After much anticipation, Epic Games has finally announced Fortnite for Android, which is exclusively available for a handful of Samsung devices for the next 3 days. This is definitely shorter than the 30 days that we expected prior to the Note 9 launch, but if you have a compatible Samsung smartphone then you can now play the world biggest game from anywhere.

Is my phone compatible?

For starters, you will need to be running Android 5.0 Lollipop as your latest operating system or newer, have at least 3GB of RAM, and have an Adreno 530 or higher, Mali-G71 MP20, and Mali-G72 MP12 or higher.

If you have any of the following Samsung devices (which obviously meet those baseline requirements), then head to the Galaxy App store or Epic Games website to download it now:

  • S7/S7 Edge
  • S8/S8+
  • S9/S9+
  • Note 8
  • Note 9
  • Tab S3
  • Tab S4

For non-Samsung Android users, here’s a list of the upcoming compatible devices:

  • Google: Pixel / Pixel XL, Pixel 2 / Pixel 2 XL
  • Asus: ROG Phone, Zenfone 4 Pro, 5Z, V
  • Essential: PH-1
  • Huawei: Honor 10, Honor Play, Mate 10 / Pro, Mate RS, Nova 3, P20 / Pro, V10
  • LG: G5, G6, G7 ThinQ, V20, V30 / V30+
  • Nokia: 8
  • OnePlus: 5 / 5T, 6
  • Razer: Phone
  • Xiaomi: Blackshark, Mi 5 / 5S / 5S Plus, 6 / 6 Plus, Mi 8 / 8 Explorer / 8SE, Mi Mix, Mi Mix 2, Mi Mix 2S, Mi Note 2
  • ZTE: Axon 7 / 7s, Axon M, Nubia / Z17 / Z17s, Nubia Z11
  • Currently unsupported, but working on fixes in the near term:
    • HTC: 10, U Ultra, U11 / U11+, U12+
    • Lenovo: Moto Z / Z Droid, Moto Z2 Force
    • Sony: Xperia: XZ/ XZs, XZ1, XZ2

How to download Fortnite for Android

Epic has said that players can download the game from Epic’s web site or Samsung’s Galaxy App Store — as of now, it’s not going to be available on Google Play. You can also sign up for the beta at the link at Fortnite.com should you wish.

If you’ve never played Fortnite before, then you may need to wait for that invite to be approved before you can take part in the open beta. We’re not sure what the timings for when an invite will be accepted, but we’d imagine it won’t be longer than a few days.

If you’re a hardcore Fortnite fan and you pre-order the Note 9 or the Galaxy Tab S4, then you’ll be gifted an exclusive Galaxy skin for your character — should that float your boat. It’s still not exactly the best pre-order gift, but it might get used a little more than a DeX station, which was given away as a Note 8 pre-order gift.

Controls

I’m a Fortnite novice — I’ve played about 6 games, which have all resulted in frustration and confusion about controls. It has to be said that whilst the controls were initially tricky, within 10 minutes and a few games, I was fully in control of my character.

I’m still incompetent, but I think the control scheme was pretty easy to get used to — but still not perfect. Mastery will likely take a whole lot more time. The on-screen method of displaying the controls wasn’t as inhibiting as I thought it might be — this could be due to having a larger screen, but overall it didn’t feel cramped or unwieldy.

I do have my concerns for S7 users especially, as the screen will likely feel much more cramped when compared to the S8 to the Note 9. I’d imagine that on a tablet this will be almost identical to the experience on Nintendo Switch, but without the added bonus of controller support. Although, that being said, there are brands who have developed controllers for Fortnite that work on iOS.

Gameplay

If you’ve played Fortnite on any console or PC, then the gameplay will come as no surprise. There are several game modes, most of which are variations on the Battle Royale format. You can even take it a bit easier with the limited time building game modes included if the confrontation element seems a little too stressful.

Once you’ve launched into a game it’s a case of deploying from the Battle Bus, skydiving into the map and then scavenging for weaponry before shooting your way to becoming the last player standing. Nothing new, nothing too exciting.

For what it’s worth, I have found the gameplay a little more inviting than I did on console or PC. This could be due to the learning curve being almost the same for every other person playing, or because it feels more intuitive on a mobile screen — at least in my case with everything laid out in front of my eyes.

The cross-play conundrum

Fortnite on Android fully supports cross-play with PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and iOS. The problem here is that the mobile control scheme is going to be an immediate disadvantage to someone using either a gamepad or the unrivalled precision offered by mouse and keyboard. I mean if you’re a glutton for punishment, then at least you have the option.

Performance

Smooth performance was more than possible thanks to my device being well above the basic system and software requirements laid out by Epic. My phone did get slightly hot after playing for longer than 30 minutes, and that was without a case. My suggestion would be to have a case on, otherwise, you’ll feel that heat directly.

Even though there was an increase in heat, Fortnite never seemed to tax my Note 8. I didn’t notice a single slowdown and saw no stutters or gameplay-related or device performance issues. To be honest, I didn’t even see a great deal of lag, which was one of my biggest concerns — granted I have very capable connection speed.

As someone with some experience of the fully fledged desktop and console game, the mobile version feels very much the same. Yes, the controls are slightly different, but even with 20+ allies or enemies on screen with explosions and crafting going on all around you, there was little to no slowdown.

Now, this could all be anecdotal, as I do have a very capable device. It remains to be seen if older smartphones and tablets that do meet these minimum requirements can even run the game at acceptable settings.

Final Thoughts

I’m no Fortnite hater but to be honest I simply just haven’t really gotten into the game myself — which is probably a major reason I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it on mobile. That doesn’t discount the excitement that ardent fans have for finally being able to play the game on their phone.

I wouldn’t say that any third or first-person shooter is ideal for mobile play, but Fortnite for Android runs well, allows you to continue with your progress across devices and it’s more fun for the mobile accessibility — in my opinion, at least. We’ll also see updates and performance improvements over time.

If your phone isn’t compatible or you have a low-end device that doesn’t quite meet the minimum requirements, then I’m afraid if you want to play your favorite game then you’re going to have to upgrade. But what better time with the Note 9 having just been announced…?

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