Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by Larious
The RedMagic 8 Pro is a gaming-focused smartphone by Nubia that has been designed to be suitable for daily use. The phone comes in two versions, Matte with 12GB RAM & 256GB storage and Void with 16GB & 512GB and a half-translucent back. Equipped with the most powerful Qualcomm chipset, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the phone boasts a built-in 20,000 RPM turbo cooling fan that helps keep it cool during long gaming sessions. The RedMagic Game Space app is designed to enhance the gaming experience, making it easier to store game progress, shortcuts, and tools. The price for the phone ranges from $649 to $799.
The RedMagic 8 Pro is yet another best gaming phone of the year by Nubia. In 2022, we reviewed the RedMagic 7, and while it wasn’t the best Android phone for everyday use, it was undoubtedly one of the top choices for mobile gaming.
Nubia paid attention to the previous model’s criticism, fixed some major software bugs, and significantly toned down the gaming-style design, making the RedMagic 8 Pro a more suitable smartphone for daily use. In this RedMagic 8 Pro review, you’ll find all the information you need before deciding whether to buy this new gaming smartphone.
Table of Contents
RedMagic 8 Pro: First Impressions & Specs
The first thing I noticed opening the box with the new ZTE Nubia RedMagic 8 Pro was how much RedMagic have changed their phone design philosophy. The RedMagic 8 Pro comes in two versions: Matte with 12GB RAM & 256GB storage and a matte back cover, and Void with 16GB & 512GB and a half-translucent back. I got the Void version for this review. Even with the half-translucent back, this phone lost the “shiny toy” look of the RedMagic 7, and I was happy to see that.
The RedMagic 8 Pro is equipped with the most powerful chipset Qualcomm has to offer — the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It comes with a ton of power to ensure a smooth gaming process. The built-in 20,000 RPM turbo cooling fan helps to keep things cool during the longest gaming sessions, and we’ll touch more on that later.
The RedMagic 8 Pro is likely the first model that excels both in the gaming sphere and outside gaming. You might still encounter minor translation errors in some UI elements, and the selfie camera performance leaves much to be desired. However, if you can live with those things, you get an excellent Android gaming machine and a great everyday phone.
Let’s have a look at the full list of tech specifications of the RedMagic 8 Pro:
- Dimensions: 6.46 x 3.01 x 0.35in (164 x 76.4 x 8.9mm)
- Weight: 8.04oz (228g)
- SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 2
- Operating system: RedMagic OS 6.0 based on Android 13
- Display: 6.8-inch FHD+, AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate, 1116 x 2480 pixels, 1300 nits max brightness, 960Hz touch sampling rate
- RAM: 12GB or 16GB
- Storage: 256GB or 512GB
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, GPS, NFC, 5G
- Ports: USB-C 3.1, Type-C, dual nano-SIM slot, 3.5mm audio jack
- Front camera: 16MP under-display camera
- Rear cameras: 50MP 25mm wide, 8MP 13mm ultrawide, 2MP macro
- Special features: 20,000 turbofan active cooling, RGB lights, shoulder trigger buttons, game space switch
- Color options: Matte and Void
- Battery: 6,000 mAh dual-cell battery, 65-watt fast charging
- Price: $649 for 12GB + 256GB version, and $799 for 16GB + 512GB.
Design and Unpacking
The design and overall look make the RedMagic 8 Pro different from its predecessors. RedMagic used to make phones that followed the same cyberpunk trend as the Asus ROG phone did, with bright color schemes, plenty of RGB lights, and transparent elements.
While some transparent parts and RGB light elements are present, the crazy colorful gamer style is now gone, and the smartphone looks more like a modern phone rather than a shiny gaming console.
What’s in the Box
Before we move onto the phone’s design and features, here’s everything you’ll find when unboxing your RedMagic 8 Pro:
- RedMagic 8 Pro smartphone
- Power adapter
- 65-watt fast type-C charging cable
- Clear phone case
- SIM tray ejector
- Warranty card
- Use Manual & other documentation
The hard plastic case is quite nice, and you’ll want to put it on your phone immediately. It has cutouts on both sides of your phone, so it doesn’t obstruct the use of the phone when in gaming mode. The case is clear, and you’ll still see the back of your phone and all of its elements (though part of me wishes the case covered those RGB lights on the back if I’m honest).
The back of the phone isn’t curved anymore. The new flat glass back is nicer to look at and more comfortable to hold. The 16GB + 512GB model comes with a partially transparent back, and you can see some of the phone’s elements, like the spinning RGB fan, but it’s not as in your face as it was with the RedMagic 7 generation.
The sides of the RedMagic 8 Pro are sharper, with 90-degree corners. The bottom screen bezel has become much slimmer, making the screen more immersive. The sharp corners might take some getting used to when holding your phone, but they work better than round ones when your phone’s in gaming mode.
The slider that activates gaming mode is located next to the right shoulder trigger, which feels natural and comfortable. It’s easy to switch the gaming mode on and off when you’re holding the smartphone horizontally.
On the same side of the phone with the shoulder triggers and gaming slider, you’ll find the power button and a hole to the right of the button. This hole is likely an extra microphone that you can use to capture your voice while your phone’s in gaming mode. The other two speakers are located on the bottom and top of the phone and will likely be covered with your hands when you hold the phone horizontally.
The top part of the phone features a 3.5mm headphone jack and the speaker mentioned above.
The bottom part holds another speaker, a SIM card slot, and a USB-C port.
On both sides of the RedMagic 8 Pro, you’ll see two vents that serve as outlets for the 20,000 RPM high-speed turbofan that’s part of the RedMagic innovative multi-dimensional cooling system. This fan can be switched on and off manually, and it turns on automatically while you’re playing games for a more extended period in gaming mode. The fan is excellent at preventing your phone’s overheating.
