Nubia Red Magic 5G Review: world’s first 144Ghz smartphone? Is Red Magic 5G really the best gaming phone? Is it only for hardcore gamers or can the everyday smartphone users make it their own as well? What separates Red Magic 5G from the other game-centric phones out there?
These are just some of the questions I’ll be discussing today in this Red Magic 5G review.
Here’s an overview of everything you’ll find in this Red Magic 5G review:
- Stable 144Hz screen.
- Size and Screen.
- Game-centric features.
- PC-inspired Air+ Liquid cooling.
- Processor and RAM (Memory)
- Battery and Sound
Dive right into this Nubia Red Magic 5G review then?
Nubia Red Magic 5G Specs and Overview
Nubia Red Magic isn’t a new player in the grounds. The Red Magic 5G is its 5th offspring, preceded by the Nubia Red Magic, RM Mars, RM3, and RM 3S.
The primary market-share Red Magic 5G wishes to capture is that of the “gamers”. It’s something the company has been very pretty public and vocal about.
Their design is a witness to and proof of the same:
Regardless of you being or not being a gamer, I’m pretty sure this Red Magic 5G review should be worth your time. Even if purely for educational and/or comparative purposes.
- Screen refresh rate: 144 Hz
- Display: 6.65 inch FHD+ Esports AMOLED display.
- Resolution: 1080X2340, 387.5ppi
- Aspect ratio: 19.5:9
- Processor: Snapdragon 865
- GPU: Adreno ™ 650
- Memory: 8GB/ 12 GB LPDDR5 + UFS 3.0
- Storage: 128GB/256GB.
- Sensors: Gravity/Fingerprint/Compass/Gyro/Proximity/Ambient light.
- Camera: (64MP + 8MP + 2MP) rear + (8MP) front.
- Connectivity: 5G (NSA + SA).
- Trigger buttons: Yes.
- Battery: Non-removable 4500 mAh / up to 55w fast charging.
- Fingerprint Sensor: Yes (In-display)
- Magic Adapter: Simultaneous earphones + charging + Internet cable.
- Operating system: Android 10 / Red Magic
- Available colours: Eclipse Black / Hot Rod Red / Pulse.
Is the Red Magic 5G best gaming phone in the industry? I’d say maybe not the “absolute best”, but without doubt one of the top 3. There’s almost no features/hardware component that any other device offers better at a similar price range, and mostly even in the higher price-brackets.
For everyday users, because of all the beefed up specs it comes with there’s not a lot of room for complaints either. However, if “camera” and/or “sound” are your priority, you may not be as impressed.
However, everything else that the RM5G can do will still probably leave you with satisfaction.
Pros and Cons
Before you jump in, here’s a trimmed-down version of the good & the bad:
- Highest-end hardware components.
- World’s first-ever 144Hz screen.
- Easily plays the most graphic & resource-intensive games.
- Impressive temp-control.
- Poor “Chinese to English” translation of text.
- Camera quality is not the best.
Stable 144Hz screen
The primary attraction, market-edge, selling-point for the Red Magic 5G is its 144Hz screen refresh rate. It’s the world’s first and arguably the only commercially available smartphone which boasts of this.
All other competing smartphones including the Razer Phone 2 and the Asus ROG Phone 2 have been capped at 120Hz.
Does the extra 24Hz make a match-winning difference? Probably not. Moreover, not many Android games support +90fps games to begin with. But gamers are bound to have an advantage over most other players due to the better fps.
In fact, it’s so good that Gamebench one of the leading game-performance tools awarded Red Magic 5G an “Ultra 144” score. This is unprecedented and has never been done for any other device’s game-performance.
Moreover, the “stability” of the frame-rates is what seals the deal. It not only “provides” but also maintains the high refresh rates which is beyond impressive.
(Graph credits: Gamebench.net)
The better advantage here is that this makes Red Magic 5G future-proof. You wouldn’t have to change your device, or upgrade it the next time a game updates itself to better frame-rates, or a new game comes out.
The refresh rate aids not just with gaming, but also the casual Smartphone uses. The navigation and overall user-experience can without doubt be said to be one of the smoothest in the industry.
Size & Screen
Gamer or not, everyone appreciates a rationally-sized device. The Red Magic 5G measures 168.56mm in height, and 78mm in width. Neither too small, nor oversized for an average person’s palms.
As for the weight, it’s not ultra-light and weighs 218g. But I guess we both would agree that the weight is acceptable as well as expected for a beefy monster as the RM5G.
