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Nubia Red Gaming Phone Goes After Razer's Throne

The niche smartphone category has been dominated by Razer. But now there's a new player in town hoping to take down the market leader.

Credit: Nubia

(Image credit: Nubia)

The ZTE brand Nubia has unveiled the Red Magic, a new phone that's designed for gamers and those who want to play demanding titles from their mobile devices. But whether it'll get the job done is unknown.

The Nubia Red Magic comes with a decidedly gamer-friendly design with sharp edges all around and some pops of color that mimic those you'd find on gaming laptops. On the display side, you'll find a 6-inch screen with a 2,160 x 1,080-pixel resolution. That's good, but you might be surprised that this handset is powered by Qualcomm's older Snapdragon 835 processor instead of the more powerful Snapdragon 845, which is found on the Galaxy S9.

MORE: Razer Phone Review: A Gaming Monster We Almost Love

Since RAM matters in the gaming space, it's no surprise that Nubia has bundled 8GB inside the handset. It also has the option of 64GB or 128GB of storage. And as you might expect, the smartphone runs Android. There's also a GameBoost feature built in that aims at optimizing the smartphone's performance for video games.

Gaming-focused smartphones have been available from Razer and a few others, like Black Shark, for quite some time. But they've yet to fully take off. Part of that is due to the sheer number of popular games on mobile platforms like iOS and Android that are rather simple and work just fine on the vast majority of devices. It also doesn't help that Apple has invested heavily in graphics performance to throw cold water on Android alternatives that claim to be tops in the gaming space.

Still, there are some opportunities in other markets around the world where devices like the iPhone might be too expensive for some gamers. And China, where ZTE has the highest market share, might be the best place for the company's new gaming handset.

Nubia's Red Magic will be available on pre-order on April 25. The base model will cost customers 2,499 yuan ($397). The higher-end option will set you back 2,999 yuan ($477). Over at Indiegogo, you can get the Red Magic for $399 on early bird pricing.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.