This is the absolute best time to be a mobile gamer. Not only are we getting more and more smartphones capable of powering through even the most demanding games, but we are also getting an increasingly larger number of fully-featured games for the platform. Of course, it helps that game streaming is on the rise and that mobile phones, which most of us have, are the perfect platform to enjoy them on. One great example are the phones coming from Nubia and their Red Magic lineup with their latest and greatest being the Red Magic 6 Pro.
Once again, this latest Red Magic phone comes at only a fraction of the price of more mainstream brands while cranking the specs to their absolute max. So let’s check if it’s really magic that made this happen or if there were any compromises made along the way.
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The Red Magic 6 Pro brings only a slight cosmetic change when compared to the previous Red Magic 5S model. There have been some changes to the design of the backplate which now features a bit more minimal, sleeker look. Even the color options for both the base Red Magic 6 and Red Magic 6 Pro are more subdued with the former coming in Eclipse Black and the latter coming in this nice and shiny Moon Silver. But, despite the changes, it’s still immediately apparent that this is a phone made for gaming and fans of the gamer aesthetic. No matter the model, it’s a definite departure from the minimalism that you see in most mainstream phones which makes it extremely eye-catching and frankly very beautiful to look at.
In terms of build, the Red Magic 6 Pro has a metal frame body and a combination of glass and aluminum on the back. This makes it feel incredibly sturdy and premium, even more than the previous, Red Magic 5S. It’s also slightly taller, narrower, and slimmer than the 5S which still means it’s a big phone that is very difficult to handle using only one hand. Still, it has smooth, curved edges and no protrusions which at least makes it very comfortable to grip and hold.
When it comes to notable design features, there have been some changes when compared to 5S and I can mostly say they are for the better. Most notably, the power and the volume buttons are now relegated to different sides of the phone which is definitely more convenient when its size and one hand usage are taken into account. Thankfully, Nubia also decided to remove the pin connectors which previously stuck out like a sore thumb on the side of the phone.
What remained the same when compared to 5S are the positioning of the speaker grille, type-C charging port, and the SIM card tray. Also unchanged are the positioning of the shoulder triggers, the game space switch, as well as the internal fan intake and exhaust vents. Many audiophiles and gamers will also no doubt be very thankful that Nubia is still sticking with the 3.5 mm headphone jack which is still present here as well. Of course, the downside of various openings on all sides means that Red Magic 6 Pro doesn’t have an IP rating for dust or water resistance so I definitely wouldn’t take it with me to the beach.
As opposed to many other phones, the cameras here are situated smack in the middle inside this black line running across the backplate. On the back is also where you’ll find the branding and the staple of gaming gear and peripherals – the RGB. The 5S simply had it in the small Red Magic logo, but here there also two small RGB strips with some surprisingly cool effects and colors to be enabled in the settings. These aren’t in your face and nicely blend in with the design of the backplate. You can always turn them off to conserve battery or turn them on to make your phone even more eye-catching to the masses.
On the front, most notably, you have a small but completely non-intrusive bezel that simply houses the front camera and the speaker. The bezel is also there so you can comfortably hug the phone and use the triggers without your hands obscuring the screen and getting in the way of gameplay.
Super-screen and high-end hardware
Red Magic 6 Pro has a very sizeable 6.8″ AMOLED display with a 2400 x 1080 resolution and a pixel density of 388 PPI. The pixel density is on the lower end of some of the higher-end smartphones, but still plenty dense enough to look fantastic, similar to the Lenovo Legion gaming smartphone. All in all, the screen here can definitely look stunning thanks to the rich color profile and great contrast. In my testing, I found that the screen brightness didn’t go up to the advertised 630 nits and would instead go to around 470 nits at its brightest. Even though that’s not as bright as promised, it’s on par with Red Magic 5S which had excellent indoor and sufficient outdoor visibility.
Now that’s great and all but the true star of the show here is the fastest on the market, 165Hz display refresh rate. The refresh rate has to be set manually through settings and if you decide to crank it up to the max, expect an insanely snappy and buttery smooth UI and gaming experience in the games that do support it. The speed demon aspect of Red Magic 6 Pro is also evident in its 500Hz single finger, and 360Hz multi-touch input rate meaning all of your on-screen actions will be registered much quicker than on your average smartphone.
Now if all of that wasn’t enough, Red Magic 6 Pro is powered by the beastly, top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 which is combined with 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB the very fast UFS 3.1. type storage. This high-end combination essentially means that Red Magic 6 Pro will chew through any task with ease and you don’t have to worry about overworking it with multitasking or graphically intense games. Benchmarking tools like Geekbench5 and 3D Mark put it at the very or near the top in almost all performance stress tests, with the only real competition being other, equally beastly gaming smartphones.
Benchmarking tools are one thing, but in real life, sustained performance is another and it’s here Red Magic 6 Pro has a definite edge over competitors thanks to its built-in centrifugal fan along with vapor chamber liquid cooling. This is an amazing feature to have in a gaming phone and one that really helps cool things down during long play sessions. Besides the fact that the phone will almost never reach temperatures where you won’t be able to hold it, you can forget about lag or sudden frame drops during gameplay. The only downside to the added cooling, especially if you opt for the fan to go into turbo mode is that it gets distractingly loud. Luckily, you can get away with playing most games without using the turbofan option so it shouldn’t be an issue for anything but the longest of play sessions.
If you want to boost the cooling and performance, even more, Nubia has the ICE dock dual-fan accessory which simply snaps onto the back of the phone. The ICE dock really makes all the difference in the world and using it would reduce the device temperature by 3-7 degrees celsius during intense gaming. It’s also much quieter than the built-in fan and it even has some cool-looking RGB effects if you find that what’s already on the phone isn’t enough. The downside of the dock is that its cable can get in the way of a comfortable grip and trigger usage but also the fact that it takes a significant hit on your phone’s battery which you can’t charge while using it.
