RedMagic 9 Pro – Review

[ad_1]

I have wanted to get my hands on the RedMagic 9 Pro since I first saw it up for release at the end of last year. During my time at MWC 24 earlier this year, I was able to get a chance to get some hands-on time with the RedMagic 9 Pro and this confirmed that I wanted to find out more. After some exchanging of emails, I now have said phone in my possession and it is time to review it. So without further delay let’s dive into the review below.

Design

Here is a brief unboxing video showcasing the phone.

This is one of the biggest things when it comes to a gaming phone and the RedMagic 9 Pro (hereafter referred to as the 9 Pro). The phone has some very specific gaming cues. Time to take the tour around the device starting from the top edge.

On the top of the device, we find one of the side-firing speakers along with an IR blaster for controlling IR-equipped devices. In addition to this is something that is a bit of a rarity these days, a 3.5mm headset jack is sitting up there on the top. We also find one of the pinhole mics and some of the many antenna line breaks.

Moving around the right-hand side we have a lot going on so let’s go from the edges in. On the edges, we have the RGB shoulder trigger buttons which can be configured within games. The RGB lighting can be set in different modes from the software which we will cover more later on. The trigger buttons support up to 520hz touch detection making them very responsive for use in games. Next, we have one end of the fan channel, I believe this is the exhaust vent but I could be wrong. Next, we have the volume rocker switch which has good feedback and is distinctive when compared to the sleep/wake/power switch. The next thing here is again a hint at the gaming focus of this phone as we have a dedicated home mode slider switch. by moving this switch towards to power key then the phone will enter into its gaming mode where you have all the toggles from various software-led functions. I will cover these more later in the gaming section of this review. The last thing of note here is the presence of another pinhole mic.

On the bottom edge of the phone is another one of the side-firing speakers another pinhole microphone and the USB 3.2, Type-C with DisplayPort functionality, for plugging into an external display. This port will also support fascharing if you use the correct charger and the phone will charge at up to 80W giving a pretty good 0 to full charge time of under 35 minutes. We also have a dual SIM card slot.

Moving around to the left-hand side of the phone apart from the usual antenna break we have got the other end for the fan channel which I think is the intake end.

On the rear, we have got a fair amount of things going on alongside some graphical exuberance In the top right-hand corner we have a reference to this being the 9th Generation of RedMagic phones with a 09 that will illuminate when the phone is in gaming mode. Coming down from his but sticking to the right-hand side we have the “Win More Games” text written on the rear panel with the Redmagic Logo at the very bottom right. On the left-hand side at the bottom edge, there is again some text outing the phone brand name REDMAGIC and then as you move up the phone there are more text references this time under the camera array we have Ice Cooling System written around the middle section. above this is where things get a bit more interesting. we have what looks to be three camera modules in a vertical stack, however, this is not the case. The bottom of the stack is a very small but powerful fan. This fan will spin at a speed of up to 22,000 RPM and is fully customisable with RGB as well fitting into the gaming phone vibe very nicely. The fan can be quite loud when it is operating at max capacity but in normal use, it is barely audible over the background noise.. I have got is set to be one most of the time. I will hear it ramp up to full speed if I have it fast charging but otherwise it will just spin away pulling cold air through the cooling chamber for me.

Above the fan, we have two camera sensors which are both 50mp sensors one being an ultra-wide and the other being the normal aspect ratio. I believe that the lower of the two cameras has also got an OIS which is a first for a camera on a RedMagic gaming phone. Both cameras feature a 7-element lens and the sensors are from Samsung manufacturer. But that is not all as we also have an additional 2MP sensor off to the side sitting below the dual LED flash. This camera is there to pick up the macro shots duties as you would expect in this sort of set-up. Above the 2MP Macro camera is a Dul LED flash light which will also pull double duty as a torch if required.

A few things to note about the back cover is that this is incredibly slippy despite there being a texture to the glass panel which means that unless this is on a flat surface it will slip off things and make its way to the ground a lot. There is a clip-on shard plastic case included in the box but this does little to negate these inevitable tumbles. You can also buy an additional case from the RedMagic store but I cannot see this helping this situation much further. I have combated this by purchasing a skin for the rear panel which provide just enough grip to stop is sliding away from me all the time.

