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The RedMagic 6S Pro still doesn't make the case for gaming phones

The RedMagic 6S Pro is a great gaming phone, but that's it

redmagic 6s pro phone in hand
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

The RedMagic 6S Pro is a small upgrade over the RedMagic 6 released earlier this year. It’s a powerful device that doesn’t break the bank and could appeal to people looking for their first gaming phone, but there’s no need to replace your RedMagic 6.

For

  • Stellar battery life
  • Excellent 165Hz display
  • Best Android performance we’ve seen yet
  • Great value

Against

  • Disappointing cameras
RedMagic 6S Pro specs

Price: Starting at $599
Android version: 11, RedMagic OS 4.5
Display: 6.8-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080)
Refresh rate: 165Hz
CPU: Snapdragon 888 Plus
RAM: 12GB, 16GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras: 64MP (f/1.8) main, 8MP (f/2.0) ultrawide, 2MP macro
Front camera: 8MP (f/2.0)
Battery: 5,050 mAh
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 13:13 (60Hz), 12:40 (90Hz), 12:41 (120Hz), 12:50 (165Hz)
Charging: 66W
Size: 6.7 x 3 x 0.37 inches
Weight: 7.6 ounces

The RedMagic 6S Pro is the epitome of an incremental upgrade. I reviewed the RedMagic 6 earlier this year and, although I liked it, that handset didn’t make a convincing case for gaming phones. The same is true with the 6S Pro, which justifies its existence by adding the Snapdragon 888 Plus, Qualcomm’s new and slightly boosted version of the Snapdragon 888 system-on-chip.

There’s very little wrong with the RedMagic 6S Pro. In fact, it’s a good phone if a dedicated mobile gaming device is what you’re looking for. However, if you picked up the RedMagic 6 released just a few months ago, you need not waste your money on this revision. Furthermore, the RedMagic 6S Pro falls prey to the same problems its predecessor faced, notably bad cameras.

In this RedMagic 6S Pro review, I’ll go through where this phone excels, even if it still doesn’t make the case for gaming phones as a whole.

RedMagic 6S Pro review: Price and availability

The RedMagic 6S Pro continues its predecessor’s legacy of offering top-end gaming features for less. Starting at $599 for the 12GB+128GB model, this one is one of the least expensive Snapdragon 888 devices you can buy. You can purchase the phone directly from Nubia.

For another $100, you get 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. And if you want the model with a translucent back, you can get the Ghost version with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $729.

RedMagic 6S Pro review: Performance

A gaming phone’s primary purpose is to play games and play them well. In that regard, the RedMagic 6S Pro certainly delivers with the best hardware an Android phone can have. The Snapdragon 888 Plus accompanied by either 12GB or 16GB of RAM make for a powerful combination. Some other gaming phone-specific features like a cooling fan and shoulder triggers help the experience, too.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Here’s how the RedMagic 6S Pro fared in our usual suite of benchmarks. I brought in the RedMagic 6 and iPhone 13 for comparison.

RedMagic 6S ProRedMagic 6iPhone 13
Geekbench 5 (single / multicore)1130 / 36851120 / 36811668 / 4436
3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (Score / FPS)5881 / 355751 / 34.59331 / 56
3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited (Score / FPS)1551 / 9Not tested2189 / 13

The RedMagic 6S Pro offers a very slight improvement over the RedMagic 6 from earlier this year. This incremental upgrade raises the question: what’s even the point? This is the first Snapdragon 888 Plus device we’ve tested and it’s hard to see any real change over another powerful Snapdragon 888 phone — in the case of Wild Life Unlimited, there’s just half a frame difference between the two.

I included the iPhone 13 here to show that the A15 Bionic chip powering Apple’s latest flagship still runs circles around the best that Qualcomm has to offer. If you’re looking for the best gaming phone, then you might want to consider an iPhone if you’re not totally averse to Apple.

RedMagic 6S Pro review: Display

Another key part to a gaming phone’s success comes down to the display, since that’s what you’ll be staring at while you play your favorite titles. The RedMagic 6S Pro certainly has a nice screen with great color reproduction and accuracy, plus good brightness and viewing angles. All around, the 6.8-inch AMOLED panel looks nice while playing Genshin Impact and any other beautiful game.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Here’s the breakdown of how the display performed in our testing. 

RedMagic 6S Pro (Vivid / Natural)RedMagic 6 (Vivid / Natural)iPhone 13
sRGB (%)171 / 119172 / 120110
DCI-P3 (%)121 / 84122 / 8578
Delta-E0.29 / 0.240.27 / 0.260.26
Brightness (nits)696580795

The RedMagic 6S Pro’s display is essentially the same as its predecessor’s, though thankfully brighter. The Delta-E color accuracy score, where 0 is perfect, was a bit higher on the newer phone, but the odds of you actually noticing are extremely slim. The latest RedMagic did, however, perform quite well in comparison to the iPhone 13, which is very impressive.

