The new gaming phone from RedMagic has arrived, and gamers are once again in safe hands. The RedMagic 8S Pro doesn’t come with a lot of upgrades, but it’s only a mid-year refresh version and not a whole new phone model.
What it does promise is an improved chipset, advanced cooling system, slightly refreshed design, and all the other perks that the 8 Pro version came packed with. In this RedMagic 8S Pro review, we’ll have a look at this new gaming phone by RedMagic and see if it’s again the best gaming phone you can find on the market.
RedMagic 8S Pro: First Impressions & Specs
It’s only been a few months since the release of the ultimate gaming machine which was the Nubia RedMagic 8 Pro, and now RedMagic is giving us yet another gaming beast – the 8S Pro model. But is it worth the money for those who already bought the 8 Pro? And was this phone necessary at all? Let’s find out.
Before we dive into the review, here’s the full list of specs of the RedMagic 8S Pro:
- Dimensions: 6.4 x 3.0 x 0.37 inches (163.98 x 76.35 x 9.47mm)
- Weight: 8.04 ounces (228 grams)
- Material: metal middle frame with glass back cover
- Display: 6.8 inch FHD+ AMOLED, maximum brightness of 1300 nits
- Resolution: 1116×2480 pixels
- Refresh Rate: Up to 120Hz
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 – the latest version
- Software: Android 13 with RedMagic OS 8.0
- Capacity: 12/16GB LPDDR5X RAM
- Storage: 256/512GB UFS 4.0
- Rear cameras: 50MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro
- Front camera : 16MP under-display camera
- Ports & connectivity: 5G, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, USB-S 3.1, Type-C, DP, dual nano-SIM slot, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Battery: 6,000 mAh dual cell battery
- Charging: 65W GaN fast charging
- Special features: shoulder trigger buttons (touchpad with 520 Hz touch sampling rate), game space switch – toggle the special game mode on or off, haptic feedback and fully customizable RGB light effects
- Colors: silver platinum, transparent black aurora, black midnight, Aurora
- Price: from $649 on the RedMagic website and from $769 on Amazon.
From its captivating AMOLED display with a high refresh rate to its powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, this Android gaming phone is designed to elevate your gaming experience.
Aside from adding the letter S to its predecessor’s name, the RedMagic 8S Pro introduces a refined chipset, fresh look, and an upgraded cooling system to the flagship phone lineup from the esteemed Chinese gaming titan. While the leap might not be that big, you need to understand that the RedMagic 8S Pro serves as a mid-year refresh model rather than a complete new smartphone.
Don’t underestimate these improvements, as the RedMagic 8S Pro has now established itself as the go-to option for those looking for a top-tier performance gaming phone. Still, if you already own the RedMagic 8 Pro, the upgrade may not be worth it. But if you’re looking to upgrade from the RedMagic 7 or earlier, the 8S Pro is the creme de la creme within the RedMagic range.
As always, the new RedMagic version does what it does best – brings together powerful computing abilities, gaming-focused hardware and software, all while keeping the price pleasantly surprising. It’s being touted as one of the top gaming phones around now, with impressive strengths, but we also need to remember that a few drawbacks come along with its cool features.
The poor camera performance is still there, just like the lack of constant updates and software support. Before we discuss that in greater detail, let’s look at the 8S Pro design and build.
Design and Unpacking
The RedMagic 8S Pro boasts a sleek design with its glass back, particularly in the Aurora finish that I have for review. While you can’t see all the internal components, it does look pretty cool. This model also comes in Platinum and Midnight color options.
What’s in the Box
When unpacking your RedMagic 8S Pro, here’s everything you’ll find in the box.
- REDMAGIC 8S Pro Smartphone
- Power adapter
- 54-watt fast type-C charging cable
- Protective phone case
- Sim tray ejector
- User manual and other documentation
RedMagic has managed to strike a balance between bold design and wide appeal, avoiding making the phone look too gamer-centric. The boxy design of the RedMagic 8S Pro feels contemporary, with color choices like Platinum or Midnight that avoid an overly flashy gaming appearance like that of the RedMagic 7. All versions of the phone include the iconic RGB lighting in the cooling fan, visible through a window on the back.
The 8S Pro comes with a 6.8-inch AMOLED screen, Full HD resolution and a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. The display is absolutely stunning and almost bezel-free. It doesn’t have any intrusive cutouts thanks to the under-display camera. While this affects the front camera performance, this decision does make it perfect for immersive gaming sessions.
The Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front ensures durability, although it’s important to note that the phone lacks water and dust resistance due to its unique cooling system design.
Both the RedMagic 8S Pro and its predecessor share a similar build quality. With only a 0.6mm difference in thickness, both models weigh a substantial 8oz. The phone feels hefty in hand at first, but the feeling goes away after a few days of use. The device is designed with a serious aesthetic in mind, featuring sharp edges that emphasize the construction.
On the phone’s sides you’ll find the volume buttons, power button, and the recognizable red switch, which activates the Game Space feature.
Charging is facilitated through the USB-C port on the bottom of the smartphone. It supports fast charging of up to 65W using the included RedMagic charger. And of course, the 8S Pro also features the 3.5mm headphone jack, which should never have disappeared from the modern phones in the first place, if you ask me.
Turning the phone over reveals the triple camera system. The cameras are vertically aligned, just like in the previous model. There’s a circular cutout showcasing the spinning fan inside, with an addition of RGB lights for an eye-catching effect.
