Gaming phones have been around for years at this point, but in many ways, they’re just beginning to hit their stride. Early models played it safe, while newer models are much bolder about being gaming-first devices. The RedMagic 6S Pro is a perfect example of this. Not only does it pack some serious punch in the chipset and hardware, but it’s full of gaming features, not to mention style. Let’s take a further look in this review.
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by ZTE. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
Specs & Features
Mobile games are getting more demanding all the time, but fortunately, the RedMagic 6S Pro is spec’d to keep up. The core is the flagship Snapdragon 888+ chipset at the heart of the phone, which uses a 3GHz Kryo 680 CPU and Adreno 660 GPU.
RAM and onboard storage vary depending on which model you pick. Even the base model packs an impressive 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB storage. You can also opt for 16GB RAM and 256GB storage, which is what our review unit came with.
You also get some standard flagship phone features, like an in-display fingerprint reader and a built-in heart rate monitor. These are nice to have, but what makes the RedMagic 6S Pro stand out as a gaming phone?
One major aspect of the RedMagic 6S Pro is its cooling and ventilation, which we’ll look at in the next section. What really makes the RedMagic 6S Pro stand out is the gaming-specific shoulder sensors.
These aren’t buttons – they’re touch-sensitive areas on the right side of the phone. In shooters like Call of Duty Mobile, these provide a massive advantage in terms of control.
Build & Design
The first thing you’ll notice about the RedMagic 6S Pro is the design. Especially with our review model, which came in the Cyborg finish, the exterior is striking, to say the least.
Somewhat reminiscent of a gaming PC, the back of the 6S Pro is partially transparent. This lets you get a good look inside your phone in case you want to admire that Snapdragon 888+.
It also provides a look at the RGB fan inside the phone, assuming it’s running. This is another nod to the gaming PC aesthetic, though it’s far from a cosmetic-only detail.
RedMagic put significant effort into the airflow of the 6S Pro, and the fan is at the heart of it. As we’ll explore in more detail in the Performance portion of this review, the Snapdragon chipset can warm up during intense gaming sections. This cooling system keeps the phone from getting too hot to handle.
OS & Interface
As you might expect, the RedMagic 6S Pro’s operating system and interface lean toward gaming. The operating system is a modified version of Android 11. Much of what you’d expect to find in an Android phone is here, with a flashy skin by RedMagic adding a fun feel.
Of course, RedMagic didn’t just slap on a skin and leave it at that. Multiple game-centric features have been added to the OS, not the least of which is the Game Space.
A red slider on the left side of the phone activates the Game Space, which turns the interface into something more like you’d see on a game console. This software automatically catalogs the games you have installed, letting you launch them all from one place.
Game Space also lets you tweak phone settings to squeeze out the most in-game performance.
The display is one of the hallmark features of the RedMagic 6S Pro. While high refresh rate and variable refresh rate phones are becoming more common, RedMagic has still packed some nice features into the impressive 6.8-inch AMOLED display.
Not content with the already fast 144Hz refresh rate on the RedMagic 5S Pro, the refresh rate has been bumped up to 165Hz on the 6S Pro. I couldn’t really notice a visual difference when using the phone in this fastest mode, but I could definitely feel it in games.
This is why it’s handy that RedMagic has left the refresh rate up to you. If you’re just replying to a few emails and browsing the Web, the 60 Hz rate will help save on battery life. If you’d rather have smoother scrolling, bump it up to 90Hz or 120Hz.
In another gaming feature, the touch sampling rate on the RedMagic 6S Pro is much faster than the display refresh rate. The sampling rate goes up to 720 Hz, meaning lightning-quick response times in games, giving you a leg up on your opponents.
There are two major aspects of the RedMagic 6S Pro worth mentioning when it comes to audio. The first is that it is certified for DTS:X Ultra audio, making it sound just as good as it looks when you’re using your phone to watch movies or play compatible games.
The second aspect is that in addition to the built-in stereo speakers, the RedMagic 6S Pro still has a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. If you have a set of wired headphones you love, this is a big deal.
Performance & Gaming
To put a number on the performance in the RedMagic 6S Pro, we turned to 3DMark – specifically, the Wild Life benchmark that the app suggested when we launched it.
In this case, 3DMark reported that the RedMagic 6S could outperform 96 percent of phones in this specific test. Even now, I’m always stunned to see just how far graphics on smartphones have come. Watching the RedMagic 6S Pro rip through the test at an average frame rate of 35.40 was impressive.
When the benchmark finished, the RedMagic 6S Pro received a score of 5,913. This beat out most other devices that have tackled the same test with lower scores.
Turning to actual games, we ran through Genshin Impact’s large landscapes and a few frantic Call of Duty Mobile matches at Ultra settings. These are both games that ran extremely well on older RedMagic models, so it was no surprise to see how well they ran here.
It may be an older game, but racing through Asphalt 9: Legends set to high quality with 60 FPS mode enabled was just as fun as always. The RedMagic 6S Pro should have enough horsepower to continue playing newer, more demanding games as they’re released.
The shoulder triggers, which you can customize to replicate tapping or pressing any part of the screen, are the RedMagic 6S Pro’s secret weapons. These have a 450 Hz touch sampling rate for lightning-fast reaction times. A sliding trigger on the back of the screen lets you add more gestures, either for gaming or everyday tasks.
A powerful chipset means you need a battery big enough to supply it, and the RedMagic 6S Pro has that covered with its sizable 5,050 mAh battery. A few years ago, this would have meant that the phone would take forever to charge, but thanks to the 66 watt air-cooled quick charging, that isn’t the case with the 6S Pro. A full recharge takes less than an hour.
Even better, RedMagic has put a handy Charge Separation feature into Game Space. This means you can choose to run the phone directly from USB-C power, bypassing the battery. This saves battery life and helps keep your phone cool at the same time.
The RedMagic 6S Pro isn’t a camera-focused phone in the same way that some iPhone and Android models are. That said, the camera here is no slouch.
The main camera shoots 64MP images at an aperture of f/1.8, while the 120-degree ultrawide lens shoots 8MP images at f/2.2. Colors are vivid but remain on the more realistic side of the spectrum. A third micro lens makes closeups much easier to take.
When it comes to video, you can shoot up to 8K resolution at 30 frames per second. For faster motion, you can shoot up to 60 frames per second at 4K or 1080p resolution.
As is the case with most phone cameras these days, you have easy access to Video and Night modes within the camera app. Switching to Pro mode gives you much more fine-grained control over ISO, focus, shutter speed and more. If you’re used to shooting on DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, the extra options here will be welcome.
The Perfect Gaming Phone?
As with any phone, the RedMagic 6S Pro isn’t going to be for everyone. In this case, if you’re not interested in the RedMagic 6S Pro, you may not be interested in a gaming phone period. Yes, the visual style is bold, but that is going to be a selling point for many phone-first gamers.
The combination of specs, style, and game-focused features makes the RedMagic 6S Pro a treat to use when it’s game time. Once you have to get down to business, the 6S Pro holds its own, but it’s always ready for a quick five minutes or so of gaming on the side.