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Red Magic 3 review: Budget flagship, at least on paper

We’re fairly a method into 2019, which suggests we’d like a refresh of the dwindling gaming telephone market. Units — just like the Nubia Red Magic 3 — targetted at a good ‘nichier’ area of interest than the PC gaming market.

It poses the question that in all probability will never get answered: Why do we’d like gaming telephones? Till we get devoted ‘gaming’ internals, at least to me, given the bottom internals are the same, the video games are all the same, it appears odd that we are probably being bought snake oil in the form of gaming telephones.

Now that opening monologue could seem adverse from the outset, and sure, I’ll not see the point personally, I just want there to be a real purpose for these kind of handset to exist beyond merely getting gullible players to part with money. Nubia has been about as aggressive as you will get with the pricing of their Red Magic line.

Starting at just $479, the Nubia-made Red Magic 3 could possibly be a contender for shopper attention just by the spec sheet alone. Hey, specs don’t rely for anything if they don’t seem to be backed up with a superb everyday expertise. With that in thoughts, that is our full evaluate of the not too shabby Red Magic 3.


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Hardware & Design

More than a handful

I’ve used some giant telephones through the years, however the Red Magic 3 is an absolute beast. The 6.65-inch show was by no means going to be inconspicuous, however it is mammoth in virtually each regard. The metallic chassis does help the ergonomics, but I can’t truthfully say the design is my ‘cup of tea’.

Why can’t we’ve a device that’s aimed at the gaming market, however doesn’t need an aggressive, choppy angular logos and embossed designs? A primary instance slightly outdoors of the cellular area is that of Mionix. They make glossy designs however retain gamer features. Hey, I get that I’m speaking for myself in lots of regards however do individuals really just like the ‘gamer aesthetic’ that much?

I’ll say that the dimensions makes this can be a excellent choice for the single-screen content material shopper. The show is very large, nevertheless it’s simultaneously a serious promoting level (literally) and one of many Red Magic 3’s largest downsides. It’s a FHD+ panel with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. That leads to a 387.5ppi, paling in comparison to the 90Hz panel on supply from the OnePlus 7 Professional as an example.

In on a regular basis use, I find the show on Red Magic 3 just superb to look at and work together with. Colors and distinction are good, as are the viewing angles. My largest situation is definitely one of many core promoting factors — the 90Hz refresh fee. For some strange cause, it appears uneven or not quite up to scratch. I have examined it side-by-side with the OnePlus 7 Professional, and there’s noticeable lag when scrolling — but extra on this later.

A welcome inclusion is that of a pre-installed display protector. I imply, you may take this one among two ways although. Both the company is just not assured within the capacity of the display to take a beating day-after-day, or they know you’re not confident in the display to take a beating each day.

I recognize the inclusion, although my display protector received caught on the cusp of my jean pockets and got here away slightly inflicting an air bubble within an hour of unboxing the telephone — just one thing to note.

The actual internals that comes with this gadget for underneath $500 is nothing in need of spectacular. On the heart of the Red Magic 3 is the Snapdragon 855 chipset, 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and 128 or 256GB of non-expandable storage. There’s even room in the large chassis for a cooling fan, an inclusion that you’ll discover.

You gained’t hear it kicking in until you flick the devoted gaming mode change, you don’t even want to hold the vent to the aspect of your ear. The whirring is most undoubtedly noticeable. I don’t even know if it makes a difference either.

Sound is one area the place the Red Magic 3 should excel, because of the inclusion of the front-firing dual stereo speakers. The problem is that they’re a bit flat and tinny. There’s not quite a lot of depth within the sound, but they do get very, very loud. In case you are fearful about that, there’s all the time the included headphone port, for much clearer and higher general audio.

One inclusion which will come in useful sooner or later is that of a peripherals connection along the left fringe of the Red Magic 3. It’ll permit a variety of gaming extras to be added, alas I used to be not capable of attempt any with my evaluate unit.

There’s also one other set of extras on the edges of the telephone — capacitive triggers. For fans of Battle Royale titles like Fortnite and PUBG, I am positive they are going to be a welcome inclusion. I’ve yet to seek out many games where they help an amazing deal.

Software & Efficiency

Wonderful however with some teething points

Red Magic 3 performance

Nubia decided that with the Red Magic Mars, they might undertake a much cleaner OS expertise. That continues with the Red Magic 3, because it comes with virtually zero bloatware to talk of, save a number of tweaks that handle a few of the additional hardware and LED methods.

This is inventory Android, which suggests usually zippy or ‘smooth’ performance, zero duplicate apps, and given the spectacular internals, excellent on a regular basis efficiency. The ‘extras’ don’t appear to have any effect on efficiency at all, or that I can inform, to make me nervous.