Now when I tested Red Magic 5S, I pointed out a lack of games that supported high refresh rates and I’m glad that the situation has much improved since then. I managed to squeeze the 165Hz out of games like Real Racing 3, Dead Trigger 2, Vain Glory, and a few others while many other games supported at least 120Hz which was still a good showcase of this phone’s capabilities. Call of Duty Mobile, Genshin Impact, and League of Legends were especially enjoyable to play thanks to the triggers which can be designated to serve as any on-screen input. Not only will they help you play better, but they basically feel so great and intuitive to use that they make it insanely hard to go back to exclusively using the on-screen inputs.
A-ok camera experience
The camera tech, as well as the overall experience, remains mostly unchanged when compared to the Red Magic 5S. On the back, you once again have the 64 MP main camera, an 8 MP ultra-wide as well as a 2 MP macro-camera. Like in the 5S, all of them are really solid and can deliver some good-looking photos in good lighting conditions.
Images taken with the main camera provide a decent amount of detail and generally look really good. In some cases, you can notice some overexposure, the processing going a bit overboard on sharpening or far-away objects looking a bit softer than you would like, but it’s nothing to bother an average user. Something I liked is that it does a great job of providing really accurate, true-to-life colors as opposed to some other phones that tend to oversaturate them.
The ultra-wide and macro-camera are somewhat buried in the software with the former being accessible only through the “Pro” mode and the latter being found in the “Camera family” menu. When compared to the main camera, the images taken with the ultrawide camera can get a bit noisier but are still perfectly serviceable, retaining the overall quality and realistic color composition of the main snapper.
The macro camera, seeing as it’s only 2MP, lacks detail and really only works well in the most ideal lighting conditions. The front-facing 8 MP camera captures a decent amount of details and once again handles colors extremely well. The bokeh effect can look unconvincing when the background is filled with hard to discern detail and there can be some issues with overexposure in bright conditions but it’s an overall good selfie snapper.
The main camera on the Red Magic 6 Pro supports up to 8K recording at 30fps as well as 4K at 30 and 60fps. Both resolutions offer a huge amount of details and insane sharpness that you’ll only truly appreciate looking at the videos on larger 4K or 8K capable TVs or monitors. The 4K 30fps mode even has electronic image stabilization which makes all the difference for videos taken when you are moving about. What remained mostly unchanged in comparison to 5S are all the gimmicky features of the camera software. Again, you’ll rarely find any use for most of them except things like time-lapse, panorama, or art-camera which can be somewhat fun to play around with in certain situations.
Battery that lasts
The big 5050 mAh battery is, first and foremost, designed to keep you gaming for as long as possible. In fact, in most graphically intense games, you’ll be able to squeeze out around 5-7 hours of pure gameplay which is an overall good result. For a more mixed usage scenario, I used it to make calls, play music, surf the web, and play some games and it easily had around 30%-40% charge left at the end of the day. Of course, much of it will depend on the brightness level and screen refresh rate which the phone dynamically switches depending on what you are doing to conserve the battery.
The default charger coming in the box is going to be your standard 30-watt one which can take the phone from 0 to 100 in around 45 minutes. Something important to note is that Red Magic 6 Pro is capable of using 120-watt charging which according to reports should be able to charge the phone from 0 to 100 in mere 17 minutes. Also worth a mention is that, as with nearly all other gaming phones, the Red Magic 6 Pro doesn’t have features like wireless or reverse wireless charging.
THE SOFTWARE EXPERIENCE
Red Magic 6 Pro comes with Android version 11 on top of which you have the Redmagic 4.0 skin. The skin itself is very bare-bones and much of the UI remains unchanged when compared to the previous version. Once again, you have some surface-level, cosmetic stuff that are distinctly Red Magic like built-in wallpapers, always-on display animations, the fingerprint reader animation, and some colorful icons. While that’s par for the course from a 165Hz screen, it’s noticeable that improvements were made when it comes to navigating the UI as everything here feels much snappier, faster, and more enjoyable.
The fingerprint reader also received an upgrade and where on the 5S you had to hold the finger down for it to register, here, all it takes is a light tap and you’re in. Other notable software features include the edge menu where you can add various shortcuts to tools and apps you often use. Unfortunately, its usage is hampered by its fixed position that’s too high to reach when you are using a single hand. Another notable feature is the fact that you can make certain apps that support it essentially go into a small window that you can then move around the screen for easier multitasking.
All of that aside, the most notable software feature of Red Magic 6 Pro is the returning game space which you enable by flipping the small switch on its side. The core functionalities of game space remain intact but the entire thing has been polished and updated with several welcome additions. Most of everything you’ll need is situated in a quick menu that you reveal by swiping from the right. The game enhancement menu allows you to boost in-game performance at the expense of battery life while the shoulder trigger menu allows you to designate what the shoulder triggers do and how sensitive they are. This can be done on a per-game basis which is awesome if you play a lot of different games on your phone.
The second row is a new, excellent addition to this menu. It allows you to launch some apps over your game in windowed mode so you don’t have to exit the game or game space if, for example, you want to respond to some Whatsapp messages or search something through your browser. Then you have a bunch of quick toggles through which you can change the refresh rate, add an aiming reticule in the middle of the screen, record the screen, block messages, put your game in windowed mode, and much more.
In conclusion, the Red Magic 6 Pro is undeniably one of if not the best option for mobile gaming out there. Even a non-gaming crowd could certainly appreciate its attractive design and high-end specs. While we’ll definitely see the competitors catch up to it in terms of screen refresh rate, it will still have the upper hand in terms of the cooling system and the unmatched price of $700 in a market where phones with similar specs go for nearly double.