Home / Editorials / Red Magic 3S not-review: I like this silly phone

Red Magic 3S not-review: I like this silly phone

Article Contents

  • 1 Specs
  • 2 The Good
  • 3 The Not So Good
  • 4 2 xtreme Four your fingers
  • 5 Making cell gaming enjoyable, not irritating
  • 6 All of the issues that do not matter
  • 7 Do you have to purchase one?

I will admit, I assumed that Android gaming telephones have been a silly thought. However after utilizing the Crimson Magic 3S on and off during the last month, I am comfortable to say that my angle was unsuitable. That is to not say I would suggest utilizing one as your solely cellphone — I would not — however there’s positively some extent to gaming telephones, and the Crimson Magic 3S has quite a lot of potential, packing an amazing software program expertise along with price-defying {hardware}. I simply would not purchase one to make use of as my solely cellphone.

Earlier than I dive in too deep right here, I need to make one factor clear: This is not going to be your typical evaluation, it is nearer to an editorial. I actually just like the Crimson Magic 3S, however after utilizing it intermittently over the previous few weeks, I simply cannot place it in the identical product class as most telephones. The identical gotchas and caveats do not apply, even when it ostensibly sits in the identical market. For me, the Crimson Magic 3S is nearer to being an Android-powered transportable recreation console than an precise cellphone, and it will probably’t actually be mentioned in the identical method as a cellphone.


Show6.65″ Full HD 90Hz AMOLED
ChipsetSnapdragon 855 Plus + Adreno 640
Rear Digicamf/1.7 48MP Sony IMX586
Battery5,000mAh, 18W fast cost
Software programAndroid 9 Pie
StorageAs much as 256GB UFS 3.0
RAMas much as 12GB
MiscMappable capacitive shoulder triggers, stereo front-facing audio system, “lively liquid cooling” with inner fan
ColoursCrimson/blue gradient, Black, Silver
Headphone jackSure
SafetyRear-mounted fingerprint sensor
Connectivity802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.Zero w/aptX help, no NFC
Misc.Notification mild, stereo front-facing audio system, rear RGB mild

The Good

Display screenSurprisingly good show.
EfficiencyVery, very snappy.
Software programNearly completely inventory, no silly or pointless adjustments.
Headphone jackIt has one.
Battery lifeYou possibly can play video games for nearly half the day, if you wish to.

The Not So Good

SoundNoticeably imbalanced audio from the front-facing audio system.
MeasurementThat is an totally large, monstrous, ridiculously massive cellphone.
IP rankingAll these vents and holes for lively cooling imply it will probably’t stand up to a drizzle, not to mention a dip.
Shoulder triggersI would have most well-liked bodily buttons, capacitive triggers are a bit too delicate typically.
DigicamMediocre at greatest.
No NFCNo contactless funds is a downer for those who deliberate to make use of it as your every day driver.

2 xtreme Four your fingers

Bodily, gaming telephones can not seem to escape the entire arduous edged, brightly coloured, RGB lit, “xtreme gamerz” ostentatious look, and I hate it simply as a lot with the Crimson Magic 3S as I do in different gadgets just like the ASUS ROG Cellphone II. Exterior aesthetics, the cellphone has an in any other case good construct high quality, with a considerable metallic unibody design sloping easily to the flat-fronted show — no curved display right here. That display is huge, too, at 6.65″ from nook to nook, pushed by a 90Hz AMOLED 1080p panel. I would in any other case contemplate the sheer measurement of the cellphone a downside, however this is not actually meant for use like different gadgets.

That is a Observe10+ subsequent to the Crimson Magic 3S — this can be a huge cellphone.

On the correct aspect (which you must actually consider as the highest, for the reason that cellphone is clearly constructed to play video games in panorama) are a lot of the controls. You’ve got obtained capacitive shoulder triggers that you would be able to map to faucets, the amount rocker, energy button, and a vent. The left/backside has a pogo pin connector meant to be used with the Magic Adapter — an adjunct you may most likely by no means be concerned about — the SIM tray, and a “Recreation Area”/”GameBoost” {hardware} swap for flipping over into the cellphone’s devoted gaming mode. The highest/left has a headphone jack, and the underside/proper has a USB Sort-C port and one other down-firing grille for the underside speaker.

Though the cellphone has stereo front-facing audio system, the 2 channels do not sound the identical. The highest is tinny, hole, and far quieter than the underside speaker, which is decently loud. It was very noticeable when watching movies or enjoying video games, and it detracted from an in any other case pleasurable panorama expertise.

The triggers actually make a night-and-day distinction in quite a lot of video games.

The Crimson Magic 3S is a considerable system with a love-it-or-hate-it bodily design that I truthfully discover type of revolting, however at the least you do not have to take a look at the again too usually. And if you may get over that element, it feels fairly snug in your fingers, and that is one much less factor to get in the best way of the video games.

Making cell gaming enjoyable, not irritating

I’ve at all times discovered enjoying video games on a cellphone to be fairly irritating exterior of informal titles. Given the character of touch-based controls, shooters like Fortnite or Name of Responsibility have been at all times a nightmare on the tiny touchscreen for me. I nonetheless do not assume that I would ever select the platform over PC or console, however the Crimson Magic 3S makes enjoying some video games a complete lot extra nice.

XDA’s Max Weinbach carrying me to victory in Fortnite.

