At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsGreat performanceSolid camerasExcellent battery lifeDedicated gaming featuresConsBig and heavySome software glitchesBloatwareOur Verdict
The Redmagic 9 Pro is a great gaming phone that can also hold its own in everyday use. It’s a huge, heavy phone, but that’s justified by the capable hardware inside.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Redmagic 9 Pro
Nubia has updated its smartphone gaming line again with the new Redmagic 9 Pro. It looks like we’re just getting one model globally, with no sign of the Redmagic 9 Pro+ being released outside China.
So, are there improvements in terms of speed and cooling that make it worth upgrading from predecessors? And is this the new best gaming phone you can buy? I load up some games and see how it handles the chaos.
Design & Build
Solid, but big and heavy
If you’re familiar with the Redmagic smartphones, the 9 Pro will look instantly recognisable. It shares much of the design aesthetic used on the previous Redmagic 8S Pro and Redmagic 8 Pro. This means you get a smartphone that will fill your hand and then some. Here’s how the last few Redmagic devices compare in their dimensions:
Redmagic 9 Pro: 164 x 76.4 x 8.9mm / 6.46 x 3.01 x 0.35 inches; 229g
Redmagic 8S Pro: 164 x 76.4 x 9.5mm / 6.46 x 3.01 x 0.37 inches; 228g
Redmagic 8 Pro: 164 x 76.4 x 8.9mm / 6.46 x 3.01 x 0.35 inches; 228g
The 9 Pro is quite an angular device, with square edges on the aluminium frame that surrounds the 6.8-inch display. The right flank has a lot going on, as it’s home to the two 520Hz touch-sensitive trigger controls you can use for gaming.
You’ll also find a volume button, power button and red sliding switch (used to enable the dedicated gaming mode). If that’s not enough, there’s also a vent for the built-in cooling system, with an identical one on the opposite side.
Due to the latter, you still don’t get any waterproof rating on the Redmagic 9 Pro (just like previous generations). The need to expel air via the fan and vents means you can’t secure the unit from water getting in. If you’re going to be playing out in the rain, then maybe invest in an umbrella.
On the top and bottom edges there are the speakers that make up the stereo system, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack if you want a more immersive (and neighbour-friendly) audio experience. A USB-C charging port is standard these days, so it doesn’t look out of place on the Redmagic 9 Pro, and it’s same story for the dual (Nano) SIM card slot.
The 9 Pro has the cool, futuristic design we’ve come to associate with Redmagic devices
The 9 Pro has the cool, futuristic design we’ve come to associate with Redmagic devices. My review sample bears the Snowfall livery, which is a mixture of white and silver and looks like a panel from some sci-fi spaceship. The Redmagic 9 Pro is also available in Sleek (black and silver) or Cyclone (black and gold), all of which look great.
On all models, there are various LEDs under the casing which emit coloured lights through the trigger buttons and an ’09’ printed on the back of the phone. These can be customised in several colours and patterns, making it easy to personalise them when they come on as you’re playing games. They also double as notification lights, so you’ll easily be able to see when you get any messages.
Accompanying these is the transparent fan with multi-colour lights underneath, which is another staple of the Redmagic range. When you’re playing games, the fan will light up as the phone cools itself, giving a kind of light show on the rear panel. It’s one of those things where a potential annoyance (a fan spinning up) is turned into a feature instead. Personally, I think it’s a lot of fun, even if the player themself doesn’t get to see the lights.
One design departure from the Redmagic 8 Pro is that the cameras no longer line up in the middle of the rear panel, but instead form a vertical column in the upper left section, with the fan at the bottom. This is better, as the previous camera bump fell right where your fingers would be when playing a game. That’s not an issue any more thanks to the redesign.
Those with eagle eyes will realise that this means one of the cameras has been dropped from the team, which is correct. The 2MP macro lens is no more, which is no great loss as they are pretty much useless on most phones.
As with most gaming phones, the Redmagic feels more comfortable in the hands when held in a landscape orientation. Otherwise, the heavy and tall layout can be a bit of a beast if you’re using the phone for a while. You get a slimline protective case with the phone, but it’s quite flimsy and I definitely worried about dropping the 9 Pro – there isn’t a lot of grip available.
Screen & Speakers
6.8-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
Under-display selfie camera
Stereo speakers and 3.5mm headphone jack
Sticking with the formula from the previous couple of Redmagic phones, the 9 Pro comes with a 6.8-inch, FHD+ (2480×1116) AMOLED panel.
As with those models, there’s also an under-display fingerprint sensor in the lower third, plus an under-display selfie camera at the top, meaning the entire panel is uninterrupted by buttons or notches. That means it’s a perfect screen for gaming or enjoying streamed video content, as there’s nothing to distract your view.
