Redmagic delivers another powerhouse gaming phone with the 8S Pro. Excellent performance and battery life make it easy to recommend for gamers, although as an everyday phone it does present a few challenges.
Redmagic is back with yet another gaming phone.
The 8S Pro arrives just a few months are its predecessor, the Redmagic 8 Pro, While the company hasn’t sat on its laurels, with various tweaks and performance boosts on the new model, there’s still room for improvement.
Design & Build
Bulky, square-edged design
No water-resistance rating
The Redmagic 8S Pro is nearly a spitting image of last year’s 8 Pro. The dimensions are almost identical, with the two devices measuring up like this:
RedMagic 8S Pro: 164 x 76.4 x 9.5 mm (6.46 x 3.01 x 0.37 inches)
RedMagic 8 Pro: 164 x 76.4 x 8.9 mm (6.46 x 3.01 x 0.35 inches)
There’s only 0.6mm difference in thickness and both weigh in at a hefty 228g / 8oz, so you’ll never forget that either of them is in your pocket. The new model also has the same 6.8in AMOLED display, Gorilla Glass 5 on the front (and back if you choose the Aurora colour scheme), metal chassis, and general feeling of quality that impressed me as the device it replaces.
The Redmagic 8S Pro is a beast. There are no soft, curved edges on the frame. Instead, it’s a sharp, almost harsh construction that convinces you that this is a serious device. Looking on the flanks you’ll find volume up and down buttons, an on/off button, plus the now-famous red switch that enables the Game Space (more on that later). This allows you to set up the pair of trigger buttons.
USB-C is naturally the order of the day when it comes to charging, with support for up to the 65W charger that comes in the box. There still isn’t a water-resistance rating, mainly due to the large openings on the sides of the device for the cooling system.
Turning the phone over reveals the same triple camera system as the previous model, all lined up vertically. There’s also a circular cutout that shows the spinning fan inside the device, replete with RGB lights to make it all look pretty. You won’t see it – of course – if you’re playing a game, but I quite like the opulence of it. The phone also has lights under some of the areas on the rear which light up when a message has been received. Nice.
My review model has the Aurora finish, which is actually a glass back that shows off some of the innards. It’s not quite as interesting as you might think, as all the components are enclosed, but it does look cool. You can also get the Redmagic 8S Pro in Platinum and Midnight colour schemes.
In the hand the 8S Pro is an imposing phone. Heavy but well balanced. It’s true that all that glass makes it a bit of a worry when it comes to dropping the thing. There’s a case in the box, but in order to accommodate the fan, exhaust ports and the trigger buttons, most of the sides are exposed. It feels sturdy, but I wouldn’t want to have it slip from my hands onto a hard surface.
Screen & Speakers
6.8in AMOLED, 20:9, 120Hz display
Stereo speakers and 3.5mm headphone jack
Under display selfie camera and fingerprint sensor
The display remains the same as on the 8 Pro, which means you get a very nice 6.8in AMOLED panel with a 2480 x 1116-pixel resolution. As this is a gaming phone, there’s the expected bare minimum 120Hz refresh rate (not as high as some of its rivals, including Redmagic’s own 7) plus the peak brightness is rated at 1,300 nits. Ramping it up to its highest setting and disabling auto-brightness, I saw a very respectable 1141 nits in my tests.
Colours are well represented on the display, along with the sharpness you’d expect of an upper mid-range phone. It also has the brightness to remain easily legible outdoors in bright sunshine. And that’s perfect for gaming on the go.
Everything is kept smooth thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, but the Redmagic 8S Pro can intelligently select 90Hz or 60Hz in response to the activities you’re undertaking, all to ensure energy efficiency and decent performance. It cannot go any lower than 60Hz, though, as some flagship phones can.
The panel has a touch sampling rate of 960Hz, again making it very responsive for gaming or everyday use.
Looking closely at the display, you’ll notice that there’s no notch or pinhole for the front-facing camera. This is because the Redmagic 8S Pro has persisted with the under-display camera that the 8 Pro had. While this causes a few issues with camera performance, it does make the 6.8in display perfect for watching content or playing games as there are no interruptions in the graphics.
There’s also an under-display fingerprint sensor, but like with the 8 Pro I found it to be quite temperamental.
