*UPDATE: The lovely folks at REDMAGIC have indeed confirmed that my unit is unfortunately defective, hence the WiFi connectivity issues. In the spirit of transparency, my original review is kept intact below, but please note that mine might be an isolated case. Hopefully, you won’t be put off by my experience, as your mileage may vary.
Boosting optimum performance for gaming on the go with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the REDMAGIC 8 Pro certainly knows how to start the new year with a bang. The host of mind-blowing upgrades from its predecessor is the gaming smartphone’s way of taking on the challenge of whether or not it can still top the REDMAGIC 7S Pro – and here’s everything you can expect from this mobile gaming powerhouse.
Table of contents:
REDMAGIC 8 PRO DESIGN AND HARDWARE
For me in particular, there’s really no denying the allure of shiny things, especially when it comes to mobile gadgets. Everything from the minimalist packaging to the design on the box has the gamer in mind – the smartphone, as it should, proudly wears its gaming aesthetics like a badge. It wastes no time in letting you know exactly who the target market for this device is, and the overall look is exhilarating.
In particular, the box flaunts REDMAGIC virtual brand ambassador-slash-mascot Mora in an undeniably cool-looking comic-esque adventure, and as soon as you open the box, you’ll likely be inspired to “win more games” from the looks of the phone alone.
For this review, the latest flagship model I had the pleasure of testing out came in futuristic Matte, boasting an elegant back and neatly lined camera lenses along with a hefty weight that feels premium but not at all cumbersome. As you would expect from anything gaming-related, the back of the phone also features those iconic RGB lights that you can customize to your liking – you can even change how the lights blink, or switch up the colors themselves just because. While you won’t really be playing games while staring at the lights dancing on the back of your phone, it’s still a bragging right of sorts for others to see you beating up bad guys like a boss while your phone lights up in public.
Compared to its predecessor though, the 8 Pro offers a more subtle take on typical gamer aesthetics, perhaps opting to capture the non-gamer market as well with its lack of ruggedness. To me, this does make the 8 Pro feel a little more fragile than the 7S Pro, which isn’t very ideal given how much abuse gaming phones are expected to take especially during heated hardcore sessions. It also has less of a firm grip compared to the 7S Pro.
That aside, what makes the REDMAGIC 8 Pro even more gorgeous is, of course, the screen – it’s supposedly the industry’s pioneer when it comes to an ultra-narrow bezel flexible full screen, and regardless of the title you’re playing (or movie you’re watching), the device simply looks breathtaking.
Like its predecessor, the phone features dual shoulder triggers at 520Hz along with a very welcome and much-loved 3.5mm headphone jack. While I personally don’t really prioritize the camera quality in a gaming phone, the Samsung GN5 50-megapixel rear camera is still a huge plus. The HDR Mode, low-light mode, quick focus, 200W macro and so on are more than enough for me – in fact, tinkering around with the camera app itself almost feels like it can be used at a professional level.
GAMING EXPERIENCE, BATTERY LIFE AND CHARGING SPEED
Packed with 12GB RAM and 256GB of memory, the REDMAGIC 8 Pro can confidently carry you through hours of uninterrupted gaming with its upgraded battery of 6000mAh. This makes for long hours of stellar performance – but just in case you do run out of juice, the extremely fast charging will have you back on your feet in no time (it took me a little more than half an hour for a full charge) .
The gaming performance itself is fast and energy-efficient – I, for instance, only spent 2% of battery life for 10 minutes of gaming on an open-world MMORPG. Just as I loved the built-in cooling fan from its predecessor, the phone’s ICE 11 cooling system complements the efficient heat conduction perfectly. Even more impressive is just how quiet the turbofan can be, so much so that I had to struggle to strain my ears to really hear the fan whirring away from the powerhouse within. This alone is a gigantic improvement from the previous phone, and you can discover more details about Nubia’s cooling tech on the official website.
Just like the breezy cooling system, connectivity is an absolute breeze here as well – simply having REDMAGIC Studio installed on your laptop easily lets you cast your phone’s screen onto your monitor, whether wired or via USB-C. I didn’t experience any pesky lag during both instances, nor did I have any trouble connecting my different Bluetooth controllers to the phone. I did, however, encounter a major WiFi connectivity issue with my model, which I’ll get to in more detail later on.
MORE MORA ON THE REDMAGIC 8 PRO
Apart from the sleek gaming space that I’ve grown to love from this series, the REDMAGIC 8 Pro is also putting Mora front and center this time around with its own ecosystem as a virtual assistant. I’m not ashamed to say I spent a good chunk of my day just exploring her features here, from setting her up to provide reminders to having her pose across various locations using Augmented Reality. It almost feels like a game in itself, which simply adds to the overall charm of the phone when it comes to dynamic wallpapers and interactive elements.
The Game Space, on the other hand, has everything a true gamer needs within reach. You can choose which titles you want to include in the list, and each time you boot up that game, the fan can automatically turn on along with access to the curated plugins by swiping the upper part of your screen.
These plugins let you take quick notes and stick them in your periphery as you play your game, or even access YouTube for quick walkthroughs you might need without having to leave your game. You can resize and move these mini-windows around to make sure your view remains unobstructed – plus, you can also access useful settings such as the screen brightness, screenshots, game reminders, a stopwatch, aim assist, shoulder button mapping and so much more .
WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
With the size and weight of the phone, it can be a bit of a challenge to operate with one hand or to play games in portrait mode here. Like its predecessor, the phone has a few typos and grammatical errors here and there in the menus as well, with some text still in Mandarin particularly in the Game Space.
Those are all minor nitpicking since the true full screen and the unparalleled gaming performance more than make up for the tiny flaws, but one major setback has kept me from enjoying this device as much as I did the REDMAGIC 7S Pro Supernova Lords Mobile Edition, and it’s a doozy.
For transparency’s sake, my REDMAGIC 8 Pro suffers from a likely faulty WiFi feature that disrupts my gameplay each and every time. My Internet connection can be pretty spotty where I live, and it’s normal for the connection to get cut off every now and then. But while none of my other Android or iOS devices suffered the same fate, the REDMAGIC 8 Pro in particular would refuse to reconnect to my WiFi network once it gets disconnected. It would cause my game to crash, kick me out of the title, and I would have to head over to the WiFi button in the settings menu of the phone to manually reconnect.
This, as you can imagine, makes a gaming phone a huge letdown given how an Internet connection is required in most games – and an uninterrupted one at that. It’s extremely odd as I never had this problem with my 7S Pro, nor with my other devices.
It’s possible that my unit is defective, or there might be a setting or update of sorts that my phone hasn’t had yet. It’s also possible that mine is an early edition that hasn’t fully ironed out all its kinks – or, it might also be likely that sticking to the 7S Pro is a safer option at the moment, at least until all the bugs for the new flagship model are resolved. Of course, I’ve reached out to REDMAGIC and the product team is hard at work in trying to fix this issue for me, but so far, my device is still suffering from this unfortunate malady.
Overall, the REDMAGIC 8 Pro is once again a mobile gaming beast that certainly outperforms the 7S Pro in a myriad of ways. I can’t, in all honesty, enjoy it as much as its predecessor though, and your mileage may vary – but for me, I think I’d like to stick with my 7S Pro at the moment, because a stable Internet connection is everything in a gaming phone.
BUY LINK: REDMAGIC Global