The RedMagic 8 Pro is here, and the latest in Nubia's hardware-first gaming phone lineup is a stunner. While some long-standing issues are still present - menu navigation is littered with mistranslations and you'll encounter the odd app-crashing bug - the 8 Pro takes the sheer power of its predecessors and pushes it even further. That's all thanks to the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU under the hood. At the time of writing, the RedMagic 8 Pro is one of the first handsets to offer this latest chip, though others will be catching up soon.
You'd usually be paying a hefty premium for that first look at Snapdragon's newest silicon, but the 8 Pro's price tag is also working particularly hard for you. In its cheapest form, the RedMagic 8 Pro sits at $649 / £579 - a damn sight cheaper than leading Samsung flagships - and slightly cheaper than the previous 7 Pro ($799 / £719). There's a lot to win you over here, so we lived, worked, and played with the latest release over the course of four weeks to see just where it sits among the best gaming phones on the market right now.
The RedMagic 8 Pro is available direct via the RedMagic site (opens in new tab).
|Dimensions||164 x 76.4 x 8.9 mm|
|Display||6.8-inch AMOLED, 120Hz|
|Processor||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
|RAM||12GB / 16GB|
|Storage||256GB / 512GB|
|Cameras||50 MP primary, 8MP ultrawide, 16MP UDC|
The RedMagic 8 Pro is the first major step in Nubia's move away from the stereotypical 'gamer' device. The 7 Pro and 7S Pro were both stuck firmly in the angular lines and component iconography of RGB-laden devices before them, but the clean aesthetic of the 8 Pro is a fresh step towards the design of more mainstream smartphones. The RedMagic 8 Pro wants to fit into your everyday life as much as it excels in gaming performance. That means a matte black exterior with just a few glossy hints at the imagery of models before it, flat edges, and a three-camera design in Samsung fashion. It makes for a sleek, premium feel in the hand - a luxury extended by the slim bezel design that keeps the square aesthetic rather than rounding off at the corners in previous models.
That all adds up to a particularly sharp device, which can make both horizontal and vertical use a little uncomfortable. I'm also used to a wider phone, and the skinny form factor on offer here may have accentuated this slight frustration. Still, it's worth noting that the 8 Pro is far smaller than previous iterations, while still offering a gorgeous 6.8-inch display. The whole form factor still offers enough space to make the most of the colorful, bright screen though - and never felt too cramped for high quality games.
That's because the screen really does stretch across your whole device, something we didn't quite get in the 7 Pro or 7S Pro. An under display camera is well hidden at the top of the device, and was almost imperceptible throughout the majority of my testing. I could only just make out the lens when the screen was off and I was actively searching for it in a well-lit area - it certainly won't get in the way of your gaming or streaming.
Around the edge, the sides feature a volume clicker, power / unlock button with fingerprint reader, two capacitive triggers, and a switch to launch the 8 Pro's Game Space software. Up top you've got a 3.5mm audio jack and underneath you'll find the USB-C charging and data connection port as well as space for your SIM card.
Everything feels well-built and sturdy in the hand, and the included case will keep everything protected - including the raised camera bump. However, it's worth noting that the Gorilla Glass 5 screen isn't going to hold up to the same level of abuse as a newer design would, and there's no water or dust resistance here due to the exposed fans. That means you'll want to be careful - a drop could spell disaster quickly.
The RedMagic 8 Pro sports an excellent display on its face, with a whole 6.8-inch AMOLED panel to play with and a 1300 nit brightness that doubles the previous model's 600. With vivid colors and excellent dynamic range between them, both gaming and streaming visuals popped. All that is still with the under display camera hiding neatly out the way, keeping a low profile and only jumping out when viewed in brighter areas. A 1080 x 2400 resolution at a 120Hz refresh rate kept everything up to date on this latest release as well.
You're keeping one of my favorite features of the previous generation here as well, capacitive trigger buttons. Of course, the vast majority of gaming phones on the market will offer these additional pads to elevate gameplay away from the touchscreen, however I've always found RedMagic's to be some of the more responsive available. The 520Hz response times in the 8 Pro certainly never let me down in Call of Duty: Mobile, and kept my thumbs free for more interesting manoeuvres. My only concern here lies in direct comparison with the experience of these triggers on the 7 Pro. Because of the previously rounded design, each soft touchpad was easily locatable within a moment's notice on the previous model. However, with the new squared off design of the 8 Pro I was struggling a little to locate my controls by feel alone.
The triggers aren't the only 7 Pro features making their way to the new device. The built-in cooling fan is still here, keeping everything running smoothly even under more stressful conditions. Not only that, but the 8 Pro also adds a vapor chamber plate, utilizing a new 3D design that covers the battery all the way through to the chips themselves. All this thermal regulation won't blow your eardrums either, while it certainly kicks up a notch once Game Space is in action, everything is still well within regular ranges.
Game Space is Nubia's dedicated control hub for all things settings, game launching, and remapping. Toggled by a small red switch on the side of the RedMagic 8 Pro, or available via an in-game overlay screen, this is largely the same software as we've seen in previous iterations. You've got options to change everything from display refresh rate to fans while also keeping an eye on chip performance and FPS and enable an onscreen crosshair. Like previous releases, this GameSpace software is one of the most comprehensive I've used, but once again the 8 Pro takes things even further.