It’s also a nice display to look at, with good colours, smooth transitions thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, sharp details and solid off-angle views. So you’ll be able to watch videos with friends while ensuring everyone can see what’s on the screen.
Brightness shouldn’t be an issue either, as Redmagic claims that the maximum illumination levels go up to a massive 1600 nits. In my own test, I measured the full brightness on the normal mode at 1242 nits, which was almost blinding.
The surrounding bezels are slim, giving the Redmagic 9 Pro an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 93.7%, and it’s all protected by Gorilla Glass 5. A SGS Low Blue Light Eye Protection certificate has also been awarded to it (from Swiss testing company SGS), so you shouldn’t get strained eyes from staring at the screen for hours. Helpful if you’re getting into a big game.
It’s a perfect screen for gaming or enjoying streamed video content, as there’s nothing to distract your view
Controlling your character is accurate and fast too, as the panel features a 960Hz multi-finger touch sampling rate. That number refers to the amount of times the display can refresh itself to register touch input per second.
While the visuals are impressive, audio doesn’t quite hit the same heights. Yes, the twin speakers do kick out a decent level of volume, and the company reports that it’s Dolby DTS: X Ultra certified, but it all sounds a little hollow. Bass is on the light side, which is surprising in a device this heavy and solid.
Thankfully, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning you can plug in a good set of wired headphones and experience the immersive audio that the display deserves. You can also avail yourself of the Bluetooth 5.3 capabilities that should ensure a strong connection to your favourite wireless headphones.
Specs & Performance
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor
Red Core 2 Pro dedicated gaming chip
ICE 13 upgraded cooling system
As you’d expect from a Redmagic phone, performance (especially while gaming) is top-notch.
At the heart of the power is the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, making the Redmagic 9 Pro one of the first to use Qualcomm’s flagship 2023 chip. It’s a solid step forward over the 8S Pro too, with the company stating that the new hardware delivers a 32% increase in CPU performance and 34% in GPU performance, all while reducing power consumption by between 30-40%.
In day-to-day use, the 9 Pro is certainly snappy and responsive, with apps opening quickly and running without issue. Obviously, the main purpose of a phone like this is gaming, and in that arena it shines.
Using the usual barrage of titles to test it out, including Genshin Impact, Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile, the 9 Pro runs everything without any noticeable stuttering or slow-downs. Even when there’s plenty of on-screen action occurring, the phone keeps things ticking over nicely.
Controls are also very responsive, thanks in no small measure to the 960Hz touch-sampling rate on the display and 520Hz trigger buttons, all of which execute commands fast and efficiently.
There’s not too much additional heat either, thanks to the ICE 13 cooling system that utilises an advanced double-layer vapour chamber plate under the display and improved airflow through the ducts. It’s all a step up from its predecessor, which was already very good to begin with.
The speeds are assisted by the latest LPDDR5X memory (RAM) and fast UFS 4.0 storage, with configurations matched to the different colour-schemes. This means you get either 16GB/512GB (Snowfall, Cyclone) or 12GB/256GB (Sleet).
Here’s how the Redmagic 9 Pro compares to its rivals in our standard benchmark tests:
Samsung GN5 50MP 24mm main camera with OIS
Samsung JN1 50MP 13mm ultra-wide
Improved 16MP under-display selfie camera
Cameras might be something of an afterthought behind gaming performance on this kind of device, but they remain an essential part of every modern smartphone. So it’s good news that the twin rear cameras on the Redmagic 9 Pro deliver some very decent results.
The main 24mm 50MP module sports the same Samsung GN5 sensor as the Redmagic 8S Pro, which itself was a solid performer. Shots on this showed a good level of detail, with exposures usually being handled well. Occasionally, you’ll get a washed out image where the metering gets a little confused, but most of the photos I captured on the 9 Pro were very usable.
Low-light performance is solid, with exposure again remaining relatively consistent. I did see some noise appear in burst shots, where the sensor or software was trying to find details in the dark areas, but as long as you have a steady hand then you should be pleased by the results you can get out of this camera.
Switching to the 13mm ultra-wide lens continued this positivie, with the 9 Pro mostly avoiding the usual drop in quality and colour definition that often goes with ultra-wide options on mid-range phones.
The twin rear cameras on the Redmagic 9 Pro deliver some very decent result
There’s also a load of modes you can experiment with, including star trails, light drawing, time lapse and others.
Video benefits from the optical image stabilisation on the main camera, which does a fine job of keeping footage balanced, even while I was walking along. Exposure works well too, with the phone dealing with some sharp changes of contrast while shooting on a particularly difficult day for light.
