nubia Red Magic 5S in for review

Ivan, 16 August 2020

We had the nubia Red Magic 5G in the office back in April and found it to be great value for money in our review. But it's now time to see how its successor has improved on it and where it stands against the H2 2020 competition.

So, what has nubia improved with the Red Magic 5S? Before we answer in more detail, let's do an unboxing.

The nubia Red Magic 5G had a 55W charger in the box, while our sample of the Red Magic 5S brings a measly by comparison 18W unit. To partially offset that there's a complimentary case, which was missing in the Red Magic 5G box.

nubia Red Magic 5S in for review

As to those differences between the nubia Red Magic 5S and its predecessor - we expected the new phone to upgrade the Snapdragon 865 to an 865+, but it hasn't, the nubia Red Magic 5S still uses a Snapdragon 865. It's not the end of the world as the 865+ is only good for about 10% boost in CPU and GPU performance.

Instead for the Red Magic 5S, nubia has focused on further improving cooling and has plated the vapor chamber inside the phone with silver for improved conductivity. This should bring a theoretical 5% improvement in cooling, which might count for more than theoretical maximum power in those prolonged gaming sessions.

The capacitive shoulder triggers have an improved touch sampling response rate - 320Hz (up from 300Hz).

The rest of the nubia Red Magic 5S is identical to the 5G and still very much cutting edge for a gaming phone. The display is a 6.65-inch AMOLED with up to 144Hz refresh rate and a touch sampling rate of 240Hz for minimizing input lag. You still get three fixed refresh rates - 60Hz, 90Hz and full-on 144Hz with no Auto option. Still, the display on the nubia Red Magic 5S is top notch and one of the few to go to 144Hz.

Gaming on the nubia Red Magic 5S Gaming on the nubia Red Magic 5S
Gaming on the nubia Red Magic 5S

We weren't ecstatic about the triple camera system on the nubia Red Magic 5G and the hardware has remained unchanged on the Red Magic 5S. It's has a 64MP Quad-Bayer main sensor with two additional snappers - an 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro. Our review will show if nubia made adjustments to the processing as hardware is only half of the story.

nubia Red Magic 5S in for review

Battery life was okay on the nubia Red Magic 5S' predecessor and we expect no less from new phone. In 144Hz we got an endurance rating of 83 hours but a much-improved 102 hours in 60Hz. It will be interesting to see if the numbers will improve on the nubia Red Magic 5S.

nubia Red Magic 5S in for review

Nubia is expected to launch the Red Magic 5S outside of China the next month. By that point our review should be ready, helping you make the decision if forking out your hard earned cash for it is a smart decision.


Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 18 Aug 2020
  • 7sq

You could ask them what happened to the promised 8k 30fps and pro mode on the Red Magic 3, 3s, 5G? Better 8k is needed on flagships, it"s pretty pathetic. That's the sort of thing a high performance flagship does. If they want to put the...

  • Loremz
  • 18 Aug 2020
  • I@H

Yo am jealous right now im using nubia red magic

  • L973
  • 17 Aug 2020
  • nC4

I'm aware the audio test has been discontinued but could you please let know whether the annoying permanent equalizer "feature" was removed, or made optional. I'd be very grateful.

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