Once upon a time, there was no such thing as an affordable gaming smartphone. Gaming smartphones required the most powerful chipsets and processors, and this meant premium flagship level processors. As such, if you wanted a gaming smartphone back in the day, you had to be ready and willing to spend premium money. I am talking about close to a thousand dollars. The first generation of gaming smartphones were expensive, high-end models.

But this is 2024, and things have changed a lot since those early days. While the most powerful smartphones you can game with are still premium flagship models, having a phone that powerful and that costly is no longer required for you to enjoy good gaming on mobile.

Thanks to gaming engines (software designed to optimize the performance of smartphones during gameplay) and competent mid-range chipsets, more people can now enjoy the most demanding games on smartphones that cost a little over U.S. $100. Amazing; isn’t it?

Helio G99 inside

MediaTek Helio G99

A chipset is the brain of a smartphone. It controls every aspect of the device. The Helio G99 is an affordable chipset designed to deliver good performance in budget smartphones. And many well-known phone brands are using it for just that, especially as it has the HyperEngine 2.0 Lite gaming technologies by MediaTek built into it. It was designed to be used on affordable gaming smartphones, from the get-go.

Some brands have even customised and branded it for their own specific use. For example, Xiaomi’s customised version is called “Helio G99 Ultra”. TECNo, Infinix, and itel use another customised variant called “Helio G99 Ultimate”. It is the same Helio G99 chipset with some modifications here and there and different coats of paint.

One interesting thing is that the Helio G99 is a two-year old chipset. It was launched in 2022 and began to appear in affordable smartphones that same year. But it is so good that it is being flogged on by every phone maker selling low-cost phones.

Phones using Helio G99 run even intensive games well. For example, playing Call Of Duty Mobile is not a problem. Another resource intensive mobile game that runs well on Helio G99 smartphones is Player Unknown’s Battle Grounds (PUBG) Mobile. Others include Asphalt 9, League Of Legends, and Genshin Impact. These affordable gaming smartphones may play them at slightly lower graphics settings, but they handle the games well.

So, if shopping for a budget gaming smartphone, look for phones that have a Helio G99 chipset inside. But apart from the chipset, there are two other factors to consider: RAM and storage memory. As a rule, the more, the merrier.

Also, if you can afford it, buy one with the highest amount of RAM possible. All of them have at least 8GB RAM; some have up to 12GB RAM. If your pocket allows, buy the bigger RAM variant.

Lastly, get the biggest possible internal memory possible. All of the affordable gaming smartphones using the Helio G99 chipset have at least 128GB storage. Some of them have the option of 256GB. If you can afford it, buy the 256GB option.

If you can’t afford more than the base option of Helio G99 + 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, that’s fine. Your smartphone will still run your favourite games well.

Some affordable gaming smartphones

affordable gaming smartphone

There are many budget smartphones using the Helio G99 chipset and able to deliver solid mobile gaming. Some of them released in 2024 are:

There are more to choose from, if we widen our net to include Helio G99 phones that were released in 2023. Such phones are still very up-to-date in the market and will serve you well, if you are hunting for an affordable gaming smartphone.


What of cost? The affordable gaming smartphones listed above are will cost you no more than ₦300,000. That is the rough ceiling for now. Of course, prices may change depending on factors that you are well aware of. And it is a wrap. All the best as you shop for an affordable gaming smartphone. Do use the comment section below to share your experience with one. I love to hear from you.

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By Mister Mobility

Tech blogging since 2003, I have owned and reviewed hundreds of smartphones running EPOC, Symbian, Palm, PocketPC, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.

One thought on “If you want an affordable gaming smartphone, this is what to look for”
  1. Practically everything has been priced out of the reach of the common man.

    Exchange rate issues

    You have to be a naira Millionaire to plunk down 300K for a smartphone, otherwise, something needs to be examined..

    This is why terms like BUDGET, AFFODABLE. etc sound strange these days when talking about gadgets.

    A toy phone like the Redmi A3+ cosying close to a 100K in a country where minimum wage is 30K is ridiculous .

    So, only the rich can afford a phone, now?

    Let the game smartphones stay somewhere, abeg. I have a family to feed..

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