Review Nubia Red Magic 3 (8GB RAM, 128GB)


Design

Plus

  • Sharp, futuristic, stand-out gamer aesthetic - this is a device that looks as though it just fell out of a space marine’s pocket
  • You get an angled, metal back with an LED strip down the middle and red highlights in the corners - there’s a hexagonal lozenge for the fingerprint sensor, and the camera lens above it is pentagonal - the highlights aren’t just about the look either, most of them serve as vents for the internal fan and help to keep the temperature down
  • The metal construction gives it a solid, durable feel
  • There is a dedicated gaming switch on the side - a red, textured button that turns the dedicated gaming mode on or off, and there’s a also a row of pogo pins for accessories
  • The right edge, which is also the top edge when you hold the Red Magic 3 in landscape to play games, has programmable touch sensitive shoulder buttons - which are actually pretty useful

Minus

  • The Red Magic 3 is big, make no mistake - it’s tall, it’s wide, and it’s really heavy at 215 grams
  • Because it’s so big it can be tricky to handle - it really requires two hands (but you will find it most comfortable to use when gaming, which seems fitting)


Display

Plus

  • A gorgeous big display - the Red Magic 3 has a whopping 6.65-inch AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate - which means silky smooth graphics, much like the OnePlus 7 Pro, and some other gaming-centric phones
  • It’s also really bright - one of the brightest displays on any smartphone - so you can comfortably game outdoors too

Minus

The rounded edges of the display at the top actually cut off a tiny bit of the UI, which looks a bit awkward

Software

Plus
  • For all the bombast and excess present in the hardware, the Red Magic 3’s software is a surprisingly restrained, very-close-to-stock Android affair – which is a good thing
  • The most useful addition is the Gaming mode - which is your control panel for all gaming - you can see a simplified menu containing all your games, current CPU/GPU usage, give a 'performance boost', play with a '4D shock mode' that adds vibration feedback to certain games like PUBG, and map the capacitive touch shoulder buttons

Minus

There is the occasional lack of polish in the UI here and there, with some typos and mistranslations from Chinese - these aren’t deal-breaking issues by any stretch, but they take the sheen off ever-so-slightly and may irk those with tendencies towards OCD

Performance

  • Lightning fast performance with the top-end Snapdragon 855, coupled with the 90Hz screen
  • It's virtually impossible to make the phone sweat even with the most complex games at the highest graphics settings - the Nubia Magic 3 goes on and on
  • Chart topping benchmarks on AnTuTu, beating all other Android phones at present
  • The unique internal fan also helps in keeping you gaming longer, without the phone heating up much



Camera

Plus

  • Pretty good camera, even with a single 48MP lens (it’s the same 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 that you’ll find in the Honor View 20, which itself is a very good camera phone)
  • The camera captures plenty of detail and vibrant colors
  • The shutter speed is fast, so there is no blur, even with moving subjects
  • The 16-megapixel front-facing camera is good too
  • Video recording is supported up to a whopping 8K resolution - although the use case for that is limited
  • Video recording quality is decent, though nothing special

Minus

  • Low light performance is average
  • Of course, while the single lens by itself is very good, what you lose out on is the versatility of an ultra-wide, or telephoto lens, which are there on some other phones in this price bracket


Audio

Loud dual speakers with DTS:X support - carved out of the thin bezels left and right of the enormous screen - they are impressively rich for a smartphone

Battery

  • Long battery life with a giant 5000mAh battery - with standard use, you will get a comfortable 2 days, and even with a lot of gaming, it will last you the day
  • Comes with 27W Fast Charging adapter which charges the smartphone from zero to max in a mere 1 hour 15 minutes time - which is a pretty impressive speed for a battery of that capacity


Conclusion

  • Seriously smooth and powerfully punchy, the Red Magic 3 is everything you want in a gaming phone, and is some pretty stunning value at this price point
  • It also edges out what will likely be it's main competitor, the excellent Xiaomi Shark 2 - for a similar price, you’re getting physical buttons, a bigger screen, a bigger battery, fan and liquid cooling
  • Overall, the Red Magic 3 is plain-and-simple the best gaming phone you can get your hands on at present, and sets the new benchmark for this category
  • Finally, the phone also does not trap its user necessarily in a game-obsessed universe – the lights can be deactivated, and you can prolong your battery life to a great extent by skipping use of the phone’s potential high refresh rate until you need it - which is good flexibility to have

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