RedMagic 8 Pro Review: A Hot Android Gaming Value Phone

RedMagic 8 Pro: Audio Quality, Platform And Graphics Performance, And Battery Life

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RedMagic 8 Pro Audio, Data, and Call Reception

We used the RedMagic 8 Pro mostly on T-Mobile and Telus’ sub-6GHz 5G and 4G LTE networks in San Francisco, New York City, and Vancouver (Canada) and didn’t experience any problems with reception, call quality, or data speeds. As you’d expect, it also supports AT&T and Verizon’s sub-6GHz 5G and 4G LTE networks in the US. Not surprisingly, though, the RedMagic 8 Pro lacks mmWave 5G.

The RedMagic 8 Pro’s stereo speakers – located along the top and bottom edges – sound decent overall, but lose clarity at louder volumes. Regardless, most people will find these speakers perfectly acceptable. What’s more exciting is that the RedMagic 8 Pro features a headphone jack paired with a quality DAC and amp. It also supports aptX HD and LDAC for high-quality wireless audio via Bluetooth.

RedMagic 8 Pro Performance

As mentioned above, the RedMagic 8 Pro is powered by Qualcomm’s current flagship 4nm SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. In my $799 Void review unit, this chip is paired with 16GB of LPDDR5x RAM and 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage, while the $799 Titanium and $649 Matte versions pack 16/512GB and 12/256GB of RAM and storage, respectively. Since there’s no microSD support, you’ll want to pick your memory options carefully.

In everyday use, the RedMagic 8 Pro feels incredibly quick, handling everything from basic productivity apps to graphically-intensive games like ARK: Survival Evolved and Shadowgun Legends without breaking a sweat. Despite the superb performance, I didn’t notice any significant difference in speed or smoothness compared to Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra, which uses a binned Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor with slightly higher clock speeds.

While subjective performance only tells part of the story, our benchmark results (below) validated my observations. In most of my tests, this RedMagic gaming phone performed on par with Samsung’s flagship, showing only marginal improvements in certain areas. But, unlike the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the RedMagic 8 Pro didn’t show any significant throttling, no matter the state of the 20,000 rpm fan or choice of refresh rate.

RedMagic 8 Pro Geekbench Results

geekbench redmagic 8 pro performance

GeekBench is a purely synthetic benchmark and can be heavily targeted for optimization. Regardless, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor delivers a notable improvement in single and multi-threaded performance over previous generation Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-equipped Android flagships.

RedMagic 8 Pro PCMark For Android Benchmarks

Futuremark's PCMark for Android is an excellent suite of tests if you want to benchmark a wide range of tasks on any handset -- things like image and video editing, as well as lighter-duty, everyday workloads such as email and web browsing. When you see the test running live, it's clear the scripted application tests are carefully selected and tuned to make use of the each mobile platform in a very controlled way...

pcmark ruins redmagic 8 pro performance

Here the RedMagic 8 Pro shows similar performance to previous generation models, slotting just below Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra.

RedMagic 8 Pro AnTuTu 8 Benchmark Results

AnTuTu’s latest benchmark returns a number of metrics ranked with somewhat nebulous scores, rather than frame rates or time to complete. Here we're running the latest version of AnTuTu across multiple Android devices. AnTuTu returns four top level performance results which are all included here: CPU, RAM, 3D, UX (or User Experience), along with a total score...

antutu ruins redmagic 8 pro performance

aitutu ruins redmagic 8 pro performance

According to AnTuTu, the RedMagic 8 Pro offers a slight increase in performance vs. previous generation Android handsets, beating Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra in terms of its overall score.

However, in AITuTu, which is specifically an image recognition and classification benchmark for AI and machine learning workloads, we see a different picture. Here we usually see big gains for Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered devices, but the RedMagic 8 Pro only matches Snapdragon 888-powered devices in our database. We've found this to be the case when some phones might not have the latest neural network models installed in the phone's firmware packages, so an update here from RedMagic could easily change this picture and bring its performance in-line with other Snapgradon 8 Gen 2-based devices.

3D Graphics And Gaming Benchmarks With The RedMagic 8 Pro

Next we're checking how the RedMagic 8 Pro compares in GFXBench, which has been one of the standard mobile graphics/gaming performance benchmarks for years. To ensure that display refresh (v-sync) and resolution aren't limiting factors, we're comparing off-screen test results here. GFXBench tests OpenGL ES graphics workloads and we're specifically testing OpenGL ES 2.0 and 3.0.

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manhattan redmagic 8 pro performance

aztex ruins redmagic 8 pro performance

Now we're seeing the kind of performance improvement we expected from Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-equipped devices like the RedMagic 8 Pro. This phone clearly beats Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered devices like the ROG Phone 6 in these graphically rich benchmarks.

Futuremark's 3DMark Sling Shot is a newer benchmark module that's been added to the 3DMark mobile suite. Unlike previous gen 3DMark mobile tests, Sling Shot is a much more advanced OpenGL ES 3.1 and Metal API-based benchmark that employs more advanced rendering techniques, like volumetric lighting, particle illumination, multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback.

3DMark Sling
Shot Test
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Benchmark

We're running this test in off-screen mode once again to remove display resolution differences from the equation. This lets us compare cross-platform results more reliably...

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Here we only see a slight improvement to the overall score over Snapdragon 8 Gen-1-equipped flagships. Still, the RedMagic 8 Pro performed extremely well in this test and took the top spot overall.

RedMagic 8 Pro 3DMark Wild Life Benchmark Tests

3DMark Wild Life is the latest cross-platform test from UL. Its primary purpose is to measure GPU performance across platforms, and two distinct tests are available. The standard Wild Life test is designed to give feedback on how a game performs over a short period of time. With mobile games, people typically play in brief spurts when they find some free time; be it on the bus, on the subway, or a quick battle royale session over lunch break. The 3DMark Wild Life Stress Test, on the other hand, shows how a device performs over a longer stretch of time, and takes note of performance degradation that might crop up due to increased heat levels and throttling.

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life screen shot

wild life redmagic 8 pro performance

3DMark Wild Life is a significantly more taxing graphics benchmark that employs cutting-edge mobile game engine technologies to deliver impressive visuals -- as you can see in the screen shot above. Here the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered RedMagic 8 Pro delivers a massive improvement in performance versus the fastest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-equipped devices, and comes out right on the heels of Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra, a flagship that's also powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

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RedMagic 8 Pro 3DMark Wild Life stress test (fan on)

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RedMagic 8 Pro 3DMark Wild Life stress test (fan off)

As you'd expect from a gaming phone, the RedMagic 8 Pro does not exhibit any significant throttling, managing a impressive stability score of 99,9% both with the fan enabled and disabled.

RedMagic 8 Pro Other Features and Battery Life

The RedMagic 8 Pro delivers superb battery life thanks to a 6000mAh battery (vs. 5000mAh before) – despite being slightly smaller than its predecessor in every dimension. In our PCMark battery test, the RedMagic 8 Pro lasted a stunning 21 hours and 2 minutes at 120Hz, which is remarkable. This handset lacks wireless charging, but supports 65W wired fast charging (USB PD 3.0) and comes with a 65W brick in the box.

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As you’d expect, the remaining specs are flagship worthy, and include WiFi 7 (802.11be), Bluetooth 5.3 (LE), NFC, and dual-band A-GPS/Galileo/BDS/GLONASS positioning, plus a standard array of sensors. The RedMagic 8 Pro’s optical in-display fingerprint scanner is quick and reliable and also works as a heart rate monitor. While the haptics are pleasant, the vibration motor feels a little weak for a gaming phone.

Next up: the software, pricing, and the review verdict...

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