Enough with PC gaming and hardware. Everyone is only talking about smartphones these days. And you know what? That’s exactly what we’re going to do too. I mean we already unboxed the Red Magic 3 last week, so might as well find out how good the phone actually is. So, without further ado, here’s our review of the Nubia Red Magic 3 gaming smartphone.
The Red Magic 3 is probably the most affordable gaming phones that you’ll find in India. Starting at a price point of INR 36,000, it packs in a Snapdragon 855, the latest flagship processor from Qualcomm, a minimum of 6GB RAM, 128 gigs of storage and a whopping 5000mAh battery. And all this is brought to life by a 6.65-inch 90Hz AMOLED display. But that’s not all. To make sure the phone doesn’t heat up, it uses an actual cooling fan. Like the ones you see in laptops.
The phone is a looker too. At least our review unit, which is doused in bright red. The build is really solid too, and the phone is on the heavier side of the spectrum, weighing about 215g. It has an aggressive design inspired by sports cars, with the back of the phone house angular elements for that gaming feel. Along with that, the back side also has the camera, the intake vent for the cooling fan, the primary 48 MP camera with Sony IMX586 sensor, the backlit Red Magic 3 logo, the fingerprint sensor and an esports inspired, customizable RGB Strip. The volumer rocker, power button and exhaust vents are located on the right side along with the shoulder triggers, while the left side has the SIM tray, pin connector for the dock and the Game Mode button, but we’ll talk more about that later. The bottom side has the USB Type-C charging port while the top has a 3.5mm audio jack. Here’s a funny thing. One reason that companies use for not having an audio jack is a bigger battery, but the Red Magic 3 has both, so is that just an excuse for following a trend? I guess we’ll never find out.
Anyway, back to our Nubia phone. One thing that I do not like about the phone is that it’s big, like way too big. And you know what they say about people with big phones, don’t you? That they can’t use their phones comfortably with one hand. Yes, that’s exactly what I meant to say. But the phone still has a forehead and a chin. This certainly seems like a bold move in a world where other phones are moving towards an all screen front side, but there’s not gonna be any commendation for innovative design on that end. Personally, however, I’d take this over a weird looking notch any day.
The display itself is pretty frickin amazing. The AMOLED panel has vibrant colours that pop, and the 90Hz refresh rate makes it a delight to use. It feels smooth, fluid, responsive, and the internal specs are more than strong enough to ensure you don’t experience any sort of hitches. It’s everything you could ask for in a phone made specifically for gamers. Which means that now would be a great time to talk about the actual gaming performance and benchmarks.
When it comes to tests like 3DMark and Geekbench, the Red Magic 3 just blows the competition out of water. That trend continues in actual games as well, and the phone can handle even the most intensive games, be it PUBG or Asphalt or whatever it is you can throw at it, without a sweat. And your gaming experience is only enhanced by the added game mode and shoulder triggers. Launching the game mode leads you to a screen that shows all your installed games, and you can adjust all the settings from right here. Swipe in from the right and you’ll see a whole range of options, including metrics like phone temps, network speed and clock speeds for the CPU and GPU. Here you can also find handy buttons to enable the fan and the dock, as well as to disable any disturbances like texts and calls. After all, who wants to be disturbed while they’re occupied in an intense gunfight? Additional fan settings can be found on the top right, where you can select between intelligent mode for temp based cooling or rapid cooling to put it on maximum speed. And you can actually hear the fan at work, it is loud. But not loud enough that your gaming experience will be ruined, thanks to the booming sound from the front facing dual speakers. And the battery life is just the cherry on top. Not only does it last almost an entire day filled with hours of gaming, but can extend up to two days pretty easily on average use and light gaming. But if you think it ends here, think again. The Red Magic 3 also has a couple of really cool accessories, including a dock and a controller. The dock has three ports, a USB Type-C, a 3.5mm jack and, get this, an ethernet LAN port. You can activate it easily by the press of a button in the game launcher and just forget about lag. Additionally, there’s a bluetooth controller to help you, but it requires a specific cover, and can be placed on either the left or the right side depending on what you feel is more comfortable. Truly, this phone passes every check box you want covered as a gamer.
Now that we’ve checked what makes this phone a beast, let’s take a look at the camera. The Red Magic 3 has a single 48MP primary camera with f/1.7 aperture, with Sony’s IMX586 sensor, the same one used in Oneplus 7 Pro, but the 7 Pro has a triple camera setup. The front camera is 16MP with a f/2.0 aperture. The rear camera takes pretty decent looking pictures in daylight, the color reproduction is good and the pictures seem to have enough detail. Even in low light, the camera is able to capture details well even though some noise is there. But the camera app itself is pretty basic, and even lacks the Portrait mode that seems to be a standard in most phones by now. But one feature that it does have, and this is the only phone that has it, it that it can record video at 8K 30 FPS. Unfortunately, we can’t really show it because our system couldn’t really handle playing it properly. You can also do videos at 1080p and 4K 60 FPS, but sadly there’s no stabilization. Apart from that the Red Magic 3 can also record slow motion videos at 1920 FPS.
Now, there’s a lot of things to love about this phone, but there are also a few minor things that just seem a bit inconvenient. One obvious being the size of the phone which can be little hard to fit in pockets that for some reason seem to be getting smaller and smaller every day. Moreover, it’s pretty easy to accidentally unlock the phone using the fingerprint scanner while putting it in the pocket. But this is could totally be just me, because overall, the Red Magic 3 is simply a delight. It looks good, performs better and has features that can make every gamer drool out of every orifice in their body. Camera performance could be better, but apart from that, this is pretty much the best gaming smartphone you can get that hits that sweet spot between price and performance.