RedMagic 8S Pro review: A great gaming phone with little else going for it


RedMagic is no stranger to packing its phones with over-the-top gaming features. We saw it with the RedMagic 8 Pro earlier this year, along with many others that previously made it to the top of our best gaming phones list. The RedMagic 8S Pro is no different, meaning it’s a beefy, overpowered, and just a monster of a phone. It offers a fantastic display, a massive 6,000mAh battery, and ridiculously fast performance with the most powerful Snapdragon chipset and 16GB of RAM. It even comes with a built-in cooling fan and an abundance of RGB to go toe-to-toe with other gaming phones that have flocked the market over the years.

The RedMagic 8S Pro lives up to its ‘S’ moniker with only marginal improvements over the RedMagic 8 Pro, but that’s not necessarily a dealbreaker considering there’s only so much RedMagic could’ve done to spruce up what was already overkill. My only problem with this device is that it’s not very appealing as an “everyday phone,” and it leaves a lot to be desired. RedMagic has tied up some loose ends to make the 8S Pro relatively better, but many of the software qualms highlighted by my colleague’s RedMagic 8 Pro review still persist. It also has a laughably bad selfie camera and has no IP rating for dust and water resistance. It really is just an overpowered gaming phone, but not much else.

But if that doesn’t bother you and all you really care about is performance and gaming features, then you’ll love the RedMagic 8S Pro.


A render of the RedMagic 8S Pro in Aurora colorway.
RedMagic 8S Pro

Great for gaming and little else

RedMagic 8S Pro is one of the best gaming phones out there in 2023. It offers a beautiful display, incredibly powerful internals, and a couple of other nice-to-haves, making it a solid choice for gamers. It’s not without its flaws, though, and it suffers from a lot of the same issues as its predecessor.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4nm)
6.8-inch AMOLED FHD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate and up to 960Hz touch sampling rate
Up to 16GB
Up to 512GB UFS 4.0
USB-C, headphone jack
Operating System
Android 13
Front camera
16MP f/2.0, under-display
Rear cameras
50MP f/1.9, 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 macro sensor
6.46 x 3.01 x 0.37 inches
Midnight, Platinum, Aurora
8.04 ounces
65W, charger in the box
IP Rating


  • Beautiful display with bezel-less design
  • Impressive performance
  • Great battery life


  • Software bugs with questionable support
  • Selfie camera is bad

Pricing and availability

An image showing the under-display selfie camera of the RedMagic 8S Pro that's hard to see.

The RedMagic 8S Pro, just like the RedMagic 8 Pro that came out earlier this year, can only be purchased through the RedMagic website. Thankfully, it ships to a lot of countries around the world, including the U.S. The base variant of the phone with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage is priced at $649, whereas the top-of-the-line variant with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage will set you back $779.

RedMagic offers the phone in three colors, but keep in mind that the base variant only comes in the Midnight finish, and the Platinum and Aurora finish are restricted to the 16GB+512GB variant. The Aurora variant is what I received for testing, and it costs $20 more than the Platinum finish.

Design and display

Beautiful, bezel-less design with just the right amount of “gaming” style

An imahe showing the cooling fan located at the back of the RedMagic 8S Pro.

The RedMagic 8S Pro, being an incremental “S” upgrade, looks identical to the RedMagic 8 Pro that came out earlier this year. I loved the design of the original RedMagic 8 Pro, so I’m glad the company didn’t change it. It looks different from pretty much every other smartphone out there with its boxy footprint and squared-off sides. The back of the phone has customizable RGB lights that can light up when you’re, say, playing a game or on a phone call. They also double up as notification lights, which is pretty clever.

The Aurora finish on my review unit has a glass back on top of an enclosure that’s made to look like the internals. You don’t actually see any internal components, but it looks more interesting than the regular Midnight and Platinum versions. There’s also a cooling fan at the back, along with a bunch of RedMagic insignias that light up. The overall design is very subtle by gaming phone standards, and it can blend in well with other flagships, especially when you turn off all the lights.

An image showing the Air trigger and the slider on the right-side of the RedMagic 8S Pro.

As a gaming phone, the RedMagic 8S Pro comes with shoulder triggers that can be mapped to touch inputs. These touch-sensitive buttons on the right side of the phone are accompanied by a slider that takes you to RedMagic’s Game Space software. It would’ve been nice to see a remappable slider, but that wasn’t the case. There are air vents on both sides to dissipate the heat, and you also get a headphone jack at the top.

