The smartphone gaming industry took up in India after the release of PUBG: Mobile and Fortnite, and we do not see it slowing down anytime soon. Smartphone manufacturers like Asus, Black Shark, Nubia jumped on the trend and released smartphones that capitalise on this market. As time progresses, these so called gaming smartphones keep on getting better and more affordable.
Nubia has refreshed its Red Magic 3 gaming smartphone with updated specifications and minor design changes. The new Red Magic 3s claims to be the best gaming smartphone currently available, though that’s a claim everyone makes in this segment. Let’s find out if that is the case with the Red Magic 3s.
Nubia Red Magic 3s specifications: 6.65-inch full HD+ AMOLED Display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor | 8GB/12GB RAM | 128GB/256GB internal storage | 48MP primary camera | 16MP front camera | 5,000mAh battery, fast-charging Type-C port
Nubia Red Magic 3s price: Rs 35,999 for 8GB RAM variant | Rs 47,999 for 12GB RAM
Nubia Red Magic 3s review: Design and Display
Nubia Red Magic 3s is an updated version of the Red Magic 3 launched earlier this year. The device looks quite similar to its predecessor, with the exception of a new design for the air intake valve, which is now bigger. The shoulder triggers are now black with a matte paint coat.
Other than this everything, including the aluminium build, the RGB LED strip and the Nubia lamp stay unchanged. The company has not cut down on the weight of the device, which still feels quite heavy.
Red Magic 3S still sports the same 6.65-inch full HD+ AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 90Hz, though it has HDR support now. The display provides bright, punchy images, thus making consumption of media an excellent experience. The 90Hz refresh rate does make the overall UI look quite smooth.
Nubia’s 240Hz touch response rate does come handy, considering my response time in games like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile increased significantly, thus granting me more kills and better saves. An issue with my unit was that the auto brightness sensor did not work aptly. But after Nubia changed the unit, I didn’t face the problem.
Nubia Red Magic 3s review: Performance and Gaming
The new Red Magic 3s comes with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor paired with the faster UFS 3.0 storage. Yes, Nubia Red Magic 3s is a smartphone, which can play all of the graphic intensive games at the highest frame rates at the highest settings with ease.
This time around is that the fan is actually able to keep the heating in check during long hours, unlike the Red Magic 3. Though the phone does get warm after an hour of continuous gameplay, it also does not thermal throttle, or get too hot to hold. The shoulder triggers are fully customisable and make gaming much easier.
But I noticed that my gaming experience did not differ much from what it was with the Red Magic 3. In general performance, not much has changed since the Red Magic 3, but the Nubia Red Magic 3s still does manage to bring a smile over my face whenever I game on it.
Nubia Red Magic 3s review: Software
Nubia Red Magic 3s runs Google’s Android 9.0 Pie operating system with its own launcher on top. I did not notice any difference inside of the software from its predecessor. It is a good thing that Nubia has tried to maintain a near stock UI, with just a few customisations here and there.
The customisations start showing when you flip the physical Game Boost switch and get inside of the Game Space 2.1 mode. After shifting into the Game Space you will get a new launcher, in which you can add apps and games. Inside this mode, you also get a lot of settings for a good gaming experience. These settings range from choosing the display refresh rate to adjusting the fan speed to the 4D shock motor calibration and more. With the software of the Red Magic 3s, the company has followed the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix philosophy.
Nubia Red Magic 3s review: Battery
The Nubia Red Magic 3s comes with a massive 5,000mAh battery with support for an 18W fast charger. This might be enough for regular users, but for gamers, intense games like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, take up a lot of resources, which in turn drains the battery at full speed.
The device could easily last an avid gamer for around a full day with around an average of four hours of intense gaming and a few hours of content consumption. If you do not game as much, the device can easily provide you around two to three days of battery life. On the days I did not game much and used the phone to make calls, browse social media, watch YouTube or Netflix, I found out that the battery left at the end of the day was around 55 per cent, which if I didn’t charge the device would easily last me through the next day.
Nubia has bundled an 18W fast charger along with the device. For a full charge, I had to keep the device plugged in for around 1 hour 45 minutes. I did notice one discrepancy, which was after charging to 80 per cent the charging speeds got extremely slow. The device took around an hour to get to around 80 per cent, after which it took 45 whole minutes to get to 100 per cent.
Nubia Red Magic 3s review: Cameras
The Red Magic 3s also comes with a single 48MP sensor from Sony. Even though I liked the Red Magic 3’s camera a lot, it is not the case for the 3S. Overall, I found the images that were taken a bit colour inaccurate, and lacked vibrancy. The images tended to lose focus around the edges, though they were sharp from the centre. One thing that managed to impress me a lot was its built-in night mode. The images I took in the night mode came out crisp and vibrant.
Nubia with its Red Magic 3 became one of the only smartphones that let users record videos in 8K resolution, same is the case with the 3s. The mode still records at 15 fps. Keep in mind that you need ample amount of light while taking 8K footage on the Red Magic 3s, or else it will give you very grainy footage. The front camera images come out with decent colour accuracy and are vibrant.
Nubia Red Magic 3s review: Verdict
The Nubia Red Magic 3s is a good mid-year refresh, but lacks that special wow factor. As of now, there is a lot of competition in this segment, all priced in a similar bracket. The Asus ROG Phone II is a prime example of a gaming phone, which stands out.
I would say that you either look at other smartphone players in the market and then make an informed decision before buying the Red Magic 3S. But if you want you features like a physical fan, it would make sense to hold on a bit for the Nubia Red Magic 4, which will most probably bring a new take on the gaming smartphone.