Gaming phones have become a growing segment of the mobile market over the past few years, fueled by great games such as Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG, Fortnite, and most recently Genshin Impact. It has lead to a new, expanding market of gaming accessories and phones such as the RedMagic 6.
Our team was provided a review sample of the RedMagic 6 and we spent a few weeks literally playing with it. Here’s our review of the gaming-centric phone.
Like with other gaming phones, the design of the RedMagic 6 is anything but subtle. It features a unique look with that gaming flare, as well as some enhancements to take your mobile gaming to the next level.
Starting with the 6.8-inch 2400 x 1080 AMOLED display featuring a 165Hz refresh rate for a silky smooth image while gaming. Not only does the size of the display make it perfect for playing games and watching media, it also has inky blacks and bright vibrant colors.
Plus, it gets super bright making it easy to view even when you’re outdoors. Also, while the top and bottom bezels seem a bit thick by 2021 standards, I much prefer this to notches and hole-punch displays. You don’t want that getting in the way of your gaming.
Next, there is a built-in cooling fan on the RedMagic 6 with vents on either side to keep the temps down while also boosting your performance. Additionally, there are two touch-sensitive shoulder triggers along the right side which can be mapped to on-screen buttons.
Along with the shoulder triggers, there is also an additional red-accented toggle switch on the left side of the phone used to enable Game Space.
Finally, rounding out the gaming aesthetics of the phone are three LED lights on the back, one of which is the RedMagic logo. In the settings menu, there are options to control when these LEDs come on, such as for notifications or when Game Space is enabled. The logo can also be controlled separately to stay lit up while the display is on.
I can’t express how thrilled I was to have a phone with top-of-the-line specs and a headphone jack again.
For the other two LED light bars on the back, there is a range of lighting effects and colors to choose from in the settings, however, the RedMagic logo is restricted to red only. While none of this is really essential, it is fun to play with and a more modern take on the old-school LED notification lights that used to be on phones.
While not technically a gaming design element, the RedMagic 6 also includes a headphone jack, something rare to find on a phone with flagship specs these days. I can’t express how thrilled I was to have a phone with top-of-the-line specs and a headphone jack again. It came just in time for a new pair of wired-only headphones I received and not having to fool around with a dongle to use them was a delight.
Outside of all of this, the RedMagic 6’s design is similar to most other flagships these days. There’s a power button on the right side, volume rocker on the left, and it uses a stereo speaker setup with one in the earpiece while the other fires out of the bottom of the phone.
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My one word of caution is that the RedMagic 6 is extremely slick. It feels like they went a bit heavy-handed with the oleophobic coating, and that makes it easy for the phone to slide off of surfaces or out of your hand. Good thing there’s a case included in the box which makes it much easier to handle, and Nubia also includes a screen protector pre-applied to the display.
It’s best if you think of the RedMagic 6 as a gaming phone first and foremost because that’s where its strengths lie. The Game Space app is a fantastic addition allowing you to launch games, use the shoulder triggers, control the fan or LED lighting, change refresh rate on the fly, and more. It truly enhances the phone and gives mobile gamers valuable features they need.
Especially the shoulder triggers, which is a much better alternative to on-screen buttons in many situations. I know that I personally found the capacitive buttons way easier to use versus the touchscreen controls, in fact, I used them every chance I got while gaming.
It’s now difficult for me to imagine playing a mobile game without the triggers after getting used to them. This alone could make buying the RedMagic 6 phone worth it for mobile gamers.
Unfortunately, outside of gaming is where things get a little murky for the RedMagic 6.
The RedMagic 6 runs Android 11 with the Red Magic OS software running over the top, and while some of the features–namely the gaming ones–are invaluable. It does have some issues. The most glaring one is that you cannot set a different default launcher. Many Android power users have a favorite launcher and setup they prefer to use, myself included, and this can be a huge annoyance.
I can only assume that a different launcher would interfere with some of the Game Space features of the shoulder triggers. Otherwise, I can’t see a reason for RedMagic to not include this ability which is available on every other Android smartphone.
Furthermore, there were bugs and grammar errors throughout the UI on the phone. For example, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to prevent it from minimizing games into a small window when exiting Game Space. Regardless of how many times I checked the options and tried to disable this “feature” it continued to persist.
I also had an issue getting notification icons to appear on the always-on-display, despite it showing them in the previews. No matter which AOD preset I chose or options I tried, it simply wouldn’t show the notification icons.
In short, the gaming enhancements are stellar on this phone but the overall software experience is a mixed bag.
The RedMagic 6 is powered by a Snapdragon 888 chipset with 12GB of RAM, paired with the 165Hz display which makes this phone feel lightning fast. It breezes through normal everyday tasks and games load quickly and run well even with graphic settings turned to high. Performance is not a weakness on the RedMagic 6.
However, one area the RedMagic 6 does come up short, is the camera. Images tended to look washed out and appeared to have a yellowish color cast to them. It was also weak in low light situations with tons of visible noise in the photos, and the zoom modes are garbage plain and simple. And while the RedMagic 6 features an ultra-wide lens, I could only ever seem to access it in the Pro mode which doesn’t make use of HDR.
Besides the 64MP main and 8MP ultra-wide cameras, the RedMagic 6 also features a 2MP dedicated macro camera. That’s an awfully low megapixel count, but results from the camera are quite sharp and it allows you to focus much closer than the other lenses on this RedMagic 6 or other smartphones.
Basically, the RedMagic 6 will take decent photos using the main lens in good light, but outside of that, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.
The RedMagic 6 uses a 5,050mAh battery that provides enough juice to get through a day and then some with normal usage. When gaming, you’re looking at closer to around 4-5 hours of playtime. Overall, I was very impressed at how long I was able to play graphic-intensive games and when I wasn’t gaming the phone just kept going.
Plus, when it comes time to charge up, the RedMagic 6 includes a 30W charger that can take you from 0 to 100% in a little over an hour. It also supports up to 66W fast charging in case you want to speed that up even further.
The RedMagic 6 is a gaming phone at heart and if that’s what you mainly use your phone for then you’ll love all of the enhancements it provides, such as a large display with a 165Hz refresh rate, cooling fan, customizable shoulder triggers, and more.
While it excels at gaming, it comes up short in some other key areas like the overall user experience and camera. At least it still provides great battery life though.
If you’re a gamer at heart then it’s hard to get more bang for your buck with the RedMagic 6 retailing for $600 with top-of-the-line specs. Just don’t expect it to be the do it all for you phone at that price.