On top of this all-in-one control centre, you've also got X-Gravity in the new release. Bringing the RedMagic range into the modern day streaming reality, this is a dedicated space for Xbox Game Pass or Remote Play streaming, which also allows you to connect your device to a larger screen for more traditional gameplay. That's an excellent idea in theory, truly paying credence to the idea of having a full-fat gaming system in your pocket. It's important to note that these are baby steps, though. I found the setup process a little finnicky (not aided by poorly translated steps in menus and instructions), and mobile first games were all but ruled out by their very design. However, while booting up some Halo and remapping controls to a keyboard, it was easy to see where this technology could eventually take us - even if it's a little creaky in its infancy.
The RedMagic 8 Pro will not be known for its camera fortitude. Like many gaming phones, these lenses just haven't been prioritized in design or form, which means - while more than useable (and far better than smartphone cameras even five years ago) - they're still lagging behind other flagships. That's not to say there's no development here. In fact, the main camera has been upgraded over previous models, to take advantage of the new Samsung GN5 sensor otherwise relegated to Galaxy S22 models. That means, while the 64MP sensor of previous models is gone, the 8 Pro benefits from a more powerful but lower resolution 50MP lense.
In practice, though, the results are negligible. Detailing is improved over the 7 Pro, but everything still feels like it's in a pre-production state once the clicker has finished. Brighter environments are, obviously, kinder, but faster moving objects aren't picked up with the level of clarity you'll find a Samsung or Apple flagship, and images still feel washed out.
Ultrawide and macro shots are generally slightly fuzzed, lacking the definition we've come to expect from higher class smartphones. Meanwhile, the front camera will see you through the odd video call, but its 16MP selfies keep that fuzz thanks to the layer of pixels in front of them.
I also noticed significant stuttering when trying to take a photo with the RedMagic 8 Pro. This was more severe in low lighting environments, but my screen would still regularly freeze for a second or more when panning the camera even in a bright field in the middle of the day.
There's no doubt about it, the RedMagic 8 Pro absolutely sings when it comes down to doing the job it was made for. Gaming on this lightweight, streamlined device feels like a dream, with every move represented in buttery smooth motion and graphics that pop out without even a bead of sweat. That's largely down to the combination of the cutting edge Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and RedMagic's own Red Core 2 gaming chip, which takes some of the workload to keep everything running efficiently. Everything feels solid and stable thanks to this split design, with no app crashes, no stuttering frames, and blazingly fast response times.
I was able to keep Dead Cells running at well over 100fps every time I booted it up, and Call of Duty: Mobile was flashing through scenarios at a solid 120 with a few wiggles in the settings.
In terms of like-for-like comparison, though, it's impressive to see the 8 Pro performing so much better in 3D Mark benchmarking tests than its predecessor. We're used to incremental upgrades in the smartphone world, but clocking 3,717 in Wild Life Extreme tests, the 8 Pro adds a significant advantage of the 7S Pro's 2,818. Compare that to the Black Shark 5 Pro and you've got an even greater disparity, with Black Shark's 2,532 score putting it firmly in the 8 Pro's shadow.
Day to day performance mirrored this sophistication, offering a slick performance across a range of multi-tasking scenarios juggling emails, video calls, and heavier news apps. The same software issues in translation persist from previous iterations, though, with menu options often coming up with bizarre text.
|Benchmark||RedMagic 8 Pro||RedMagic 7S Pro||Black Shark 5 Pro|
|3D Mark Wild Life Extreme||3,717||2,818||2,532|
|3D Mark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test||Min - 3,656; Max - 3,706; Stability - 98.7%||Min - 2,819; Max - 2,838; Stability - 99.3%||Min - 2,460; Max - 2,609; Stability - 94%|
Should you buy the RedMagic 8 Pro?
The RedMagic 8 Pro is not only the most powerful gaming phone on the market right now, but it manages to hit that level while still coming in cheaper than many of its competitors. This is an excellent price point, and considering the sophisticated tech under the hood and plethora of extra features to sink your teeth into, there's plenty to love about this value proposition. The skinny design won't be for everyone, so if you're after something a little chunkier in your palm, the 7S Pro can still see you through with some incredible performance in a more ergonomic form factor.
Similarly, if you don't quite want to sacrifice your photography skills to this extent, the Black Shark 5 Pro will be more suited. The cameras on this device are far superior to those of RedMagic's, and while you're dropping down the perfomance scale a little, there's still plenty of power under the hood.
How we tested the RedMagic 8 Pro
I used the RedMagic 8 Pro over the course of four weeks, running it as my main mobile device and comparing it with the iPhone 14 Plus, RedMagic 7 Pro, RedMagic 7S Pro and Black Shark 5 Pro in that time. I used the 8 Pro for all daily duties across work, streaming, and play, stress testing using 3D Mark's Wild Life benchmarking software, Halo Infinite, Dead Cells, and Call of Duty: Mobile. For more information on how we test gaming phones, check out the full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.
We're also rounding up all the best gaming tablets for big-screen action, as well as the best gaming laptops for extra powerful portability. Or, take a look at the best Android games for your new device.