RedMagic 5G review: Is the gaming phone with Snap 865 and 144 Hz display a real best buy?

What is a gaming smartphone? But above all, what's the use of a gaming smartphone? In fact, do you really need a gaming smartphone to play the most complex mobile games? If we were to answer the first answer thinking only of the numbers, then the RedMagic 5G would reflect the perfect stereotype of a gaming smartphone: Snapdragon 865, 8 or 12 GB of RAM (depending on the model), large battery, advanced cooling system (and liquid) and an impressive 6.65-inch display with 144 Hz refresh rate which, however, remains firm on FullHD + and with decidedly showy edges (they make sense, but we'll talk about it later).

In short, the brand owned by Nubia on paper is a full-fledged gaming phone, but is it worth buying it? And all the improvements aimed at video games, do they really bring an improvement in game performance?

Red Magic 5G review

The (almost) natural evolution of the RedMagic 3S, the company's new smartphone on paper has impressive hardware, just think that most of the devices currently on the market have a display that, if we are happy, can reach 120 Hz, while the panel used in the RedMagic 5G it has a refresh rate of 144 Hz and, as you know, the faster the image, the better it will be for its performance. Unless you're a blowjob in shooters or battle royale like me, but that's another story.

RedMagic 5G review

Then there are the liquid cooling and a fan managed by software that is very reminiscent of gaming PCs, designed to allow longer intensive gaming sessions avoiding overheating of the phone, which will allow you to play at peak performance for longer. And there are also gods hardware trigger positioned on one of the edges, which are touch, but for some players they could be a godsend.

Package Contents

The packaging of the RedMagic 5G is very particular in appearance, but not very substantial in content. The front is definitely beautiful to look at and is made with a series of graphic representations dedicated to gaming, but inside there is only an 18-watt power supply, despite the smartphone supports thefast charging 55 watt, a USB-A / USB-C cable and manuals. And no, neither a protective cover nor a pair of earphones with the cable are included.

Design and construction

Despite not being overly tamarro, the design of the RedMagic 5G is that typical of a gaming smartphone. So either you love it, or you hate it. The rear is definitely recognizable even from meters away, especially thanks to two RGB LEDs which can be customized in color and purpose, one of which can also be used as notice of notifications received.

On the side edges, in addition to the hardware triggers, there is a switch with which to access the Game Space, a space that puts games at the center of the user experience of the device, the volume button, the power button and a connector to which to connect all the original accessories.

RedMagic 5G review

Before there is the big one 6.65 '' display at 144Hz, which integrates a sensor for fingerprints (positioned too low for my tastes) and which is wrapped in a decidedly marked upper and lower frame but which, although they could make the optimization of the device seem "too old" for the times that run, in my opinion they make sense: when you hold the smartphone to play, then in landscape mode, the two frames improve the handle and prevent hands from covering the screen. In short, while playing, the handle of the device is firm and comfortable, and the visual space of the game is not covered too much.

With its 218 grams, until a few years ago it could have been considered a heavy smartphone, but remember that it weighs less than a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and that, despite the thickness of 9.8 mm, its more rounded shapes are definitely more comfortable than in previous generations.

Hardware and RedMagic 5G performance

The RedMagic 5G is animated by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 octa core 2.84 GHz, flanked by one Adreno GPU 680, 8 or 12 GB of RAM type memory L, 128 or 256 GB of internal memory of type UFS 3.0 which, as usual, is not expandable. Integrate a form to connect to 5G networks and a form WiFi6, an excellent match in terms of ping in game, as well as an NFC chip, Bluetooth 5.1, a port USB-C 3.1 (which allows connection to the TV) and the input for the 3.5mm audio jack, another gem especially in terms of audio lag during games.

The “traditional” stereo speaker set is missing, but the audio can still be defined as stereo thanks to the excellent ear capsule. I am perplexed on the flip scooter, but let me explain: I had the opportunity to try two samples of this device, one of which had a fantastic vibration that guaranteed excellent haptic feedback, the one with which I made this review, however, has an almost unthinkable vibration: deactivated immediately. Now, given my innate positivity I tend to hope that the model that is currently in my possession may have problems but, who knows, maybe I was just lucky with the first sample I tried?

RedMagic 5G review

Another touch of class are the hardware trigger positioned on the right edge which, of course, are touch and therefore may be uncomfortable for some people, but who have one touch sampling rate of even 300 Hzwhich makes them super fast. However, it would have been interesting to see them better integrated into the operating system, so I can think of allowing the user to take pictures using the right trigger on two feet, but in reality the implementations that those of RedMagic could have made are numerous. Too bad though, that they didn't really think about it.

Good cooling, which includes a fan that can move 30% more air compared to the previous generation, and a liquid cooling system that covers a much larger portion of hardware. The rear body is made of glass, which optimizes the dissipation even more, but the default fan management system is perhaps too "sensitive": I happened to feel it turned on even the first time I did a test with GeekBench.

And just as regards the numbers, testing the hardware with GeekBench, AndroBench and 3D Mark, I had the confirmation - as if I still needed it - that the performance of the gaming phone produced by the Nubia brand is sometimes superior even to the most famous top of the range. As for the numbers, I leave you at the gallery with all the benchmark screens that I made (you can find it just below). I'm lazy, and I don't want to rewrite them all.

The only doubt however, I had it on the real effectiveness of the cooling system, or at least on its management: after performing the first three tests on GeekBench, I started to feel the fan working with a more marked speed, which prompted me to run three more tests after a short game session at CoD Mobile. with a result that left me perplexed. The further I went on testing, the lower the benchmark result, a sign that the heat dissipation was not sufficient to keep the system working at maximum possible performance.

Good capsule sound good reception of the cellular network even if, alas, I have not had the opportunity to test the connection to the 5G network.

