RedMagic 8 Pro Review: A Hot Android Gaming Value Phone

RedMagic 8 Pro: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Gaming With High Performance And Style

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RedMagic 8 Pro - Starting at $649
The RedMagic 8 Pro is a powerful, stylish, and affordable Android gaming phone that packs a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and a healthy 6,000mAh battery.

Product Pros
  • Solid value
  • Cool design
  • Beautiful 120Hz display
  • US 5G support
  • Blazing performance
  • Outstanding battery life
    Sharp, bright display with 120Hz refresh
    ×Fast 80W charging and included plug
    ×Excellent performance with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
    ×Alert slider is back
Product Cons
  • Middling cameras
  • Poor software
  • No water resistance
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We started the year with a new Qualcomm flagship SoC, and like clockwork, Chinese phone manufacturer RedMagic released a new gaming phone based on the platform. The RedMagic 8 Pro ($649), which launched back in January, packs a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a 20,000rpm cooling fan, and a stunning new design. But it’s really no surprise. Every year, the company releases an affordable new gaming handset as soon as Qualcomm announces a new top-tier chip.

And, as has historically been the case, RedMagic’s new gaming phone delivers outstanding performance, and comes to the US with proper 5G support and excellent value. Unfortunately, while the company’s hardware is always fantastic, the software often has room for improvement. So, what’s new with this gaming handset? Is the hardware still hot? Is the software any better? I’ve been using the RedMagic 8 Pro for a few weeks, and will share my impressions here...

RedMagic 8 Pro Hardware And Design

When it comes to design, I’m usually not a big fan of garish gaming phones (or gaming laptops for that matter). The loud, over-the-top, “made-for-gamers” aesthetic just isn’t my thing. But the RedMagic 8 Pro is different. While it’s mostly black and features an RGB LED strip, the usual stencils and accents are more subdued, and most importantly, it loses all the rounded corners and chiseled surfaces of its predecessors.

Basically, the RedMagic 8 Pro is a perfectly rectangular glass slab, with flat aluminum sides. It’s even more rectangular than Sony’s Xperia phones and closer in appearance to the monolith from 2001, A Space Odyssey. What’s particularly striking is this handset’s almost bezel-less, all-screen design. The 6.8-inch display stretches across the entire front, uninterrupted.

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RedMagic 8 Pro Front

Like the RedMagic 7 Pro and 7S Pro, the RedMagic 8 uses an under-display selfie camera, and this time around, it’s almost invisible. But what absolutely steals the show is the RedMagic 8 Pro’s ultra-thin bezels (1.68mm on top, 1.48mm on the sides, and 2.28mm at the bottom) and unapologetically square corners. Samsung and Apple’s flagship have thin, even bezels all around as well, but nothing quite like this.

Around the back, the design varies depending on the model. The Matte version is matte black with silver accents, the Void model (our review unit) is black with a transparent back and gold stencils, and the Titanium version is silver with a transparent back and black accents. Like before, the transparent back reveals the cooling fan, screws, and faux parts, which mimic some of the actual components inside, like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

Regardless of model, the only protrusions on the RedMagic 8 Pro are the three individually rimmed shooters (50MP, 8MP, and 2MP) that stick out about 2mm each, and are mounted vertically and centrally in the back. As I already mentioned, the stenciled text is more subtle this year, and says “win more games” and “08 generation gaming phone”, with “right to shoot” and “left to shoot” next to the shoulder buttons

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RedMagic 8 Pro Back

On the Void and Titanium models, the 20,000rpm fan is backlit with green, yellow, red, and blue LEDs (ie. the Google colors), just like with last year’s RegMagic 7 series. What’s rather surprising is that, despite its aggressively rectangular design, the RedMagic 8 Pro feels great in hand. Sure, it’s a big handset – it’s almost the exact same size (164 x 76.4 x 8.9mm) and weight (228g) as Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra – but it’s still manageable.

In terms of controls and ports, the two 520Hz capacitive shoulder buttons, fan exhaust, power / lock key, third mic, and red game mode switch all live on the right side. The left side is home to the fan intake and volume rocker. Along the bottom, you’ll find a speaker, USB Type-C port (USB 3.1), primary mic, and SIM tray (no microSD), while the other speaker, secondary mic, and headphone jack are located on top.

Between the superb craftsmanship, quality materials, and standout design, it’s hard not to fall in love with the RedMagic 8 Pro’s hardware. The only downside here is the lack of any kind of dust or water resistance, which is to be expected considering the open vents for the cooling fan.

