The RedMagic 8S Pro is a souped-up version of the 8 Pro that I took a look at five months ago. While the 8 Pro blew me away in my review, the 8S Pro looks to take things up a notch with the fastest available phone processor, upgraded cooling, and a refined look. It does all this without bumping up the price. On paper, it sounds brilliant, but how does it perform in the real world? This is my RedMagic 8S Pro review.
Specs that top the leaderboard
Spec-wise, the RedMagic 8S Pro goes big with high-performance components like the overclocked Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 paired with the new ICE 12 cooling system which includes a built-in fan. 12/16 GB of LPDDR5X RAM takes care of even the most demanding game or multitasking situation. Depending on the model, 256/512 GB of high-speed UFS 4.0 storage is available.
Gamers will also be pleased to learn that the physical shoulder trigger buttons are still here and boast a 520 Hz touch sampling rate for quick activation. For me, this is a key feature that sets gaming phones apart from the competition.
Your window into gaming worlds
As for the screen, it’s familiar territory, as RedMagic uses the same 6.8” AMOLED FHD+ screen that is found on the 8 Pro. With a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz and up to 960 Hz touch sample rate, it remains fantastic for fast and frenetic games like Call of Duty: Mobile. The brightness is also impressive, topping out at 1,300 nits. This makes it possible to game outside in the sunlight.
Needless to say, the RedMagic 8S Pro is top-tier when it comes to gaming performance. Cranking Genshin Impact’s settings up to the maximum might bring other phones to their knees, but this phone can handle the demand. What’s more, it can keep the frame-rate high during longer periods, thanks to the enhanced cooling solution. While you can disable the physical fan inside the phone, allowing it to kick on will help control the heat and the noise level is fine for most situations.
When it’s time to game, it’s best to flick the dedicated Game Space switch which readies the phone for high-performance action. The Game Space hosts all of your installed games and allows for advanced customization of gaming features. It’s a hub for mobile games, as well as cloud-streaming and console titles, all managed through one area, and it works very well.
Back to IRL
But how does the RedMagic 8S Pro perform in the real world? Well, when all of that gaming is done, I’m pleased to report that this device still remains a winner in day-to-day use. A great gaming processor becomes a great multi-tasking processor and is especially efficient at intensive activities like editing or rendering out videos. The large amount of RAM also comes in handy for keeping all of your favorite apps open and switching between them without hindrance.
Style-wise, the RedMagic 8S Pro is Nubia’s best-looking phone yet. I’m a massive fan of the Platinum version that I was sent over for review, but there’s also a more subtle Midnight version and a full-on gamer aesthetic Aurora version. The quality of materials feels exceptional to the point where I thought the price would surely see an increase, but that isn’t the case.
Let’s talk about those cameras
If you’re buying a RedMagic phone, the cameras aren’t likely to be a priority. However, looking at the back-facing shooters, the triple-camera setup works well enough to capture daily moments. There are also some fun modes like Macro, Light Draw, and Multi-Exposure which let users get creative.
However, it’s the front-facing camera that lets things down (again). Though it seems like Nubia has improved the image processing to make for a slightly less blurry image, the front-facing snapper is clearly limited by being under the display. That’s the trade-off you get for a seamless full-screen display, which is likely worth it for big gaming and/or media consumers, but it’s still worth noting.
Play all day long
Battery anxiety can be a real worry for gamers, as running out of juice during a critical final round is not something you want to risk. Thankfully, the 8S Pro has a 6,000 mAh dual cell barry and supports 65W quick charging. Additionally, users can tell the phone to bypass the battery to take power directly from the wall. This comes in useful for lengthy gaming sessions where you want to limit the heat being generated within the phone itself.
Finally, there’s RedMagic OS 8.0 which is based on Android 13. When you boot into the phone for the first time, the experience is fairly stock. However, should gamers wish to enable RedMagic’s suite of gaming-oriented features, they are easily available within the Settings and Game Space.
The RedMagic 8S Pro starts at $649, just like the 8 Pro did five months ago. I think it’s fantastic to see Nubia keeping prices low, relative to the competition. While other companies are rapidly climbing towards $2,000 with folding and flipping phones, Nubia remains focused on the best of the best gaming performance for an increasingly growing market of competitive mobile gamers.
If you’re big into mobile gaming, and don’t mind the shortcomings of the front-facing camera, the 8S Pro earns its crown as the best bang for your buck gaming phone currently available.
Positives and Negatives
Disclosure: RedMagic 8S Pro review sample was provided by Nubia.