ZTE nubia Red Magic 9 Pro

ZTE nubia Red Magic 9 Pro Review

The rise of mobile gaming has fueled demand for specialized phones packing enough graphical horsepower and processing grunt to put consoles to shame. With triple-A franchises like Call of Duty and Genshin Impact arriving on Android alongside a thriving world of competitive esports, having capable kit matters. That’s where devices like the ambitious new Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro come in – designed from the ground up for gaming domination.

I’ve spent the last week pushing this Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-powered beast to its limits across a spectrum of titles old and new. Does the Red Magic 9 Pro have the chops to stand toe-to-toe with veteran gaming phone makers like ASUS and Lenovo? Let’s dig in and find out!

Eye Candy Screen

Nubia made the right call equipping the 9 Pro with a generously sized 6.8-inch Samsung AMOLED display. It gives AAA games room to breath while keeping overall device footprint reasonable for portability. With sharp 2.5K Quad HD+ resolution, silky smooth 120Hz refresh rates up to 165Hz via an overclocking mode, and vivid colors, this screen checks every box for gorgeous visuals. Whether spinning up Genshin Impact or binging Netflix, it dazzles.

 

ZTE nubia Red Magic 9 Pro Review

 

My only nitpick is no built-in blue light filter for mitigating eye strain, though you can leverage the pre-loaded Red Magic OS software overlay to similar effect if desired. A welcome future addition nonetheless.

Future-Proofed Powerhouse

At the Red Magic 9 Pro’s core lies Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile platform – essentially the pinnacle for Android performance as of writing. Paired with your choice of 12GB or 16GB LPDDR5 RAM, it chews through the most demanding 3D games without breaking a sweat. We’re talking buttery smooth frame rates even dialed up to max graphical settings.

In my testing, hardcore mobile titles like Diablo Immortal and Apex Legends Mobile hummed along at reliably high frame rates never dipping below 60 fps. And that held true even approaching the two hour mark when some chipsets start to throttle under sustained loads. Color me impressed!

 

ZTE nubia Red Magic 9 Pro Review

 

Nubia supplements that silicon with a high-tech cooling system, capacitive shoulder triggers with 500Hz touch sampling for elite response, and software tweaks like display overclocking to eke out every last bit of power. It’s clear they sweat the gaming-centric details. And as 5G networks expand globally, you’re future-proofed there too with sub-6Ghz and mmWave compatibility.

Marathon Gaming Endurance

Cranking GPU performance to 11 doesn’t mean much if your phone dies after 30 minutes of playtime though. Luckily the Red Magic 9 Pro packs an ample 6,000 mAh battery to balance out the beefy power diet. During my testing, it had no issues hitting 6+ hours of screen time even under heavy gaming loads. When you do need to top up, the built-in 65W charging achieves a 50 percent charge in just over 15 minutes.

My only gripe is no support for wireless charging, likely nixed to enabling that massive battery capacity. A reasonable compromise, but wire-free charging pads do offer extra convenience on a desk for some. Still, battery life won’t leave you stranded mid-game here by any means.

Versatile Photography

While tailor-made for gaming, the Red Magic 9 Pro pulls double duty as a surprisingly capable daily smartphone too thanks to photography versatility. Its quad camera array covers a gamut of creative shots:

  • 50MP f1.8 main lens with OIS delivers crisp, vivid images even in low light
  • 8MP 120° ultra-wide shooter enables dramatic landscapes
  • 2MP macro camera captures fine details up close
  • 16MP front-facing lens handles social media selfies and video calls

I’m no mobile photography nut, but in my weekend outings, the Red Magic 9 Pro took excellent shots across the board. Crisp detail, accurate colors, fast autofocus – more than enough to document your gaming adventures or spur-of-the-moment moments without carrying a separate dedicated camera.

Software & Sweeteners

Nubia smartly augments stock Android 12 with its gaming-focused Red Magic OS 5.5 skin. It adds conveniences like quick settings for performance profiles, shoulder trigger sensitivities, and display tweaks. You also get built-in screen recording, gameplay live streaming to YouTube, and CrossFire Reloaded pre-loaded.

My only knock is slightly over-zealous notification clutter from the default launcher. But that’s easily remedied by switching to a basic Pixel-esque launcher if desired. Overall, Nubia strikes a nice balance empowering gaming-centric personalization without bogging down the software experience.

Oh, and the box includes a 100W GaN fast charger that radically slashes charging brick size. It won’t deliver the full 65W charging speeds, but still juices up rapidly and minimizes luggage load. Nice gesture there.

Closing Thoughts

With excellent well-rounded hardware, polished software, and pricing starting under $700, the Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro brings a credible challenge to established gaming phone territory. It lacks some bells and whistles like a microSD slot or wireless charging. But make no mistake – with immersive visuals, a crazy fast chipset, and marathon battery life, the 9 Pro brings elite gaming credentials at just the right price.

Throw in capable photography and slimmer form factor than contemporaries, and Nubia’s latest deserves shortlist contention as the complete package for Android enthusiasts wanting powerhouse performance with some subtlety mixed in. Well played Nubia – the Red Magic 9 Pro casts an impressive gaming spell!