Tech developer Nubia’s RedMagic line features some of the most powerful gaming mobile phones on the market, with devices that sacrifice a few of the commodities of regular mobile phones to instead focus on pure gaming juice. Whether you play mobile games enough to ignore certain conveniences is up to you, but for ardent mobile gamers, RedMagic is now back with the 8S Pro: a faster device but with few big differences.
For the uninitiated, the RedMagic 8S Pro is a sleek gaming phone with a lot of power under the hood. It is very similar to the previous model the RedMagic 8, and much like the aforementioned model it has an aluminum shell that comes in either a silver ‘platinum’ model, a black ‘midnight’ model, and an ‘aurora’ model which is black again but uses seethrough elements to reveal some of the tech inside. No matter which one you pick up, get ready for some serious gaming.
However, while the RedMagic is top of the class in performance, it does lag behind with a couple of key features that anyone hoping to use this device daily may miss. We’re pretty familiar with the RedMagic 8S Pro now, and after a few weeks of use, we can definitely attest to the fact this is one hell of a gaming device capable of handling anything you throw at it. Whether you game enough to ignore its quibbles, is entirely up to you.
- Fantastic aluminum shell and build quality
- One of the most powerful gaming phones on the market
- Enormous battery life
- Under-display camera is poor quality
- No wireless charging
- No waterproofing
- No expandable storage
The Nubia RedMagic 8S Pro is now available worldwide, and the pricing structure is broken up into three alongside three different colorways and spec options.
- Midnight – 12GB RAM + 256GB Memory ($649)
- Platinum – 16GB RAM + 512GB Memory ($779)
- Aurora – 16GB RAM + 512 GB Memory ($799)
These are the full RedMagic 8S Pro specs:
|Battery||6000mAh dual-cell battery + 65W super fast charging (no wireless charging)|
|Display||6.8-inch 120 Hz AMOLED (2480 x 1116)|
|CPU||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
|RAM||12GB or 16GB|
|Storage||256GB or 512GB (not expandable)|
|Cameras||50-megapixel Samsung GN 5 sensor 1/1.57“|
|Dimensions||163.98mm x 76.35mm x 9.47mm|
|Colors||Platinum, Midnight, and Aurora|
The RedMagic 8S Pro is all about gaming, thanks to its monster Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. This means gaming sessions run smoothly, no matter the graphics settings. They also run cooly in my experience, thanks to the large ICE 12.0 cooling system. The device uses a type of graphene underneath the screen, and this helps to keep the battery from heating up too much.
Powering up your gaming sessions is the RedMagic Game Space Center. On the right-hand side of the device is a red metal switch, flipping this instantly fires up the Game Space, a dedicated menu and launcher that collates all of your games, and offers heavily customizable settings for each and every title. You can play around with the refresh rate and the fan, and throw the full weight of your phone’s power behind gaming.
On the right-hand side by the Game Space button are the shoulder triggers, two touch-sensitive black spots on the device that you can fully customize. Simply open Game Space, and drag and drop either the left or right trigger over the on-screen prompt. For instance, I used these triggers during Genshin Impact, setting the left to attack and the right to jump.
These triggers are very satisfying to use, and I always appreciate clearing my big clumsy thumbs away from the screen, especially when it’s this pretty. Also, there is haptic feedback within the triggers, giving you a nice little rumble every time you initiate a command. Now, if you want to use an external device like a Backbone controller you can, but these triggers are a really neat touch and a very welcome addition.
While the RedMagic 8S Pro sports a sturdy aluminum shell and a thick gorilla glass display, the device is not waterproof. This is likely because there is quite a large open vent on either side for the ICE cooling system. This is another modern convenience that some might assume to be present, instead omitted for the phone’s focus on mobile gaming.
When you do want to use the RedMagic 8S Pro as a phone, it sports Android 13, but with several optimization features specifically for this device. You can add some widgets to the homepage that control things like the refresh rate and the fan, but overall this is a familiar experience for Android users. You can change the refresh rate of the OS itself, so you can use that ridiculous power to give yourself a very snappy user interface if you so please.
This sleek device boasts three cameras, with the main camera capable of 50MP with a f/1.88 wide lens. Next to that is an 8MP f/2.2 13mm ultrawide lens, and finally a third 2MP f/2.4 macro lens. These cameras together offer HDR, while the software also boasts a low-light view and fast focus thanks to the immense power under the hood.
After a few weeks of trying out the RedMagic 8S Pro’s cameras, I have to say I’m impressed. Now, they don’t compete with devices like the iPhone 14 in terms of quality or color, but the 50MP camera here still delivers crisp and colorful images, especially in good light. There is a night mode for low light that performs admirably, and a portrait mode should you want to add some blur to your backgrounds.
I’ve been running around taking pictures both indoors, out in the park, and through general use. The pictures look really detailed and vibrant, and the video output is even capable of 8K. One thing, the device automatically puts an annoying “shot on the RedMagic 8S Pro” disclaimer on your photos that you have to turn off in settings. Once you take a picture, you cannot remove this watermark, so turn it off immediately if you don’t want good pictures ruined.