Moving around the the front of the phone is where we have the display along with the camera but we will come back to that in a moment. The display itself is really large and the panel under the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 surface is maxed out as much as possible. The screen is a 6.8 inches FHD+ panel and it is of the AMOLED variety. It has a brightness of up to 1600nits with a colour accuracy of △E<1. The Screen-to-body ratio is 93.7% which is one of the highest I have used recently, and it has a resolution of 2480 x 1116 with a PPI of 400. The panel has a refresh rate of up to 120 hz (this can be adjusted in software). There are a couple more gaming-specific stats as well that I need to share and these are that the Instant touch sampling rate is 2,000Hz, with an overall sampling rate of up to 960Hz multitouch. I presume that these are meant to indicate that it will pick up on detections of input a lot quicker in fast-paced games.

Well, that concludes our tour of the device’s exterior. But as with all phones, we also need to investigate what is under the skin of the phone, in the hardware section.

Hardware

Firstly here is a specs table as there is lot of stuff going on here.

Name RedMagic 9 Pro
Dimensions Height: 163.98 mm
Width: 76.35 mm
Depth: 8.9 mm
Weight 229 g
Display Size: 6.8 inches FHD+
Material: BOE Q9+
Refresh Rate: up to 120Hz
Overall Touch Sampling Rate: up to 960 Hz multi-touch Instant
Touch Sampling Rate: 2,000 Hz
Resolution: 2480 x 1116
Screen-to-body Ratio: 93.7%
Type: AMOLED
Brightness: 1600 nits max brightness
Material: Corning® Gorilla® Glass
PWM Dimming: 2160 Hz
Color Accuracy △E<1
Back Material Glass
Colors Sleet (Black)
Snowfall (White)
Cyclone (Black with Gold Accents)
Operating System REDMAGIC OS 9.0 based on Android 14.0
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM 12GB/16GB LPDDR5X
Storage 256GB/512GB
Connectivty Wi-Fi:11b/g/n/ac/ax/be (Tri-band 2.4G, 5G, 6G) with HBS support
Bluetooth 5.3
Battery 6500 mAh Dual Cell
Charging Up to 80 W
Ports USB 3.2, Type-C, DP, Dual nano-SIM slot, 3.5mm Audio Jack
Audio Formats Playback: WAV, AAC, MP3, AMR, FLAC, OGG, APE
Recording: MP3
Video Formats 3GP, ASF, AVI, FLV, M2TS, MKV, MOV, MP4, MPG, MTSTS, WEBM, WMV, MPEG, M4V
Recording: MP4
Image Formats PEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, WBMP, HEIC
Output: JPEG
Unlock Options Under display Fingerprint reader
Face Unlock
Network 2G: GSM 2/3/5/8
3G: WCDMA B1/2/4/5/6/8/19
CDMA BC0
4G: TD-LTE B34/B38/39/40/41/42 FDD-LTE B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28A/B28B/B66/
5G NR NSA: n41/n78/n77/n38/n7/n40
SA: n38/n40/n41/n78/n1/n77(3600M-4100M) /n28/n3/n7/n8/n20/n5/n66/n2/n26/
NFC Yes
Rear Camera Resolution: 50MP+50MP+2MP
Sensor: Samsung GN 5 sensor 1/1.57
OIS optical image stabilization
7P lens
APL-coated anti-glare
Front Camera 16MP, 2nd generation under-display-camera (UDC) Pixel Size: 1.12μm Aperture: 2.0
Flash Dual LED
GPS GPS, AGPS
Sensors Fingerprint, G-sensor, Electronic Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity, Ambient Light Sensor, Sensor hub
Cooling Features

ICE 13 Multi-Dimensional Cooling System
22,000 RPM high-speed turbofan
Cooling Air Duct
Type: Centrifugal fan
Number of fan blades: 59
Thickness of fan blades: 0.1mm

Other cooling components

Under-screen copper foil
Under-screen graphene
3D Ice Step Dual Pump VC
Aerospace aluminium mid-frame
High thermal conductivity rare earth High thermal conductivity gel
Motherboard copper foil
High thermal conductivity copper foil

Special features Shoulder Trigger Buttons: 520Hz touch sampling rate touchpads
Game Space Switch: Toggles special game mode on or off
RGB Light: fully customizable lighting effects
In the box REDMAGIC 9 Pro phone
Clear phone case
Power adapter
Type-C data cable
SIM tray ejector
Warranty Card
Documentation

I am going to focus on the aspects that will take this from a regular phone to begin a gaming hone as all the other hardware is very commonly seen on most high-end phones these days, there are however some exceptions to this which I will cover later on in my review.