During the last month or so, the Crimson Magic 3S has taken over a few of my Nintendo Swap’s duties. To be honest, I do not play a complete lot of video games, there simply aren’t sufficient hours within the day anymore. So after I do, I need to have a trouble-free and enjoyable time. And regardless that cell video games aren’t actually my jam, it has been enjoyable enjoying the Tropico launch, getting carried to victory at Fortnite, and renovating the ‘ol farm in Stardew Valley.

Some video games, like Pokemon Go, do not actually see a tangible profit from the additional options on the Crimson Magic 3S. Usually, something on the extra informal finish of the spectrum with easier controls works simply as effectively on this as it could on a Pixel cellphone or your typical Galaxy No matter, although you do get the advantages of 90Hz and a super-fast chipset, light-weight software program, and an lively cooling system for much less efficiency throttling. However the additional triggers and greater display actually shine in titles the place you might want to use a number of controls directly.

You possibly can map them to perform as faucets wherever on the display, which turns out to be useful for many issues. In the event you’re huge into emulators and lament the issue of urgent a number of buttons directly (as you’ll be able to on a given console’s unique controller), it provides you precise {hardware} triggers that may perform as two extra buttons for simultaneous enter.

Battery life can be surprisingly good, even whereas gaming. I think about it’ll fluctuate in line with the depth of a given title, however 4-5 hours of steady use in-game is a sensible expectation, in my expertise.

All of the issues that do not matter

Though I’d argue its true strengths lie elsewhere, that is technically a cellphone, and it does extra than simply play video games. So, it is obtained quite a lot of different anticipated cellphone stuff packed into it. However truthfully, most of that does not actually matter. Though I am a bit smitten with the software program, a lot of the Crimson Magic 3S’ expertise exterior of enjoying video games is not significantly noteworthy.

My pal and typically AP contributor Myriam Joire sung the earlier Crimson Magic 3’s praises to me earlier this yr, and I usually agree together with her take. Positive, the largely inventory software program method would possibly skip among the bells and whistles you see on different telephones (exterior tweaks just like the gaming launcher, built-in display recorder, and WhatsApp “Image-in-picture” mode), nevertheless it in any other case has an virtually Nexus-style really feel to it. Every part is laid out as you count on with a settings menu that is smart, and not one of the regular Chinese language interference with correct notification administration or a purposeful launcher. It even affords calibrated shade profiles for the show, so you are not caught with over-saturated shade if you don’t need it.

The digital camera is not nice, nevertheless it additionally is not the purpose of this cellphone.

Digicam efficiency for the Crimson Magic 3S is fairly mediocre — I do not assume it even deserves dialogue in need of telling you it will probably take okay pictures in good lighting, dangerous pictures in poor lighting, and it turns virtually every little thing into overprocessed mud with poor dynamic vary. However given the Crimson Magic 3S’ area of interest, I actually do not assume that is a considerable downside. You should not purchase it for a similar causes you would possibly purchase different telephones, and the vestigial digital camera is not an issue. No less than it is ok for AR video games, and for those who actually need to, you’ll be able to shim in a model of the Google Digicam app for some higher processing.

The display is perhaps 90Hz, however the density is not very excessive, given its 1080p (1080 x 2340) decision. It additionally does not get particularly vibrant, which is an issue when utilizing it open air in vibrant mild. Though the panel is surprisingly uniform even at very low illumination, I do have some odd streaks throughout the display that appear like gunk or points with the adhesive layer under the glass. (The pre-production nature of the mannequin I’ve could possibly be accountable for that, although.) The display additionally will get surprisingly dim with out crushing blacks too badly, so you’ll be able to take pleasure in late-night gaming periods at acceptable brightness with out dropping all element in shadows.

The lively cooling would possibly hold the cellphone chilled whereas gaming, nevertheless it additionally provides the weather loads of egress, so you will not need to reply a name on the Crimson Magic 3S for those who’re strolling exterior in a drizzle.

Do you have to purchase one?

Sure, I can wholeheartedly suggest the Crimson Magic 3S, with one vital caveat: Do not make it your every day driver. It is an amazing supplementary or various system for enjoying video games, and the $480 beginning value is an insane worth given the {hardware}. However as an precise cellphone, doing all your typical day-to-day cellphone stuff, I would not really feel snug with it as the one system in my pocket.

Do not get me unsuitable, you’ll be able to most likely get by effectively sufficient utilizing it as your solely system, I simply do not assume it compares effectively to different non-gaming telephones, even on the value. For a hair underneath $500 you may get an older flagship which may provide decreased efficiency, however would in any other case present a greater total expertise as a cellphone. The Crimson Magic 3S may need an amazing gaming expertise, improbable efficiency, and surprisingly good software program, however the it is comically massive, the digital camera is mediocre (at greatest), the vents imply you’ll be able to’t actually use it open air in even delicate climate, and it does not even have NFC.

In the event you have a look at it as “simply” a cellphone, it has quite a lot of drawbacks. However I truthfully do not assume that is the area of interest the Crimson Magic 3s suits — it is a lot higher as a secondary system, type of like a transportable recreation console that simply occurs to run Android. And if Nubia/Crimson Magic can cram an analogous software program expertise right into a extra mainstream design, like it might have within the Z20, that is a tool I would prefer to see.

About Ryne Hager

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