Nubia Red Magic 3 Review


Mobile gaming has grown at a tremendous rate in the past couple of years. While most of the high-end smartphones today are capable to run high-end gaming very smoothly, however, there are a couple of smartphones available today that are made specifically for gaming. As of now, some gaming-oriented smartphones like Asus ROG Phone, Nubia Red Magic, and the Black Shark 2 are available even in India. These smartphones are made especially for gaming and packs high-end specifications and a powerful processor. Now, Nubia is bringing its another latest gaming smartphone called the Red Magic 3 in the Indian market.

Nubia Red Magic 3 comes with a great set of hardware onboard that are specifically dedicated for gaming. It is powered by the most powerful processor available now, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and has liquid cooling along with an internal fan that makes it handle intense gaming very easily and smoothly. While there have been a couple of smartphones available like OnePlus 7 that comes with the almost same hardware but with more superior specifications in other departments and are quite cheaper than the Red Magic 3. So, does the Nubia Red Magic 3 justifies its price tag or you need to go for other all-rounder smartphones?  We put the Red Magic 3 to the test to find out.

Design and Display

Most of the gaming smartphones feature a very striking and eye-catching design and so does the Nubia Red Magic 3. Red Magic 3 is made up of metal and is quite big and bulky. It looks a bit similar to that of its predecessor Red Magic 2 which launched about 4 months ago. However, Red Magic 3 comes with some new elements added giving it a magnificent look. 

The Red Magic 3 features a mesh-like design inside its V-shaped elements on its back, which wasn’t present before. It also features an RGB LED strip connecting both the ends of the back panel. Also, there is a hexagonal fingerprint scanner attached at the back panel. Red Magic 3 carries a huge 5,000mAh battery making it bulky and quite heavy.

Functional buttons on Nubia Red Magic 3 are placed in such a manner that they are easier accessible. On the right of the body, the power and volume buttons are placed. There are also two capacitive buttons on the right side that act as shoulder buttons when holding the phone in landscape mode. These buttons are recessed into the Red Magic 3’s frame making them easy to hit when gaming.

Just above the volume button, there is a vent for the internal fan which is the first we have seen in any gaming phone. This internal fan is coupled with liquid cooling to help the processor perform at its best during intense gaming sessions. There is also an air intake vent on the back panel of the smartphone, which sits in between the camera and the fingerprint scanner.

On the left of the body, you’ll find a two-position slider to switch the phone into gaming mode. Apart from this, the SIM-tray along with pogo pin connectors also sits at the left of the body. These pogo pin connectors can be used to connect to a dock accessory which is unfortunately not included in the box. At the bottom of the panel, there placed a USB Type-C port, and it also has a 3.5mm audio jack at the top. Nubia Red Magic 3 comes with a front-firing stereo speaker setup with a very thin speaker grill.

Now coming to the display, the Red Magic 3 features a huge 6.65-inch FullHD (2340 x 1080 pixels) Super AMOLED display with a fast 90Hz refresh rate and 19.5:9 aspect ratio. You are free to choose between 60Hz and 90Hz or you can let the device adjust the refresh rate accordingly. The Red Magic 3 can be tweaked a maximum of 430 nits of brightness which is bright enough for use outdoors. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection to protect it from accidental drops and minor scratches.

Specifications and Software

Like most of the gaming smartphones, Nubia Red Magic 3 also bundles the best possible hardware onboard. The Red Magic 3 is powered by the most powerful processor available in the market, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC which is an octa-core processor based on the 7nm fabrication process. It has four Kryo 485 Gold cores, out of which three are clocked at 2.42GHz and one is clocked higher at 2.84GHz. There are also four Kryo 485 Silver cores clocked at 1.8GHz. There is an integrated Adreno 640 GPU to handle graphics.

The Red Magic 3 is available in two variants, one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the other with 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage. The base variant is priced at Rs. 35,999 while the higher one is priced at Rs. 46,999. This smartphone comes in three color variants. The base variant is available in Black or Red, while the higher one is available only in Camo finish. This phone uses UFS 2.1 storage, which isn’t as fast as the UFS 3.0 storage that the OnePlus 7 siblings use.

Connectivity options on the Nubia Red Magic 3 include dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, four satellite navigation systems, 4G, and VoLTE. The pogo pin connectors on the left side of the phone can be used to connect a gaming dock.

On the software end, Nubia Red Magic 3 runs on stock Android 9 Pie with the March 2019 security patch. It features clean and immersive UI that makes it easier for the user to carry out multi-tasking and other simple operations. However, bits of the UI wasn’t polished and some of the text had not been translated from Chinese. The UI comes with a couple of customizations like controls for the RGB light strip. You can customize it for different scenarios such as incoming calls, charging, and notifications. 

Like most of the smartphones today, Red Magic 3 comes with a dedicated Game Space mode which is made especially for gaming. One can add apps and games you want to use when in this mode. This can only be triggered manually by switching the physical game switch on the side of the phone.


