Nubia, was among the first to launch a gaming phone when they first hit the market a few years back. The REDMAGIC phone joined other big-screened, powerful devices in a market that, now in 2021, hasn't expanded beyond its pretty niche borders. But there's still appeal - and clearly there's some success to be had.
The REDMAGIC 6S Pro brings together many of the 2021's most powerful specs and features - ones that you won't find in many a regular smartphone. What's more, despite its impressive spec list, it doesn't cost a huge amount. So could this be the gaming phone to get, or should you play it safe and stick with the Asus ROG 5?
As gaming phones go, Nubia has played it a little safer than we've seen in previous years. In fact, that's been something of a trend for gaming phones in 2021. We've moved slightly away from big, garish devices with protruding angles all over the back. But that doesn't mean the 6S Pro is completely devoid of the gamer aesthetic.
Our unit is the limited edition transparent model, and it's certainly different to most other phones on the market. Almost the entire left side of the phone's rear is covered in a colourless glass. Behind it you can see labels for various components, but the circuit boards themselves are hidden from view.
The undoubted star of the show, however, is the cooling fan about two-thirds of the way up the left edge. You switch that on in the software, and it lights up with a rainbow-coloured RGB light as it whirrs around.
Apart from that, the rear is a completely smooth glass finish, accented with various painted lines and logos. While it looks eye-catching enough, it's not the most practical of finishes. The curves down to the four sides and corners - combined with the super glossy finish, large size and weight - mean it will slip off basically anything without much encouragement.
We've heard the anxiety-inducing clap as it drops to the floor far too many times during our time with it. In the process, it's taken some of the black anodisation off the metal frame's edges. Our advice - if you buy one - is to fit the included bumper/case, as it will save you a lot of hassle.
Despite this, there's no denying the industrial strength of the phone. It feels really sturdy. It is rather large, though, as gaming phones so often tend to be. Despite that, it's still lighter than either the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. Neither of which are marketed as gaming phones, rather they're just big flagships.
The tell-tale sign that you're looking at a gaming phone - apart from the RGB - is the additional ports, holes, fixtures and buttons around the 6S Pro's edges. In addition to the USB-C port, volume and power buttons, the Red Magic has a few other bits too.
For instance, there's an air vent on both sides of the phone - one positioned near the visible fan, the other directly opposite. Just above the left vent there's also a red accented slider button that switches the phone into its dedicated gaming interface. Then on the opposite side there are two touch-sensitive shoulder buttons that you can map to different functions depending on the game you're playing.
The shoulder triggers can be handy for gaming. When playing Call of Duty Mobile, for example, you could have the right button as a trigger and the left for targeting or reloading. It's simple enough to do and only requires you to drag across the gaming interface options during a game - then you tap the relevant remapping icon and choose which on-screen controls you want to activate with each button.