At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsGreat performanceImpressive battery lifeDecent camerasBuilt-in fanConsNo waterproofingNo wireless chargingInconsistent fingerprint sensorOur Verdict
Equipped with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, advanced cooling system, and some dedicated gaming features, the Redmagic 8 Pro offers an excellent platform for gamers thanks to its outstanding performance and very reasonable price.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Redmagic 8 Pro
Gaming phones remain something of a niche market, but one that’s currently served with some enticing devices. Nubia has updated its popular Redmagic line with the 8 Pro, offering what seems to be high-end gaming performance but with a price that’s decidedly in the mid-range at $649/£579. I’ve hit the start button to see if the Redmagic 8 Pro really is a player.
Design & Build
Modern, squared-edge designBuilt-in fanNo IP certification
The fact that this is a gaming phone is evident even before you take the device out of the box. Nubia goes with a silver livery for the packaging with techno-style labelling, albeit somewhat more refined than with some of the more garish ones I’ve encountered in the past. Removing the lid reveals some pretty funky artwork emblazoned on the inner box, depicting a cool robotic figure standing before a spaceship, while an anime-style woman rushes through a futuristic city on her motorbike. It’s certainly a refreshing change from the stark-white packaging you usually get with modern phones.
With all this flash on display, you might be worried that the phone itself will be weirdly shaped, with multiple glowing sections and other decorations that make gaming mice and keyboards look a bit crap. Thankfully, that’s not the case.
The Redmagic 8 Pro is actually a quite neat looking phone. The dimensions are 164 x 76.4x 8.9mm, with a weight of 228g, making it a large but not uncomfortable handset. You won’t find any rounded edges or curved screens here though, as the design is an angular one, with squared off edges all round, making it look something from the current Sony Xperia range.
The front panel is a 6.8-inch AMOLED display with only minor bezels around the edges and no notch, thanks to the selfie camera being located under the screen, as is the fingerprint sensor. The latter was a bit hit and miss in terms of reliability, with pressings often resulting in my print not being recognised. This could be due to the fact that my daily driver recently has been the Xiaomi 12 Lite, which places the sensor a little lower down. If I took my time, then the results were more consistent, so it could just be muscle memory causing the problem.
The metal chassis features some tell-tale signs that this is a gaming-focussed unit, including the fan intake and outlets on either side of the frame, 520Hz touch sensitive trigger buttons along one edge, stereo speakers located on the top and bottom of the device, plus a headphone jack for low latency audio. There’s also the red Game Space Switch that turns on the dedicated modes for gaming where you can tailor the system to your personal preferences. More on that later.
A matt finish on the rear panel gives the Redmagic 8 Pro some much-wanted grip, and the design mimics that on the outer lid of the box. There are three cameras in the line down the upper section of the panel, all of which are slightly raised, meaning the phone won’t sit flat on a table when resting on its back, even when placed in the included hard-plastic case.
As you’d expect, the charging port is USB-C, but this also doubles as an output for HDMI, so you could connect this to a monitor if you want to take your gaming to a larger display.
Sadly, there’s no IP rating listed, meaning you’ll want to keep the phone away from water or dust, curtailing any bath-time gaming sessions, but the 6,000mAh battery means you’ll be able to spend most of the night playing your favourite titles once your ablutions are done.
In the box you’re blessed with a 65W charger (glory be!), USB-C charging cable, the aforementioned case, and a SIM tray ejector tool.
Screen & Speakers
6.8-inch AMOLED, 120Hz displayGorilla Glass 5Stereo speakers
A 6.8-inch, 20:9, FHD+ AMOLED display takes up the majority of the front panel, aided by those under-screen components mentioned above. The thin bezels around the display make it feel almost like an edge-to-edge screen and it’s impressive how well hidden the selfie camera is on this model. Seriously, you just can’t notice it at all unless you really go looking. This makes the display feel huge and uninterrupted when used in landscape orientation, which will be where a gaming device spends the majority of its time. Plus, it’s great for watching video, as you don’t have the annoying dot at one end or a honking great notch to contend with.
Brightness has seen a bit of attention since last year’s Redmagic 7 Pro, which was a little on the dim side. Now, Nubia claims, you can hit a maximum brightness of 1,300 nits when firing on all cylinders, although this won’t be the case most of the time, especially if you want any battery life at all.
Using a light meter, I measured the maximum brightness at 568 nits when in a dark room. This means that the Redmagic 8 Pro can cope admirably with a bright day outside and near blind you with its luminescence when indoors.
The refresh rate tops out at 120Hz, which is solid for any modern phone, although you can set it at either 90Hz or 60Hz if you want to save battery life. The phone will automatically adjust to the higher rate when gaming, so you don’t have to fiddle with the settings before starting a session.
Figures aside, the display is colourful, smooth and pleasing on the eye, which is good thing as keen gamers will be staring intently at it for hours at a time. The touch sensitivity is also up to snuff, with a maximum touch sampling rate of 950Hz, which makes game characters instantly responsive to commands.
The twin speakers are placed at either end of the device and project some excellent audio. Sounds are loud and well balanced, with a full and powerful mix, though they aren’t as impressive as those found on the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. The placement also becomes a hindrance when gaming, as the speakers tend to be where your hands are gripping the phone. The right side isn’t too bad, as the speaker sits higher, but the left if usually covered, making the sound more boxy.
Of course, you can bypass this entirely by using the 3.5mm headphone jack or Bluetooth earbuds, with High Definition Audio support available if you have compatible headsets.
Specs & Performance
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor12GB RAM256GB storage
Obviously, where gaming is involved you need a lot of power. It’s pleasing then that Nubia has used the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor in a phone that sits at this mid-range price. Teamed up with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB UFS 4.0 storage, things move pretty damn quickly on the Redmagic 8 Pro. Should you require even more power, there’s also a 16GB/512GB variant if you’re willing to spend more.
Firing up a demanding title like Genshin Impact can be a challenge for some phones, but on the Redmagic 8 Pro it’s a breeze. In busier parts of the game, when the action is kicking off, there’s no noticeable slow-down or frame-rate dropping. The same is true with the likes of Asphalt 9 and the other usual suspects that make demands on both the processor, GPU and temperature controls.
Nubia fits the Redmagic 8 Pro with its ICE 11.0 cooling system, comprised of a graphene layer under the display to dissipate heat efficiently, a 20,000RPM fan with intake and outlet valves on the sides of the chassis, plus a double-layer vapour-chamber liquid-cooling plate and other conductive layers and components (there are 10 layers in all). I don’t pretend to understand the technology that’s gone into all this, but the results are that the handset remains cool when playing games and the fan isn’t too loud, especially if you’re wearing headphones.
All this efficiency and cooling means that there’s little in the way of thermal throttling required, so performance remains high whenever you’re using the phone for more demanding tasks – ie, gaming.
Here’s the benchmark results that show how the Redmagic 8 Pro compares to its rivals:
50Mp f/1.88 main camera8Mp f/2.2 wide camera2Mp f/2.4 macro camera
Gaming may be the main focus of the Redmagic 8 Pro, but good cameras are always high on the list of things that people want from their devices these days. In this area the 8 Pro doesn’t fare brilliantly. The main 50Mp f/1.88 shooter is equipped with a Samsung GN 5 sensor, which you’ll also find on devices like the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Vivo iQoo 11, but the Redmagic won’t be worrying those rivals with its photographic prowess.
The main camera can take some decent photos, dealing well with exposure and focusing in mixed scenes, but the colours do come out somewhat muted. This could be a pleasant surprise when compared to the often oversaturated images I see on many smartphone cameras these days, but it just makes photos feel a little flat unless you do some post processing.
Switching to the 8Mp ultra-wide camera does let you include some extra content in the shot, but due to the placement I often found that the edge of my hand could be in the image unless I was careful. The colours are even duller on the ultra-wide and quality takes a hit.
That’s not to say they’re unusable. Not at all. With some good light you can capture nice shots, and the night mode does a good job of allowing you to take pictures where the light would normally be too dark (so long as you can lean the phone on a flat surface to hold it steady). There is an oversharpening of the images in dark mode, but that’s not uncommon as the software is working hard to pull everything it can out of the picture.
Selfies, portraits and macro shots are fine but not impressive, although delving into the menus you can find some fun modes to play with. My favourite was for capturing light trails from cars going by at night. It did take several attempts to capture something I was happy with, but I won’t mark the camera down for this as I was often doing it handheld. One annoyance is that a watermark displaying the camera’s name is turned on by default, and you can’t take it off of the images. Stupid idea.
Video is good, with footage being dependable, accurately focussed and well exposed. It can shoot 4K@60fps, and results are very usable, plus if you don’t care about burning up all your storage then there is the option for 8K@30fps. An anti-shake mode uses EIS to smooth things out, and it does a fine job.
Walking along with the Redmagic 8 Pro while filming didn’t show the bobbing caused by my movement, and there weren’t any obvious signs that the app was cleaning things up. Moving from light to dark gave the metering something to think about, but again it did well in coping with something that can often catch out cameras.
The selfie camera is hidden under the display, but this doesn’t make for good image quality. All the selfies I took were washed out and had noise. If you don’t use this feature much, then it would be acceptable, but if you’re a selfie fan then you will find the phone frustrating.
Here’s some examples of the images I captured with the Redmagic 8 Pro:
Battery Life & Charging
6,000mAh battery 65W fast charging (with charger in box)Charges to 50% in 15 minutesNo wireless charging
Nubia opts for twin 3,000mAh cells in the Redmagic 8 Pro, giving the device effectively a 6,000mAh battery. Not only is this a generous amount of charge storage, the efficiency of the cooling and top-spec processor means that you can get through several hours of gaming with still enough fuel left in the tank to listen to a few podcasts before bedtime.
In our standard battery benchmark, the Redmagic 8 Pro managed 15 hours and 35 minutes, so it should keep even the most ardent gamers going all day. That’s seriously impressive longevity.
Should you find your activities do drain the battery, then you won’t have long to wait before you get back in the action, as the included 65W charger will restore 51% of charge in only 15 minutes. While a full recharge only takes around 40 minutes. Impressive stuff.
Android 13Redmagic OS 6.0Dedicated Game Mode
There are two facets to the software on the Redmagic 8 Pro. The first is the general implementation of Android 13, which wears the Nubia Redmagic OS 6.0 skin. This is pretty standard fare, with not much in the way of bloat, but there were several instances when I stumbled across Chinese text rather than English.
One omission, which I’ve seen on some other Chinese phones, is that I was unable to set up Google Pay. Whether this is regional or not, I’m unsure, but in the UK it seems that this particular handset wasn’t willing to play ball.
Sliding the red switch on the side of the device launches the dedicated gaming software, which has plenty of interesting features. The most useful is being able to map the shoulder buttons so that you can use them in games you play. I must admit, this proved more difficult than expected, with the instructions given by Nubia on how to enter the setup mode proving fruitless.
There’s meant to be a swipe action that reveals an extra option for selecting the mapping feature, but it never appeared. I eventually worked it out, but it all felt unpolished and more confusing than necessary.
With the Game Mode engaged you can tweak quite a few settings and make sure that the acceleration is working for the games you’re playing. Hopefully, by the time you read this, the confusing elements will have been smoothed out so you can just enjoy the plentiful features on offer.
Price & availability
With the high-end specs and dedicated gaming technology onboard, you might expect this to be an expensive handset to buy. But, that’s not the case. If you pick up the baseline model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, then it’s a very affordable $649/£579. Step up to the 16GB/512GB version and you’ll still only have to pay $799/£709 which is very reasonable for a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 equipped device.
This puts it in the same ballpark as the Black Shark 5, that’s around $899/£729 for a similarly configured model as the baseline Redmagic. The ROG Phone 6 which will run you $899.99/£899.99 albeit with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 under the hood.
If you’re looking for a dedicated gaming phone that can also cut it in the day-to-day, then the Redmagic 8 Pro is an excellent choice. Performance is top-notch, while the cameras, display and other general appointments are all good enough at this price point to make the whole package feel like a true bargain. Game on.
6.8-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, 1116×2480, 20:9, 120Hz, 960Hz touch sampling rate, 1300 nits max brightness, Corning® Gorilla® GlassQualcomm® Snapdragon™ 8 Gen 2Adreno Red Core 2REDMAGIC OS 6.0 based on Android 13.012GB LPDDR5X Memory256GB UFS 4.0 StorageICE 11 Multi-Dimensional Cooling System20,000 RPM high-speed turbofan50MP f/1.88 main camera8Mp f/2.2 wide camera2MP f/2.4 macro camera16MP, 2nd generation under-display-camera (UDC) selfie cameraDual Nano SIM5GWi-Fi 7 802.11b/g/n/ac/ax/be (Tri-band 2.4G, 5G, 6G) with HBS supportBluetooth 5.3GPS, AGPSNFC6000mAh Dual Cell Battery, with 65W fast charging3.5mm headphone jack163.98mm x 76.35mm x 9.47mm228g