Some credit gaming phones with pushing mainstream devices to adopt high refresh rate displays. The RedMagic 6S Pro continues that legacy, offering a 165Hz screen. In games that support it, you could potentially see 165 frames per second. You’d expect such a high refresh rate to negatively impact the battery life, but as you’re about to see, that’s not necessarily the case with this phone.

RedMagic 6S Pro review: Battery life and charging

The RedMagic 6 won a highly recommended award from us for its insane battery life. The RedMagic 6S Pro looks to continue that, clocking in times well above the 10-hour average we typically see from most smartphones. And the phone had a final surprise for us, too.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

RedMagic 6S Pro (60Hz / 90Hz / 120Hz / 165Hz)RedMagic 6 (60Hz / 90Hz / 120Hz / 165Hz)iPhone 13
Battery life (Hrs:Mins)13:13 / 12:40 / 12:41 / 12:50 13:20 / 11:38 / 11:49 / 11:16 10:33
Recharge percentage (15 mins)183426
Recharge percentage (30 minutes)336551

Not only does the RedMagic 6S Pro last longer in the Tom’s Guide battery life test than the RedMagic 6, but it clocks in at an impressive almost 13 hours in the 165Hz mode. In our test, we task phones to endlessly reload web pages over a cellular connection until they die. The RedMagic 6S Pro certainly delivered in this regard, going well above and beyond most Android phones. Even at a battery-draining 165Hz refresh rate, the RedMagic 6s lasts nearly 13 hours and lands on our best phone battery life list.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The weirdest thing is the really low recharge percentages we measured. The RedMagic 6S Pro supports 66W charging, so I’m not entirely sure why the phone could only get to a 33% charge after 30 minutes. (To put that number in context, the RedMagic 6 doubled that performance.)

To see a Snapdragon 8-series phone with a 165Hz display go for nearly 13 hours is certainly impressive. Granted, your mileage will certainly vary, especially in heavy gaming, but you can at least rest easy that the RedMagic 6S Pro will go for a while.

RedMagic 6S Pro review: Cameras and other features

This review has focused on the RedMagic 6S Pro’s strengths, but there are other elements that make up a smartphone. I’ve outlined the other things to note about this phone below.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Cameras: The triple lens camera setup is the same as the RedMagic 6 — a 64MP main camera along with an 8MP ultrawide lens and dedicated macro shooter — and it continues to disappoint. Photos are flat and bland, lacking proper dynamic range.

Image 1 of 4

redmagic 6s pro review: camera sample 1 sample 1

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Image 2 of 4

redmagic 6s pro review: ultrawide camera sample

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Image 3 of 4

redmagic 6s pro review: night mode camera sample

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Image 4 of 4

redmagic 6s pro review: selfie camera sample

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The ultrawide lens produces images with soft focus and the macro lens is effectively useless. The front-facing camera once again struggles with white balance, notably in direct sunlight. Night mode is still bad, too, a far cry from other phones.

Software: RedMagic OS 4.5 sits on top of Android 11. It features multiple icon packs and themes, though most aren’t very good. There are plenty of features to tweak to your liking, though, and some of the English translations have improved in this new version.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Gaming features: Like its predecessor, the RedMagic 6S Pro sports a whole host of gaming features, like a game space, a cooling system, shoulder triggers, low touch latency, and Wi-Fi 6E support. The latter is especially helpful for low latency gaming, as long as you have a router that supports it. I don’t have a Wi-Fi 6E router in my home, so I can’t speak to how much of a difference that support for the spec makes.

RedMagic 6S Pro review: Verdict

Once you get past the disappointing cameras, the RedMagic 6S Pro is a very good phone. It is functionally very similar to the RedMagic 6, but if you skipped that phone and want a great gaming phone, then the RedMagic 6S Pro is a good buy. It has everything you need for mobile gaming, including some of the best battery life we’ve seen from a flagship device.

redmagic 6s pro review: phone in hand showing redmagic logo

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

But if you did buy the RedMagic 6, go ahead and give the RedMagic 6S Pro a pass. Side-by-side, the phones are incredibly similar and the new one isn’t worth the upgrade from the not-so-old model. The Snapdragon 888 Plus doesn’t offer any noticeable improvements, especially in games.

But Nubia got the value proposition right with the RedMagic 6S Pro. It’s a solid device that accomplishes what it set out to do.

Jordan Palmer

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. It's hard to nail down one thing that Jordan is passionate about, since his attention span for a single given topic or activity doesn't last long. Jordan tends to lurk on social media, but you can best reach him on Twitter.

  • Vangeance117
    People still fail to realize that this phone was meant for gaming and so the devs were focussing on enhancing gaming performance not camera if you need good camera just purchase a phone meant for photos like an iPhone or a samsung
    Reply