As this is a gaming phone let’s start with the cooling system as this is the real headline grabber for this phone. As you can see from the specs sheet above the 9 Pro has got quite an elaborate system in place for cooling which is a combination of both heat dissipation foils and thermal pastes and active cooling via the cooling fan itself. The fan is a very small component as it is smaller than the diameter of a 5-pence coin. That being said it is very intricately built as it has 59 0.1mm fan blades that are capable of up to 22,000rpm to pull air into the cooling duct. As you will be able to imagine this cooling duct is where the main heat dissipation happens with the components that are generating the heat being located close to the cooling duct. The image below shows the various elements in more detail.

You can see from the above image that the Snapdarogn 8 Gen 3 Chip is located on the underside of the cooling channel to give the optimum exposure to the airflow being managed by the fan. In addition to this, there is an extensive area of thermally conductive material on the midframe to help stop any heat coming through the display from the motherboard. All of this means that the *gen 3 Chip can run at higher temp fro longer meaning that it can push more calculations through. This in turn will mean faster processing of files, quicker video rendering and most importantly for buyers of this phone a better gaming experience with higher frame rates being provided in the game with more fluid motion characteristics etc. There is however one very minor downside to this and that is that when you have got the fan cranked up to max it is audible.

I have recorded this small clip to give you an idea of the difference between the fan on and off. I was using the phone plugged in whilst playing Asphalt 9 in the mode called Diablo Mode which is when everything it maxed out and the processor and GPU are both running at full power.

Hopefully, that will demonstrate my point, Please be aware though that this was an extreme scenario and the fan is not normally quite as noticeable during normal gaming use, it would be easily cancelled out with a pair of headphones or by the sound from the game itself, I only bring this up to be thorough. next up we have the shoulder triggers which are a standout feature of the 9 Pro.

  • Shoulder trigger buttons,

Unlike some gaming phones that offer generic shoulder buttons, the  9 Pro’s triggers are built for serious gamers. You can map specific in-game actions to each trigger, giving you more control over your gameplay. Imagine using them for aiming and firing in shooters, or activating abilities and spells in MOBA games – all while keeping your thumbs free for movement and other on-screen controls. This frees up valuable screen space and allows for more natural and intuitive control schemes. The 9 Pro doesn’t just offer basic buttons; these triggers boast high accuracy and a satisfying tactile response. This means your in-game actions will register precisely when you press the triggers, minimizing any lag or missed inputs. Not everyone has the same finger pressure. The 9 Pro understands this and allows you to fine-tune the sensitivity of the triggers. This way, you can set them to activate exactly when you want them to, reducing accidental presses during intense gaming moments. The shoulder triggers benefit from the phone’s incredibly high touch sampling rate of 520Hz. This translates to near-instantaneous responses when you press the triggers, further enhancing the feeling of precise control and minimizing any perceivable delay between your action and the in-game response. You can also have the buttons pull double duty as they will work as notifications LEDS when you get an event you need to be notified about.

The 9 Pro’s shoulder triggers are more than just buttons; they’re customizable tools designed to give you a significant edge in mobile gaming by providing a more precise and responsive control experience.

Mobile gamers will likely be impressed by the 9 Pro’s display, which boasts a combination of features designed to deliver an exceptional gaming experience. The phone’s large 6.8-inch AMOLED screen offers ample space to enjoy even the most visually complex games, while the sharp 2480 x 1160 resolution ensures crisp and detailed visuals. Unlike some displays that use LCD technology, AMOLED displays are known for their rich colours and deep blacks, creating a more immersive and vibrant gaming atmosphere. However, the true strength of the 9 Pro for gaming lies in its refresh rate and touch response. The 120Hz refresh rate means the screen refreshes the image 120 times per second, resulting in noticeably smoother visuals. This is a significant advantage in fast-paced games like shooters or racing titles, where every frame counts and a smooth refresh rate can give you a competitive edge. To complement the high refresh rate, the 9 Pro boasts an incredibly responsive touch screen with a 2000Hz instant touch sampling rate and a 960Hz average touch sampling rate. In layman’s terms, this means the phone can recognize your touch commands near-instantaneously, minimizing input lag. With minimal delay between your touch and the corresponding action on screen, you can react faster and more precisely in-game. Further enhancing the immersive experience is the phone’s under-display camera. Unlike some phones with notches or punch-holes that intrude on the viewing area, the 9 Pro keeps the display uninterrupted. This allows you to enjoy a truly fullscreen view without any obstructions while gaming, maximizing your immersion in your game, although in reality I barely noticed the camera on my other phones so this would not be a major difference to me based on my experience. Brightness is another crucial factor for mobile gamers, and the 9 Pro appears well-suited for various lighting conditions. While exact specifications may vary, some sources claim the screen can reach a remarkable 1600 nits in HDR mode. This means you can comfortably play games outdoors on a bright day or in a dimly lit room without compromising on the visuals. The 9 Pro’s display presents a compelling option for gamers seeking a large, clear, smooth, and responsive experience with minimal distractions. The phone’s combination of a high-resolution AMOLED display, a fast refresh rate, an ultra-responsive touch screen, and an under-display camera creates a feature set specifically tailored to enhance your mobile gaming experience.