It flaunts a 6.65 inch Esports AMOLED display. If you’re not into technical terms, AMOLED simply is newer display technology. It’s faster, and more vibrant (sometimes too vibrant) due to its lighting of each individual pixel, as compared to LCD’s “backlight” technology.
You also get to choose from three different Hue (Cool/Natural/Warm) and colour profiles (Normal/Colourful/Natural).
As for the resolution, it comes with FHD+ (1080 X 2340px)and 19.5:59 aspect ratio. Nothing too impressive, but surely top of the line considering the industry-standards.
Another impressive aspect is its notch & intrusion-free screen-space. Most other smartphones make gaming a pain with their ill-placed notches. Red Magic 5G seems to be designed with that in mind, they might’ve gone backwards to the Bezels on this one, but if you’re a gamer I know you’re smiling deep down there.
Red Magic 5G is hands-down a gaming phone. Nearly every aspect/feature/hardware on the phone encourages or compliments gaming in one way or the other.
But just so you understand things clearly on this Red Magic 5G review I’m breaking down the next features in two distinct sections.
Pro trigger buttons
For starters, RM5G is armed with two trigger-buttons, one on each shoulder of the device.
You can map these buttons to any two in-game/software buttons for any game you’re playing. Serious gamers would agree this means a lot faster reaction times, better recoil control and more screen-space if you need it.
Note that the buttons aren’t physical, rather capacitive and activated by touch further smoothening the experience.
The touch-delay has been lowered to an insignificant and impressive 2ms. In the real-world, this translates into almost a non-existent delay.
That’s not all, the Touch Sampling Rate (TSR) on the Red Magic 5G is 300Hz. This is probably the fastest TSR in the entire Smartphone industry as of today.
Why this matters? It means the phone will look for, and register your touch 300 times in 1 second. Mathematically, this means that the RM5G is capable of registering a new touch every 3.3ms.
In simpler words, the sensitivity will be through the roof and extremely precise.
Gaming space 2.1
Not as impressive as the refresh-rate or trigger-buttons, the “Gaming Space 2.1” is still an ally to every gamer out there.
It’s like an advanced game-centre. There’s an actual hardware switch on the lower shoulder which when flicked pushes the phone into “Gaming mode”. This also fires up the ultra-modern fans and cooling systems which we’ve covered next in this Red Magic 5G review.
Once the game-button is switched to “on”, all gestures and navigational buttons are disabled. No more sudden taps on anything which may ruin your gaming experience.
You can control the refresh-rate, 4D vibrations, fan-speed, and calls from Gaming Space 2.1.
It also features an in-built recorder+ editor which can be used to record your finest moments. All those super high jumps and headshots won’t go unnoticed now. A feature suited not just for Youtubers or Esport-influencers but also casual gamers out there.
PC- inspired Air+ Liquid Cooling
Gaming or not, nothing punches performance harder in the gut than a heated up phone. Fortunately for the Red Magic 5G, there’s a turbo fan powered by liquid cooling 3.0.
The maximum possible speed is 15,000 RPM with a cooling-area capacity of 4,000 mm².
If you pay attention to the first image on this Red Magic 5G review, you’d see “Air vent holes” on both sides of the phone which make it as heat-efficient as it is.
As compared to the Red Magic 3S, the cooling area on the RM5G has been increased by 56%. And that’s not all either, the fans also increase the maximum air volume by 30%.
If it makes any difference to you, know that the internal fan is designed so that it works in unison with the thermal gel, multilayer graphite, copper foil, and a liquid-cooling tube to achieve what it does.
The temperature drops by about 18% with the liquid-cooling and that I’d say makes all the difference.
Strip off all the fancy words, and what you get is extremely long hours of hardcore gameplay. Without needing ice for your phone that is.
The fan doesn’t boast of its performance either, literally. Unless you configure it for max RPM, there’s absolutely no sound. While the fan sound is clearly audible at 15,000 RPM, I’d say it’s pretty mild and not disturbing. As for the temperature, it does get slightly warm after extensive use.
The fan also aids with the charging, more on that in the “Battery” section below.
Processor and RAM
Without the right processors and RAM pushing power into it, all those other fancy nuances wouldn’t be worth dirt.
Fortunately, the Red Magic 5G is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, also dubbed as “the beast”. The maximum clock-speeds the CPU is capable of amounts to a massive 2.84Ghz.
