Mobile gaming has come a long way in recent years, thanks to the massive influx of extremely powerful and capable smartphones on the market. I wasn’t a huge fan of smartphone gaming myself until I recently discovered all the graphics-intensive experiences that are available these days. But there’s only so much fun to be had on a smartphone with limited screen real-estate, and that’s when I turned to Samsung’s DeX platform.
Believe it or not, gaming has become one of my top Samsung DeX use cases, and I often find myself connecting the Galaxy phone for a casual gaming session, be it right after work or between tasks when I am taking a quick break. It’s also a great way to game when I don’t want to boot up my PlayStation 5 or gaming PC. There’s a lot of fun to be had while gaming on Samsung DeX, and here’s how you can do it.
What do you need for gaming on Samsung DeX?
A Samsung DeX-compatible Galaxy device is, of course, the heart of this setup, but you’ll need a couple of DeX accessories for a well-rounded experience. The first thing you’ll need is a display for the setup. Whether you want to use a TV or a monitor is entirely up to you, but please make sure that it has an HDMI port for wired connection or Miracast for a wireless one. I personally recommend a wired connection to eliminate any potential latency issues. A wireless connection will also limit you to 30 FPS, whereas a wired connection allows you to go to 60 FPS or even higher with some tweaks.
You’ll also need an HDMI to USB-C cable for a wired connection or respective adapters to make it work. I also recommend using a game controller to play games, but you can also invest in a good keyboard and a mouse, both of which can be used for your other DeX use cases. There are a couple of optional items you can add to your Samsung DeX setup, like a phone cooler and a wireless charger, but they’re mostly quality-of-life additions and aren’t crucial to the setup itself.
For my DeX setup, I’m currently using a Galaxy Z Fold 5 that is hooked to my 1080p 144Hz gaming monitor via an HDMI cable. I route the connection through an adapter, which also lets me connect a mouse and a keyboard. I prefer using a controller to play the type of games I typically enjoy these days, specifically a PlayStation 5 DualSense controller. It’s directly connected to my phone via Bluetooth and allows me to use its touchpad as a trackpad for navigation.
Samsung M8 32-inch 4K Smart Monitor
Best monitor for wireless DeX
$425 $700 Save $275
The Samsung M8 is one of the best 4K monitors to buy. Not only does it have multiple inputs for connecting up to three devices at once, and it also supports wireless DeX connections.
QCE USB-C to HDMI adapter
Best multiport adapter
This simple USB-C to HDMI adapter is a great option to consider for DeX. It also has a USB-A and a USB-C port for your peripherals, like a keyboard and mouse.
Logitech K380 + M350
Best keyboard and mouse combo
$44 $70 Save $26
This Logitech K380 keyboard and M350 mouse combo is perfect for a portable DeX setup. They’re both compatible with a bunch of devices, and they won’t take up too much space on your desk or the backpack either.
PlayStation DualSense Wireless Controller
Best controller for DeX
The official PlayStation 5 controller comes with the standard button and analog stick layout, but now featuring advanced haptics and adaptive triggers.
Belkin Quick Charge Wireless Charger
Best wireless charger
$30 $40 Save $10
The Belkin Quick Charge Wireless Charging Pad is an affordable 15W wireless charger compatible with all Qi-certified devices. It comes with a two-year warranty and a compatible 15W charging brick in the box.
Razer Phone Cooler Chroma
Best phone cooler
The Razer Phone Cooler Chroma is a MagSafe-compatible attachment that snaps onto the back of your phone and regulates the temperature with the help of a seven-blade fan. It also has as many as 12 RGB LEDs and is powered by Razer Chroma RGB.
Using Samsung DeX for gaming
In order to use Samsung DeX for gaming, all you have to do is connect your phone to the display via the HDMI cable and hit the DeX button on the quick settings menu or from the Samsung DeX page in Settings. You can also enable a setting that automatically fires Samsung DeX when you connect an HDMI cable. Here’s how to do it:
- Open Settings.
- Head to the Connected devices page and tap Samsung DeX.
- Enable Auto start when HDMI is connected toggle.
You’ll automatically see the DeX interface on your display after connecting, which you can then use to browse and launch the game of your choice. If you’re using a DualSense controller, you can also use its touchpad to navigate and launch the app. Alternatively, you can also use a mouse or your phone’s display as a touchpad. Either way, navigating through the DeX interface is like working through the phone’s interface on a bigger screen, so it’s easy to adapt to.
I’d like to point out that not all games from the Google Play Store support wireless controllers out of the box, so you may have to work your way around with a controller mapping tool. Most popular titles on the Play Store, however, support wireless controllers, so you’re not likely to face this problem. A lot of my favorite Android games, including War Thunder Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile, support wireless controllers, and they work flawlessly with the DualSense controller.
The overall gaming performance will depend on the compatible device you’re bringing to the setup. However, almost all modern Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets will have no issues pushing through demanding titles. I’ve tried DeX with both the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy Z Fold 5, both of which run almost all games flawlessly thanks to their Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chips. I expect similar performance from slightly older devices from the Galaxy S21, S22, and the Galaxy Tab S7 and S8 series, to, although you may notice occasional frame drops and stutters, especially if you’re running the game with max graphics settings.
In addition to Android games from the Google Play Store, you can also enjoy cloud gaming services such as Xbox Game Pass to play next-gen console titles via Samsung DeX or play retro video games using one of the best emulators for Android. There are plenty of ways to play games on DeX using your Samsung Galaxy phone, and the choice is yours, really. I personally use Samsung DeX to play only my favorite Android games on a bigger screen, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy it.
It’s features like these that make me want to recommend Samsung Galaxy phones over other Android devices. Of course, it’s not the only thing going for Galaxy phones, but it’s a big part of what makes Samsung phones better than other Android phones in my book. You can also use a Galaxy tablet to enjoy all the Samsung DeX experiences, so feel free to explore them if you already have a reliable phone that you don’t want to replace.
$750 $800 Save $50
Samsung’s compact Galaxy S23 is the base option in the S23 series, but it’s still powerful enough to deliver a complete desktop experience with DeX.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Samsung’s latest large foldable is already quite capable with multiple displays, but you can also use it for DeX to make the most of its computing power. The 7.6-inch foldable screen also makes a great surface for a touchpad.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9
Samsung’s latest tablet also supports both wired and wireless DeX connectivity, letting you extend your day-to-day activities to a relatively bigger screen and setup.