The panel is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and it also comes with a pre-fitted screen protector. The latter proved to be easily scratched, even when it came into contact with hard surfaces. I’d say you’d be better off removing it entirely and relying on the screen itself or buying a tempered glass protector if you’re worried about damage.
There are stereo speakers which provide plenty of volume. Their placement, at either end of the handset, means they’re quite easy to block while playing games or watching movies, but that’s hard to avoid with any phone. Spatial separation is decent, with bass a little lacking but at least present.
If you want the best quality sound, the 3.5mm headphone jack provides the ability to use wired headphones or there’s always Bluetooth 5.3 for wireless alternatives.
Specs & Performance
Overclocked 3.36GHz Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
Upgraded ICE 12.0 cooling system
Maximum 16GB/512GB configuration
As you’d expect from a smartphone aimed at hard-core gaming, the processing power of the Redmagic 8S Pro is impressive. It uses an overclocked 3.36GHz Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, the latest and greatest available at the time of release, aided by a dedicated Red Core 2 gaming processor.
The latter is there to deal with audio processing, haptic responses and RGB lighting. The idea is that syphoning off these duties allows the main processor to do the heavy lifting unencumbered by trifling tasks. Whether or not that actually works, the 8S Pro performs very well in day-to-day use, albeit with some software glitches that I’ll cover later. Of course, it comes into its own when playing games.
Firing up the likes of Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9: Legends and settling down for a gaming session proved to be very enjoyable. The 8S Pro dealt with all the action smoothly, even on the highest settings. I didn’t notice any lag or slow-downs during my time with the device, and the large screen is a pleasure to use.
You can also map the trigger buttons on the top edge (when in landscape) to execute various actions that would otherwise require tapping the screen. These work really well, thanks in no small part to their 520Hz sampling rates.
Redmagic has revamped the cooling system this time around, with the upgraded ICE 12.0 system. This consists of a 2068mm3 double-layer super-large vapour chamber cooling plate, new duct structure, cooling gel, a layer of graphene under the display and the 20,000rpm fan.
This extra focus on thermals was worth the effort as the 8S Pro stayed moderately cool even under the quite intense graphical demands that I put it through. Obviously, if you play for a long time then things do get a little warm, but never to the scorching temperatures that would have you worried about the components. The fan is quiet, but you’ll notice it due to the unusual nature of a phone having one in the first place.
There are two different configurations of the 8S Pro, with the Midnight livery having 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage, while the Aurora and Platinum models double the capacities to 16GB and 512GB.
50MP, f/1.88 (wide)
8MP, f/2.2, 120 ̊ (ultrawide)
2MP, f/2.4 (macro)
16MP under-screen selfie camera
The cameras on the 8S Pro are identical to the 8 Pro, so you get three lenses to play with. The main shooter has a 50MP Samsung GN5 sensor with an f/1.88 aperture. In well-lit conditions, the images it produces are good, but the software processing leads to oversharpening that can make things look a little artificial at times.
It also has the stupid default setting that was so annoying on the 8 Pro, where a watermark is applied to all shots. This is easily changed, but really should be off from the start.
Colours are rich, if somewhat oversaturated, and the 8S Pro does a decent job of autofocusing and exposure in most shots.
When levels drop, the dedicated Night mode surprised me with some lovely images that held a good amount of detail while holding back on the noise. You’ll need steady hands to get sharp images, so I’d recommend leaning the phone on a wall or some other flat surface when taking the shot and if you do you should be quite happy with the results.
Switching to the ultrawide lens increases field of view to 120°. It’s a similar case to most other ultrawide cameras we’ve seen at this sort of price though, where you lose some of the colour and sharpness. Again, photos are still usable.
You’ll find a wide variety of extra modes available in the bizarrely named Camera-family section, including macro (for mediocre close-ups), Star trail (astrophotography), document scanning and a dedicated one for taking ID photos – this includes a headshot outline overlay to help you position the subject properly. Most are fun, but I think they’re unlikely to be used that much.
Video quality on the 8S Pro tops out at a whopping 8K at 30fps but remember that you’ll need a monitor (or TV) that supports this level of detail. Sadly, I didn’t have one while testing the 8S Pro, so I can’t verify it’s as crisp as the numbers suggest. I’d recommend using the more-storage-space-friendly 1080p/60fps setting, as the footage was perfectly acceptably and benefits from electronic image stabilisation that did a respectable job of smoothing out any bumps as I walked along.