Finally, through the connector located on the left edge of the device, it is possible to connect a series of accessories that for some players could bring real benefits, such as the Magic Adapter, that is, a dock that not only adds an additional USB-C input to the smartphone to recharge the smartphone and a 3.5 mm jack input, but perfects the connectivity of the device thanks to a 100 MB Ethernet port.

Battery

The battery is one 4500 mAh. And yes, I know, it's 10% smaller than that of the RedMagic 3S. But in the RedMagic 5G the Snap 865 optimizes the consumption of the system in such a way as not to make the difference feel. Unfortunately I cannot attach any screenshots relating to the battery consumption graph, because the (superficial) RedMagic software does not include this section in the settings.

RedMagic 5G review

And now we come to a detail that as soon as I received the sample I immediately wanted to test: with the 144 Hz screen, the autonomy decreases? No, oddly it doesn't. Although I have read some online tests that say otherwise, in my tests I managed to get to about 5 hours of play and about 12 hours of streaming video playback, and I got these results both at 60 Hz and 144 Hz. Strange but true.

The battery supports the fast charging up to 55 W, but the mockery lies in the charger included in the package which is only 18 W. Which allows a recharge from 0% to 50% in about 40 minutes: to get a full charge you will have to wait 90 minutes.

RedMagic 5G display

That the 144 Hz of the display in the RedMagic 5G are an added value it is little but safe. But it is worth mentioning that not all games support this high refresh rate and that it would be foolish to confuse frames per second with the panel refresh rate. Of course, many of the most played titles are able to better support 90 and 120 Hz, but not all reach 144 Hz. The panel is a Full HD + AMOLED which will surely do justice not only to the games, but also to the multimedia content that will be played on the device.

Colors, blacks and white balance are definitely well calibrated and despite, perhaps, the resolution of 1080 2340 pixels x for some it may feel a little tight, the RedMagic 5G comes with a touch recognition at 240 Hz, excellent especially during the game, and supports the DC dimming which improves visibility and reduces eye fatigue at very low brightness. In direct light conditions the visibility of the screen is optimal, and the mode is also supported always-on display in which, unfortunately, only the time is displayed and not incoming notifications.

camera

Let's start from an assumption: a gaming smartphone is not a device with which I would photograph my summer holidays. The RedMagic 5G is equipped with a rear system a triple camera. The main sensor is a Sony IMX686 to 64 megapixel with a ƒ / 1.8 lens, flanked by a sensor from 8 megapixel wide angle ƒ / 2.0 and an additional sensor from 2 megapixels for macros.

RedMagic 5G review

During the day the rendering of the images proved to be decidedly above all my expectations, the details are many and the depth of field is good, but what I didn't really like is the aggressiveness of artificial intelligence which is often too aggressive and too much offset the colors, especially in the shooting preview.

Overall, in short, it is a good photographic hardware, even if it is very limited by the software who manages the camera: to define it as poor is an understatement. The ideas for RedMagic developers are not lacking, there is a section with many dedicated effects and the night mode helps to improve the shots in low light environments even if there are still problems with focusing especially in dark environments, but the usually Nubia software and, above all, it continues to be Cannot use the wide angle lens if not in pro mode. An absurd thing.

RedMagic 5G review

Even with regards to videos, expectations have been exceeded. The RedMagic 5G is able to record ad a maximum resolution of 8K (but only at 15 fps) and those of Nubia have made great strides also for the modalities 4K is 60 fps, where stabilization will lead to decidedly remarkable results even if I noticed that, especially the electronic one, it affects the quality of the recorded video: by deactivating it, the quality of the video improves a lot.

The front camera, however, is one 8 megapixel ƒ / 2.0 decidedly subdued, which allows the recording of videos in FullHD and the taking of selfies which in my opinion can be sufficient only in conditions of good brightness, otherwise just forget it.

Software

And so far, the RedMagic 5G may seem like an almost perfect smartphone. Too bad that then the fulcrum of the user experience clearly depends on the software, which is once again the weak point of the company's smartphones. And, ok, let's pretend that it does not matter that some items of the settings and menus are only in English, but it is precisely in the optimization of the graphic interface that the RedMagic UI 3.0 with which it is personalized Android 10 that begins to make water from all sides and definitely sins in the attention to detail, with icons too bulky and with a doubtful appearance. Sin. But you still have to appreciate the way that the company seems to have taken: maybe, in 3 or 4 years, we will have a GUI as it should be.

There is still the gaming mode which is activated with a red physical switch (very nice) and which will allow the programming of the macros for your games and the complete management of the power of the smartphone, the cooling system, the display and the hardware triggers. Now among the menus you can navigate with gestures, there is one-handed mode and you can record the screen (but with a maximum resolution of 720p).

But the thing that made my nerves the most is that the default launcher cannot be changed. Let's face it, it's one of the features that makes Android so different from iOS.

RedMagic 5G price in Italy

The RedMagic 5G is one of the smartphone with Snapdragon 865 cheaper In circulation. Sold at the launch price of 579 €, is proof of how much RedMagic (or Nubia, if you like) engineers have listened to their users and - unlike the previous generation - have well thought of producing the new model with the latest Qualcomm processor in circulation. For the variant with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal memory, go up to 649 €: a decidedly aggressive price compared to the rest of the market.

RedMagic 5G review

In short, in conclusion there is little to say about the RedMagic 5G. It is one of the best cheap gaming smartphones, of course, the camera and software still have a decidedly wide margin for improvement, but it must also be said that these are not the main features for which a fan decides to buy a device designed for the game. If only those of RedMagic paid more attention to detail and had inserted at least a pair of headphones with the cable and the 55w power supply, they could have really put on the market a real best-buy.

RedMagic 5G

Buy the RedMagic 5G at the lowest price

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