When reviewing the Red Magic 8S Pro for its gaming performance, we found it to be quite impressive. This phone now features an overclocked version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, making it a powerhouse for gaming. In 2023, the Red Magic 8S Pro stands out as one of the best-value gaming smartphones. It comes equipped with a robust 6000mAh battery, a brighter AMOLED screen that also includes a hidden in-display camera, and boasts premium specs.
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What’s in the box?
What do you find inside the box along with the Red Magic 8S Pro? First, you’ll discover some convenient QR codes that grant access to all of Red Magic’s social media platforms. Additionally, there’s a Charging V adapter, a red charging cable, and a minimalist transparent case included to help protect your Red Magic 8S and keep it in good condition.
Design and Durability
The design of the 8S Pro is robust and angular, resembling a solid slab rather than a sleek curve. It’s a substantial device, often described as a brick. However, despite its size, the bezels around the 6.8-inch display are relatively slim. Switching to a lighter wallpaper accentuates this feature even more. Surprisingly, the Red Magic 8S Pro manages to maintain a reasonably slim profile, making it relatively comfortable to hold, despite its sharp edges and corners.
The 8S Pro exudes a sense of robust craftsmanship with a satisfying weight in hand. It boasts an aluminum frame and a metal back panel. The device is available in three designs: black, silver, or transparent, allowing you to showcase its internal components. Personally, I have the silver model, and I appreciate its brushed metal finish, which lends it a sleek and non-gaming appearance. Its unique aesthetics harken back to the all-metal mobile phones of yesteryears.
However, it’s worth noting that the shiny surface is prone to collecting fingerprints, scuffs, and oily marks, especially during intense gaming sessions. The 8S Pro incorporates some obligatory RGB lighting, but in comparison to other gaming smartphones, the lights within the vent are relatively subtle and hardly noticeable unless you’re in a dimly lit room. Additionally, there are small illuminated text elements on the back that add a nice touch.
In terms of durability, the Red Magic 8S Pro includes Gorilla Glass 5 protection for its display. Unfortunately, it lacks an IP rating for water and dust resistance, which is understandable due to the exposed vents on the device.
Software and Red Magic OS
The Red Magic 8S Pro runs on Android 13, adorned with the Red Magic OS overlay. The Red Magic Launcher maintains a fairly close-to-stock Android experience. You’ll find the familiar app tray for organizing your apps and the Google Discover feed. A convenient feature is the ability to pull down the notification bar from anywhere for quick access to your toggles.
One noticeable difference lies in the overall aesthetics of Android, particularly in the app icons, which have a distinct gaming flair. Additionally, there are Red Magic game widgets available for your home screen, allowing you to adjust the refresh rate and activate the cooling fan or change the cooling mode easily. If you’re feeling fancy, you can customize nearly every aspect of the 8S Pro’s user interface, including animations, wallpapers, icons, and even the LED light strip, which can double as a notification indicator. You can even personalize the sound effect when the fan kicks in.
When you’re ready to dive into some gaming on the go, just flip the red switch located on the right side to activate Game Space. It’s a dedicated gaming hub, and it does exactly what it sounds like. Game Space is your one-stop shop for all things gaming. You can quickly launch any of your downloaded games or adjust game settings. Inside Game Space, you have the flexibility to fine-tune almost every setting, down to the wallpaper. However, it’s important to note that you can’t make these adjustments while you’re actively playing a game.
Within Game Space, you can also have some fun with Maura, who serves as Red Magic’s anime mascot. For example, you can take pretend photographs with Maura and have her strike various poses, it’s one of my personal favorites.
When you’re in the midst of gaming, you can easily access the Red Magic Game toolbar by simply swiping, as shown in the image. It’s packed with various useful features. You’ll find essentials like blocking notifications, which comes in handy during intense gaming sessions. If you need to, you can boost the screen brightness on the fly. Monitoring the performance of your CPU and GPU is also possible, and you even have the option to record your gameplay if you want to show off your gaming prowess later.
