Great gaming hardware with challenging software – About Your Online Magazine


A typical games phone differentiates itself from other high-performance phones by including extra features specific to games, such as active cooling and shoulder triggers. These are supported by the latest processors and the fastest displays. The Red Magic 6 has everything you would expect from a gaming phone, including the industry’s first 165 Hz screen – a significant upgrade from the 144 Hz screen found on the Red Magic 5G. Is it the best mobile phone to hit? Find out in Android AuthorityReview of Red Magic 6.

About this review of Red Magic 6: I used Red Magic 6 for three weeks running Android 11 and RedMagic OS 4.0 (build NX669J_UNCommon_V4.12). The Red Magic 6 review unit has been provided for Android Authority by Nubia. The unit of analysis was the Chinese version running the global firmware. The CN version does not support NFC, but the global version does. The CN version has the Tencent Games logo on the back, but the global version does not. The CN version has a 66W charger in the box, but the global version comes with a 30W charger.

What you need to know about Red Magic 6

Red Magic 6 logo in the sunlight

Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority

  • Red Magic 6 (12 GB / 128 GB, Eclipse Black): $ 599 / € 599 / £ 509
  • Red Magic 6 Pro 16GB / 256GB, Moon Silver): $ 699 / € 699 / £ 599

Red Magic 6 and Red Magic 6 Pro are the latest gaming phones from Red Magic – a sub-brand in Nubia, based in Shenzhen.

There are two models of Red Magic 6, the standard version and the Pro version. The latter has more RAM and more storage. The Red Magic 6 comes in Eclipse Black with a glass back, while the Red Magic 6 Pro is Moon Silver and incorporates aviation grade aluminum. In addition to these differences, the two variants are the same. In the box, you get the phone, a 30 W charger and a USB-C to USB-C cable.

Related: The best gaming laptops you can buy now

Red Magic 6 and Red Magic 6 Pro will be available globally from April 15, with pre-orders opening on April 9. The phones will be available in Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America. Its main competitors are gaming phones like the Asus ROG Phone 5 and Black Shark 4, as well as affordable flagships like the OnePlus 9 and Samsung Galaxy S21.

Is Red Magic 6 good for games?

Red Magic 6 bullet force at play

Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority

Red Magic 6 fills all the right boxes when it comes to games. Has a Snapdragon 888 processor, a 6.8-inch Full HD screen and at least 12 GB of RAM. In addition, there is a 5,050 mAh battery, active cooling through a built-in fan, capacitive shoulder buttons and a dedicated game starter.

Red Magic 6 has the industry’s first 165 Hz screen, which puts Red Magic 6 above all other paper gaming phones. For players, faster is always better. Along with the high refresh rate, the screen incorporates 500 Hz finger touch sampling and 360 Hz multitouch sampling. To protect the screen, Nubia uses an unspecified grade of Corning Gorilla Glass.

Overall, the AMOLED display is a big plus for this phone. The colors are good (supports HDR 10+, DCI-P3) and the brightness is above average at a peak of 640 nits. Unless you really squint, you won’t notice that this is just an FHD + panel. There are also settings to control the color gamut and you can switch between normal, vivid, natural, P3 and sRGB. The pattern is quite vivid. Personally, I think it is the right choice.

The Red Magic 6 has the industry’s first 165 Hz screen. For players, faster is always better.

A refresh rate of 165 Hz is not the only innovation in the industry for Red Magic 6. It also includes a CPHY-DSI interface that connects the Snapdragon 888 to the monitor. According to Nubia, using CPHY-DSI means that data is sent twice as fast to the monitor, using less energy.

To get the most out of a high refresh rate screen, you need to play games that support more than the standard 60Hz update. Not all games do. Nubia claims that there are more than 100 games that support 165Hz, including Real Racing and Dead Trigger 2, but don’t expect to see a difference all the time, as many games on the Play Store don’t yet support higher refresh rates. Remember also not to confuse the frame rate with the refresh rate, as these are two different things. If you want to know more, I have a video that will help.

Red Magic 6 is admittedly a gaming phone and, as such, game-centric features are important. On the side of the device is a small red button, which is used to activate Game Space – a dedicated user interface for games that offers easy access to your games. The Game Space also offers controls for the fan, LED lights, in addition to allowing the configuration of the shoulder game buttons.

One of the most useful features of Red Magic 6 is the pair of capacitive shoulder triggers. The smartest thing about them is that almost every game works; there is no need for special versions or additional support from game makers. The way they work is that you can map any point on the screen to one of the triggers. These mappings can be saved per game, which means that as soon as you set up a game, Red Magic 6 will remember how you want the triggers to behave. In a game like Asphalt 9, you press part of the screen to slide and part to use nitro. With shoulder triggers, they can be mapped to the left and right buttons so you can play mostly without touching the screen.

