The rise of gaming-centric smartphones over the past few years has led to various brands and OEMs each offering their own take on how a gaming smartphone should look, feel, and perform. With that in mind, Nubia’s REDMAGIC 8 Pro is set to take on competing gaming handsets from the likes of ASUS and POCO, offering Android fans and more importantly, mobile gamers, a unique user experience. What exactly does it offer though? Let’s take a look!
A Different Take on Design
Perhaps one of the first things you’ll notice about the REDMAGIC 8 Pro is the design, which incorporates visual elements featured on gaming PCs and such. While it’s something that we’ve seen on other gaming phones, Nubia has decided to go for a somewhat different approach, equipping the phone with a more squared-off rectangular design. The 8 Pro comes in different color variants, with “Titanium” and “Void” colorways which are inspired from transparent casings, and a more minimalist Matte variant which comes with a more conservative finish.
The sides of the phone feature a flat aluminum frame, which according to Nubia is made from aviation-grade material. It serves as a heatsink to aid with thermal management during usage and gaming, and likewise houses the power and volume buttons, shoulder trigger buttons, charging port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also blends nicely with the phone’s slim bezels, allowing the display to merge seamlessly into the sides of the device.
As mentioned earlier, the display almost lacks bezels of any sort, allowing for a more immersive user experience. A 6.8-inch AMOLED panel, the display on the 8 Pro comes with a 1116×2480 pixel resolution, 1,300 nits of peak brightness, and a 120Hz refresh rate. There’s also added biometrics by way of an under-display fingerprint scanner. In terms of durability, the phone does come with Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front, although there’s no water resistance rating, so dips in the pool are definitely not recommended.
Internals and Performance
The REDMAGIC 8 Pro doesn’t stop at good looks, however – performance is one of the biggest highlights of the phone, which is unsurprising in a way given its target audience. The device runs on the all-powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, aided by up to 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of internal storage. This setup works in tandem with an Adreno 740 GPU, Android 13, and Redmagic OS 6. Nubia adds that the phone is designed to avoid throttling, allowing for continued performance even during intense usage scenarios.
Since the phone is sure to use up a lot of power for gaming sessions, there’s a built-in 6,000 mAh battery inside, which thankfully is a lot larger than the usual 5,000 mAh capacity cells in most other smartphones these days. It does support fast wired charging, with an advertised speed of 65W. There’s no mention of wireless charging however, which would have made a nice addition to an already-robust specs sheet.
While most other phones come with a basic copper-based cooling method, the REDMAGIC 8 Pro comes with what Nubia calls its “ICE 11.0” active cooling system, which combines a graphene layer placed under the display, as well as a built-in fan, and a double-layer cooling plate. It’s something that you definitely won’t get on a majority of other smartphones out there, and ensures that you can game on the phone for a lot longer.
The REDMAGIC 8 Pro runs on Nubia’s own Redmagic OS, which is layered on top of Android 13. The interface features a lot of customization, so folks looking for a more minimalist Android experience will not find it here – instead, you’re presented with software that’s attuned to user personalization, with various add-ons from Nubia. One such example is the “Entertainment Toolbox,” which allows users to assign app shortcuts that can be easily accessed from the side of the display.
There’s also “Game Space,” which acts as a central hub of sorts for your games. It lets users monitor their CPU and GPU frequency, and even in-game FPS while playing. Additionally, users can make adjustments with specific CPU and GPU performance profiles, as well as screen sensitivity and sampling rate. There’s also the option to enable different visual profiles, allowing users to tweak the screen for better contrast and viewing.
While it’s mainly a phone designed for gaming, Nubia did not cut corners on the phone’s imaging hardware – the REDMAGIC 8 Pro comes with a triple-camera setup, arranged in a vertical island that runs down the center of the phone’s rear panel. This houses a trio of sensors, including a 50MP main camera with f/1.8 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide lens with f/2.2 aperture, and a 2MP macro sensor with f/2.4 aperture. The front meanwhile packs an under-display selfie camera with a 16MP resolution. One consideration though is the lack of a telephoto lens, but again we go back to the phone’s primary selling point.
There’s an accompanying suite of different camera modes as well, including the usual functions such as Portrait mode, Night mode, and even a Pro mode setting, which lets users tweak the cameras for more in-depth smartphone photography. The phone can record video at a maximum of 8K resolution at 30 frames per second, or a lower 4K resolution at either 30 or 60fps. Front-facing video meanwhile is limited to 1080p resolution.
So What’s the Verdict?
At a price of $649 for the 12GB/256GB base model, the Nubia REDMAGIC 8 Pro does undercut some competing devices like ASUS’ ROG range of smartphones, but the low price doesn’t mean you’re settling for less – the built-in thermal cooling system, large and vibrant display, powerful internals and solid design means that you’re getting a lot for your cash, and for users after a gaming-centric Android phone, the 8 Pro should be a rather terrific option that proves its worth as a capable Android handset. On the other hand, if features such as waterproofing, a telephoto camera, and wireless charging are of great importance to you, then we’d recommend thinking twice about the 8 Pro.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts about the REDMAGIC 8 Pro in the comments below!