The frame is made out of aluminum, and you get a Gorilla Glass 5 on the front for the display and a regular glass panel for the back. The overall footprint of the phone is quite big, and it’s easily among the tallest phones I’ve used to date. It’s just as tall and almost as heavy as the Galaxy S23 Ultra, so you’ll need some time to get used to it, especially if you’re coming from a relatively small phone.

A seamless display

An image showing the RedMagic 8S Pro's display.

The front of the phone is almost entirely occupied by a gorgeous 6.8-inch FHD+ OLED display with very slim, uniform bezels on all four sides. I love how seamless it looks. The phone hides the front-facing camera under the display, and it’s, surprisingly, not super noticeable. It’s definitely a lot less noticeable than the under-display camera on other phones, including the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

The panel also supports up to 120Hz refresh rate and up to 960Hz touch sampling rate. It’s an excellent panel for media consumption, especially for gaming. Everything looks sharp and runs smoothly, thanks to the high-resolution and refresh rate support. It also gets decently bright under direct sunlight, so you should be able to use it outdoors during the day without any issues. You also get dual speakers on this phone with great stereo separation, but you can always connect your favorite pair of earbuds via the headphone jack for a more immersive experience.


The most powerful smartphone with an improved Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip

An image showing the back of the RedMagic 8S Pro.

The RedMagic 8 Pro debuted earlier this year as the most powerful smartphone powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. This remains Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line mobile chip, and the RedMagic 8S Pro uses a slightly improved version that comes with some more bells and whistles. It actually uses the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy that powers all of Samsung’s high-end flagships this year.

That’s right, the Snapdragon 8 Gen for Galaxy is no longer exclusive to Samsung Galaxy phones, and the RedMagic 8S Pro is the first non-Samsung phone to use it. We verified this by matching the clock speeds on RedMagic 8 Gen 2 with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chips. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip inside the RedMagic 8S Pro has the same CPU and GPU frequencies as the Snapdragon 8 Gen for Galaxy chip inside the Samsung flagships.

SoC Part Number Primary Core CPU Frequency GPU Frequency
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SM8550-AB 3.2GHz 680MHz
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy SM8550-AC 3.36GHz 719MHz
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (RedMagic 8S Pro) SM8550-AC 3.36GHz 719MHz

Qualcomm confirmed our findings, saying there was no difference between the “Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy and this new variant of Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.” I’d like to point you toward our Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy breakdown to learn more about the differences between this and the regular 8 Gen 2 chip.

The general performance of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside the RedMagic 8S Pro, as you’d expect, is great. It performs admirably well and managed to put some solid results across a variety of benchmark tests I ran with the gaming mode enabled and the fans switched on.

As far as Geekbench 6 is concerned, the RedMagic 8S Pro managed to top the list by putting some solid numbers on the board against the other best Android phones. It was able to produce 2,099 and 5,608 in Geekbench 6’s single-core and multi-core tests, respectively, both of which are higher than what pretty much any other Android phone managed to score recently. The RedMagic 8S Pro was also a step above other flagships when it comes to other benchmarks.

Here’s a quick comparison between the Geekbench 6 scores to see how the RedMagic 8S Pro stacks up against other flagships:

Device Single-core Multi-core
RedMagic 8S Pro 2099 5608
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 1,956 5,126
OnePlus 11 1,398 4,974
Google Pixel 7 Pro 1,450 3,553

RedMagic 8S Pro’s built-in cooling fan did a good job of regulating the temperatures and allowing the phone to dish out slightly better performance. I was a bit skeptical about the difference the built-in cooling would make to the overall performance considering its sheer size, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the results. I tested the impact of the fan using the CPU Throttling Test and found the phone throttled to 72% of its total performance without the fan during the test, while it only throttled to 87% with the fan switched on. These 30-minute tests measure the sustained performance of the chip over extended periods of use, and the phone got significantly hotter during the run without the fan.

It may not have a significant impact on short gaming sessions, but it’ll help the device output better-sustained performance over an extended period of gaming or running a resource-intensive task. I recommend using the cooling fan in Rapid cooling mode over the Balanced heat dissipation mode as it doesn’t get loud even at max speeds.

It goes without saying the RedMagic 8S Pro was able to handle pretty much all games and other workloads without a hitch in real-world use. Even the most demanding titles, like Genshin Impact, were able to run smoothly without any frame drops.


Buggy software with no guaranteed platform updates

RedMagic phones have a bit of a history when it comes to the software. My colleague Adam Conway had a rough time using the RedMagic 8 Pro due to poor software, so I didn’t have any high expectations. Thankfully, the RedMagic OS 8 ended up delivering a solid experience. I did run into some annoying issues, but this version of the software wasn’t a complete mess like it was on RedMagic OS 6.

