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Nubia’s Red Magic smartphone is designed for gaming, down to the glowing LEDs on the back

Nubia’s Red Magic smartphone is designed for gaming, down to the glowing LEDs on the back


Finally, a gaming phone with some proper lighting

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The Red Magic is the new phone from Nubia (a ZTE sub-brand in China), and it’s built for gaming. But you probably didn’t need me to tell you that. The Red Magic is practically screaming “extreme gamer,” with its sharp, hexagonal cutouts for the camera and fingerprint sensor, aggressively red vents and details, and the glowing LED strip on the back, via Liliputing.

Oddly, the specs on the Red Magic aren’t actually quite in line with what you’d expect from a mobile gaming powerhouse. The 6-inch, 2160 x 1080 pixel display is up there, but it’s not a 120Hz panel like Razer offers, and it uses last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor instead of the newer Snapdragon 845.

The Red Magic is practically screaming “EXTREME GAMER”

The rest of the phone is pretty standard for a mid- to high-end Android phone, too: up to 8GB of RAM and up to 128GB storage on the high-end model (along with a cheaper 6GB RAM and 64GB of storage model). Camera-wise, there’s a 24-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing lens. And rounding things out on the hardware side of things is an impressively large 3,800mAh battery, which should help with power-hungry games. Nubia also claims that it’ll be using its “GameBoost” software to offer better performance. (This is probably where the gaming focus comes in.)

Between last year’s Razer Phone, the Xiaomi-backed Black Shark, and now the Nubia Red Magic, it’s safe to say that gaming phones are having a moment. And while a smartphone dedicated to gaming might not make a ton of sense to American users — after all, how much processing power do you need to play Candy Crush or Clash of Clans? — the Nubia Red Magic is meant more for markets like China. The Chinese market is where mobile MOBAs are extremely popular, and having a phone that focuses on gaming makes a lot of sense in that context. And even outside of China, the successful mobile ports of games like PUBG and Fortnite is starting to change the conversation about what phone games can accomplish.

Preorders open in China on April 25th, starting at 2,499 yuan (roughly $397) for the base mode, and 2,999 yuan (around $477) for the high-end version. Nubia is also planning an Indiegogo campaign for the 26th, which will offer the phone starting at an early bird price of $399.