Don’t forget to scroll down because there’s more hidden beneath the surface. You can toggle between different performance modes, such as the high-performance mode for demanding games like Genshin Impact, which unleashes the device’s full power. For everyday tasks, the balanced mode is suitable, and if you’re playing something less demanding like Wordle, you can switch to the eco mode for energy efficiency.
Another handy feature tucked away in the settings is the haptic triggers. To use them, you’ll first need to activate them and then simply drag and drop icons onto the on-screen buttons you want to map the triggers to. The options go beyond a simple tap. For instance, you can see that with a quick tap on the left shoulder button, I perform a special attack, and a tap on the right shoulder button triggers a normal attack. These triggers are highly responsive, boasting a 520 Hertz response rate, ensuring swift and precise actions in the game.
When you use these triggers, you’ll also receive haptic feedback, enhancing the overall gaming experience, especially with supported games. Furthermore, the screen is exceptionally responsive, featuring a 960 Hertz touch sampling rate. You can even fine-tune the sensitivity in the game settings to suit your preferences.
Display and Audio Quality
The Red Magic 8S Pro boasts a spacious 6.8-inch AMOLED panel with a standard 20:9 aspect ratio and a sharp 2480 by 1116 pixel resolution. Despite its large size, the visuals remain crisp and clear. This is a full-view display, meaning there’s no notch or camera cutout to obstruct your view while gaming, such as when you’re immersed in Genshin Impact. Red Magic achieves this by placing the selfie camera beneath the display, and they’ve done an impressive job. You’d need to max out the brightness and squint pretty hard to even notice it. It’s a bit like those classic Magic Eye paintings – you have to stare for a while and wonder if you’re seeing something there. It becomes slightly more noticeable from an angle, but that’s not a concern during gaming or regular use.
The rest of the screen performs admirably, offering vibrant and bright visuals. You can game outdoors without any issues, except perhaps in extremely bright sunlight, which can make it challenging to see details in darker games.
The Red Magic 8S Pro’s display runs at a maximum refresh rate of 120 hertz, which, while slightly slower than some competitors like the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate at 165 hertz, should be more than sufficient for most users. It delivers a smooth and enjoyable visual experience that’s easy on the eyes but may leave your ears a bit tired. The phone features stereo speakers with full DTS X Ultra support, capable of producing powerful audio, though the clarity isn’t exceptional. Despite the speakers not being front-facing, you still get a decent stereo speaker experience.
For those who are serious about getting an immersive stereo effect for games like Call of Duty, you have options. The Red Magic 8S Pro offers an enhanced headphone jack at the top, which works just like any standard headphone jack. Additionally, it supports Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless audio streaming, working flawlessly with headphones or speakers, providing you with flexibility in your audio setup.
Benchmark and Gaming
While many of the top gaming smartphones in 2023, including the original 8S Pro, were powered by Qualcomm’s robust Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, the Red Magic 8S Pro takes it up a notch with what it calls the ‘Leading’ version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Essentially, it’s an overclocked variant of the original Gen 2, much like what Samsung has done with its Galaxy S23 series. The key differences include a boost in clock speed for the prime core, from 3.2 to 3.36 gigahertz, and an enhancement to the Adreno GPU. My review model packs an impressive 16 gigs of RAM, although the base model offers 12 GB.
When it comes to benchmark scores, the 1731 single-core score isn’t particularly exciting, but the 5712 multi-core score outperforms what I’ve seen from other HN2 phones, including Samsung’s similarly overclocked S23 devices, which oddly don’t seem to offer better performance than many other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 handsets. Unsurprisingly, the Red Magic 8S Pro excelled in gaming tests. I maxed out the graphics settings in Genshin Impact and experienced a consistently stable frame rate with no noticeable stutters, thanks in part to the performance mode set to maximum in the gaming settings.
