player is the winner.
PUBG definitely wasn't the first of its kind, but it delivered its product at just the right time when the gaming industry was tiring of traditional shooters. The game has since found its way from PC to consoles and smartphones. The all-important question that was raised here was whether smartphones would be powerful enough to handle a graphically intensive PC port that wasn't particularly well known for its optimization. With launch bugs out of the way, the game now runs smooth as butter on the right hardware, and in no particular order, we're going to review the three best phones to date for handling PUBG on competitive settings.
This might just be the best Android phone for any kind of gamer experience short of idle accumulators, tappers and swipers. It boasts stereo sound with two front-mounted speakers, 4,000 mAh juicer, a 90 Hz AMOLED display for buttery animation and vivid colors, Adreno 630 GPU, an octa-core CPU pushing close to 3 GHz and 8 GB RAM to keep it smooth. The sleek edges and premium design of the device is unquestionably intended for gamers, but as it's ASUS and a Republic of Gamers (ROG) product, no one should be surprised. Oh, and were you concerned about internal space to store tons of heavyweight games? How does 512 GB sound? Unfortunately, you won't be using microSD with this device, but with that much space built in, you won't miss it much.
Did we mention that this thing uses liquid cooling and has a back-mountable fan?
This is another natural choice for on-the-go gamers. While the specs are slightly under what the ASUS ROG offers, they're more than potent enough to knock PUBG out of the park at max settings. There are a few notable differences from the ROG: The screen is IPS, the frame rate is 120 Hz, the screen is 0.3 inches smaller and there's microSD support. You're still getting an octa-core CPU pushing 2.8 GHz, 8 GB RAM and an Adreno 630. The main selling points here will be the improved frame rate and microSD support although Razer seems to be counting on users to integrate microSD with the internal storage, which has some drawbacks such as effectively bricking the device when the card is removed. Bear in mind that you otherwise have only 64 GB of internal space.
We love Android, but there's no denying that after all these years, Apple still manages to command the most potent mobile hardware when it comes to almost everything — especially games. There's not much to say here; iPhones are simple devices that just work, and while you may not have the ability to alter processing oomph and other power-user settings as with the ROG and Razer 2, iOS is designed to run seamlessly without requiring this micromanagement on the user end. In this way, you can count on getting a straightforward handset that knocks PUBG and other high-end titles out of the park without needing to muck around with clock frequencies and so on.
There is one little caveat to note: The frame rate is capped at 60 Hz, which is considered the sweet spot for competitive gaming but is considered inferior to the ROG's 90 Hz and Razer 2's 120 Hz. You may be one of those users who can't see the difference, but if that difference in smoothness matters to you, keep it in mind when eying Apple's handset.