Back in August, we ran a RedMagic 8S Pro review, which determined that the updated version of the RedMagic 8 Pro before it was the best Android gaming phone currently on the market. Yet a mere three months later, Nubia has, once again, one-upped its previous entry in the line up. Make no mistake: The RedMagic 9 Pro isn’t just the best Android gaming phone, it’s the best gaming phone period.
That’s a hot take given that Apple has just released the iPhone 15 Pro, which introduced console games to the iPhone line-up for the first time. Resident Evil Village is already available on the platform, and Resident Evil 4 will follow next month. Death Stranding and Assassin’s Creed Mirage look set to follow, in what’s turning into a terrific line-up for the new phone.
So what’s holding the Android platform back from getting involved in the fun? Well, it’s simple: it needs a competitor to the A17 chip that’s powering gaming on the iPhone 15 Pro. Back when Apple announced the A17, there simply wasn’t one. However, Qualcomm was quick to announce the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which trumps even Apple’s A17.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is a Game Changer
So it’s a good thing, then, that the RedMagic 9 Pro’s flagship new feature is that very chip, which is rolling out across Android handsets right now. While we’re still waiting on console gaming to arrive on our platform, it’s going to be hard for publishers to ignore the largest mobile gaming install base in the world. Besides, Capcom already stated that it would like to see console as just another platform moving forward.
And, the moment that happens, the RedMagic 9 Pro is where the party will be. It might not be the first phone to feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, but it sure is the first gaming-focused entry. That’s thanks, mostly, to a selection of features that enhance the gaming experience.
Big Fan of the Cooling
If you’ve read either of our previous RedMagic phone reviews, you’ll know exactly what to expect here. It’s the cooling. The RedMagic 9 features an internal fan that dissipates heat, allowing you to reach much higher levels of performance than phones without. It can also sustain this performance for longer, as thermal throttling is no longer an issue.
It’s not new to RedMagic phones, but this is the latest iteration of it, known as ‘ICE 13.0’. I actually thought the thermal performance in the 8S Pro was pretty much perfect, and didn’t notice an enormous difference here, but that’s far from a criticism. No matter what I threw at the phone, it remained cool and the fan was surprisingly quiet.
Power For Days
There’s a 6500mAh battery in there, which is an upgrade on the 6000mAh of the 8S Pro. The screen is also an upgrade, featuring the Q9+. It’s still an amoled display, featuring a 120HZ panel, but it’s a better panel. Expect colours and blacks to pop just a little more than the original.
A particularly huge upgrade over the 8S Pro is the 80W fast charging, versus 65W. That’s massive. The 8S Pro could charge from 0-100 in 35 minutes, which was already super impressive. That the 80W charger can do a full charge in even faster than that is nothing short of remarkable.
Rounding up the list of features is the return of the triggers, which feature RGB, improved cameras, and an all-new design. Now, I loved the design of the 8S Pro. It was sleak, dark, and just a nice, black slab of RGB. However, the 9 Pro beats it. It’s a very similar design, but the silver finish, and being able to view the internals via the rear, are chef’s kiss.
State of Play
Okay, so we know everything we need to know about the phone, but what is it like to actually use? Well, I’m glad you asked. It feels great in the hand, with a decent weight that doesn’t cause strain while holding it. I appreciate the blocky edges, and the size is perfect: there’s enough screen real estate without feeling too big.
In terms of performance, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about here. It comfortably handled everything I threw at it, including Genshin Impact, emulation, and a selection of 120hz games like League of Legends: Wild Rift. Performance was exceptional, and the fan kept it nice and cool to the touch even under stress.
Battery life was great, but I actually found myself not worrying about it. When it did get low, I could just pop it in the charger, distract myself with something, and return with a full battery. It’s under a 30 minute charge. I also like the additional gaming features – particularly the triggers. They make playing shooters on mobile feel like a console, and bode well for the future of console gaming on mobile.
Should You Get It?
I find it very easy to recommend the RedMagic 9 Pro to anyone looking for a gaming phone. I have absolutely zero complaints with the device, and it enters the market as easily the best gaming mobile ever created. That’s not hyperbole: it’s simply the way it is.
The one thing holding back the RedMagic 9 actually has nothing to do with the phone at all: software. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is an incredible chip, but actually has very little to stress it out at this point in time. We need to see the likes of Resident Evil Village to arrive on the platform so we can really put it through the paces.
If you own a RedMagic phone already, it’s difficult to recommend this phone, unless you’re big into emulation – and, particularly Switch emulation. That’s the only real stress test that you can put the 9 Pro through. However, if you don’t own a RedMagic phone, and want the best gaming mobile around, it’s simple: get this one.