Before we continue, take a look my RedMagic 8 Pro unboxing video:

RedMagic 8 Pro Specs And Features

Processing and 5G Platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 + integrated Snapdragon X70 5G Modem
Display 6.8" FHD+ AMOLED, 2480x1116 resolution, 120Hz
Memory 12/16GB LPDDR5x
Storage 256/512GB UFS 4.0
Rear-Facing Cameras 50MP f/1.9 Main PDAF - 12MP f/2.2 120º Ultra-Wide - 2MP f/2.4 Macro
Front-Facing Cameras 16MP f/2.0 under display
Video Recording Up to 8k @ 30fps, 4K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 1080p slow-mo
Battery 6000 mAh, 65W wired charging, no wireless charging
OS Android 13 With RedMagic OS 6.0
Dimensions 164 x 76.4 x 8.9mm
Weight 228 grams
Connectivity 802.11be Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3+LE, NFC, USB-C, LTE, 5G (sub-6GHz)
Colors Matte, Void, Titanium
Pricing Find the RedMagic 8 Pro @ Amazon, Starting at $649

RedMagic 8 Pro Display Quality

The RedMagic 8 Pro’s 6.8-inch AMOLED display (2480 x 1116 pixels, 400ppi) is the centerpiece of this phone’s spectacular design. As I mentioned above, it’s completely flat with square corners, almost bezel-less, and void of any camera holes or notches. This 10-bit screen features a 20:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rate (switchable to 90 and 60Hz), and a 960Hz touch sampling rate. Plus, it’s covered in Gorilla Glass 5.

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RedMagic 8 Pro Display

Clearly, this is a high quality panel. It delivers punchy colors, inky blacks, and excellent viewing angles. While some of today’s flagships have brighter displays, 1300 nits (peak) is quite respectable, and makes this screen easy to read in direct sunlight.

RedMagic 8 Pro Camera Performance And Image Quality

Imaging is usually an afterthought on most gaming phones, but things have improved with the RedMagic 8 Pro. While the previous camera system was built around a generic 64MP main sensor, you’re now getting better hardware and software, including a 50MP f/1.9 1.0-micron main shooter with PDAF (no OIS). The 8MP f/2.2 1.12-micron 120-degree ultrawide, and the useless 2MP f/2.4 macro (no AF) remain unchanged.

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RedMagic 8 Pro Camera Pod

In front, the RedMagic 8 Pro inherits the 16MP f/2.0 1.12-micron under-display camera from its predecessor. But what’s more important here is that RedMagic has replaced last year’s run-of-the-mill 64MP 0.7-micron main sensor with a much improved 50MP 1.0-micron main sensor (Samsung Isocell GN5). This results in slightly better low light performance and zoom quality, despite the ongoing lack of OIS.

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RedMagic 8 Pro Main Camera

And while image processing has improved somewhat (thank you, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2), the RedMagic 8 Pro’s camera app remains mostly unchanged from last year. It’s a little quirky and disorganized, but it’s fine once you get used to it. The usual shooting modes are available – portrait, night, pro, pro video, panorama, macro, time lapse (4k 30fps), and slow motion (1080p 120/240/480fps) – plus a bunch more obscure ones.

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RedMagic 8 Pro Ultrawide

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RedMagic 8 Pro Main Camera (1x)

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RedMagic 8 Pro Main Camera (2x zoom)

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RedMagic 8 Pro Main Camera (5x zoom)

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RedMagic 8 Pro Main Camera (10x zoom)

In terms of video recording, the RedMagic 8 Pro tops out at 8k 30fps / 4k 60fps with the main shooter, 1080p 60fps with the ultrawide (pro video), and 1080p 30fps with the selfie camera. Stabilized video (up to 4k 60fps) and HDR video (up to 4k 30fps) are only available on the main shooter. Unfortunately – and like its predecessors – the RedMagic 8 Pro lacks night mode on the ultrawide and selfie cameras, and only records audio in mono.

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RedMagic 8 Ultrawide (Low Light)

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RedMagic 8 Pro Main Camera (Night Mode)

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, most of these shortcomings date back to the RedMagic 5G (2020) and don’t exist on handsets that cost half as much, so it’s frustrating that the company still hasn’t addressed them. While I understand that imaging performance isn’t a priority for gaming phones, these limitations are disappointing on a device with flagship specs – especially when they could be fixed with a software update.

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RedMagic 8 Pro Macro Camera

Overall, the RedMagic 8 Pro takes nice pictures. The main shooter handles low light noticeably better than its predecessors, but night mode seems to make very little difference. Zooming is fine up to 3-4x, but quickly falls apart beyond that. The ultrawide is decent given enough light, but the macro is pretty useless since it’s only 2MP and lacks autofocus. Mono audio aside, videos are good, but not spectacular.

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RedMagic 8 Pro Selfie Camera

Selfies are better than those shot with the RedMagic 7 Pro thanks to an improved de-screening algorithm. But under-display cameras still lag far behind regular front-facing shooters when it comes to image quality, so set your expectations accordingly. Also, portrait mode didn’t appear to be working on this review unit. It all adds up to a middling camera experience compared to other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 flagships.

Next up: audio, performance, and battery life...

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