Nubia Red Magic 6R review: affordable and powerful gaming phone

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Gaming phones have really matured in recent years, with ASUS ‘ROG, Lenovo’s Legion, Xiaomi’s Black Shark, and Nubia’s RedMagic all delivering powerful and compelling handsets for gamers. It is even said that Oppo will join the party soon. Here in the United States, RedMagic is the champion in gaming phone value, and this year’s $ 599 RedMagic 6 is no exception. It essentially updates last year’s $ 579 RedMagic 5G with a 165Hz display and a Snapdragon 888.

That’s all well and good, but what caught our attention recently is the $ 499 RedMagic 6R – a super affordable Snapdragon 888 handset with a 144Hz display and capacitive shoulder buttons that looks more like a product. standard flagship than a phone targeting gamers. While it is losing some of that hardcore gaming pedigree, it is gaining more accessible design and better cameras. At $ 499, it’s also the cheapest Snapdragon 888 phone officially available in the United States.

So what does the RedMagic 6R look like as a gaming phone? What is it as an affordable flagship product? Is it the best of both worlds or is it just full of compromises? Read our full review to find out.

RedMagic 6R material and design

Design-wise, the RedMagic 6R is sort of a hybrid between a modern flagship and a gaming handset. The overall look of our Mercury Silver review unit combines elements of the Morning Mist (silver) OnePlus 9 Pro (on the back) and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (on the front), with a flat, centered OLED display at the top, silver ringed punch hole for the selfie camera (16MP). Other colors include Cosmos Black and Light Blue.

It’s a big phone (6.67 inch screen, 163 x 75.3 x 7.8mm, 186g), but it’s not as massive as the RedMagic 6 (6.8 inch screen, 169 , 9 x 77.2 x 9.7 mm, 220 g). Then again, the RedMagic 6R lacks the built-in fan, uninterrupted display, stereo speakers, and headphone jack of its big brother. In addition, it replaces the 165 Hz screen of the RedMagic 6 with a 144 Hz panel and its 5050 mAh battery against a 4200 mAh cell.

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RedMagic 6 (L) vs. RedMagic 6R (R)

As it tries to pass itself off as an ordinary flagship, the RedMagic 6R abandons its sibling’s stronger ‘designed-for-gamers’ aesthetic, rear RGB light strip and light-up logo, as well as display bezels. oversized upper and lower. We realize this is subjective, but we think these improvements are welcome. The 400Hz capacitive trigger buttons of the RedMagic 6 however remain, as well as the high-quality glass and aluminum construction.

That being said, the RedMagic 6R doesn’t completely blend into the flagship landscape. Reflective accents in the rear window (similar to circuit board traces) and a unique camera body shape (reminiscent of a tabbed backrest) help it stand out a bit, without being too high. Overall, we really like this design. It looks unique but familiar, and feels great in hand. The refined materials are just the icing on the cake.

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As for the controls and ports, you’ll find the volume rocker and on / off key on the right side, flanked by two black capacitive shoulder buttons on either end. The mono speaker, main mic, USB Type-C (USB 3.0) port, and dual SIM tray are all located along the bottom edge. A secondary mic lives on the top edge, and there is nothing on the left side but antenna bands. The top and bottom edges are concave which is a nice detail.

The RedMagic 6R has four rear shooters (64MP main, 8MP ultralarge, 5MP macro and 2MP deep) which are arranged in an inverted “L” next to a dual LED flash inside the hump of the device. Photo. For those who matter, he’s one more shooter than his brother. While this handset doesn’t have an IP rating, it also doesn’t have openings for a fan, and there’s a gasket around the SIM tray, so we think it’s at least splash proof. .

Watch our unboxing video before moving on to specs …

RedMagic 6R
Specifications and Features
5G processing and platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, Integrated Snapdragon X60 5G modem
Display 6.67 “FHD + AMOLED, resolution 2400×1080, 144Hz
Memory 8/12 GB LPDDR5
Storage room 128/256 GB UFS 3.1, no microSD
Rear cameras Main PDAF 64MP f / 1.8 – Ultra-wide 8MP f / 2.2 120º – Macro 5MP f / 2.4 – Depth 2MP f / 2.4
Front cameras 16MP f / 2.5
Video recording Up to 8K @ 30fps, 4K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 1080p slow motion
Drums 4200mAh, 30W wired charging, no wireless charging
Operating system Android 11 with RedMagic OS v4.0
Dimensions 163×75.3×7.8mm
Weight 186 grams
Connectivity 802.11ax 6th Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2 + LE, NFC, USB-C, LTE, sub-6 GHz 5G
Colors Mercury Silver, Cosmos Black, Light Blue
Price Find the RedMagic 6R @ Amazon, starting at $ 499