Performance, Camera and Battery Life

While going up for a gaming phone, we all use to expect to get blazing performance from the smartphone. Well, Red Magic 3 feeds your hunger for the performance. With octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, the Red Magic 3 gives an amazing performance. With 8GB of RAM in our review set, we haven’t encountered with any lag issue even after running a couple of huge applications in the background.

While this is a gaming phone, we were much excited to charge up its gaming performance. We played PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends on the Nubia Red Magic 3. PUBG Mobile defaulted to the High preset and ran without any hint of lag. We went to the graphics settings of the game and bumped the quality up to HDR and frame rate to Ultra. The Red Magic 3 could still run PUBG mobile at these settings without any issues.

The 90Hz display on the Red Magic 3 does make a difference when playing games that support it. We played Hill Climb Racing 2, which is among a handful of games with support for high refresh rates. It resulted in a smooth and fluid experience when playing at 90Hz.

Game Space plays an important role while playing games on this phone. It has a feature called 4D Shock that enables haptic feedback while playing supported games including PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9. Game Space also lets you block incoming calls and messages to ensure that you aren’t disturbed while playing a game, and disables the navigation buttons when gaming.

The shoulder triggers also help a lot while playing games on this phone and make us to boost our in-game performance. We could depend more on the triggers without having to move our fingers on the display, helping us reduce our reaction time

The Nubia Red Magic 3 is the first smartphone that comes with an internal fan, and it does make a difference while gaming. We played PUBG Mobile with and without the fan and observed that the device ran cooler when the fan was on.

In the camera department, the Red Magic 3 comes with a  single rear camera which has a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor. It has an f/1.7 aperture and 0.8-micron pixel size. It comes with 8K recording and world’s first 1920 fps Super Slo-mo recording. For selfies, this phone has a 16-megapixel shooter with an f/2.0 aperture. The camera setup is quite basic for the asking price as compared to what we get today in other smartphones in this range.

Talking first about the rear camera, the 48-megapixel rear camera takes good shots in the daylight with pretty good details and textures. In the default mode, the phone takes photos at 12-megapixel resolution. You can use the full 48-megapixels by changing the resolution in the camera settings, however, HDR functionality is missing at this resolution.

The thing which hurts us the most is the camera app bundled with this phone. Although it offers a couple of good features like Pro, Pretty, MultiExposure, LightDraw, Electronic Aperture, Clone, and Time-Lapse modes, this phone misses one of the most important features, Portrait mode. There’s also no dedicated Night mode.

However, the camera delivers good performance, especially during daylight. The Red Magic 3 was quick to lock focus when shooting macros and produced a good depth effect. It also managed good macros in low light. Photos taken in low light turned out well. Even with the lack of a dedicated Night mode, the camera could deliver a bright image. The noise was handled well.

The selfie camera also offers decent performance. Selfies had good detail and the phone managed to get the exposure right. Selfies taken in low light were decent and the phone uses a screen flash when required.

There’s an 8K 30fps video recording mode but is currently in beta. You can also record footage at 4K as well as full-HD. However, there is no video stabilization, so, you will encounter shaky footage while video recording. Overall, we can rate the camera to deliver a decent performance. However, if you are looking for a good camera phone, this is not going to be your first choice.

On the other hand, the Red Magic 3 impressed us with its battery performance. It is fuelled by a huge 5,000mAh battery that let this phone run for a complete day or even more than that. In our tests, it lasted for around 22 hours that includes few hours of Gaming, social media for about an hour, some online videos streaming and YouTube and about an hour of music playback which looks fairly good.

Additionally, the Red Magic is capable of 27W fast charging but it only comes with an 18W adapter in the box. The bundled charger managed to get the smartphone to 33 percent in 30 minutes and 65 percent in an hour. Charging it completely took over an hour and a half. Overall, the battery performance in Nubia Red Magic 3 is amazing as we expect from a gaming phone.

Final Verdict

We have seen a couple of smartphones in India launched with Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC. So, you have a vast range of choices to choose in this hardware range. However, Nubia Red Magic 3 comes with some great features dedicated to gaming, especially the internal fan and liquid cooling. The Red Magic 3 has a good HDR display and stereo speakers that go well with it. 

We also like the shoulder triggers which work great for gaming and noticeably improved our experience. However, this phone surely lacks behind in the camera department and need some improvement in that. Nubia should consider adding some of the missing camera features with software updates in the future. It also comes with a huge 5,000mAh battery that offers great performance.

If you spend hours playing games on your smartphone, the Nubia Red Magic 3 could be a good companion. However, if you aren’t primarily focused on gaming phones, you must consider OnePlus 7 to buy at this price range.

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Nubia Red Magic 3

If you spend hours playing games on your smartphone, the Nubia Red Magic 3 could be a good companion. However, if you aren’t primarily focused on gaming phones, you must consider OnePlus 7 to buy at this price range.

  • Design
  • Display
  • Camera
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery

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