The under-display selfie camera does show improvements over the last generation’s effort, which was awful. But my advice here remains the same: if selfies are important to you, this isn’t the phone you want.
Here’s a selection of images I captured with the Redmagic 9 Pro:
Battery Life & Charging
80W fast charging
No wireless charging
If you’re going to be doing a lot of gaming, you’ll want great battery life, something the Redmagic 9 Pro delivers. It comes equipped with a 6,500mAh dual-cell, and it’s a hard battery to kill.
If you’re only doing a bit of gaming throughout the day and using the phone like a normal device for the rest of the time, then you’ll usually be left with plenty of charge left at the end of the day. For some people, it’ll be a two-day phone.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of gaming, you’ll want great battery life, something the Redmagic 9 Pro delivers
Heavier sessions of graphically intensive titles (especially if you’re in well lit areas and need the brightness up) obviously shortens the time between charges, but I never felt too worried about the 9 Pro running out of steam before the end of the day.
I got around four or five hours of gaming out of the device before needing to recharge, but obviously there are factors at play that mean your mileage may vary. Putting it through our standard PCMark battery test, the device scored 10 hours 23 minutes, which is around an hour more than the Redmagic 8S Pro.
There’s an 80W charger included in the box, and plugging the dead 9 Pro into brought things back to life very quickly. After 15 minutes there was 45% charge available, 85% after thirty minutes, with the full 100% recharge taking only 44 minutes.
Android 14 with Redmagic 9.0
The Redmagic 9 Pro runs Android 14 out of the box, with Nubia’s own Redmagic 9.0 skin on top.
Aside from the various techno-based artwork and widgets, plus interesting customisation effects, it’s a mild skin that doesn’t obscure Android too much. Yes, there is some bloatware on board, but this can be deleted once you’ve set up the device.
I encountered quite a few bugs initially, with Google sign-ins not working and various apps having problems, but this seemed to be due to the pre-release software version. Things settled down after a few updates. There’s the occasional glitch, such as the camera app closing when the screen senses a tap that’s just me trying to hold the device, but it’s a solid performer overall.
Sliding the red button on the right side of the 9 Pro launches the Game Space software suite. This is a long-standing feature of Redmagic phones, giving users the ability to customise controls, quick-launch games, manage in-game screenshots, organise plug-ins, set reminders and much more.
It’s a mature suite now, with a well thought-out range of features that genuinely improve how you play on a mobile device.
In terms of update, Nubia makes no specific commitment regarding the Redmagic 9 Pro. But on its website, the company says it “offers more than 2 years of software support”. It suggests the phone will get Android 16 and security patches until the end of 2025, but nothing after that, which is disappointing.
Price & Availability
The Redmagic 9 Pro launched on 18 December 2023. It’s available directly from the Redmagic site and costs £579/$649 for the 12GB/256GB configuration and £709 / $799 / €799 if you want the more capacious 16GB/512GB complement.
No carriers are selling the phone on contract in the UK or US, so you’ll have to buy it outright and pair with a SIM deal instead.
But that price it in the same ballpark as the Black Shark 5 Pro, which costs £729/$899 if you want the same configuration as the Redmagic baseline model. If you’re looking for arguably the best gaming smartphone, then the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is about as good as it gets, but its pricing will take you over the £1,000/$1,000.
To see which other alternatives are around, check out our round-up of the best gaming smartphones.
The Redmagic 9 Pro is an excellent gaming phone. Plenty of power under the hood, dedicated hardware, impressive cooling and great battery life mean the gaming experience is consistently fantastic.
But it also achieves the rare feat of being a solid day-to-day phone. The cameras are better than expected (aside from the dodgy selfie one) and can deliver very usable photos and videos.
The software is also easy to use, provided you don’t mind some bloatware and the occasional bug. So the only real barrier is the sheer size and weight of the device. Like most gaming phones, it’s a bit of a beast, so it’s still only really worth buying if you love playing games.
6.8inch FHD+ Q9+ display (2480 x 1116), 120Hz
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor
Red Core 2 Pro Gaming chip
520Hz shoulder trigger buttons
ICE 13 upgraded cooling system
22,000 RPM high-speed fan
12GB or 16GB LPDDR5X memory
256GB or 512GB UFS 4.0 storage
Samsung GN5 50MP 24mm main (wide) camera with OIS
Samsung JN1 50MP 13mm ultra-wide
16MP under-display selfie camera
Under-display fingerprint sensor
3.5mm headphone jack
6,500mAh battery with 80W fast charging
164 x 76.4 x 8.9mm / 6.46 x 3.01 x 0.35 inches