The Nubia Red Magic 5G made a big splash in the best gaming phones market when it launched in the summer of 2020, proving the likes of Razer and Asus – and more traditional manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple – had plenty of competition.
The Red Magic 5G features a lovely 6.65-inch 1080 x 2340 AMOLED display, with that wide screen making for a more immersive experience. Its 144Hz refresh rate delivers an incredibly smooth on-screen picture with little to no lag or screen tearing, too.
It’s quite a large device in terms of size, and a little chunkier in form factor compared to more traditional handsets, but there’s a reason for that. The Red Magic 5G is packed with features and components specifically designed to support long sessions where you’re playing some of the most graphics intensive titles available on Android.
But is it the right gaming phone for you? This is what this should I buy guide is designed to help with.
In 2022 this handset's powerful specs and features make it a very smart choice for those looking to upgrade to a gaming phone, and due to its age its price has also dropped markedly since launch, making it a bit of bargain, too.
For even more great phones, be sure to also check out T3's best phones buying guide.
Nubia Red Magic 5G: should I buy it?
There are plenty of reasons to want to own a Red Magic 5G. You get an active liquid cooling system with an RPM of 16,000 and a maximum air volume increase of 30% compared to the previous model. That means you’re getting a handset that’s 200% cooler than before, which makes a real difference when you’re CPU starts to heat up.
The Red Magic 5G features built-in pro triggers, which work like shoulder buttons when the phone is used in portrait mode. They feature 2ms touch delay with a 300Hz touch sampling rate, making them ideal for shooters such as PUBG Mobile and Fortnite. With improved anti-interference, this is a great way to differentiate the Red Magic 5G from other phones on the market.
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Nubia Red Magic 5G: specs
In terms of specs, the Red Magic 5G has plenty to boast about. It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, which delivers clock speeds of up to 2.84GHz with up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB ROM UFS 3.0. It’s a powerful combination that makes it ideal for intense gaming sessions on the go.
As its name suggest, the Red Magic 5G is 5G ready, with a dual 5G mode supporting in all key regions. That means a faster and smoother experience with up to 3.0 Gbps upload speed and 7.5 Gbps download speed (depending on your region) and up to 38% faster with the power of Wi-Fi 6.
Nubia Red Magic 5G: features
That 144Hz makes a real difference to your gaming sessions. Not every game supports such a high rate of refresh, but it makes a huge difference, especially playing faster genres such as racers or twitchy platformers. The Red Magic 5G also has its very own algorithm, which serves as an on-board touch choreographer. In other words, the phone will automatically adjust the frame rate in-game, helping reducing stuttering.
Said screen has a 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut, 4096 levels of smart brightness control, DC dimming for improved eye protection and low blue light for added easing on the eyes. When you’re enjoying longer sessions of play, these sorts of features can really make a big difference to your overall comfort.
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Nubia Red Magic 5G: everything else you need to know
Backing up the visual department, the Red Magic 5G has an immersive audio setup with dual stereo speakers, 7.1 channel surround sound and 4D realistic vibration feedback so you can really feel every corner you take and every bullet you fire. Combined with those shoulder triggers and you’ve got the total package right there in your pocket.
Gaming phones really benefit from a dedicated gaming mode and the Red Magic 5G is no different. Its Game Space 2.1 mode utilises a smart performance and display booster, automatically records your best gaming moments for future bragging rights and enable you to actively control its on-board cooling fan. Oh, and let’s not forget this is a phone after all, so expect a decent (if not exceptional) trio of cameras including a 65MP main camera, an 8MP wide camera and a 2MP macro.
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Nubia Red Magic 5G: alternative devices to check out
When it comes to alternatives, the gaming phone market is plentiful. In terms of specific models aimed at gamers, there’s the powerful Razer Phone 2 (with its impressive display and large speakers for added immersion) and the seriously powerful Asus ROG Phone 3 (which is packed to the gills with game-centric features and a very powerful CPU).
From the more traditional side of the smartphone market there’s the Apple iPhone 12 (offering access to the App Store’s considerable library of games) and the One Plus 8 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus when you want a large display and a powerful set of components for gaming on Android.
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