The only complaint I have with it is the aggressive background app management that can cause notification delays or crashes. There have been times when I’ve had this phone sitting idle for hours, only to unlock it later and open an app to get bombarded with a bunch of notifications. This, however, is a known issue affecting a lot of phones from Chinese OEMs, but it’s worth highlighting here as it makes the phone unusable at times. I’ve also faced a weird notification shade bug that would stop me from seeing any notifications until I lock and unlock the phone.

However, I’m happy to report that RedMagic has significantly cut down on bloatware, so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time removing unwanted apps before setup. I also like all the novelty gaming features offered by RedMagic OS, including the ability to set custom performance profiles for each app or game.

However, any software improvements won’t exactly matter if RedMagic doesn’t deliver good support, and the company isn’t known for delivering consistent and timely updates. The company doesn’t offer a guaranteed number of platform updates like Samsung and other OEMs do, so there’s no way to tell how many updates this would phone receive in the future.


Just about what you’d expect from a gaming phone

An image showing the rear cameras of the RedMagic 8S Pro.

The cameras were definitely not the focus of this phone, and it shows. I was able to produce some decent-looking photos using the triple camera setup at the back, but there’s simply nothing to write home about. The 50MP main sensor does a good job when there’s enough light in the scene. The same is mostly true for the 8MP ultrawide sensor too, but it wasn’t very consistent with things like the exposure and would often produce blurry and washed-out images. Shooting at nighttime, in any low-light scenario, or with the macro camera will leave you with a bad taste, so keep your expectations in check.

The 16MP front-facing camera, as I mentioned earlier, is hidden under the screen and isn’t very serviceable either. Almost all the selfies I’ve captured using this phone have turned out foggy and soft. The quality of those images isn’t up to today’s standards, and it’s impossible to use them without a quick edit in Snapseed or Lightroom. Here’s a quick comparison to show you how a RedMagic 8S Pro selfie compares to a Galaxy Z Fold 5 selfie:

Moving over to video recording, the RedMagic 8S Pro can record 8K and 4K videos at up to 30FPS and 60FPS, respectively, using its rear camera sensors. The selfie camera, however, can only record 1080p videos at up to 60FPS.

Battery life

A massive battery that tops out quickly

The RedMagic 8S Pro packs a 6,000mAh battery, which is the same as its predecessor. It’s larger than what you get inside a typical flagship, so I wasn’t surprised to see it consistently last for over a day with moderate usage. In fact, it managed to hold up very well, even on days when I would play a lot of games or run benchmarks.

What I also love about the RedMagic 8S Pro is that it supports 65W charging. A full charge from 0-100% only takes around 35 minutes, which is significantly faster than many other phones I’ve used recently. RedMagic also includes a charger in the box, which means you don’t have to spend additional money to buy a compatible fast charger. There’s no support for wireless charging on this phone, though, so keep that in mind.

Should you buy the Redmagic 8S Pro?

You should buy the RedMagic 8S Pro if:

  • You want a powerful gaming phone to run demanding games
  • You want a phone with a beautiful OLED display
  • You want a phone that can last for a long time between charges

You shouldn’t buy the RedMagic 8S Pro if:

  • You care about software updates
  • You want a phone with reliable cameras

The RedMagic 8S Pro is an excellent gaming phone with impressive hardware that can handle pretty much any task you throw at it with ease. It is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful smartphones you can buy right now. It also has plenty of other things going for it, including a headphone jack, a beautiful OLED panel, and a massive battery with fast charging. It’s hard to argue against this phone when it comes to gaming, but it starts to fall apart when you look at it as an everyday phone. It’s a bit easy on the wallet compared to the high-end flagships or gaming phones like the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, but I wouldn’t shortlist this as one of my top picks due to the lack of an IP rating and reliable cameras.

Even if you look past the below-average camera quality by today’s standards, RedMagic’s inconsistent and unreliable software support makes it a tough sell. But if none of those bother you, and you’re only after the fastest gaming phone or the novelties like a built-in cooling solution and air triggers, then you can’t go wrong with the RedMagic 8S Pro. It’s definitely an overkill gaming phone, but at least it doesn’t cost as much as the newer ROG phones.

A render of the RedMagic 8S Pro in Aurora colorway.
RedMagic 8S Pro

For gaming and little else

RedMagic 8S Pro is one of the best gaming phones out there in 2023. It offers a beautiful display, incredibly powerful internals, and a couple of other nice-to-haves, making it a solid choice for gamers. It’s not without its flaws, though, and it suffers from a lot of the same issues as its predecessor.