Read too: 15 best Android games available now

As you’d expect from a gaming phone, Red Magic 6 uses Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor, the Snapdragon 888. The CPU and GPU are ideal for playing the latest processor-intensive games. I tested a number of top hits, including Genshin Impact, League of Legends: Wild Rift, Bullet Force, Fortnite, Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG Mobile. They all performed admirably.

For those who like benchmark numbers, Red Magic 6 maximized the Sling Shot Extreme test in 3DMark with the app reporting that “Red Magic 6 is very powerful for this test”, although this is common on devices with Snapdragon 888. The latter 3D Mark’s test is called Wild Life. Red Magic 6 scored 5,743 with an average frame rate of 34.4 fps. In context, these scores are very similar to those of the OnePlus 9 and Samsung Galaxy S21.

As for gross CPU performance, the device scored 1,127 for the Geekbench 5 single-core tests and 3,627 for the multi-core test. Again, they are on the same level as the OnePlus 9 and Galaxy S21 series.

As an interesting note, the Red Magic 5G automatically turned on the fan when running the 3D Mark, although it was not in Game Mode. This does not happen with other apps or games, which means that the device has detected the benchmark and reacted accordingly. Personally, I find this a little disconcerting.

The goal of integrated active cooling is to enable sustained long-term performance.

The goal of integrated active cooling is to enable sustained long-term performance. Its effectiveness was questionable in the Red Magic 5G, with only a marginal improvement in sustained performance with the fan running. However, it seems to be much more beneficial for Red Magic 6. I ran Geekbench and got the numbers above. Then, I did some intense 3D games for 30 minutes, without the fan, and then ran Geekbench again. I saw a 30% drop in Geekbench’s single-core score.

After letting the appliance cool down completely, I did the same thing again, but with the fan running at maximum. At the end of the intense 3D game, I saw a drop of just 1% with Geekbench. Sustained multi-core performance has also been improved with the use of the fan. Without the fan, I saw a 9% drop in the multi-core score, while with the fan it was only 2.5%.

How does the camera work?

Red Magic 6 triple camera

Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority

Like its predecessor, Red Magic 6 has a triple camera configuration. Previously, Nubia opted for a 64 MP Sony IMX686 sensor, but this time the company opted for the Samsung ISOCELL GW3 (specifically the S5KGW3). The 64 MP sensor is accompanied by an 8 MP ultra wide angle sensor and a 2 MP sensor macro sensor.

The camera experience is decidedly average. Overall, the Red Magic 6 camera set is usable, but the images tend to look opaque and lack vibrant colors. If you prioritize the game over photography, you’ll be fine.

See too: The best low-cost camera phones you can buy

However, the real problem with the Red Magic 6 camera package is the Red Magic camera app. To begin with, the UI lacks an obvious switch to switch to ultra-wide mode. This is a strange omission, considering that the ultra-wide mode uses its own sensor and lens. Instead, the ultra-wide toggle is hidden in Pro mode. It was the same with the Red Magic 5G, and it’s bizarre that it hasn’t been resolved yet. It is especially strange because Nubia included a toggle button for zoom (up to 10x), although there is no dedicated telephoto lens – it’s all just digital zoom. You can check the zoom results in the comparison gallery below.

The macro mode is also overlooked, this time in the Family submenu. The macro camera itself does not have autofocus and the resolution means that the details of the image will not be maintained if you crop. Elsewhere in the Family section, you’ll also find other camera functions like MultiExposure, LightDraw, Star Trail, Time Lapse, Panoramic, Clone and more.

Red Magic 6 includes support for 8K video recording at 30fps, as well as 4K or 1080p at up to 60fps. You can choose between H.264, H.265 and HDR10 for the encoder.

If you prioritize gaming over photography, the Red Magic 6 camera will be fine. For everyone else, it is decidedly average.

The front camera is a reasonable 8MP sniper. Portrait mode is available, but it doesn’t actually add a blurred background, so it’s useless. There is also a beauty mode, although most want to keep it off due to the aggressive softening applied to the skin.

If you want to see the images above in full resolution, you can find them on here.

How is the battery life?

Menu Red Magic 6 asphalt 9

Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority

To help players get the most time on the screen, Nubia included a 5,050 mAh battery, in addition to fast loading. The phone supports charging up to 66W, but only a 30W charger is included in the box. According to Nubia, you can charge Red Magic 6 from 0 to 100% in 43 minutes using a 66W charger. Using the supplied 30 W charger, I was able to charge from 1% to 100% in one hour. The battery reached 50% in 22 minutes and 80% in 36 minutes.

If you want more than 30 W of charging, any high-powered USB-C PD or, better yet, a USB-C PD PPS charger will work. I tested it on my PinePower table loader, which supports 60W USB-C PD, and the device started charging at 33W. For the complete 66W, you will need a PPS USB-C PD charger.

