Nubia Red Magic 3 vs Black Shark 2: Mobile games like PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, Asphalt 9: Legends are increasing in popularity by the day and smartphone manufacturers like Nubia and Black Shark want to cash in on the trend. Both of these companies have recently launched their latest gaming smartphones in India, dubbed Nubia Red Magic 3 and Black Shark 2.
Both smartphones come with flagship grade specifications and a design that is unique to gaming devices. They also come with a number of gaming-focused features to improve this particular aspect of the phone’s performance. We compare the Nubia Red Magic 3 against Black Shark 2 and find out which is the right pick.
Nubia Red Magic 3 vs Black Shark 2: Price
Both of these smartphones were recently launched in India and are available exclusively on Flipkart. The Nubia Red Magic 3 is priced at Rs 35,999 for the 8GB RAM/128GB storage variant and at Rs 46,999 for the 12GB RAM/256GB storage variant. It will go on sale starting June 27.
The Black Shark 2 has been made available in two RAM/internal storage variants: 6GB RAM/128GB storage, which will cost Rs 39,999 and a 12GB RAM/256GB storage variant, which is priced at Rs 49,999.
Nubia Red Magic 3 vs Black Shark 2: Design
Both the Red Magic 3 and the Black Shark 2 come with designs which will appeal to gamers. Both have RGB lights at the back, but are also quite heavy from today’s standards and weigh over 200 grams. However, they do have subtle differences, which set them apart.
Nubia Red Magic 3 utilises a full metal build with cutouts in the body for the physical fan and the RGB light strip. Whereas, the Black Shark 2 features a metal and glass body, which looks much more elegant, but is also more fragile. Neither phone comes with IP certification for dust or water resistance, which is a shame.
The Black Shark 2 has a crucial miss: there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, and the Red Magic 3 offers this. For gamers, the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack could pose a big problem. Gaming requires immediate responses, which only wired headphones can provide at the moment. Black Shark should seriously consider adding a 3.5 mm headphone jack to its next smartphone.
Still Black Shark 2 feels much sturdier in hands due to its compact form factor, use of heavy metals and the RGB lighting is much more elegant looking.
Nubia Red Magic 3 vs Black Shark 2: Display
Nubia Red Magic 3 sports a 6.65-inch full HD+ HDR AMOLED display with a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels. The Black Shark 2 sports a 6.39-inch full HD+ AMOLED display with a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels. The Red Magic 3 has an upper hand considering it has a refresh rate of 90 Hz, which will ensure smoother animation while gaming, a crucial aspect for a phone aimed at mobile gaming.
Both the devices also come with a touch response rate of 240Hz, which means the touchscreen has a reduced input latency and an increased response time. This allows better performance at any sort of FPS for racing games.
One positive feature in both the smartphones is that they don’t want to push the limits of the screen-to-body ratio, and continue with an upper and the lower bezel. I appreciate it because keeping the upper and the lower bezels on the phones, provides an area to hold the phone while gaming. However, I was not happy with the brightness levels that the Black Shark 2 and preferred the Red Magic 3 over it.
One feature where the Black Shark 2 beats the Nubia Red Magic 3 hands down was the vibrations. Black Shark is using a feature called Magic Touch, which is similar to Apple’s 3D Touch technology. And the vibrations during gameplay were extremely precise and did not feel haywire like the Red Magic 3.
Nubia Red Magic 3 vs Black Shark 2: Software
Not much to complain about here, both the devices run Google’s Android 9.0 Pie operating system with their own skins on top. The devices have kept a near stock look, which is a positive, but Nubia has added its own icon pack, which looks a bit childish.
These devices also come with their own game modes, which can be activated by specific hardware buttons on the device itself. Black Shark calls its gaming mode Shark Space and Nubia calls its gaming mode the Game Space. Both modes look quite similar and have interesting features that improve the gaming experience. Nubia’s gaming mode also consists of controls for the internal fan and the RGB strip on the back.
