Nubia Red Magic Mars first impressions, a true OnePlus killer


The most interesting Android device unveiled at CES is the new Nubia Red Magic Mars. Many of you are probably familiar with the Nubia brand but have never had a chance to use one of the devices since they have not been available in North America in the past. That changes with the Red Magic Mars as Nubia has announced that the phone will be making its way to Europe and North America in Q1 of this year. While that news is exciting on its own, the phone’s $399 starting price point is the real killer feature since the phone’s internal specifications match what you’d get from a $529 OnePlus 6 or OnePlus 6T.

The Snapdragon 845 SoC delivers incredible power and the option of having up to 10GB of RAM should be enough to win over any Android enthusiast. The dedicate gaming button on the side of the phone turns off notifications, kills background app to clear up memory and also gives users the option to overclock the phone’s processor. This maximizes performance on the phone, but the chip on the inside also stays cooler than on other devices since Nubia has included a liquid and air cooling inside the device as well.

The build quality of the Nubia Red Magic Mars is quite impressive as well, but the aesthetics certainly aren’t for everyone. While devices form OnePlus look sleek and elegant, the Red Magic Mars is aggressive and the customizable LED light strip that runs down the spine of the phone will certainly catch the attention of everyone you pass.

Unlike most other Android devices we’ve seen at the show, the Nubia Red Magic Mars is running Android 9. The current software build does have some Nubia specific customizations, but the team mentioned multiple times that the final build will be as close to stock Android as possible. Nubia wants to make sure that NorthAmerican and European users are given a software experience that’s different than what their Chinese-focused devices get. It’s impossible to know how close to stock Android they’ll be able to get, but we might see something on par with what OnePlus and Motorola devices offer.

Nubia Red Magic Mars sample photos

It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to this Nubia phone it hits the market in the next few months. It offers incredible value, but many might not be willing to take a chance on a brand that they’re not familiar with.

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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