RedMagic 8S Pro Review – Still the Best?

By admin Dec 19, 2023

Just a few short months ago, Droid Gamer’s own Meriel Green ran a RedMagic 8 Pro review, putting Nubia’s (at the time) latest Android gaming phone through some pretty tough paces. Her objective was to discover if, in fact, this was the ultimate gaming phone.

It turns out that it pretty much was, aside from a few quirks. It ticked all of the right boxes, with a fantastic 120hz AMOLED display, insanely powerful specs, and a veritable buffet of gaming-focused features. The most exciting of which is clearly the addition of active cooling.

And now, mere months later, we’ve got our hands on the 8 Pro’s successor the 8S Pro. I’m sure I’m not the only Android gamer that’s surprised how quickly Nubia has turned this thing around, as well as a little bit stumped as to why. If it wasn’t broke in the first place, why fix it?

RedMagic 8S Pro Review – What’s New?

Well, let’s start by taking a look at what, if anything, has changed in the 8S Pro. In short: not a huge amount. The 8S Pro is more a refinement of the original than a revolution, with a handful of smart additions that help keep Nubia on top.

The most important new feature is the inclusion of an overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which is likely possible thanks to the inclusion of the other big new feature, revamped cooling. Effectively, the fan now adjusts its speed on the fly, so you’ll only hear it during the most intensive gaming sessions.

It’s hardly a night and day difference, with CPU and GPU speeds running roughly 3x and 6x faster than the original, but it’s enough to keep it top of the pack. I’d argue that if you own the 8 Pro, you really don’t need to upgrade, but a first-time purchaser might as well gain access to this option.

It also comes in double the storage on the base model at 256GB up from 156GB, and with the latest version of the RedMagic OS. After re-reading Meriel’s review, I can confirm that this version is a lot more stable as I’ve really not run into many, if any, issues after hours of use.

Surprisingly, there are plenty of aesthetic differences. One touch in particular I love is the brushed metal finish on the reverse of the phone, which is reminiscent of a vinyl record. It looks far classier and stylish than the previous iteration, which was quite bland.

In terms of those gamer features, the most exciting new addition is an upgrade on the vibration mode found in the original. While that was terrific, this one is the difference between the DualShock 4 and the DualSense controller by Sony.

Effectively, what we get this time around is an equivalent of that haptic feedback. It provides a much more immersive experience versus the more basic offering in the 8 Pro. That’s more a positive reflection on the 8S than a negative on the 8 Pro though.

What We Like

Looking at the phone holistically, and not just comparing it to the 8 Pro, there is an awful lot to like about the 8S Pro. That’s doubly true if you plan on using this as a gaming device, versus just a standard Android phone.

The first feature that will likely impress is the screen. It’s an AMOLED panel at 120hz, so expect deep blacks, bright colours, and super smooth gameplay. Not all games support 120hz, mind, but those with 60fps support will still benefit.

It’s just a fantastic panel, and I enjoyed just seeing what each of my favourite games would look like on it. Every single one of them I’d rather play on this panel versus my primary Android phone. The colours impressed without looking too intense.

Then there’s the performance, which was blistering fast. It had no problem running any game I threw at it, and, believe me, I tried to trip it up. Diablo Immortal, Genshin Impact, and Honkai Star Rail ran without a hitch.

The 8 Pro already has a fantastic reputation in the emulation community, and the same can be said here. However, if a game runs poorly on the 8 Pro, you can’t expect it to perform much better here. The performance is too similar across the phones.

What you will get is a much better cooling solution. While the fan was never too intrusive before, the 8S Pro’s ability to automatically increase the speed during peak performance is a huge improvement. You can definitely hear the fan, but only really during stressful periods.

Another unique feature I appreciated is the game-specific red button on the side of the device. Press this, and you can tweak a bunch of settings to improve your gaming experience. From here, you can set touch sensitivity, CPU and GPU performance, and change display settings.

The best part? You can tweak these settings on a per-game basis. It’s a perfect set-and-forget feature that only takes a few seconds on each game to set your preferred settings and move on. Many games will automatically appear on your list when you boot it up, but others will require manually adding.

Finally, another feature of the phone that I’m super impressed by is the battery life. When playing intensive games at 60fps, I’m usually quite quickly concerned with where the nearest outlet is. Not so with this phone.

Each time I finished a gaming session, I found myself shocked at how much juice I still had left. I haven’t even been being careful with it. I’m running at maximum settings, often peak brightness (which is very bright, by the way), and quite loud. Also, with the fan on. So, you could eke out more if you’re conservative.

What We Don’t Like

If I’m being nitpicky, my least favourite feature of the RedMagic 8S Pro is easily the speakers. To be clear, they aren’t bad, they’re just pretty tinny. I found myself reaching for headphones when watching videos or in a lengthy playing session.

The speakers do get impressively loud though, I will say that. They’re also perfectly serviceable if you’re without headphones, but it’s one of very few issues I faced while using the phone.

RedMagic 8S Pro Review – Verdict

This is going to be a very easy conclusion to write, and I’m going to break it down into two different answers. First, if you already own the RedMagic 8 Pro and are looking to upgrade, I recommend holding off.

While the 8S Pro is a more performant phone, with a few additional features, it’s not quite upgrade enough to justify spending again after you’ve just purchased the 8 Pro. The 8 Pro is still very close, and worth sticking with until Nubia makes a bigger leap forward.

However, if you don’t have an 8 Pro and you want the most powerful Android gaming phone on the market, the 8S Pro is a no-brainer. Its performance, screen, battery life, fan, and unique gaming features make this the current best-in-class.

The only criticism we have is that the speakers aren’t quite the best. They’re far from bad, and they get plenty loud, but there are better out there. Make sure you invest in a good pair of headphones to match them if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing.

But whether you’re a gamer that relies on Google Play, games streaming, or emulation, you will absolutely have a fantastic time here. It’s got all of the power you need, a fantastic screen, and, perhaps most importantly, a fan that keeps things nice and cool even under stress.

By admin

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