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RedMagic 6S Pro Review: Upgrades galore yet pricing stays the same

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Feature
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RedMagic 6S Pro with lots of upgrades with the same pricing as the previous version.

RedMagic 6S Pro
$599-$729
Rating
star star star star star
Pros
  • Ghost Transparent Edition has a unique look
  • Stellar overall hardware with sustained gaming performance
  • 165Hz display gets 720Hz multi finger touch sampling
  • Cooling system gets an upgrade
  • RGB LED Turbo Fan shows gaming chops especially in a dark lit room and is quieter
  • Large battery with good standby battery discharge
  • Headphone jack is still here and a charging brick comes in the box
  • Absolutely stellar price to performance ratio
Cons
  • Phone is large and slippery but there is a case in the box
  • Cameras are so-so
  • Phone supports 66W charging but only 30W charging brick in the box
  • Software lacks polish

Nubia/ZTE provided AndroidHeadlines with a review unit of the RedMagic 6S Pro in Transparent Ghost Edition. As usual, they didn’t have a say in our opinion, nor did they see an advance copy of the review before you. The review device was used for approximately 14 days before composing this review.

RedMagic 6S Pro is the mid-year refresh of the gaming smartphone RedMagic 6 from a few months ago. You may wonder why would Nubia want to refresh a fairly capable gaming smartphone? Well, it’s a matter of staying abreast of the competition. RedMagic 6S Pro is basically Nubia’s answer to ASUS ROG Phone 5s, just like RedMagic 6 was to ROG Phone 5.

The RedMagic 6S Pro gets incremental updates since the RedMagic 6 is still a fairly new device that only came out about 5 months ago. Two of the biggest updates are an upgraded processor and improved cooling to handle the heat generation better.

Redmagic 6S Comparison 1
Redmagic 6S Comparison 2
Redmagic 6S Comparison 1
Redmagic 6S Comparison 2

For this review, we are going to focus mainly on the updates. To get a full rundown on the features that are a carryover (mainly cameras) you can browse our RedMagic 6 review.

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Unboxing the RedMagic 6S Pro

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR UB1
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR UB2
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR UB3
Redmagic 6S Box Comparison
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR UB1
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR UB2
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR UB3
Redmagic 6S Box Comparison

Right off you can see that the outer box for the phone is new and different. Gone is the flat square pizza box and now we get a standard rectangular slab that is double the thickness of the previous version. The artwork is also less flashy compared to the RedMagic 6. Inside there’s a 30W power brick and a red USB-C cable which are the same as before. In addition, this time there is also a clear TPU case included along with the phone.

A couple of quick observations, I actually am a fan of the flat square box design and I think the flashy artwork on the RedMagic 6 box is better. Sound off your thoughts in the comments below.

Hardware design carries over but has a new transparent back cover

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW1

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The biggest difference from a physical construction is the new transparent back cover which shows off the cooling fan in all it’s multi-color LED glory. Otherwise there’s absolutely no change when compared to the RedMagic 6 that we reviewed here a few months ago.

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW2
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW6
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW3
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Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW4
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW2
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW6
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW3
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Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW4

The regular RedMagic 6S Pro also gets a new non-transparent back cover in Cyborg Black version. Other than the cosmetic backplate changes the 6S Pro is identical to the RedMagic 6 from a hardware design perspective.

Display is still 6.8 inches with 165Hz refresh rate but with even faster multi-touch sampling

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Display

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The display is still large at 6.8 inches which you want for a good gaming experience. There are a few minor upgrades though. Nubia did not mess with the size or the 165Hz refresh rate on the FHD+ display panel.

The biggest upgrade here is the doubling of the multi-finger touch sampling rate which is now an eye-popping 720Hz. During my review time, I was not fully able to confirm that from the seat of the pants testing. So I guess we will just have to take Nubia’s word for it.

Redmagic 6S Comparison 2
Redmagic 6 on left and brighter 6S Pro on the right

On the other hand, the new display panel does seem to be a bit brighter than the RedMagic 6 which is also a welcome improvement. There is a small step backward hidden in the spec sheet. The RedMagic 6S Pro display has 8-bit color support whereas the previous RedMagic 6 has a 10-bit color support display panel. So it is quite possible that Nubia has a different display panel supplier for the newer device.  Speaking of color, the accuracy of the colors isn’t the greatest but for some weird reason that isn’t too bothersome during gaming but problematic during browsing and watching videos.

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RedMagic 6S Pro Performance from a benchmark perspective is absolutely stellar!

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Performance

RedMagic 6S Pro gets Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888+ processor built on the 5nm manufacturing process. The main difference in the CPUs is the overclocked “prime” core which runs at 3.0GHz on the 888+ versus 2.84GHz on the regular Snapdragon 888. The rest of the cores stay the same along with the Adreno 660 GPU.

Geekbench 5.1 scores show an improvement over the RedMagc 6 from April 2021 for both single-core and multi-core. The test was run with the phone running in normal mode and not with the fan turned on. My review unit is the highest specced version and has 16GB RAM / 256 GB UFS 3.1 storage.

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There are other reviewers who have done testing with the fan on and scores show an improvement from what you see above. In addition, the RedMagic 6S Pro is the absolute champ in terms of AnTuTu 8 benchmarks with or without the fan turned on.

Bottom line is that the hardware setup on the RedMagic 6S Pro will be able to handle any game you want to play on it at the highest possible settings without any hiccups whatsoever. You should be able to run all the popular titles – Genshin Impact, Asphalt 9, or Arena of Valor – at 60fps and 120Hz. There aren’t many graphics-intensive games that support the full 165Hz with 165fps but you might find light games that are able to do that.

In any case, the primary reason for this smartphone is gaming and in that department, it will not let you down. Play any game to your heart’s content without worrying about any annoying hardware hiccups. The RedMagic 6S Pro outperforms the excellent Asus ROG Phone 5S Pro consistently. So whatever tuning Nubia seems to have done in the last 6 months it is paying off here with the RedMagic 6S Pro.

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Cooling system gets an upgrade to ICE7.0

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR HW2

A faster processor means more heat generation as it requires more power to run at max clock speed. To keep the RedMagic 6S Pro running cool, Nubia has added one more element to its cooling system, and consequently the branding changes to ‘ICE 7.0 Multidimensional Cooling System with Built-in Turbo Fan’. Main improvement seems to be aeronautical grade phase change materials which supposedly improve cooling by acting as a slow-release heat sink.

The easiest way to see this improved heat management or cooling system is on the transparent Ghost Edition via the RGB lit turbofan. I must admit it does look quite nice in a dark room during gaming and gives the phone a unique look.

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Battery life sees improvements while charging capability is unchanged

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Charging

RedMagic seems to have fixed the standby power drain issues with the RedMagic 6 on the newer 6S Pro. It potentially may be due to the software tweaks which leads to using the most optimum refresh rate. Or it could be due to the slightly better Snapdragon 888+ processor.

Now granted with only a 5050 mAh battery powering a 165Hz display that is 6.8 inches isn’t going to last multiple days but at least one full day of use is within grasp in my opinion. If at all you need to power the phone there is support for 66W fast charging. Keep in mind you need your own power brick for the 66W fast charging though since in the box there is only a 30W charger. Ideally, you may want to get a 65-100W PD charging brick to help you top up the battery quickly if you run out of juice during the day. This might not be a bad investment as charging bricks are slowly disappearing from retail boxes.

RedMagic 6S Pro is running Android 11 on RedMagic OS 4.5

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Software
Redmagic 6 on left and 6S Pro on the right

My RedMagic 6S Pro review unit is running RedMagic OS 4.5 on top of Android 11. The older RedMagic 6, back in April, was running RedMagic OS 4.0. So let’s see what are some of the software differences between the two devices.

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Heartrate

The home screen layout is different. Mainly you can check your heart rate via the optical fingerprint scanner using the quick widget on the home screen. Nubia has supposedly changed the fingerprint scanner hardware from the previous version. Secondly, you can quickly turn on the RGB fan from the home screen as well.

Other than that there isn’t anything that has radically changed in the jump from version 4.0 to 4.5. There are a couple of very minor tweaks in the ‘More Features’ menu. The Light Strip Setting is also gone from the main menu. I guess this is because you can access the RGB fan setting right from the home screen. Besides these couple of items, the software is pretty much identical on the RedMagic 6 and RedMagic 6S Pro.

RedMagic Game Space needs work and settings are still in Chinese

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Game1
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Game2
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Game1
Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Game2

Okay so let’s talk about the changes to the RedMagic Game Space. You can access the launcher via the red slider on the rail. The overall look and feel of Game Space is still the same. But I couldn’t explore the menu and settings because they are still in Chinese. There’s only a little bit of English sprinkled in here and there.

The actual in-game overlay also shows the settings in Chinese so I wasn’t able to test it out fully while playing Genshin Impact. I am hoping that Nubia fixes this before selling actual commercial retail units. For now, I am going to chalk this error up to a pre-production review unit.

I am really hoping that Nubia/ZTE fix these software issues when they update the 6S Pro to Android 12.

RedMagic 6S Pro Verdict

Redmagic 6S Pro AH HR Verdict

So is RedMagic 6S Pro is a good buy for the money or not as a gaming smartphone. From a pricing perspective, it is extremely attractive for the simple fact that the price is the same as RedMagic 6.

At launch on RedMagic’s website, the pricing for the 6S Pro is USD/EUR 599 for a 12GB/128GB Black unit, USD/EUR 699 or a 16GB/256GB Black model, and USD/EUR 729 and for the top-end 16GB/256GB Transparent Ghost Edition.

Once you realize that the pricing is not changing then the new Snapdragon 888+ chipset, the 720Hz multi-touch sampling rate on display, the 450Hz sampling rate on the shoulder triggers, updated FPS are great updates to an already great gaming smartphone. And the Transparent Ghost Edition gets the RGB Turbo Fan along with the extra touch pad on the back cover.

There are a few other things that are better such as a brighter display along with a better standby battery drain and an improved cooling system. There is one slight downgrade from 10-bit to 8-bit color display support. And of course, the so-so rear and selfie cameras are a complete carryover. But I don’t think anyone is going to buy this phone for its photo and video capabilities. Lastly, the Game Space software needs some tweaking and at least an English language menu.

But aside from these minor quibbles, this is a great gaming smartphone with stellar hardware, superb audio, and reasonable battery life. From a price to performance ratio this device is a good bargain at the $600 starting price.