The feature’s intended for intense gaming sessions, but I also found that the fan can be helpful when you’re installing big firmware updates that can cause the phone to heat up as well.
How Fast is It?
One look at the benchmark numbers will tell you everything you need to know about this phone’s performance and speed. I used the Geekbench 6 app to test the RedMagic 8 Pro’s overall performance, and here are the results I got:
The RedMagic 8 Pro received a 2007 single-core and a 5491 multi-core score. While it doesn’t outscore the iPhone 14 Pro Max (with 2502 and 6289 points, respectively), it’s a massive gain over its predecessors, the RedMagic 7 and RedMagic 7S Pro in the CPU department. It also leaves behind the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (1869 and 4940) and Xiaomi 13 (1738 and 5138).
As for the GPU, the RedMagic 8 Pro received an impressive 6443 score on the OpenCL test, but there was a problem when I tried running the Vulkan test. The RedMagic Pro scored 3634 but kept giving a zero for the face detection test.
Benchmarks are great for comparing the performance of different devices. So if you have used the RedMagic 7, RedMagic 7 Pro, or RedMagic 7S Pro before, you can see exactly how much the RedMagic 8 Pro model has improved since then.
The powerful chip and gaming features explicitly designed with the gamer’s phone use in mind make the RedMagic 8 Pro an absolute beast when it comes to mobile games. When you unpack your phone for the first time, I recommend fully charging it and going straight for the good stuff – the Game Space.
Game Space is the RedMagic special software that stores your game progress, shortcuts, and various tools for improved user experience. The app is intuitive, and you’ll easily find your way around even if you haven’t used a RedMagic phone before.
Some things we’ve already seen in the previous generations of RedMagic, but they remain as useful as ever. These things include the Game lobby with its Plugin library, where you can view RedMagic plugins available for different games, the ability to play mobile games on a large screen and with a computer keyboard, and the ability to use and customize the shoulder triggers.
While playing a game, you can swipe from one side of the phone to bring up the Game Space overlay with two menus on each side of the screen.
You’ll find many customization functions you can set specifically for every game, like adjusting refresh rate, RGB settings, settings a higher frame rate, enabling crosshair overlay, switching the fans on and off, and more.
The phone’s temperature plays a big role when choosing a gaming smartphone. You don’t want your phone to heat up and ruin your gaming session because it becomes uncomfortable to hold it.
RedMagic 8 Pro has a superb cooling system to ensure your phone doesn’t heat up much, even when playing the most power-demanding games like Genshin Impact. According to RedMagic, the phone’s back plate’s highest temperature is 41.3 degrees.
After a 2-hour gaming session, I noticed no temperature increase. However, during the latest firmware update, which took about 20 minutes, I did see how the back plate got significantly warmer. The temperature normalized after manually turning on the cooling fan and setting it to Rapid cooling.
One major advantage that the RedMagic 8 Pro has over other modern smartphones is that they still keep the headphone jack present. The manufacturers tend to remove it for more space for a larger battery and other phone components. However, RedMagic still manages to store both a massive battery and a headphone jack inside the RedMagic 8 Pro’s body, all without increasing the phone’s size and weight significantly.
The smartphone’s speakers are powerful enough to fill the room, as well as for you to hear every detail of the game’s events. Using the RedMagic 8 Pro for watching movies also felt great, as the phone delivers a beautiful full-screen experience.
When the phone just came out, some users reported having issues with the Netflix app, but I’m happy to say that this and other issues, like translation errors that I noticed before, were fixed in the latest firmware update.
Photo & Video Quality
Photo and Video are probably the only areas where the RedMagic 8 Pro doesn’t shine.
I feel like the most controversial improvement that the RedMagic 8 Pro received is the under-display front-facing camera (or selfie camera). Placing the camera underneath the display is a great decision for an uninterrupted gaming experience, but it also comes with the cost of poor portrait quality. Selfies either come out soft and washed out, or the subject of the photo pops out too much, and the photos look artificial.
That’s also something you have to take in mind if you care about video calls and how you’ll look on them.
Phone cameras also struggle in challenging light conditions. Whether it’s flat light outdoors, backlit scenes, or night photography — the pictures are likely to come out blurry or oversharpened.
However, if you’re not someone who cares about selfies or takes a lot of pictures, the main camera will still suffice for normal daylight photography. You can also shoot decent videos on the RedMagic 8 Pro if you enable the anti-shake mode.
The RedMagic 8 Pro has a 6000mAh dual-cell battery and supports 65W quick charging. During everyday use, the battery will easily last several days on a single charge.
When gaming at max power, your phone will still last a few hours. After that, you can take a 45 minute break and use the 65-watt charger to quickly charge your phone fully from zero and continue gaming.
Should You Buy the RedMagic 8 Pro?
The RedMagic 8 Pro is a powerful gaming phone and is definitely one of the best gaming phones available today. The only thing you can put on the list of cons is the camera performance.
Other than that, you’ll get an absolute power beast with plenty of unique gaming features, a top-notch cooling system, excellent battery life, and a pleasant modern design. Add the headphone jack and large storage capacity on top of that, and you’ll have your answer as to whether you should buy this new gaming phone.
Overall, the RedMagic 8 Pro is an impressive smartphone that delivers exceptional gaming performance and smooth everyday use. Nubia has made significant improvements from the previous model, including toning down the gaming-style design and fixing software bugs. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and 20,000 RPM turbo cooling fan keep this phone running at peak performance, and the Game Space app enhances the gaming experience with various tools and features. While there are still some minor issues, such as translation errors and a subpar selfie camera, they do not detract from the overall quality of this phone. With its high-end specs and impressive gaming features, the RedMagic 8 Pro is an excellent choice for gamers and power users alike.