RedMagic 6R display quality

Want a 144Hz display for just $ 499? The RedMagic 6R is your ticket. It packs a gorgeous 6.67-inch (2400 x 1080 pixels, 395 ppi) 10-bit FHD + AMOLED display with 20: 9 aspect ratio and small bezels all around. And while the 144Hz refresh rate is the star of the show, there are options for 120, 90, and 60Hz as well. The top-centered, silver-rimmed punch hole isn’t ideal for gaming. but we prefer it to the wider top and bottom frames.
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As you would expect from a modern AMOLED panel, this display offers vivid colors, deep blacks, and solid viewing angles. While it’s not as bright as today’s best displays (peaking at 770 nits), it’s still easy to read in direct sunlight. Plus, the 360Hz touch sample rate makes it well suited for gaming. Overall, it’s a great display, especially at this price point.

RedMagic 6R camera performance and image quality

To date, imagery has not been RedMagic’s goal. Its gaming phones have always offered decent camera hardware, but poor image processing and lackluster software. And the poor results speak for themselves. The RedMagic 6R attempts to address this with the company’s best camera system to date, which includes Sony’s high-performance 64MP IMX 682 Quad Bayer main sensor, as well as updated macro and selfie cameras.

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As such, you will find this 64MP f / 1.8 0.8 micron primary shooter (without OIS), an 8MP f / 2.2 1.12 micron 120 degree ultra wide macro lens, 5MP f / 2.4 (without AF) and 2MP f / 2.4 depth sensor, plus a 16MP f / 2.5 1.0 micron selfie camera. Compare that with the RedMagic 6, which doesn’t have a depth sensor, and mounts on more basic 2MP macro and 8MP selfie cameras. So this is a better setup, but what about the results?

Before getting to the heart of the matter, let’s briefly discuss the interface and the different shooting modes. Unfortunately, the RedMagic 6R inherits the company’s existing camera app, which doesn’t appear to have changed from last year’s RedMagic 5G, and is pretty much the same as the RedMagic 6. We find it unintuitive and somewhat disorganized. For example, you need to select pro (manual) mode to use the ultra wide – it’s just not available in automatic mode. And there are other weird nuances to deal with as well.

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RedMagic 6R main camera

While there are a plethora of modes available, it’s hard to figure out all of them. Some (like the macro) are buried in the “Camera Family” menu. Others (like 64MP mode) lurk in the settings. There are two manual modes, pro and DNG; the latter produces RAW images and only supports the primary shooter. Also, there is help available for some modes, but not for others, so you have to guess how to use some of them.

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Ultra-wide RedMagic 6R
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RedMagic 6R main camera (2x zoom)
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RedMagic 6R main camera (5x zoom)

Shooting modes include portrait, night, pro (manual), panorama, macro, time-lapse (1080p 30fps) and slow motion (1080p 240fps, 720p 480/960 / 1920fps) to name but the most significant. The RedMagic 6R captures video (with stereo audio) up to 8k 30fps (unstabilized) or 4k 60fps (stabilized) with the primary shooter, and achieves 1080p 30fps (unstabilized) with the selfie camera. Video recording is not available with ultra-wide or macro.

Photos taken with the RedMagic 6R are certainly better than anything we took with older RedMagic gaming handsets, but that’s a pretty low bar. It also slightly exceeds its similarly equipped sibling, the RedMagic 6. Basically, the resulting photos remind us of images we captured with similarly priced Moto phones – they are usable, but not spectacular. In other words, there is still room for improvement.

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RedMagic 6R main camera (auto)
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RedMagic 6R main camera (night mode)

Daytime shots are generally decent, although colors are somewhat subdued and contrast is limited. Exposure and white balance are mostly accurate, dynamic range is acceptable, and detail is generally abundant. Since the primary lens lacks OIS, low-light and zoomed images are often smoother than expected. Night mode obviously helps, but it’s only available on the main shooter, which is disappointing for a $ 499 handset.

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RedMagic 6R macro
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RedMagic 6R selfie camera (portrait mode)

And really, most of these issues are due to RedMagic’s poor image processing. We already know that Sony’s 64MP IMX 682, which produces 16MP images by grouping (combining) four-pixel clusters into one, isn’t the limiting factor here. In fact, you can fix most of these shortcomings by installing one of the many unofficial Google Camera APKs available for non-Pixel phones. But it is not a user-friendly solution.

Finally, the ultra-wide and selfie cameras provide passable results, but the lack of AF makes macro difficult to use. As for video recording, everything is fine – just avoid 8k 30fps mode as it is not stabilized. Overall, the shooters of the RedMagic 6R perform more like those in a mid-range handset than an affordable flagship.

Next step: audio, performance and battery life …


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