The REDMAGIC 9 Pro is dubbed as “The Chill That Never Quits”, but ironically, receiving mine in the mail promptly reduced any chill I had to zero. Holding the device in my shaky hands had that effect, mainly because I couldn’t contain my excitement at the opportunity to test the next powerhouse in REDMAGIC’s line of massive hits – and understandably so, because the 9 Pro’s Cyclone variant boasts a whopping 16GB RAM and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor I couldn’t wait to give a go.
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REDMAGIC 9 PRO DESIGN AND HARDWARE
I wish I could say I was cool as a cucumber and that my anticipation waned as I unboxed the sleek beauty, but all it really did was zap away any chill I had left. Even Mora, the flagship line’s mascot, is sporting a new look on the box, with her no-nonsense haircut and her souped-up body armour that says she’s ready to kick butt. Of course, the REDMAGIC 9 Pro itself is dressed to impress right from the get-go, with its elegant and fuss-free make made smoother thanks to the full-flat backing.
There are no more pesky camera bumps here, which was the first thing I noticed as soon as I popped the device out of its packaging. Thanks to the transparent design of the Cyclone variant (transparent aesthetics + RGB = happy me), I spent a good chunk of that morning just staring at the phone in exhilaration.
I also appreciated how the device now sports a circular power button, along with the typical volume adjustment buttons all lined up on the right side of the phone. This effectively eliminates accidentally hitting the volume buttons when I’ve got my phone propped up on a stand in landscape mode – something I had a bit of trouble with in the previous model.
BATTERY LIFE AND CHARGING SPEED
That said, with my nerves all frayed along the edges and absolutely no chill left, I finally turned the phone on and geared up to “win more games”, so to speak. The aforementioned RGB lights are still the highlight of the backing for me, and like in the previous models, you can customise how you want those lights to flicker/blink/breathe/pulse along with you as you game to your heart’s desire. Despite the proud gamer-with-a-capital-G vibes the phone is giving off, however, the lights have now been more subtly relocated to the “09” font in the back.
The high-speed turbofan also has its own light strip, which is a good indicator of whether or not it’s turned on – an absolute necessity for me now given how incredibly quiet the fan has become (operating at a mere 4DB – thank you, ultra-thin blades). This perfectly complements the 10-layer ICE 13 Cooling System, an upgraded version of its predecessor that supposedly zaps the overall temperature of the REDMAGIC 9 Pro by up to 18°C.
While I haven’t experienced the phone heating up during a game (there is one exception, which I’ll talk about later on), I did notice the temperature rising during Max Charging even with Turbo Charge turned off, which wasn’t the case with my REDMAGIC 8S Pro. It’s a minor thing though, especially since, in my experience, it only takes 10 minutes to charge 18% of the massive 6500mAh dual-cell battery (it’s advertised to last up to 56 hours on a full charge).
The included Type-C cable and charger, by the way, are also powerful enough to charge my Lenovo Legion R7000 laptop when it’s turned off – if that doesn’t tell you how beastly REDMAGIC’s hardware is, I don’t know what will.
GAMING EXPERIENCE ON THE REDMAGIC 9 PRO
The 520Hz optimized shoulder triggers aside, the Game Space once again – like the previous models – offers a comprehensive one-stop-shop for all kinds of gaming needs, whether you’re trying to tailor-fit your shooting prowess with crosshair assist and Auxiliary Lines or remapping buttons and referencing easily accessible screenshots. There’s even a Card Draw Assist in the Plugin Library now, flaunting REDMAGIC’s constant efforts to really help you “win more games” across all kinds of genres. You can even toggle the Data Panel to check your action speed in real time for the ultimate bragging rights.
One particularly pleasant surprise I stumbled upon while diving deep into the treasure trove of features within the phone is the virtual pet you can set on your home screen – it doesn’t really add any value to gaming performance, but it’s a nice touch for people like me who easily get distracted by cute things.
Casting is now even more painless with Z-SmartCast – all I had to do was scan devices and I could easily connect to the compatible ones on the same WiFi network. Wired connections work on the Red Magic Studio program on my laptop just like before.
Now, I did mention earlier that I encountered one particular hiccup with the phone heating up, and this was with Zenless Zone Zero, HoYoverse’s upcoming project that’s now in its Closed Beta Test phase. I’ve been trying out an Early Access version for a first impressions preview, and oddly enough, the REDMAGIC 9 Pro burns up for some reason whenever I play the game, even with the fan on high.
The phone doesn’t have the same issue with other titles I’ve tried (e.g. playing Dead Cells for a full hour and a half at just 14% battery consumption), so it’s highly likely that the temperature issue is only because Zenless Zone Zero is still in its CBT phase and hasn’t ironed out its temperature-related kinks just yet.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
It almost doesn’t seem fair that I’ve come to expect the 6.8-inch AMOLED notch-less display with the 120Hz refresh rate now, along with the powerful CPU and GPU bearing the brunt of all the hard work underneath the bells and whistles. The brand has become synonymous with “robust performance” for me, and there’s no doubt that I’ll be playing all my mobile games on this device from here on out.
REDMAGIC has also upped its game when it comes to its cameras, with 2 rear ones (Samsung GN5 50MP main camera and Samsung JN1 50MP ultra-wide-angle camera) and a distortion correction feature. I tried to compare photos taken with it to the ones taken with my Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, and while both look good, I noticed that the REDMAGIC 9 Pro’s photo has more of a bluish tint, making it appear a bit duller in post.
When it comes to functionality, its expertise in the gaming sphere may be unparalleled, and there’s nothing wrong with using it as a mainstream phone. Like with the 8S Pro, I did try it out as my everyday phone for a while, and didn’t encounter any issues with it. To be honest though, in my personal opinion, I still wouldn’t use the device as a replacement for my primary phone, mainly because I’ve become so used to my Samsung device and its own set of features (the REDMAGIC 9 Pro, for instance, is somehow missing a QR code reader and the App Lock function I loved from its previous models).
However, REDMAGIC always has been and still is, to me, a solid gaming phone and my top choice for anything gaming-related – you can discover more about the boatloads of features to tinker around with on the official website. The 3.5mm headphone jack alone, for instance, already sets it apart from many of the latest phone models in the market today. The ultra-cool (both literally and figuratively) backing also isn’t as much of a fingerprint nightmare as I initially thought it would be.
Needless to say, REDMAGIC has hit another home run here, and I can’t wait to up my own game too with this one (as soon as I get my chill back).
The REDMAGIC 9 Pro will be up for pre-order beginning December 27th, with the device ready for open sales from redmagic.gg on January 3rd, 2024. Each unit will set you back by $649 (Sleet, 12GB RAM + 256GB Memory), $799 (Snowfall, 16GB RAM + 512GB Memory), and $799 (Cyclone, 16GB RAM + 512GB Memory) or your local equivalent.