While gaming on the Red Magic 8S Pro, it used to get hotter than a microwaved Ginster’s pasty, but now, Nubia has improved the cooling system with Ice 12.0. They’ve introduced a new duct structure and a graphene layer hidden beneath the display, which helps maintain better performance even when the phone is charging. The overall system is quite similar to the previous version, featuring an internal fan capable of reaching 20,000 RPM, complete with input and output vents. There’s also a substantial vapor chamber, as well as copper components, among other things.
The good news is that even during extended gaming sessions with Genshin Impact at maximum graphics settings, the back of the phone only gets slightly warm, nothing that’s going to affect performance or cause any throttling. The fan is impressively quiet too. You’ll only notice it when there’s no background noise, and you’ve turned the phone volume all the way down. It’s a significant improvement compared to some of the noisy fans on older gaming phones. The only scenario where it might potentially disturb someone is if you’re lying in bed next to a very light sleeper while gaming, and they inquire about the faint white noise in the background.
Now, let’s talk about battery life. Similar to the previous model, the Red Magic 8S Pro features a massive 6,000 milliamp-hour capacity battery. The good news is, if you’re in for an afternoon of non-stop Genshin Impact action, even with the maximum performance settings, you’ll get around four to five hours of continuous gameplay before the fully 8S Pro eventually needs a recharge. This performance is quite consistent with what I observed with the previous Red Magic 8S Pro model.
Of course, if you’re playing less intensive games like Call of Duty or PUBG, you can expect many more hours of gameplay without any issues. However, I wouldn’t recommend charging the 8S Pro while playing a demanding game like Genshin Impact. With less resource-intensive games like Call of Duty or PUBG, it’s not as much of a problem because you don’t necessarily need to run them at maximum performance settings. One thing to note is that the Red Magic 8S Pro has a bottom-mounted USB port, unlike some other gaming phones like the ROG Phone, which have edge-mounted USB charging ports. So, if you plan to charge and game simultaneously, you may need to find a comfortable hand position to accommodate the charging cable.
As for additional specs, you have options for 256 GB or 512 GB of UFS 4.0 storage, but unfortunately, it’s not expandable via micro SD, so you’ll have to make do with the available storage space or use a couple of SIM cards in the SIM tray.
Now, let’s talk about the camera setup. The 8S Pro features a triple-lens setup, once again led by a 50-megapixel Samsung GN5 sensor. The camera app is pretty much the same as before, offering a full-fledged Pro mode for those who like to tinker with settings and capture photos in raw format. Additionally, there are AI enhancements and a few extra camera modes to explore. You’ll find a night mode for long exposure shots and a portrait mode to achieve that pleasing background blur effect.
When it comes to video recording, you can go all the way up to 8K resolution, thanks to the powerful Snapdragon chipset. Finally, if you switch to the front camera, you’ll find the in-display selfie camera. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re a selfie enthusiast, this technology may not produce the crispest shots. The image clarity can be somewhat lacking. Similarly, when shooting videos with the selfie camera, it maxes out at full HD resolution, and the overall quality tends to be a bit murky. But hey, that might not be such a bad thing, especially when capturing my face!
The Red Magic 8S Pro is a gaming powerhouse, perfect for extended gaming sessions, especially if you’re a Genshin Impact enthusiast. It offers impressive technology with very few trade-offs, except for the fact that its camera performance isn’t top-notch. But let’s be honest, no one is purchasing this device for its camera capabilities. You’re getting it because it’s a true gaming beast and comes at a more budget-friendly price compared to alternatives like the ROG Phone. All in all, it’s a solid choice for gaming enthusiasts who want top-notch performance on their mobile device.
The Red Magic 8S Pro excels as a gaming powerhouse with few compromises, making it an excellent choice for gamers seeking top-tier performance at a competitive price. However, its camera capabilities may not impress, but for gaming enthusiasts, it's a top pick.
Red Magic OS9
Display and Audio8.5