In the world of smartphones, calm reigns: we are used to good cameras, decent performance and glass bodies. But against the background of the general pacification, various interesting gaming devices stand out. Curious technical solutions, bold design techniques and similar experiments cause surprise and emotions. We tested the RedMagic 5S from ZTE – a representative of such a small but original class of smartphones.

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Nubia RedMagic 5S

RedMagic 5S is Beautiful

In addition to the “gaming” filling, the phone stands out for its original appearance. It’s big, metallic and solid. The matte silver body is adorned with a branded nameplate and pattern. The front and back of the smartphone are made of Gorilla Glass. There is a matte metal frame on the sides: the phone does not get dirty, does not get scratched – perhaps, it could not be more practical.

The smartphone weighs more than 200 grams, but it does not feel overly massive. Large is yes, but not huge. If you put the phone in a complete silicone case, then RedMagic 5S will add in size due to the protruding corners. It looks peculiar, but its own design solutions dominate the world of gaming devices.

A sub-screen fingerprint scanner is responsible for the security of data in the phone. Occasionally there are erroneous alarms. The reaction speed is not the highest. Alternatively, the scanner can be supplemented with very fast but not the safest face unlock through the front camera.

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RedMagic 5S: Display

The top-end phone has a screen of a similar level. The display specs are impressive, with a solid 6.65 inches with a 1080 × 2340 resolution and 144 Hz refresh rate – on par with gaming monitors. Naturally, this is a juicy AMOLED. There is support for DCI-P3. The bezels on the screen’s sides are small, but symmetrical indents are noticeable at the top and bottom. This was done on purpose: to avoid erroneous actions when you play on the phone and hold it with both hands.

The smartphone is distinguished by super-smooth animation, a juicy picture and a decent margin of brightness: up to 600 nits under the sun is declared. The default is “normal” colour mode. I liked it more than the other two. As an option, there is a “bright” mode, but there the colours are oversaturated, and if you use “natural”, the image becomes faded.

For notifications about new events, you can use both the Always-On Display mode with a bunch of additional settings and nice animation, as well as a rare light indicator in our time.

RedMagic 5S is Power Monster

The smartphone is positioned as a gaming one, which means that it stands out against the general background of top-end phones and falls into the league of gaming devices, where so far, the choice is minimal. With the design of the gaming RedMagic 5S from ZTE, everything is in order. The characteristics are also what you need: 8 GB of fast LPDDR5 RAM, 128 GB of built-in UFS 3.1, as well as a system-on-chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 865.

It’s still a great processor, and even with the more recent Snapdragon 888, it looks great, especially considering the price-performance ratio. Its results will appeal to both benchmark fans and ordinary fans of games “at maximum speed”. The chipset will remain relevant for the next couple of years, and there will be no performance issues at all.

Cooling works efficiently: on one side of the case, the air is blown in through the slots, and on the other side, it exists. The cooler’s usefulness can be clearly evaluated by throttling testing: in normal mode, the performance drops slightly, but when using the game mode, the drawdown is insignificant. The flip side of the coin is the noisy fan operation, but gamers are unlikely to be surprised.

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Another thing is that under load, the RedMagic 5S from ZTE heats up decently, and even with active cooling, it gets hot. In theory, additional external cooling will help cool the phone. It is connected through a special contact pad on the side.

The smartphone has a separate lever on the body, which is highlighted in red. It is needed to activate the game mode with additional settings. Of the game mode’s interesting features, I would like to note the customizable operation of touch triggers on the side of the case, depending on the game. For example, in one game, you can assign a shot, in another – acceleration.

You can also enable or disable active cooling, record what is happening on the screen, change the screen refresh rate and brightness level, and block annoying notifications. In general, everything that can change a gamer’s feeling during the game has been added here.

The gaming smartphone not only works fast but also plays music soundly. It has stereo speakers with decent headroom and a hint of bass. If you do not turn it on at maximum volume, the sound quality is excellent. Even the 3.5 mm jack in the smartphone was retained for connecting wired headphones.

Some Sample pictures from RedMagic 5S

The cameras in this phone are not the main thing. Nevertheless, we will not miss this point in the review.

Here we get a main 64-megapixel camera with the Sony IMX686 module popular among flagships, an auxiliary 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle and a basic 2-megapixel camera for macro shooting. The front camera is 8 megapixels, quite ordinary. You can evaluate the examples below.

Ultra wide-angle camera
Main camera
Low-light photography

RedMagic 5S: Battery and Connectivity

The operating time directly depends on your gaming activity: without entertainment, charging is enough for a day of using the smartphone. But with games, you can plant it in more than three hours. Considering the large screen and 144 Hz frequency, this is an adequate result for a device with a 4500 mAh battery.

The cable for charging the phone connects via Type-C at the bottom to get in the way during the game. An 18W charger is included, but support for the much more powerful 55W charging is also included. In this case, the unit must be purchased separately. By the way, the cooler in the smartphone starts up while charging. To sleep in silence, the fan can be turned off in the settings.

RedMagic 5S Price

Nubia RedMagic 5s starts from $660 on Amazon. You can also get one of the branded accessories as a gift:

  • RedMagic 5s E-sports Handle gamepad with RedMagic 5s Pro-Handle X-shaped design for easy control;
  • RedMagic 5s Wireless Gaming Earphones;
  • RedMagic 5s Gaming Earphones.

Conclusion: Should you buy Nubia RedMagic 5S?

RedMagic 5s from ZTE is an excellent option for fans of mobile gaming. We get top performance and gaming accessories as a gift for an advanced middle school student’s price. And if you like to play on your phone or want maximum performance without overpayments, here is a desirable option.

Nubia RedMagic 5S

RedMagic 5S: Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865;
  • OS: Android 10;
  • Display: 6.65 inches, AMOLED, 1080 × 2340, 144 Hz, DCI-P3;
  • Camera: 64/8/2 Mp, front 8 Mp;
  • Battery: 4500 mAh, fast charging 18 W;
  • Memory: 8 GB of operational LPDDR5 and 128 GB of UFS 3.1;
  • Communication: Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, USB Type-C, 3.5 mm;
  • Additional features: stereo speakers, liquid cooling, sub-screen fingerprint scanner, dual microphone;
  • Dimensions: 168.56 x 78 x 9.75mm;
  • Weight: 220 g.

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