As is public-knowledge by now, the SD865 is heavily marketed on its “Desktop forward rendering capabilities”. Or in simpler words, a PC-like gaming experience (in terms of post processing effects, lighting etc.) can now be bought to, and experienced on mobile phones.
The SD865 is also one of the reasons why the Red Magic 5G is able to support refresh-rates as crazy as 144Hz.
With the SD865, the RM5G also brought the “Game smoother” and “Game color plus 2.0”.
The Game smoother is what makes the sync possible between the screen’s refresh rate, and the game’s fps. On the other hand, the “Game Colour Plus” is an aesthetic-booster which provides more contrast and hue to the colours of a game.
The Adreno™ 650 GPU can’t be forgotten which comes with the SD865, providing for a 25% faster performance.
As for the RAM, an incredible 12GB LPDDR5 is what’s packed in. The RM5G combines this with UFS 3.0 memory, which not only speeds up the device performance, but also network speeds.
As compared to the LPDDR4 RAM, something common to almost all the “gaming-smartphones” in the industry as of today, the LPDDR5 is nearly 1.5x faster. Similarly, switching from the UFS 2.1 to the UFS 3.1 allows RM5G to offer nearly 83% faster speeds.
These are some of the reasons why the Red Magic 5G can potentially be the fastest and best gaming phone in the market for now.
*Note that 8GB RAM /128 GB Storage variants will be available as well for a lower price-tag.
Battery and Sound
Honestly, I expected more than the 4500 mAh battery that the Red Magic 5G comes with. I’m sure you did too.
On the brighter side, it offers fast charging with its 18w charger or an even faster charging experience with the additional, separately-sold 55w charger.
On an average, it takes around 15 minutes for 0-56% and an additional 25 minutes if you wish to go all the way up to 100%. So while the battery isn’t impressive, the chargers more than makeup for whatever’s missing.
If you’re into technicalities, well the speeds mentioned above are possible because it supports Quick Charge 4.0 and Power Delivery (PD) 3.0.
As for the Sound, it offers 7.1 surround-sound and Dual SmartPA speakers. These translate to “good sound quality” in layman’s terms.
Note that there’s this feature called “Neo A.I”. One of the things it does is monitor which apps haven’t been used recently, and terminates all their processes. Hence saving power.
Straight off the bat, not the best camera. It’s a “ very good” camera, just not the best.
So, it boasts the triple camera setup at the rear, flaunting a Sony IMX686 64MP primary camera, 8MP Ultra wide and 2MP Macro sensors.
The aperture on the primary camera is f/1.8 followed by a 1/1.72″ sensor. The aperture is exactly what the iPhone XS Max or Huawei Mate 20 Pro offer, just to get you an idea. It however doesn’t include the telephoto lens.
Also, aperture is just one piece in the complex puzzle of cameras so even those impressive specs above can’t be decisive.
It also supports slow-motion capture at 1080P when captured at 240fps or 720P when captured at 480fps.
The RM5G does offer a “Super night mode”, which makes the night photos look better than they otherwise would. And then finally the “Neo vision mode” is supposed to make the photos better, although let’s wait till the commercial versions come out.
Every millisecond matters when you’re gaming online. A mere difference of a 50 or a 100ms may decide who wins a battle.
Red Magic 5G again makes itself future-proof, even for regions where 5G isn’t available yet. It supports not only Standalone but also Non-Standalone 5G modes.
Needless to say all the older, slower connectivity modes including 2G/3G and 4G are supported as well.
It’s capable of supporting upload speeds as fast as 3Gbps and downloads up to 7.5Gbps.
It also includes the 38% faster Wi-Fi 6 with 2X2 MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output = faster speed for simultaneous connections).
Red Magic 5G Price
Down to the most important aspect on this Red Magic 5G review, how much will it actually cost?
The phone launched in China on March 13th, 2020 with a price-tag of 3799 CNY (~$540.00) for the 8GB variant. The 12 GB/256 GB storage variant costs 4099 CNY (~$582.00).
The Nubia Red Magic 5G launch date (Global) was scheduled for April, but considering the Covid-19 situation it’s probably postponed. The price-range should be expected to be a tad-bit higher than what it costs in China.
Nubia Red Magic 5G RGB-Strip
As I’m wrapping this Red Magic 5G review up, I couldn’t miss up on the opportunity to mention its customizable RGB-strip mounted at the back.
There are no limits on how many different color patterns we can generate:
What it does? Makes the device look cool, period.