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Hands-on with the REDMAGIC 9 Pro and Shadow Blade 2 controller

At Barcelona's 2024 Mobile World Conference we had the chance to get our hands on the exciting REDMAGIC 9 Pro, and the awesome Shadow Blade 2 controller.


REDMAGIC is a name you should be intimately familiar with if you’re into serious mobile gaming, with the brand offering a premium gaming experience on mobile hardware. Yes, with a REDMAGIC model, you’ll be taking the latest Hoyoverse game everywhere you go, in your pocket, without having to worry about performance issues. Pair it with a mobile gaming controller and you’re flying.

Now, at Mobile World Conference (MWC) 2024, our lead hardware journalist Connor got his hands on a deadly new combo: the REDMAGIC 9 Pro – a contender for the new best gaming phone – and the Shadow Blade 2 controller. Reporting directly from MWC, here’s what Connor had to say about his time playing with the set-up.

“Gaming phones, like rugged phones, are a niche of the wider market, and REDMAGIC is a big player in that arena. The 9 Pro is its latest offering, and while it might feel a bit blocky in the hands for my taste, pop the thing in a mobile controller and its large square display plays to its advantage, offering you a screen experience remarkably close to the handheld console gaming.”

He continues, “This is helped by incredible performance using the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 performance. Considering the device is considerably cheaper than the ASUS ROG Phone 8, it’s one that fans of mobile gaming should look into if they’re looking for something new.” Given the remarkable performance and specs the ROG Phone 8 provided, that’s a very big endorsement and means that the REDMAGIC 9 Pro is instantly on the mobile gaming radar.

Pivoting to talk about the controller itself, Connor says, “The Shadow Blade 2 is a nifty mobile gaming controller that feels more comfortable in the hands than the Backbone alternative. The analog sticks are better too, potentially the best pair I’ve used on a mobile controller, with just the right level of movability without feeling loose. The triggers are nice and responsive too, with an extra mappable button on the back.”

Shadow Blade 2 controller at MWC

He concludes, “While I’m a big fan of GameSir’s mobile controllers, REDMAGIC is up for giving the brand a run for its money.” So, an extremely promising duo then, and one that could help to push your mobile gaming experience to the next level if you’re willing to part with enough cash.

For more hardware talk, check out our ASUS ROG Phone 8 pro edition review, and our Poco X6 Pro review. Or, see our picks for the best mobile games.