I’ve had a bit of a revelation lately – a bit of a late-to-the-party one – but gaming on your phone is really fun. I used to always think of it the same way my mum does: playing a bit of Candy Crush or Words with Friends to pass the time while watching a burning crème brûlée on Masterchef.

In my head, if you wanted to game, actually game, it was getting your set up right in front of the big TV with your beefed-up Xbox and hoping no one would come and disturb you while you are in the final-five of an epic Warzone battle. While this is still great, I’ve discovered (after being locked down for months), that being able to play anywhere you want can be even better.

To really get the most out of this though, you are going to want a few things: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a compatible phone, a mobile gaming controller (required for some games) and a great pair of earphones or headphones.

“But what are the right ones for me?” I can hear you asking. Fear not, we have your back.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

There are loads of great games on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, but if you want to really be playing console-quality games on your phone, you’re going to want to nab yourself Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to access its new Xbox Cloud Gaming service. While most of this guide is about playing on your phone, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also works on your PC and tablet to get you into the action no matter what device you’re on.

Xbox Cloud Gaming brings an Xbox to your phone, wherever you have an internet connection with 10Mbps or higher. Just like Netflix does with movies and TV shows, Xbox Cloud Gaming lets you play over 100 console games that you can play directly on most devices you already own – including your phone. We’re not talking some weird games you’ve never heard of either, there are proper AAA titles at your fingertips. Forza Horizon 4, a bunch of Halo titles and Destiny 2 are all there.

If you already have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, cloud gaming is included in your subscription at no extra cost. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s normally $15.95/month, but we offering the first month’s subscription on us, free to eligible Telstra customers.

We did a big write up about Xbox Cloud Gaming and how it works with Telstra if you want to dive more into that, too.

The best phones for gaming

I know that not everyone is willing or able to spend the same amount on their new smartphone, so I thought I’d break these down by price range to help find something for most people.

Google Pixel 6 Pro – RRP: $1299

Google’s latest have really taken things up a notch this year, which makes them perfect for gaming, particularly its powerhouse Pixel 6 Pro model. It’s got a gorgeous 6.7-inch screen with Google’s Smooth Display technology, which features a buttery smooth 120hz refresh rate, all wrapped in ultra-strong Gorilla Glass Victus to make sure it’s protected when you’re out gaming on the go.

What makes this particularly special for gamers though is Google’s first-ever processor called Tensor. Tensor is a beast – apps launch faster, your battery lasts longer and features like Google Translate run better than ever.

It’s also one of the first devices to launch here that features mmWave 5G, so if you’re able to connect to a mmWave site (available across selected suburbs, with more rolling out soon), you can experience faster speeds and even lower latency when you’re gaming – perfect for Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Oppo Find X3 Pro 5G – RRP: $1499

The Oppo Find X3 Pro 5G is also an amazing choice. With a fantastic 6.7inch screen (also with a 120hz refresh rate), top of the line processor and VOOC ultra-fast charging it’s perfect for gamers.

VOOC fast charging is really its differentiator here, with the ability to charge 40% battery in just 10 minutes, you’ll never have a problem with power if you want to duck out to the park for a quick gaming session (provided you have a VOOC-compatible charger). Likewise, with 5G, it’ll be easy for you to stream Xbox Cloud Gaming on the go without a hitch.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 – RRP: $2499

If you want to up your K:D ratio, this is the one to get. The folding form factor gives you a huge 7.6-inch screen, almost double most other phones when it’s open, plus a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes it perfect for gaming. I’ve been using it as my primary gaming device recently and I’ve honestly never been better at Halo in my life.

On top of the gorgeous, large screen, it’s got a top of the line processor so you never find yourself lagging, supports 5G for low ping and fast download speeds and Samsung’s Game Booster mode blocks out all your notifications and background tasks so all you need to focus on is that final corner in Forza.

Outside of gaming, it’s packed with awesome cameras, an all day battery life and supports Samsun S-Pen for note taking on the go (sold separately).

The best phone accessories for gaming

Before I dive in, I’ll let you in on a bit of a secret. As a Telstra customer, our Telstra Plus rewards program gives you points to say thanks for being with us, and you might just have enough points sitting in your balance to pick up some awesome accessories with a big discount or just by using points.

When it comes to accessories, we have two great gaming controller options you’re going to want to try out, including the Razer Kishi. It comes in both Android and iPhone models and plugs right into your device’s USB-C or Lightning port. It stretches out to fit most phone sizes, while the controls themselves feel as good to use as any dedicated console controller.

It’s available for $155 outright or you can pay it off over 24 months. If you have a few Telstra Plus points lying around, it’s also available for 52,000 points.

Available only for iPhone, your other option is the Backbone One. It’s a collapsible controller, making it easy to stash away in your backpack and connects to your iPhone with the lightning adapter. Best of all, it also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can connect your favourite gaming headset straight to your iPhone.

The Backbone One is available for $179.99 outright or you can pay it off over 24 months.

You’ll truly feel like you’re playing your Xbox on the go.

With your sound, most people fall into two camps: people who prefer small ear buds, or those who want giant cans over their ears.

Either way, you’re going to want something noise cancelling to really immerse yourself in the action. On the earbud end, Beats new Studio Buds offer incredible sound with active noise cancelling at a great price, sitting at $199. While for the same price, if you’d rather some over the ear headphones, Sennheiser’s HD 350BT are a great option.