Related: The best phone charging accessories

I tested 3D games, since that is the goal of Red Magic 6, and found that you will get about four hours of play on one charge. That is 25% per hour. If you are a heavy player, it is worth noting that number. At the other end of the scale, you can watch 19 hours of YouTube on a charge.

Assuming your normal day is not just for games, you will have a whole day without a battery, but just keep an eye on the battery level if you indulge in more than an hour or two of 3D chaos.

What about the software?

Red Magic 6 always on display

Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority

The software is the weakest thing about Red Magic 6. But let’s start with the good points.

Red Magic OS 4.0 is based on Android 11, so you’re getting the latest version of Android at the time of the device’s release. The Red Magic OS 4.0 skin has many features to support gaming hardware. I already mentioned the dedicated game space and shoulder triggers. However, it is also supported to record video clips during the game, manually set the screen refresh rate (60 Hz, 90 Hz, 120 Hz and 165 Hz), configure the light range on the back of the device and a side menu with quick access to various tools and applications.

Google apps and services are fully compatible with Red Magic 6 and you get the Play Store, YouTube, Chrome, Photos, Google Drive and Gmail pre-installed. In addition to the Google application, you get a small selection of tools and utilities such as file manager, clock, calculator, etc. All normal things. Overall, the swelling level is low, with the only superfluous app announcing Nubia accessories for the Red Magic series.

Red Magic 6 in hand launcher

Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority

One of my complaints about the Red Magic 5G was that you couldn’t control the fan outside of Game Space – now you can! Thank you, Nubia. In addition, previously there was no way to show the percentage of the battery next to the battery icon. Again, corrected. But it’s not all roses and sweet lavender.

For a start, you cannot change the default launcher. While for some people this is irrelevant, for others it is a business breakdown. Changing the launcher is one of the fundamental freedoms that Android users have compared to iOS users. It also means that Speed ​​test G it won’t work on Red Magic 6, which is a shame as it could have been one of the fastest phones in 2021.

The inclusion of a 165 Hz screen is a major advantage for Red Magic 6, and the ability to manually switch between refresh rates is excellent. Nubia says the software allows for adaptive adjustment between the four different levels, but I didn’t see that happening. For some reason, the configuration is stored in a submenu called Smart game, not in the main display menu. It is a similar case for the 165 Hz configuration, which is accessed via a toggle button in the notification drawer. It’s all very confusing.

The history of Red Magic with updates is not great and Red Magic OS 4.0 still needs a lot of work.

There is also the issue of updates. I have always been concerned with the number and frequency of Nubia security updates. Looking at Red Magic 3S and Red Magic 5G, they received some updates. The last was in November 2020, when both devices were fixed. I am writing this in April 2021. As far as I can see, none of the previous devices has had a major Android update. My guess is that Red Magic 6 will only remain on Android 11.

And then there are the insects. Let me start by saying that I received my unit of analysis before the device went on sale globally and that Nubia is ahead of time that the software in my test unit is not the final build. Nevertheless, based on my experience with other Red Magic phones, I have a generally uncomfortable impression that the final version could be just as unstable and inconsistent.

The Red Magic 6 software is better than in the previous iterations of this series, and game-specific features, such as Game Space and customizable triggers, earn some bonus points. However, if you are looking for a phone that offers a great cover for everyday use, Red Magic 6 is not the phone for you.

Anything else?

Red Magic 6 fingerprint reader

Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority

  • Fingerprint reader under the display: To be honest, the fingerprint reader under the display on the RedMagic 5G was terrible. However, the good news is that the Red Magic 6 reader is great. No problems, no problems, no frustration. It just works!
  • Audio: Red Magic 6 has two speakers, offering a true stereo experience. The headset works like a speaker, it is activated from the front. It is accompanied by a speaker firing down at the bottom. The good news is that there is a headphone plug. It is on the top edge. I tested the stereo separation using one of those test videos on YouTube that plays music through the left and right speakers, and I was impressed. This means that if you watch YouTube or Netflix while holding the device in your hand, you should enjoy some nice stereo effects. But, as is often the case, wearing headphones is probably more polite and will provide the best overall experience.
  • No IP rating: Do not take this phone for a swim, as it does not have an official IP rating for protection against water and dust. This is quite common for gaming phones, but there are some phones at the $ 600 mark that have official protection ratings.
  • Wi-Fi 6E: Red Magic 6 supports Wi-Fi 6E – the latest and fastest Wi-Fi standard and has access to the 6GHz spectrum. This is great news for players who want the fastest connections and is a rare feature in this price range.

