ZTE’s Premium Gaming Phone In Mid 2023 Review: ZTE Nubia Red Magic 8S Pro

The RedMagic 8 Pro impressed  us at the end of last year with its incredible performance, long battery life, and sleek new appearance. Now that its replacement has appeared, we left wondering why it even existed in the first place because it has a comparable design and the same CPU at its heart. When it first came out, the 8 Pro was the world’s fastest gaming phone, but it has since slipped from the top rank. The 8S Pro is attempting to retake that first place with an upgraded cooling system and a specially overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The RedMagic 8S Pro maintains the previous generation’s squared-off, sharp-cornered appearance. The button, port, and vent positions, as well as the size, shape, and weight, are almost similar. The choices for gloss and hue, however, are novel. It has a rather understated appearance by the standards of gaming phones, but the light show starts when you launch a game. Red, blue, green, and yellow LEDs illuminate the fan when it activates, and it is visible via a transparent ring on the rear panel. This caught us off guard since when it’s off, all that can be seen is an engraved pattern. This effect is extremely nice. Of course, you can turn off the entire light display, including the fan LEDs, if you don’t like it. Personally, we believe the lighting looks nice and that it’s a good idea to have the LEDs light up when there is an unread notice present. In comparison to the RedMagic 8 Pro, little appears to have changed in terms of the display. It was already one of the most amazing displays available, and it continues to impress us with this latest model, so that’s not a bad thing. It offers a 400ppi resolution, a dense output of 1300nits, and a steady refresh rate of 120Hz. It benefits from DC dimming to lessen flicker and eye strain and is accurate, covering 100% of the DCI-P3 wide gamut.

This phone uses the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, as we indicated in the introduction, but it has a substantial overclock that should put it ahead of the competition. According to RedMagic, the 8 Gen 2 performs 5.7% quicker on the GPU and 2.5% faster on the CPU. Alongside it is the company’s proprietary Red Core 2 processor. All the additional gaming features, including audio EQ, fan control, haptic feedback, and RGB lighting effects, are handled by this second processor. The idea is that the Red Core 2 will handle the ancillary jobs so that the SoC may concentrate on pure performance. RedMagic OS 8.0, which is based on Android 13, is used by the RedMagic 8S Pro. It has a similar appearance and feel to earlier RedMagic skins, so it doesn’t go too far from pure Android and has less bloatware. This model doesn’t come with the default home screen widgets, so it looks much cleaner right out of the box. However, you may put most of them back if you find them useful. There isn’t much to explore because the cameras are the same as on the prior phone. The highlight is the primary camera, which uses the tried-and-true Samsung GN5 sensor and produces decent pictures, especially in natural light. The HDR effect and color processing, however, aren’t as good on RedMagic’s cameras as they are on those from more well-known brands. However, the primary camera is certainly enough for casual users. It performs better than we expected in low light, although you must be cautious of motion blur. You’ll also need to keep in mind to disable the watermark, which is still annoyingly enabled by default. In most cases, it is recommended to avoid using the ultra-wide and macro settings. The selfie camera in the display is the same. Although it’s a great piece of technology, the selfies produced by it are really unattractive because to the harsh sharpening effect that was used to make up for the too-soft image.

In-Depth Technical Details Of ZTE Nubia RedMagic 8S Pro

Body164.0×76.4×9.5mm, 228g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back, aluminum frame; Pressure sensitive zones (520Hz touch-sensing), Built-in cooling fan, Aviation aluminum middle frame.
Network2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G.
Display6.8″ AMOLED, 1B colors (China only), 120Hz, 1300nits (peak), 1116x2480px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 400ppi.
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4nm).
Memory256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 16GB RAM; UFS 4.0.
OSAndroid 13, Redmagic OS 8 (1st Release).
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6/7.
Rear cameraWide (main): 50MP; Ultra-wide: 8MP; Macro: 2MP.
Front camera16MP.
Battery6000mAh; 65W wired, PD3.0, 100% in 40 min.
OthersFingerprint reader (under display); stereo speakers.


At this point, Nubia has a ton of expertise with gaming phones, and it shows. The OEM is skilled at producing a fantastic gaming phone with little extras. The new 8S Pro is a good gaming option despite its faults including a lackluster camera experience, a poorly translated user interface, and a lack of HDR support. Even if cooling might have been improved, we really enjoy the design that was carried over from the 8 Pro. The cooling system on the 8S Pro is unquestionably among the best we’ve tested, if not the greatest. Long gaming sessions shouldn’t be a problem because the 8S Pro has no trouble handling continuous and demanding workloads. Given that the cell needs to power the overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the display and battery life are amazing, to say the least. The gaming-specific features are also, as usual, pleasant and smart for the most part. Owners of RedMagic 8 Pro shouldn’t upgrade to this, it’s just too similar. But for everyone else, it’s only a little upgrade on one of the greatest gaming phones. There is no need to explore further if you want pure performance.

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