The place the Nubia Red Magic 3 is meant to excel is in gaming efficiency. You’ll be pleased to know that it may well play probably the most graphically intense video games with no points, but so too might the Red Magic Mars earlier than this telephone. I’m unsure there are any so-called flagship phones out there which might be really taxed by the myriad of 3D titles on the Google Play Store. The Red Magic 3 is not any totally different.

I only really play one title on my cellular, that being Asphalt 9: Legends. It seems to run very easily, though the 90Hz show doesn’t appear to make a ton of distinction in many regards as the sport doesn’t seem to be optimized for the hardware in contrast to on the OnePlus 7 Pro. It’s nonetheless a fast-paced recreation that runs nicely, simply not as well as other 90Hz smartphones.

Digital camera

Red Magic 3 camera

This is not a tool that’s expected to return with a stellar digital camera, so getting into with low expectations, I was most undoubtedly not dissatisfied. It does pack in a Sony IMX 586 sensor — the exact same as discovered on the OnePlus 7 Professional. The only lens is under no circumstances horrible, either.

Photographs are fairly crisp and clear if somewhat contrasty. It provides pictures a moody aesthetic — I suppose in-keeping with what Nubia thinks players are literally like. Low-light images is method under average although and isn’t advisable. Stills are acceptable, include plenty of element and have shocking dynamic range, that’s about as a lot as I can collect from utilizing it sporadically — as I’m positive the audience would too.

The 16-megapixel selfie digital camera isn’t notably good in my experience, though it is value noting that there’s an ‘as standard’ beautification mode. It routinely smooths out photographs, but you’ll be able to dial it right down to zero. I like to recommend you achieve this, as photographs could be very smoothed out regardless. It’s not an amazing selfie digital camera by most metrics.

There isn’t a included portrait mode in the inventory app that I can see, so meaning no pretend bokeh effects in any of your rear or front-facing images. It’s in all probability for the most effective because the digital camera software is a bit primary. Even so, it still manages to be confusing and poorly laid out.

The video modes that come with the Red Magic 3 are fairly plentiful. That is even despite the digital camera software leaving quite a bit to be desired. I applaud the inclusion of 8K at 30fps, however it isn’t with out points. I found that using the inbuilt h265 HEVC encoding causes all types of problems. Videos would deteriorate immediately, colours breaking and seeping into one another. In fact, the 8K modes are in beta, so I didn’t anticipate it to be too absolutely shaped.

Utilizing the usual h264 container is okay; not having an 8K show makes it troublesome to determine how good or dangerous the footage is. It’s there, although, and no other smartphones on the market even supply the option. So there’s that.

Sluggish motion modes rise up to 1920fps based on my reviewer pack, however I can’t appear to seek out the mode at all inside the digital camera app. It’s simply one of many odd little things that conspire to show an in any other case respectable system into a frustrating one.

Battery

Giant and in charge

Nubia Red Magic 3 battery

The 5,000mAh hour is what I might contemplate fairly substantial. For my utilization, the Red Magic 3 turns into a two-day telephone with no issues in any way. I can’t truthfully sit for hours on end enjoying video video games, as properly, I’ve life getting nicely in the best way.

I wish I might be extra correct as to the amount of lifespan that you simply’ll get while gaming however the longest I’ve managed was an hour-long gaming session whereas on a practice journey. That sapped around 10% of the battery at 50% brightness, which I assumed was fairly impressive all things thought-about.

The included 18W fast charger is on par with many different options on the market however will take a while to prime up that merely large battery. I haven’t charged from 0 to 100% as but, as an alternative preferring to prime up occasionally.

Verdict

Issues aside, an outstanding value proposition

Whereas we’ve seen OnePlus move away from its reasonably priced flagship roots somewhat with the discharge of the OnePlus 7 Professional, Nubia ought to look to capitalize on its upward pricing trajectory with units just like the Red Magic 3. The specifications are ridiculous for the pricing here.

Very similar to an inventory of elements doesn’t equate to a dish, the Nubia Red Magic 3 does look good on paper. Some points is perhaps dealbreakers to some of you studying. My largest gripe is the typically choppy show and the over-the-top gamer aesthetic — simply go for a simple design subsequent time, please!

The digital camera is just not exactly a core selling level but on-paper however general I need to admit this one heck of a worth proposition. You get a comparatively respectable high refresh price display, the Snapdragon 855 chipset, a strong RAM allowance, an enormous display, a fair greater battery, and virtually stock Android.

At $479 you possibly can do a lot, a lot worse than the Nubia Red Magic 3.

Get the Red Magic 3