The 9 Pro’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor throws down the gauntlet for smooth and visually impressive mobile gaming. This cutting-edge chip boasts significant performance improvements over its predecessors, translating to noticeably smoother gameplay in even the most graphically demanding titles. This translates to a competitive edge, especially in fast-paced games where split-second reactions are the difference between victory and defeat. Unlike some phones that struggle to maintain peak performance during extended gaming sessions, the 9 Pro takes a different approach. Its robust cooling system specifically addresses this concern by preventing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 from throttling. This ensures you can enjoy uninterrupted gameplay with consistent frame rates, allowing you to focus on the game and not on thermal limitations. The benefits of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 extend beyond raw power. It works in perfect harmony with the 9 Pro’s 120Hz display. By enabling the phone to render graphics at high frame rates that match the display’s refresh rate, the processor unlocks the display’s full potential. This translates to a buttery smooth and graphically immersive gaming experience, making every in-game action feel incredibly responsive. Imagine perfectly rendered explosions and lightning-fast character movements coming to life with minimal lag – that’s the kind of visual fidelity the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and 120Hz display combination can deliver. But the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 isn’t just about brute force. It boasts some exciting features that cater specifically to mobile gamers. One such feature is the Snapdragon Game Super Resolution. This technology can upscale the visuals of mobile games to an impressive near-8K quality when connected to a high-resolution monitor through RedMagic Studio. This takes mobile gaming visuals to a whole new level, offering an unprecedented level of detail and sharpness that can further deepen your immersion in the game world. Imagine playing your favourite mobile games on a large monitor with visuals that rival high-end consoles – that’s the potential of Snapdragon Game Super Resolution.

It’s important to consider some potential trade-offs, however. Powerful processors like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 can drain battery life faster. While the 9 Pro packs a large battery of 6500mAh, extended high-performance gaming sessions might require more frequent charging to keep you powered up throughout the day. Additionally, not all games may be fully optimized to leverage the full potential of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 just yet. However, this is likely to change over time as both game developers and Qualcomm release updates that improve compatibility and performance for this cutting-edge mobile chipset. With ongoing optimization, the  9 Pro with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor has the potential to be a future-proof option for mobile gamers who prioritize smooth performance, high frame rates, and support for innovative features.

Camera

The 9 Pro might be a gaming powerhouse, but it doesn’t neglect to capture those winning moments. Let’s delve into what this phone can do in the camera department, A triple-camera system graces the back, with the 50MP main sensor taking the lead. This Samsung GN5 sensor with an f/1.9 aperture excels in bright environments, ensuring crisp and vibrant photos – perfect for commemorating victories, adventures, or casual hangouts. A big upgrade from previous models is the 50MP ultrawide camera with an f/2.2 aperture (courtesy of a Samsung JN1 sensor). Now you can capture those sprawling landscapes or ensure everyone fits in for epic group selfies. Rounding out the trio is a 2MP macro camera for those interesting close-up textures or tiny objects begging to be photographed. The 9 Pro shines when it comes to daylight photography. The main sensor delivers sharp images with accurate colours, making it ideal for outdoor gaming sessions or sightseeing. However, low-light performance might be a bit of a challenge. Photos might show more noise (grain) and reduced details in darker environments. If low-light prowess is a priority, you might want to explore other options. Just like most smartphones, the 9 Pro uses digital zoom to magnify images. Remember, excessive zooming can significantly reduce image quality and introduce blur. Sticking to the phone’s native zoom range will ensure sharper results. The phone boasts a near bezel-less look thanks to the under-display selfie camera. While convenient for casual selfies or video calls, the under-display technology might not deliver the same level of detail and sharpness as the rear cameras – a trade-off for the sleek design.

Overall, the RedMagic 9 Pro’s camera prioritizes usability over professional-grade photography. It delivers good image quality in well-lit conditions and offers versatility with the ultrawide and macro options. If you’re a gamer who wants a phone that captures everyday moments without needing the best low-light camera, the RedMagic 9 Pro is a capable choice. But serious mobile photographers might crave a phone with more advanced camera features.

