You'll probably notice that your TV, PC and mobile devices have an option called game mode. Great, you might think, let's switch that on and start playing! But hold up, let's understand first what game mode is, and if it's even worth it.
As the name suggests, game mode is a setting that you can toggle in and out of on your device to theoretically optimize your game-play. Game mode unfortunately does not trigger any kind of exciting armored suit or power-up in your game, but without it, the visuals of your game may be lacking.
If you're going to need game mode anywhere, it will probably be when gaming through your TV. This is because of a problem called input lag. Input lag is the delay that's caused by your actions - pressing fire on a controller for example - having to pass along a connecting cable to your console and then into your television. The time involved is tiny, but when you're playing a very complex and fast-paced game where quick responses are vital, these split-second delays can be noticeable and frustrating.
Game mode on a TV attempts to solve this lag issue by concentrating on processing speed above everything else. In this it often works - games become more responsive and play is smoother. However, this can come at a cost. In prioritizing speed, your TV sacrifices a lot of other things, like picture, color, and noise reduction. Not ideal. Pictures can end up feeling blurry or low quality and for some people, this is worse than the lag.
When you're playing games on your phone, input lag isn't an issue in the same way as on a TV, as there isn't an input in the same way, so what is game mode on a smartphone for exactly? Game mode on a phone works in a similar way to game mode on Windows - it's about your device putting everything it's got into making your gaming experience as consistent as possible.
So how does it do this? Essentially by prioritizing your game over everything else going on. As much as possible, all of your phone or PC's resources will get channeled into gaming, meaning that your game should run faster and more smoothly. Gaming mode on your phone will also switch off anything that could potentially be distracting, like notifications and alarms. You don't want to be in the middle of a final boss battle only to have a text pop up from your mom.
In some cases yes, you might find your game is more responsive and runs more quickly, but you may also notice that this comes at a price, particularly on a TV. The truth is that different devices, games, and gamers may feel the benefit in different ways, so experiment with game mode and see if you feel it makes a difference.