Red Magic 6 specifications

RedMagic 6
Exhibition AMOLED 6.8 inch Full HD + @ 165 Hz
SoC Snapdragon 888
GPU Adreno 660
RAM 12GB / 16GB
Store 128 GB / 256 GB UFS3.1
Cameras Rear cameras:
64 MP main
8 MP wide angle
2MP macro

Frontal camera:
8 MP Selfie

Video:
8K at 30 fps, 1080p / 4K at 60 fps

Drums 5050mAh
Support for fast 60 W charging, 30 W charger included
Sensors Fingerprint, G sensor, electronic compass, gyroscope, proximity, ambient light sensor, sensor hub
Network 5G: NR n41 / n78
2G + 3G + 4G:
2G: GSM 2/3/5/8
3G: WCDMA B1 / 2/4/5/6/8/9/19
4G: TD-LTE B34 / B38 / 39/40/41
4G: FDD-LTE B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B7 / B8 / B12 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B20 / B26 / B28 / B66
Connectivity WiFi 6 2×2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5.1
GPS
NFC
YEA Dual nano-SIM
Software RedMagic OS 4.0 based on Android 11.0
Dimensions and weight Height: 169.86 mm
Width: 77.19 mm
Depth: 9.7 mm
Weight: 220g
Colors Eclipse Black (Standard) or Moon Silver (Pro)

Value and competition

Red Magic 6 Red Magic 6

Red Magic 6 builds on the phone game traditions of its predecessors and does it all for less than $ 600. The Snapdragon 888 is great, plus you get a 165 Hz screen, active cooling, at least 12 GB RAM and hardware shoulder buttons.

Red Magic 6 is not the only gaming phone on the market, there are others. This includes the current king, the Asus ROG Phone 5. The two devices have similar features, such as the Snapdragon 888, advanced cooling solutions and high refresh rate screens. The ROG Phone offers up to 512 GB of storage and up to 18 GB of RAM, in addition to one of the largest batteries on the market with 6,000mAh. In fact, there are three different models in the ROG 5 Phone line: the Asus ROG Phone 5, the ROG Phone 5 Pro and the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate. All three share the same front screen and shoulder buttons (Air Triggers 5), with slight increases in specifications for RAM and storage as you climb the ladder.

If you’re not impressed with shoulder triggers and active cooling, but still want a device with the latest Snapdragon processor and a high refresh rate screen, you have a few options, including the OnePlus 9, which has a fixed 120 Hz screen, or the OnePlus 9 Pro, which has an adaptable 120 Hz screen. Both devices have the Snapdragon 888 and come with up to 12 GB of RAM.

Read too: The best gaming phones

If you don’t like the look of the OnePlus 9 series, how about the Samsung Galaxy S21 Range? All S21 models have adaptable 120 Hz screens and at least 8 GB of RAM, with the top-of-the-line model, the Galaxy S21 Ultra, featuring an AMOLED WQHD + screen of 6.8 inches at 120 Hz with up to 16 GB of RAM.

But let’s not forget the price differences. The Asus, OnePlus and Samsung devices I mentioned are significantly more expensive than Red Magic 6. This will certainly be a significant factor for many people when trying to choose. Are the weaknesses of Red Magic 6 acceptable considering the price? Or, to put it another way, are higher competition prices justified? All of this will depend on how much power you want on a budget compared to other emblematic qualities, such as a capable camera system and a quality software experience.

Review of Red Magic 6: The verdict

Red Magic 6 fortnite

Credit: Gary Sims / Android Authority

There are many positive things to say about Red Magic 6. The industry’s first 165 Hz display means that Red Magic 6 is at least one step ahead of the competition. Active cooling has gone from being just a marketing trick or trick to becoming something really useful. In addition, you have the Snapdragon 888, the game triggers, a large battery with fast charging, 8K video, a headset and, of course, support for 5G (sub-6GHz only).

Although the camera is dull and average, the audio configuration is good and there is a headphone jack, something that can no longer be taken for granted and a great advantage for players. The battery is a good size, but heavy games can drain it quickly. Fortunately, fast loading will help with that.

If the appeal of games, active cooling, price and a 165 Hz screen overcomes your worries about security updates, then Red Magic 6 may be the phone for you.

But, a smartphone needs good software to complement the hardware. Red Magic 6 does not allow you to change the launcher, which I consider to be a breach of contract between Android OEMs and Android users. It is also full of errors and inconsistencies. And there is a concern about software updates and future updates.

These negative points should be moderated by the price. For $ 599 for the base model, you are getting a lot of phones for less than you would pay for a ROG Phone 5, Galaxy S21, OnePlus 9, Xiaomi Mi 11 or almost any Snapdragon 888 phone. So, if the bait of the game triggers, active cooling, a 165 Hz screen and the modest price overcomes the security concerns and the possibility of an Android update, and you don’t mind fighting the interface issues of the user and live with a mediocre camera, Red Magic 6 can be the gaming phone for you.

Paula Fonseca