“The nubia Red Magic is the most affordable smartphone with Qualcomm’s all-powerful Snapdragon 855+ chipset. We go hands on”

Gaming smartphones are gaining momentum. And the fact that the phonemakers are ensuring that such devices are also great all-round options while priced well, acts as an icing on the cake. Take the nubia Red Magic 3 (review) for instance, launched in June this year, the device brought forth serious firepower under the hood. Now, with the world moving towards the most powerful chipset from Qualcomm – the Snapdragon 855+, nubia has updated its offering with the same SoC. Dubbed the nubia Red Magic 3s, the handset comes with the exact same specifications and design except for the upgrade in the processor department. So what exactly does it bring to the table? Well, we’ve got the device in our labs, and decided to take it through unboxing and hands-on experience to answer your question…

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nubia’s Red Magic 3s comes packed in a slightly unusual rectangular box, which is quite wide. Opening the minimal-looking packaging reveals the smartphone itself. Underneath that, you’ll get a power adapter, USB Type-C cable and a couple of documentation along with a SIM-ejector tool in neatly-packed cardboard boxes. There’s no protective case, though you do get a screen protector pre-applied on the phone.

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Coming to the phone itself, we’ll start with the hardware. The Snapdragon 855+ is a speed-binned variant of the Snapdragon 855 processor, which means it’s clocked slightly higher at 2.96GHz. Another difference is that the SD855+ gets higher-clocked graphics. Well, what all these numbers mean to you? You get better gaming experience, and we can vouch for that as both PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile was a delight on the Red Magic 3s. The thermals are also well taken care of as well, thanks to cooling fans.

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nubia’s Red Magic 3s looks the part of a gaming phone with its rear panel, though the fascia does seem out of place in 2019 as it sports huge bezels on top and bottom. Special mention however, goes to the highly-customisable LED strip at the back, and a toggle for switching to the ludicrous mode. However, even without switching, you could expect a high-octane performance on the smartphone. The placement of ports and buttons isn’t surprising either, though you’ll certainly notice the ventilation grille.

Along with the innards, the display is another important aspect of the gaming experience, and the Red Magic 3s gets that right by shipping with a 6.65-inch Super AMOLED panel. With a resolution of 1,080×2,340 pixels and a refresh rate of 90Hz, the handset offers stunning visuals. With that said, the device isn’t meant for single-hand usage as it’s quite tall.

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Fuelling the show on the nubia phone is a 5,000mAh battery. The beefy cell does offer good backup, and also supports fast charging at 18W.

The software on the Red Magic 3s is stock too. The device boots Android 9.0 Pie and isn’t riddled with any sort of bloatware. You do get gaming-specific features such as GameBoost.

Sadly nubia has taken the concept of the gaming phone far too seriously, and hence hasn’t paid as much attention to the imaging prowess. While it does get a high-res 48MP Sony IMX 586 sensor, you can’t leverage the features offered by multi-camera systems and the quality doesn’t seem up to the mark with the lone shooter either. The ability to record 8K video seem like a gimmick too as it records them at 15fps. For selfies, the handset gets a 16MP snapper.

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The nubia Red Magic 3s price in India is set at Rs 35,999 – making it a little more affordable than its rivals like the ASUS ROG Phone 2 (review) and OnePlus 7T (review). And while its sticker price is attractive, the competition does seem to be more attractive by being more wholesome offerings.

Photos by Raj Rout

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One of the earliest members of the 91mobiles' editorial team, Nitansh is a walking encyclopaedia of product specs. Name a phone and he’ll tell you the specifics on screen resolution, processor and camera without blinking an eyelid. Ask him if he remembers the launch date of a noteworthy phone, and he'll tell you the dates when the device first leaked, its global unveil, its Indian launch, and when it got a significant update. He’s a lover of all things Android, and loves writing reviews and scouting for new apps. A Wordpress whiz, he’s always ready to help out a fellow writer. While he juggles between many things at 91mobiles, he always manages to find time to write. In his non-tech avatar, Nitansh is a philatelist, which is a fancy word for stamp-collector.