We’re testing the Platinum model, and this is a large phone. With its rectangular edges and brushed metal rear, it’s ostentatious without looking like a ‘gaming’ phone. There are a couple of RGB lights that illuminate your gaming sessions, one over the large ICE fan and a couple more over the RedMagic logo and other text on the back of the device. They’re a neat touch, but you can also switch them off if you want to play games on the Tube without giving away the fact you’re a massive nerd. That’s what I did anyway.
While it’s a bit heavy, I enjoy the rectangular monolithic design of the RedMagic 8S Pro. It’s also still a good size for day-to-day use, easy to navigate with your two thumbs and send messages, etc. With the size and brightness of the screen, it’s certainly making a statement, but overall I really enjoy the metallic look and square design.
The RedMagic 8S Pro features a 6.8-inch AMOLED screen that can reach 1300 nits of brightness. In other words, this is up there with the best flagship screens on the market. Incredibly bright and clear when outside, and with enough color and detail that any game looks fantastic.
In our tests, playing titles such as Genshin Impact, Pokemon Unite, PUBG Mobile, and more, the action absolutely soars. The screen is huge, and with its thin bezels and no notch, almost the entire front of the device is here just for gaming. If you’re wondering where the selfie camera is without a notch, it’s actually placed under the screen. Now, this does come at a cost as it’s a subpar selfie camera, but I can’t imagine gamers care that much about this too much.
Of course, pulling that much power comes at a price, but luckily there is a dual 6000mah battery with a 65W charger. In my experience, this means games with high-graphical demand last for around three or four hours of battery life. However, anything less demanding means much, much, more. Left on standby, the phone barely consumes any battery, and you can leave it for days at a time and still have a decent amount of battery left.
It also charges very quickly thanks to the 65W charger, with a USB-C connection on the bottom. For a gaming phone, it might be nicer to have the USB-C port on the side so as not to get in the way of your hands while gaming, but it can take under an hour to get a full charge, so it’s not a huge problem. Sadly, there is no wireless charging, but at least USB-C chargers are in abundance. I’m not sure why Nubia is omitting wireless charging, perhaps there just isn’t space amongst the devices’ hardware-focused insides.
So far, so RedMagic 8. But the RedMagic 8S Pro does have some differences, namely its performance. What was already one of the most powerful devices on the market is now even better, as while both devices feature the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 alongside RedMagic’s Red Core chip, the RedMagic 8S Pro is running an overclocked version of the Snapdragon chip that improves overall performance. You’ll need an eagle eye to really spot the differences, but if you’re serious about your mobile gaming, there is a tangible difference.
Flipping into the Game Space mode automatically routes most of the phone’s whopping RAM toward gaming. This varies with each model, with the platinum and aurora models boasting 16GB RAM and 512 GB of memory, while the midnight model features 12GB RAM and 256GB memory. The midnight model is hardly slacking here, but if you’re serious about your mobile gaming then it’s nice to have the option for so much power.
We’ve been playing around with the RedMagic 8S Pro for a couple of weeks now, and there is little doubt the device is incredibly powerful. It’s capable of running high-end games such as Genshin Impact and Fortnite at maximum graphic settings while holding a steady framerate. The AMOLED screen also has a 120Hz refresh rate and a 960Hz touch sampling rate. In other words, this device is incredibly responsive and can react very quickly to your input. It feels utterly sublime in demanding games like PUBG Mobile and Pokémon Unite.
As mentioned, titles like Genshin Impact, Honkai Star Rail, PUBG Mobile, and more run silky smooth, and that is with the graphics settings punched up to maximum. Most of the time this means a consistent 30FPS framerate, but getting 60 FPS is also very easily achievable in almost any game that allows the setting with a few tweaks. Hands down, this is the most impressive gaming phone I have ever used in terms of raw power.
Overall, the RedMagic 8S Pro is a solid brick of a mobile phone that looks really sleek and professional thanks to that brushed aluminum finish. It’s hefty, but feels good in the hands, though the sharp edges of the corners can occasionally be annoying for longer playthroughs. However, this is one of the most powerful gaming phones on the market, capable of taking anything you throw at it in its stride.
The focus on gaming and that big bright screen mean certain omissions, as the front-facing camera is fairly disappointing, plus wireless charging is something I have come to expect from a modern device. This, alongside the lack of any waterproofing, mean you are getting a phone that is entirely about gaming here. But, it’s absolutely incredible at what it does.
Here are some other choices you might prefer.
RedMagic 7 or 8
The RedMagic 8S Pro isn’t a huge leap away from the RedMagic 8, and as such if you see the previous iteration for a good price, it might be worth picking up. It’s still an absolute workhorse, so if you don’t mind taking a bit of a dip in performance you can get a device with the same screen, shell, and cameras for less.
Asus ROG 7 Ultimate
The most comparable item on the market, The Asus ROG 7 Ultimate does almost everything the RedMagic 8s Pro does, but with a couple of differences. While it has a similar AMOLED screen, the ROG 7 has a 165hz refresh rate. The differences are minimal at this point, but if you see the ASUS for a cheaper price, then it might be the way to go.
The RedMagic 8S Pro is all about gaming, but with this focus, it achieves extraordinary results. Games look fantastic on the gorgeous screen, the huge battery gives hours of gaming time, and the customization offered in the Game Space offers you multiple ways to fine-tune your gaming experience, If you’re serious about mobile gaming, you won’t find anything better for the price. As long as you don’t mind making concessions elsewhere.