Here are some sample shots that I have taken on the camera to give you an idea of what the camera can do.

All in all in daylight the shots are pretty good. 

here si a sample of the video recording (this was recorded at 1080p at 60fps but has been downsampled to allow it to be shared via WordPress)

There is a fair bit of camera wobble going on here as I don’t think the stabilization is the best but as you can see I was walking while shooting this clip.

Finally here are some samples of how the camera performs in low light

Software

The 9 Pro avoids cluttering the user interface with unnecessary software, keeping things clean. However, it caters to gamers with a dedicated gaming mode activated by a red slider on the phone’s side. This gaming mode provides a central hub to customize and fine-tune various settings to optimize your gaming experience. I have included some shots of the gaming mode UI below to give you an idea of what it can do. 

One of the options that you can get when you get the 9Pro is the Shadow Blade 2 gamepad (pictured below), however, I was not able to get one of these sent out as part of the review kit so I sadly don’t have one. I do however have the next best thing which is the GameSir Galileo G8. This actually the exact same unit as the Shadow Blade 2. When you combine the two you can then get a similar experience to something like the Razer Edge Wifi however this is more powerful due to the better chipset

Shadow Blade 2 Gamepad

The inclusion of the gamepad made this such an interesting prospect for me when I first tried this, at MWC back in February. Now whilst the Galileo G8 is not completely set up correctly to work with the 9 Pro out of the box I have found that for the most part, it will work with the games I have been testing it with. I have got some pictures below to show you what it look like below.

The above picture shows that the 9 Pro is in gaming mode, which is activated primarily by the toggle switch on the side of the unit. Within the is software you can change various different settings for your in game experience. I have found that using “Diablo Mode” gives you all the power when you need it. However, that being said I have not been able to find a game that runs at anything higher than 60FPS yet. In this Game suite, you can also set up specific details for a game. So for example, if I wanted my game to run on the Highest performance then I can set this up on a per-game basis by editing the “Cube” settings for that game. I can also change the way the game will looking by changing the “show” mode which will change how the colours are displayed in the game which may help with the gameplay experience.

The in-game menu is accessible via a double swipe in the top right or left-hand corner. The menu on the left-hand side is all the various Plugins that you can enforce on the games if you wish too. On the right-hand side, you have other controls such as turning on the RGB LED effects, blocking calls during gaming etc. It is fairly intuitive and easy to use the right-hand menu but the one for the plug-ins can be adjusted in more detail if required, if you were a gamer and you really wanted to take advantage of the extra tools then I am sure that there would be plenty to dig into here. I have only really looked over it but I have not delved much further than that.

other than the Gaming mode we are presented with a very clean version of Android 14 albeit with the Redmagic UI on top of it. I like how they have not messed around too much with the UI apart from the increased icon size which is all too common on anything other than a Pixel these days. In terms of updates I have not had a firmware update since I received the phone however I have had a Play systems update which is currently on the March 24 version, however, the Security update is still on October 23 so this is not great but I have seen worse. I don’t know how often and frequently these updates will be delivered to the phone as it tends to be the case that instead of issuing an update the phone is superseded by the next model version. Whether this will be the case with the 9 Pro only time will tell.

Conclusion

So should you buy a RedMagic 9 Pro? Well, that really depends on where your priorities lie. if you want what is one of the most powerful phones on the market for gaming currently then for the bang for your money then I would say this is a good option, especially when you factor price into the mix. For a starting price of £579.00 as reviewed, you are not going to find another Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 powered phone for anything close to that price. to get the same sort of footprint you would need to consider something like the ROG Phone 8 which is currently retailing for £949.00 for the equivalent spec.

If the camera is the main focus for you then I would recommend looking elsewhere as this is not the best camera on the market, dont get me wrong it is good again when factoring in the price but there are better options out there the recently launched Pixel 8a would actually be a better alternative for near the same price (£559) for the 256GB version. 

If you want the best of both worlds, then maybe consider one of the Samsung Galaxy S 24 Line up as they give great gaming performance and are also backed by some fantastic support from Samsung regarding software updates. they will also offer a good enough gaming experience.

You may also wish to look into the sister brand for this phone which is Nubia (they are both operated by ZTE) as they have a very compelling camera-focused version of the Redmagic 9 Pro in the form of the Nubia Z60 Ultra but this adds a couple of hundred pounds to the asking price for the better optics.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the RedMagic 9 Pro but for now I am going to be hanging it up for my daily driver and returning to my Pixel 8 Pro, I may however dig it back out for some gaming sessions when i want that customisable gaming experience to hand.

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *