Redmagic 8S Pro: Gaming phone makes no attempt to blend in with the crowd

Good for gamers, but everyday users may struggle with its size

Redmagic 8S Pro
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Price: €649
Where To Buy: Redmagic

The Redmagic 8S Pro looks a bit different. It is aimed at the gaming market, so is a bit bigger than your average smartphone, with buttons that are geared towards quick access to games hubs and a cooling system to make sure it stays at the right temperature while you play.

And it all looks a bit industrial, with a brushed metal casing. The company hasn’t tried to soften it in any way; the edges are sharp, the bezels are thin. This isn’t a gaming phone trying to blend in; it is deliberately trying to stand out. On both sides of the case you have large exhaust vents for the cooling system, and a quick access button that brings you into the game hub.

There are shoulder trigger buttons, too, which make playing games on the phone a bit easier, and give it a more natural feel as a gaming device.

The screen comes in at a hefty 6.8 inches, putting it among the biggest in the Irish market. It is AMOLED, too, which gives you a sharp display with colour reproduction, and has a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. That means it can cope with fast action, although you can’t get it to go any lower than 60Hz, which is bad news if you want to eke out battery life.


On the inside, you have an overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, and a dedicated gaming chipset. It all works well, with no jitters or slowdown even during the most demanding games. The Ice Cooling system has also been upgraded from Redmagic’s last offering, and does a good job of keeping the handset at manageable temperatures.

Aside from its obvious gaming appeal, there are a couple of good reasons for choosing the Redmagic 8S Pro.

That screen is one big reason. It comes with Gorilla Glass 5, so it will take a bit of abuse, although I wouldn’t recommend testing its resilience to drops. But the screen itself is high quality and sharp, with great colours.

There’s a Hitchcock video mode, too, if you want to try your hand at some arty cinema-style reels

The device also supports fast charging, and the fan kicks in when you are using it to make sure that your device stays cool. That’s not only reassuring for you – heated devices have given more than one smartphone owner cause for concern – but also good for the device and the battery long-term. It can be disconcerting the first time it happens, but once you get used to hearing the sound of the fan, it fades into the background.

The cameras are decent, too, with a Pro mode that gives you control over the essential settings. On the back, you get three camera lenses: a 50-megapixel wide angle, 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle and 2-megapixel macro lens. The wide-angle lens gives good shots, with a decent amount of light. The ultra-wide is a bit softer, but overall the shots are decent.

Night mode works well, too, with only a little noise in the images, although beware of any shake while you are taking photos. You also get more fun modes such as double exposure, cloning and light drawing, or car trails. A macro mode is also tucked away inside this secondary menu, along with one for ID photos, which is handy if not necessarily a daily use. There’s a Hitchcock video mode, too, if you want to try your hand at some arty cinema-style reels.

It is rare to see a phone with the Pro tag that doesn’t include wireless charging

The front facing camera is 16 megapixels, and is located under the screen. That means no notch, nor even a cut-out on the screen to accommodate the camera. That makes this phone great for watching streaming video and gaming, as there is nothing on the display to distract from the content. But you might sacrifice a little on quality here; the photos are not as good as the mid-range Pixel, for example, and images seem a little soft.

However, while there is plenty to love about this phone, inevitably there are also some sacrifices. While wireless charging might not be high on your list of priorities – it has certainly slipped down my list of essentials and into the “nice-to-have” category – it is rare to see a phone with the Pro tag that doesn’t include it.

The more problematic omission for me is the lack of a water resistance rating for the phone. Officially, the Redmagic device can’t be immersed, splashed or otherwise exposed to water at the risk of damaging the device. That may well be due to the vents on the side. You may not be planning on taking the phone into the bath or a pool, but accidents happen, and I’ve heard more than one sorry tale that involved a bag of rice and a hotpress before a phone wound its way to a slow death.


As a gaming phone, the Redmagic 8S Pro performs well. The action is smooth, and the gameplay looks great on the screen. The inclusion of the shoulder triggers makes it a much more natural gaming experience than relying on touchscreen controls.

If you like the industrial look, this phone is right up your street.

Plus the cooling system means you can play for a long time without the phone heating up too much. And the 6000mAh battery will last a decent amount of time before you power up with the fast charger.


The camera can you let you down, with images softer than ideal. No IP rating means you have to be careful with this phone. It is also a little on the large side so one-handed use – sending texts and so on – can be problematic.

Everything else

When the fan kicks in, a circular cut-out on the back reveals some nice lighting effects, but if you put this into a case – as most people will – you are unlikely to notice this particular feature. Also, the phone still includes a headphone jack, which some people will love.


Good for gamers, but everyday users may struggle with its size.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist