With hardcore games flaunting triple-A graphics and insane specs on smartphones these days, having a run-of-the-mill device that’s only good for calls and texts simply can’t cut it anymore. It’s not very often that you can trust your phone to meet all of those hefty spec requirements – you might even consider getting a second phone dedicated solely to mobile gaming alone.
Enter the REDMAGIC 8S Pro, a bold beast of a device that’s looking to change all that and more – and it’s not stopping any time soon.
Table of contents:
REDMAGIC 8S PRO DESIGN AND HARDWARE
For the purposes of this review, the awesome folks over at REDMAGIC sent me an aptly named “Titanium” model for the company’s latest flagship device – and it was instantly love at first sight for me. I do judge a device by its proverbial cover (anyone who tells you otherwise is likely kidding themselves), and with the REDMAGIC 8S Pro, the looks alone already tell you the kind of quality you can expect.
Boasting a sleek and ultra-smooth finish that feels premium to the touch, the gorgeous backing shines in more ways than one – literally and figuratively. The titanium-esque feel is – and this might just be me and my odd little quirk – incredibly satisfying, so much so that I found myself sliding my fingers back and forth on the surface plenty of times just because it felt nice. Expect no pesky fingerprint woes here – plus, there’s a lovely circular design on the upper left side where the glow and glam radiate from.
This circular light is also responsible for the iconic RGB lights that the series is known for, which, like its predecessors, can be adjusted depending on how you want to lights to flicker (or if you even want them on at all). This goes hand in hand with the phone’s ICE 12.0 cooling system, and turning on the high-speed centrifugal fan can significantly reduce any instance of your device overheating from gaming for too long. The 10-layer heat dissipation system offers proper ventilation and thermal conductivity to make sure you can play to your heart’s content – a feature you can toggle on your home screen, in the main menu, or on the Game Space (more on this later).
By the way, the box itself once again wears its gaming aesthetic like a badge of honour – it almost seems like there’s some sort of storyboard panel being told when you compare the 8S Pro with the previous model.
GAMING EXPERIENCE, BATTERY LIFE AND CHARGING SPEED
Of course, a gaming smartphone is only ever as good as its gaming performance, and the REDMAGIC 8S Pro not only doesn’t disappoint but also delivers more than what’s expected. Charging is a mere 25 minutes for 70% battery life, and the battery performance is staggering. It supposedly boasts a 6000mAh battery that can chug along for up to 48.14 hours. I even accidentally left the phone with the cooling fan and the lights on overnight, and even then, I was surprised to find that it only drained 2% of the battery life the next day (also, the fact that I forgot to turn the fan off before going to bed only goes to show how quiet the fan can be).
Particularly, I focused my testing on the dedicated Game Space, where you can basically customise your whole gaming experience in a wide variety of (albeit overwhelming) ways. The 520 Hz Shoulder Triggers, for example, can be mapped depending on what you want them to do within your game. The Plugin Library offers a handy guide on what each feature does, although to be honest, it’s not likely you’ll get the hang of everything in just a day or two given how vast your customisation options are.
This dashboard has always been a highlight of the REDMAGIC series for me. For instance, you can toggle the Auxiliary Line on your screen to add a circular watermark around you as you move your character around, which can definitely come in handy when you’re estimating the distance for, say, a certain AoE effect. You can add a crosshair to assist in aiming within shooting games, tinker around with a stopwatch for timed challenges, and even remap keys to adjust their position and improve your line of sight. I even had the pleasure of splitting the screen to watch a YouTube walkthrough while simultaneously playing my game, which is an absolute godsend.
FEATURES GALORE ON THE REDMAGIC 8S PRO
Mora, of course, is back to bring the same kind of sunshine she added to the previous model as well. You can even use REDMAGIC’s virtual ambassador as your own live avatar while streaming, and effectively fulfil any Vtuber dreams you might have straight from your mobile device – no fancy gadgets or programs needed.
I suppose now’s as good a time as any to mention the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, plus the 16GB RAM and 512GB storage. Games look absolutely stunning, casting onto my laptop and my smart TV was a breeze, and even the more resource-heavy titles were able to run smoothly – a quality I’ve come to expect from the series based on previous models. The 6.8-inch full-screen display boasts a whopping 120Hz refresh rate, and yes, that notch-less display really doesn’t get old. I’m also happy to report that the 3.5mm headphone jack is still there – can we bring this back for all phones, please?
Additionally, given that REDMAGIC is expanding its market to make its flagship phones more suitable for general use (because why have a secondary gaming phone when you can have everything you want and need in a single device?), I do feel like I should mention how the 8S Pro performs as an everyday phone. Deep customisation settings aside, I didn’t encounter any problems with using it as my primary phone, whether it was watching movies on Netflix, listening to music on Spotify, or taking photos when I’m out and about.
The 16MP front camera understandably doesn’t function as well as the one on my primary Samsung device, but the 50-megapixel Samsung GN 5 sensor 1/1.57″ rear camera does the job well and more. The Pro Wide section, in particular, offers more functions than my regular phone, particularly because I could tinker around with motion blurs and other effects – that’s definitely not something I would expect from what’s supposed to be a gaming-centric phone.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
As soon as I received the review model in the mail, the first thing that I wanted to test was, of course, the WiFi connectivity. As I mentioned before, I did have a bunch of connectivity issues with the REDMAGIC 8 Pro (which the team confirmed was a glitch) – thankfully, the 8S Pro didn’t suffer from the same malady. The new and improved WiFi 7 not only offered seamless connectivity but also made sure I could enjoy my games with ultra-low latency.
The overall build is less chunky and is sleeker now thanks to the 3D nano etching, and there’s still less of a grip compared to the 7S Pro. But I can understand the shift in aesthetics given its bid to become a more mainstream phone; plus, there’s an accidental touch protection feature that you can adjust to make sure you’re holding the phone right when you’re gaming. The size and weight of the phone also make it a little more challenging to play games in portrait mode, but the one-handed mode offers a workaround just in case you’re having a bit of trouble.
Now, I can’t get into all the nitty-gritty of the technical specs, but you can learn more about that on the official website. What I can attest to is the fact that the REDMAGIC 8S Pro improves upon everything I loved about the REDMAGIC 7S Pro and more. Transferring all my data from my previous model to this new one was also quick and painless, so in all honesty, if you’re using an Android phone, I don’t see why you shouldn’t give the 8S Pro a go.
The REDMAGIC 8S Pro will be up on sale with special promos from July 27th to August 2nd, with the device ready to ship out from redmagic.gg at $649 (Midnight), $779 (Platinum), and $779 (Aurora) or your local equivalent.