Autofocus was also decent and audio was clear throughout, if a little quiet. The 8S Pro also has a 4K/60fps mode, which is equally good if you’re planning on using the phone for more broadcast-standard videos, plus there’s 1080p/240fps for slow motion.
The selfie camera lets the side down. This was the same with the previous phone and Redmagic hasn’t improved things on the 8S Pro. Due to the under-display position, all shots are foggy and soft. It’s simply one of the worst selfie cameras I’ve ever used. If selfies are important to you, then avoid the 8S Pro at all costs. But if, like me, you never take selfies, it can be ignored while you enjoy the lovely, uninterrupted display.
Here’s a selection of images taken with the Redmagic 8S Pro:
Battery Life & Charging
65W fast charging
No wireless charging
Another hold-over from the 8 Pro is the massive 6000mAh battery. Technically it’s two 3000mAh cells working together, and oh how they work well. Getting through a normal day of social media, phone calls, listening to podcasts, web browsing and the occasional game usually left me with plenty of juice at bedtime. Heavier gaming sessions obviously eat into this, but even then I could get over four hours of solid playing before reaching for the charger.
Charging back up again is fast, with the provided 65W charger taking it from flat to 100% in around 35 minutes, with a quick 15-minute top-up replenishing 58% of the battery. There’s no wireless charging available, so if that’s your preferred method of powering up a phone then you will be disappointed.
Android 13 with RedMagic OS 8.0
Still some annoying bugs
The Redmagic 8S Pro runs Android 13 with the Redmagic OS 8.0 skin on top. It’s a very customisable platform, allowing you to really tinker with the look of icons, themes, as well as how the phone behaves. If you want plain Android, then this isn’t the phone for you, but it does have its charms.
Sadly, there are also bugs that need to be ironed out to make the experience better for day-to-day use. I had several apps shut down unexpectedly, with audio apps often stopping playback randomly. I updated the software and checked the apps themselves, but the problems seemed specific to the phone as I didn’t have the same issues with other phones I had on hand.
The Game Space feature is impressive and is enabled by sliding the red switch on the edge of the phone. With this on it gives you various ways to customise your experience, including connecting external devices, managing screenshots and quick-launching games. Swiping in from the side while in game opens up a wide variety of options, settings and monitoring information too.
There’s a serious amount of freedom available, so if you’re a dedicated mobile gamer you’ll be in heaven with the 8S Pro.
Price & Availability
The Redmagic 8S Pro will be released on 3 August 2023. After that date, this is how much it’ll cost:
Redmagic 8S Pro (Midnight) 12GB/256GB – $649/£579/€649
Redmagic 8S Pro (Platinum) 16GB/512GB – $779/£689/€779
Redmagic 8S Pro (Aurora) 16GB/512GB – $799/£709/€799
However, an early bird offer in the US and UK means you pay $1/£1 to be able to purchase a day earlier (2 August) and get a free $30/£30 Redmagic voucher. The latter will be valid for three weeks after the official release.
But even if you don’t take advantage of this offer, the priciest model is still much cheaper than the likes of the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate which, while brilliant, is much more expensive at $1399 / £1199 / €1399.
For more alternatives, see our roundup of the best gaming phones.
The overclocked chip, fast storage and generous amount of RAM ensure the 8S Pro has fantastic performance – exactly what you want from a gaming phone. This is enhanced by the trigger buttons, effective cooling system, excellent battery life and dedicated software features.
It’s also a great platform for media consumption thanks to the lovely display and the lack of a punch-hole or notch to spoil things.
As an everyday phone it’s a little less appealing. The device is heavy, has no water-resistance rating, average cameras and selfies are laughably bad. Software bugs persist, but these can be fixed with updates.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a powerful gaming phone that doesn’t cost the Earth, then the Redmagic 8S Pro is easy to recommend. .
6.8-inch AMOLED display, 2480 x 1116 resolution, 20:9, 120Hz refresh rate, and 960Hz touch sampling rate.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor (overclocked at 3.36GHz)