Overall, I feel both devices perform well in the software department. However, in the gaming modes, I feel that Shark Space is more refined and provides for a smoother gaming experience.
Nubia Red Magic 3 vs Black Shark 2: Performance
Both phones are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor paired with an Adreno 640 GPU. So the performance on paper lies similar, however, it is the optimisations that a company makes with its software that makes the difference.
But surprisingly, the performance remains similar in all the cases, with the exception of my Red Magic 3 getting a bit hot with long gaming sessions, while the Black Shark 2 kept its cool. This was interesting given Black Shark 2 consists of only a liquid cooling mechanism, while the Red Magic 3 comes with an actual fan paired with a liquid cooling mechanism.
Both the devices run all the heavy hitter games like PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9: Legends, Fortnite, Pokemon Go, Shadowgun Legends and more without any issues. During gameplay, the framerates and the latency remained the same. But I would say that the touch response was faster on the Black Shark 2, whereas, the display smoothness was better on the Red Magic 3.
The Black Shark 2 also comes with a Ludicrous Mode, which is located in the game dock inside of the Shark Space mode. When enabled I could see a rise in the framerates and a decrease in latency. But it also comes with the problem of the device getting too hot.
During gameplay, I also found Nubia’s hair triggers very useful. I would use the left one to reload and the right one to shoot, thus improving my response times. In racing games, I would use the left one for braking and the right one for boost. I would really want to see Black Shark add it into their next generation smartphone.
It should be noted that the Black Shark 2 review unit I had came with only 6GB RAM, which was pitted against Red Magic 3’s 8GB RAM variant. However, the experience remained the same.
Nubia Red Magic 3 vs Black Shark 2: Cameras
Red Magic 3 and Black Shark 2 both come with a 48MP primary sensor on the back. The Red Magic 3 comes with a single camera module on the back, whereas, the Black Shark 2 consists of a secondary sensor too. Both the devices take good photos from the rear camera and I liked both their outputs.
Coming to the video side, Black Shark 2 can record 4K resolution videos at 30 frames per second (fps). The Nubia Red Magic 3, on the other hand, can record videos in 8K resolution at 15fps.
Overall, I prefer the image and video output of the Black Shark 2 over the Red Magic 3. But cameras don’t matter when it comes to gaming, which is these smartphones USP. The front cameras, perform very similarly and I did not see much differences. The images came out with decent focus and were quite colour accurate.
Nubia Red Magic 3 vs Black Shark 2: Battery
Red Magic 3 is backed by a 5,000mAh and the Black Shark 2 is powered by a 4,000mAh battery, both of them support 27W fast charging. During my review of the devices, I found that the Red Magic 3 lasted more than a day on a single charge with at least two to three hours of heavy gaming every day. Whereas, the Black Shark 2 also lasted for more than a day in similar instances. Both the devices were able to charge fully under one and a half hour with the included chargers.
Nubia Red Magic 3 vs Black Shark 2: Conclusion
Overall, both the devices perform well and outperform many other smartphones in this price range. Both smartphones have their own sets of pros and cons, but they have similar gaming performance. If you want a gaming phone, it will boil down to personal choices. So let me quickly list the pros and cons in both.
The Black Shark 2 is able to beat the Red Magic 3 with a much more premium build, better cameras and sound. But the glass body also makes this more fragile. The lack of a headphone jack is a major con in my view and could be seen as a deal breaker for many gamers.
The Nubia Red Magic 3 has several pros like a cooling fan, a 90Hz display, a 3.5mm headphone jack. But it was heating up quite a lot and that could be a problem for hardcore gamers.
If you pick a device from a gaming perspective, both phones have plenty to offer. Of course, for many users, it will all boil down to price. The Nubia Red Magic 3 (8GB RAM) is Rs 35,999, while the Black Shark 2 (6GB RAM) starts at Rs 39,999. Of course, for many users, it could come down to just one factor: the price.