Even though the phone’s build feels sturdy, all that beautiful glass cover will make you worry about dropping and breaking it. There’s a protective case included, but the design leaves much of the sides exposed to accommodate the cooling system and trigger buttons. I suggest you use your new gaming beast with caution and try not to drop it on hard surfaces.
How Fast Is It?
Let’s have a look at the Geekbench numbers and compare the results with what we had for the 8 Pro model. Using the Geekbench 6 app to test the 8S Pro’s overall performance, and here are the benchmark results I got:
The RedMagic 8S Pro received a 2116 single-core and a 5610 multi-core score. While it still doesn’t outscore the iPhone 14 Pro Max (with 2502 and 6289 points, respectively), it’s a gain over RedMagic 8 Pro in the CPU department with its 2007 and 5491 respectively. And it still leaves behind the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (1869 and 4940) and Xiaomi 13 (1738 and 5138).
If you’re not impressed by the CPU numbers, wait until you see what the GPU test uncovered. The RedMagic 8S Pro received a crazy 9802 score on the OpenCL test (against the 8 Pro’s 64430) and 10188 on the Vulkan test.
When it comes to catering to hardcore gamers, the RedMagic 8S Pro certainly doesn’t hold back on processing power. Sporting a blazingly fast overclocked 3.36GHz Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, the latest and greatest available at its release time, the phone gets an additional boost from the dedicated Red Core 2 gaming processor.
If you’re a fan of intense gaming sessions with the likes of Genshin Impact, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well the 8S Pro handles it. You won’t notice any lags or freezes, no matter how intense the action, even if you use the maximum frame rates.
RedMagic has significantly upgraded the cooling system in the 8S Pro, introducing the advanced ICE 12.0 system. This incorporates a spacious 2068mm3 double-layer vapor chamber cooling plate, an innovative duct structure, cooling gel, a layer of graphene beneath the display, and a high-speed 20,000rpm fan.
In other words, the new cooling system is extremely effective, and holding the phone for extended periods of time during gaming is comfortable since it doesn’t get significantly hot. The fan’s operation is pretty quiet, although if you haven’t used a RedMagic phone before, you’ll definitely notice the fan’s presence as it’s a unique phone equipped with such a cooling method.
Taking gaming controls to the next level, the RedMagic 8S Pro allows you to map trigger buttons on the top edge (in landscape mode) to execute various in-game actions that would typically require touchscreen taps. Add the extra-responsive 960 Hz touch-sampling rate on top of that, and you’ll get an enjoyable gaming experience with swift and precise responses.
Performance for Non-Gaming Applications
The 8S Pro is a gaming beast, but is it as good as a normal use phone? Unfortunately, that again depends on how important the photo quality is to you, as the 8S Pro carried most of the camera performance problems from its predecessor.
While the RedMagic 8S Pro boasts powerful gaming capabilities, its camera system remains unchanged from the original 8 Pro. The rear setup includes a 50MP main sensor, an 8MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP macro camera. The front houses a 16MP selfie camera tucked under the display.
Looking at the sample images, you can be sure that the cameras carried over the challenges of the 8 Pro. The pictures aren’t vibrant enough, and the camera often gets the colors wrong.
The ultrawide lens results in a weird loss of brightness and the colors start to appear much cooler.
And of course, the hidden selfie camera is still the worst. Your selfies will be washed out with weird fuzziness and the colors of both yourself and the background will either be too saturated and unreal.
Having said that, if you completely ignore the selfie camera, you can still get some decent pictures with your RedMagic 8S Pro.
A good example are these couple of photos taken in low light conditions and at night time.
The RedMagic 8S Pro operates on Android 13, layered with the RedMagic OS 8.0 interface. This offers extensive customization options, allowing you to personalize icons, themes, and even the phone’s behavior. Thus, if you’re seeking a simple Android experience, this phone may not be for you.
Sadly, the software experience isn’t entirely flawless. Some bugs need addressing to ensure a smoother day-to-day usage. During testing, various apps unexpectedly shut down for seemingly no reason. That’s something that shouldn’t be happening with a brand-new Android phone and you’ll probably find such things frustrating.
The RedMagic 8S Pro packs a hefty 6000mAh battery, which is actually two 3000mAh batteries working together. This power source is carried over from the 8 Pro and still performs really well. On a normal day of using social media, making calls, browsing the web, and even some gaming, the battery easily lasted me until bedtime.
Even with intense gaming sessions, you’ll still get a good few hours of play before needing to charge.
The 65W charger that comes with the phone is super fast. It charges the battery from empty to full in just over 30 minutes. A quick 15-minute charge can get you up to 60% battery. But keep in mind, there’s no wireless charging option for this phone.
Should You Buy the REDMAGIC 8S Pro?
If you’re a dedicated gamer looking for a smartphone that combines powerful hardware and gaming-focused features, the RedMagic 8S Pro could be an attractive choice. With its overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and revamped cooling system, it offers impressive gaming performance. The 6.8-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate enhances the gaming experience further.
However, keep in mind that the camera performance isn’t its strong suit, and the software experience, while customizable, might have some bugs that need ironing out. The massive 6000mAh battery and fast charging capabilities contribute to extended gaming sessions. Ultimately, if you prioritize gaming and are willing to overlook some minor shortcomings, the RedMagic 8S Pro is definitely worth considering.