Forex Mobile Trading:
The Definitive Guide (2017 Update)

It’s no secret that Forex mobile trading (smartphone trading) has given traders the ultimate freedom.

Until recently, trading required you to spend several hours in front of a computer or laptop each week.

Thanks to smartphones and tablets, these days you can trade from anywhere with a good internet connection.

In this guide I am going to show you everything you need to know to trade Forex on the go.

Let’s dive right in!

Forex Mobile Trading
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Chapter 1:
Forex Mobile Trading Fundamentals

Before we dive into the best phones, tablets, and platforms for Forex mobile trading, it’s important to understand what mobile trading is.

Forex Mobile Trading Fundamentals

What is Forex mobile trading?

Mobile trading is trading the Forex market from a smartphone or a tablet.

Fitting Forex trading around a busy schedule isn’t always easy. Between work, family, and your social life, finding time to trade can be a challenge.

But trading Forex from your smartphone allows you to trade around a busy schedule.

Over the last three years more and more broker’s and charting providers have begun releasing software for mobile trading.

So now all you need in order to trade Forex is a smartphone or tablet, and a stable internet connection.

Is mobile trading a good idea?

A lot of people ask me if trading from your smartphone is a good idea.

Is it safe?

Is it realistic?

Can it actually work?

They find it difficult to imagine professional traders using their smartphones for all of their trading.

While having the larger screen of a laptop or computer is handy for certain tasks, it is not a requirement. My Forex trading strategy can be traded entirely from a smartphone or tablet.

Smartphones have changed the way I trade.

In 2016, 73% of my trades were taken from my smartphone. So far in 2017 I have taken even more trades from my smartphone.

I have taken trades while hiking, cycling, travelling, and even at the beach.

Trading from your phone is safe, realistic, and it does work!

But what kind of phone do you need for trading?

Chapter 2:
What to Look For in a Trading Smartphone

Not all smartphones are equal for trading – some simply aren’t up to the task – and not all smartphones work with current mobile trading software.

However, since 2017 support for mobile trading has grown rapidly. So more and more smartphones are starting to be supported.

But what is the best smartphone for trading?

Well let’s break this down into three categories: operating systems, screen size, and battery life.

What to look for in a trading smartphone

Best Smartphone OS for Trading

OS is short for operating system, it is the software that the phone uses to operate its core functions. The two most common ones are Android and iOs (iPhone’s OS), but there are others such as Windows 10 mobile and BlackBerry 10 which surprisingly still exist.

Right off the bat I am going to eliminate both Windows mobile and Blackberry.

This is not to say that there are no trading platforms on Windows and Blackberry, but the choices are limited, and trading from these devices is not easy.

The dying market share of both these OS’s means Forex broker’s and charting providers do not support them. If you have one of those OS’s then it is time to get something new for trading.

So it all comes down to Android vs. iPhone.

In 2016 Android had a slight edge over iPhone, but as of 2017 iPhone has caught up. Both operating systems are neck and neck, so you can pick either of them.

However, as of October 2017, only iOs has a dedicated app for tradingview.com, one of the top charting providers in the industry. If you use TradingView, you might consider getting an iOs.

Don’t run out and buy an iPhone just yet though!

Tradingview can still be accessed on Android through your phone’s browser. While having a dedicated app is a nice bonus, it is not essential. I am using TradingView on an Android smartphone daily and I am more than happy with it.

It is fair to say that in 2017 both Android and iPhone are great OS’s for trading Forex.

You do not need a top of the line smartphone for trading. When it comes to specs, even low end modern smartphones are more than powerful enough for mobile trading.

So if power is not important, what is?

The most important factors are screen size and battery life.

How Important is Screen Size for Trading?

While you can trade on a smartphone with a tiny screen, it is tedious, and you are more likely to make mistakes. A large screen allows you to trade much more comfortably, which helps during stressful trades.

Smart Phone Screen Size

I recommend a 5.5 inch screen or better for trading from your smartphone. I have thoroughly tested several screen sizes and I have found anything under 5.5 inches is just too small.

If you have tiny fingers you might be able to trade comfortably with a smaller screen, but I do not recommend it.

If your screen is too small to trade from comfortably, there is a good chance you will make more mistakes. And in trading, mistakes can cost you a lot of money

Screen size is vital for trading Forex from your phone.

Battery Life So You Can Keep on Trading

Battery life is another vital factor, you don’t want your battery to die mid trade.

As you can see in the chart below, over the last five years battery life has been increasing at a surprising rate.

Average Smartphone Battery Life

smartphone battery life

In 2017 the average battery life of smartphones has gone up to 9 hours and 40 minutes. This time is based on web browsing which uses about as much resources as mobile trading.

Anything above the 9 hour and 40 minute average should be enough for trading, but the higher the better.

Personally I prefer at least 11 hours of battery life, especially if I am trading whilst abroad.

Don’t be fooled by battery sizes – a bigger battery does not mean longer battery life!

For example, the iPhone 8+ has a smaller battery than the Note 8 from Samsung but the iPhone 8+ lasts 5 minutes longer at 11h 16m vs. 11h 11m.

So now that you know what to look for in a smartphone, I will share my top picks for 2017!

Chapter 3:
Best Forex Trading Smartphone 2017

What’s the best smartphone of 2017 for Forex trading? Let’s take a look!

Best Forex Trading Smartphone 2017

1 The Galaxy Note 8

My personal pick for the best smartphone for Forex trading is without a doubt the Galaxy Note 8.

With a battery life of 11 hours and 11 minutes, and a 6.3 inch screen size, trading from the Note 8 is a dream. Not to mention the phone has a stylus which allows you to easily take notes on your trades for proper trade journaling.

I do not think anything can beat the Note 8 for trading.

What if you are an iPhone person though?

2 The iPhone X

Well as of writing this article the iPhone X is not out yet. However, the information I have seen already suggests the battery life might be as much as 12 hours. Couple this with its impressive 5.8 inch screen size, and it looks like the iPhone X is the top pick for iPhone users.

There is one major issue some of you will face with the Note 8 and the iPhone X – they are both very expensive. So, what budget friendly choices do you have?

3 Asus ZenFone 3

For the super budget conscious, the Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom with a 5.5 inch screen size and a crazy 16 hours 49 minutes of battery life.

While this phone is lacking in the power department, it is more than powerful enough for trading.

Notable Mention: OnePlus 5

My partner is also a trader and she is not a fan of flashy phones. She uses the Oneplus 5 and loves it – I have tested it myself and found it great for trading too!

The OnePlus 5 is also a budget phone, although it is slightly pricier than the ZenFone 3. However, unlike the ZenFone, the OnePlus 5 is not lacking in the power department. The phone is powerful, looks awesome, and it has an amazing camera.

If I didn’t have the the Galaxy Note 8, I would pick up a OnePlus 5.

Big Screen on a Budget

Generally a big screen requires a big budget, but there are some exceptions.

If you want a screen bigger than the standard 5.5 inch but are on a budget, check out the Huawei Mate 9. It’s huge 5.9 inch screen gives you a lot of room to trade comfortably.

While the Huawei is not a cheap phone, when compared to phones of a similar size like the S8 Plus, and the iPhone X, it is certainly the biggest screen you can get on a budget.

Want more options?

If you want to take a look at some other smartphones suitable for trading, below is a small table showing current popular smartphones, it shows their screen sizes and battery life.

Smartphone Screen Size Battery Life
iPhone 8 4.7″ 09h 54m
Google Pixel 5.0″ 08h 16m
Google Pixel XL 5.5″ 10h 34m
Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom 5.5″ 16h 49m
iPhone 8 plus 5.5″ 11h 16m
OnePlus 5 5.5″ 13h 06m
LG G6 5.7″ 08h 39m
iPhone X 5.8″ Unknown
Galaxy s8 5.8″ 10h 39m
Huawei Mate 9 5.9″ 12h 06m
Galaxy s8 plus 6.2″ 11h 04m
Galaxy Note 8 6.3″ 11h 11m

Chapter 4:
What to Look For in a Trading Tablet

your tablet does not need to be the most expensive and powerful on the market for trading.

Expensive tablets and notebooks are made for graphic designers and engineers using resource intensive software.

Trading is not resource intensive at all, but backtesting software like Forex Tester 3 is moderately intensive.

I am going to show you several tablets that are suitable for both trading and backtesting. And I will also show you some trading only tablets.

What to Look For in a Trading Tablet

Tablets, Laptops, & Notebooks – What’s The Difference?

Traditionally a tablet is a device with a touchscreen and no keyboard, and a laptop is a computer packed into a small package with an inbuilt keyboard.

Notebooks started as very compact and slim versions of laptops with built in keyboards. They were generally heavier than a tablet, but lighter than a laptop.

Over recent years the distinction between these three devices has become blurred.

Now you can get tablets with removable keyboards, these are called 2 in 1’s. A 2 in 1 acts as both a slim lightweight tablet, and a powerful notebook when the keyboard is attached.

For trading, 2 in 1 tablets are best. A portable tablet combined with the functionality of a keyboard make 2 in 1’s the ultimate device for a trader on the move.

All the tablets I discuss below are 2 in 1’s, but I will be referring to them as tablets.

What Tablet OS is Best for Trading?

In the previous chapter I discussed the two major mobile OS’s Android and iOs. Well tablets and notebooks can also have desktop OS’s, like Windows 10 or Mac.

So what is the best tablet OS for trading?

Right off the bat let’s eliminate Android and iOs. While these are great for smartphones, a good tablet needs and OS with more functionality.

Both Windows and Mac can do so much more than a standard mobile OS.

So the choice is between Windows and Mac.

Windows vs Mac

Now, this will annoy a lot of Apple fans out there, but Windows 10 desktop is hands down the best OS for trading.

Mac is simply not as widely supported by broker’s. You can get some platforms on Mac, but it does not come close to the trading software available on Windows.

Some of the most popular trading platforms in Forex are not available on Mac, or are very poorly supported.

One example of this is MetaTrader 5, which requires extra software that allows the use of Windows applications on Mac.

Another example is Forex Tester 3, an essential piece of software for any serious Forex trader, and it’s not available on Mac.

There are workarounds such as Parallels, a software which allows you to run Windows applications on Mac. However, these workaround can be unstable on lower powered devices such as the entry level Macbook.

In my opinion Windows 10 is currently the best OS for mobile trading.

Chapter 5:
Best Forex Trading Tablets 2017

When it comes to tablets there is no true “best” tablet.

However, there are a lot of great options.

Below I will list the best trading tablets I have found, I will share several options including:

  • Window 10 tablets
  • Budget tablets
  • Apple tablets
Best Mobile Trading Tablets

The choices I have made below are my personal picks. The reality is there are hundreds of tablets available these days, and dozens of new choices being released each month.

It is impossible for me to test and keep track of every tablet that hits the market. I am a trader first and a tech enthusiast second.

The Best Windows 10 Tablets For Trading

1 Acer Switch 5 2-In-1 (SW512-52)

Acer has knocked the Microsoft Surface Pro off of the top of the list with its new Switch 5. Dubbed by some as the “silent Surface Pro killer” the Switch outperforms the Surface Pro and will cost you a fraction of the price.

The Switch 5 comes with a detachable keyboard, a i5 processor, and 8GB of ram and is priced at a $1099.99 (£899.99).

Where the Switch 5 really shines is battery life. The Switch has outperformed the Surface Pro in battery life tests with over 13 hours web browsing time.

2 Microsoft Surface Pro

The Surface Pro is Microsoft’s follow up to their Surface Pro 4. While it should technically be called the Surface Pro 5, for some reason Microsoft decided to drop the numbering with this latest release.

The battery life depends on which model you choose but all models have extremely good battery life of 11 hours or more.

The cheapest of the range starts at $799 USD (£799 GBP no, this is not a mistake) and it uses the Intel m3 processor. While the m3 processor is powerful enough for mobile trading, it is not suited to resource intensive tasks like backtesting software.

The next step up is the Intel i5 4GB version which is $999 USD (£979 GBP) which is better suited to mobile trading and backtesting software.

The detachable keyboard is not included with the Surface Pro, and it will cost you an extra $129.99 (£129.99). So at a total cost of $1128 (£1108.99) for the i5 edition, the Surface Pro is by far the most expensive tablet on this list.

The Surface Pro is a solid choice for a premium trading tablet, but it’s price tag really isn’t justifiable. You can save yourself money and get the superior Acer Switch 5 which is sold with the keyboard, and 8GB of ram instead of 4GB.

3 Lenovo Miix 700

The Miix 700 is Lenovo’s answer to the Surface Pro, and Lenovo is continuing it’s theme of giving you more for your money than Microsoft.

The Miix gives you an Intel m5 processor at the same price as Microsoft’s Surface Pro with the m3 $799 USD (£799 GBP). Unlike the m3 processor, the m5 provides you with more than enough power to trade and backtest with.

The downside of the Miix is it’s battery life. Most tests put it in the 9-10 hour range for browsing, which is 1-2 hours behind the Surface Pro and 2-3 behind the Acer.

The Lenovo Miix might lag behind the Switch and the Surface Pro, but with its lower price and Lenovo’s solid reputation for quality computers, it might be right for you.

4 Lenovo Miix 320

If you are on a tight budget the Miix 300 from Lenovo is for you. The Miix 320 retails at $349 (£279), comes with a detachable keyboard, the x5-Z8350 processor, and 4GB of ram.

You shouldn’t expect to be running backtesting software efficiently on the 320, but for trading and other non intensive tasks it is more than sufficient.

The battery life is impressive for a budget option at around 10 hours of browsing time.

Conclusion

When you factor in all the costs, the Surface Pro gives you less power at a higher cost. Visually the Surface Pro is stunning and it might appeal to you more than the Switch 5. However, from a purely logical standpoint, the Switch 5 is the superior tablet for mobile trading.

If you are on a budget the Lenovo Miix 320 gives you everything you need and it has the best battery life for tablets in its range.

The Best Apple Tablets For Trading

Apple’s only true tablet is the iPad range which uses Apple’s mobile operating system iOs. While iOs is fine for trading from your smartphone, a good trading tablet should be able to do so much more than your smartphone. Sadly, Apple’s iPad range are just super sized smartphones.

If the only functionality you need for your trading is chart and trading platform access, the iPad might suit your needs. But be warned – if you need something more, it will fall short.

So, the only suitable option for Apple fans is the Macbook or the Macbook Air.

While both of these devices look stunning and have impressive hardware, they do not come with a detachable keyboard so I struggle to consider them true mobile trading devices.

Apple simply isn’t optimal for mobile trading. This might change in 2018, and I will certainly update this article if it does.

Chapter 6:
The Best Mobile Trading Platforms

Having a smartphone and/or tablet is only part of the mobile trading process.

But to trade you need an actual trading platform.

In this chapter I will show you what platform you should be using.

The choice is actually pretty easy!

Mobile Trading Platforms

When I first wrote this article in 2015 there were few good options to choose from for mobile trading platforms.

These days things have changed and we are drowning in mobile platforms. There are still some standout platforms, but in many cases they might not be worth using.

How to Choose a Mobile Platform

More likely than not your broker already offers a mobile trading platform. Depending on your broker this will be their own proprietary platform, or they will probably offer you options like MT4, MT5, or cTrader.

The truth is, using your broker’s platform is almost always the easiest and best option. Trying to connect to your broker through other platforms can be tedious and unreliable.

So when it comes to recommending the best mobile trading platform, the answer is often to just use what your broker provides.

Now, you might be thinking “what about Trade Interceptor!” which was known as one of the best mobile trading apps, if not the best. Well they were purchased by the broker ThinkMarkets, so they no longer connect to any other broker’s.

cTrader has always been a great option but very few broker’s support cTrader so it’s not widely used.

TradingView is consistently getting better on desktops and tablets but aside from their new iPhone app (where is the Android app guys?), they have made no effort to optimise for mobile.

This is why I recommend using whatever platform your broker provides.

Hopefully in the next update I will have some exciting mobile trading platforms to share though.