A brand synonymous with the best in mobile gaming, Redmagic’s latest effort doesn’t miss a beat in tying together incredible specs, premium stylings and attractive pricing once again.
However, does the Redmagic 9 Pro do enough to stay ahead of the curve in a segment with arguably the most discerning customers? Let’s find out.
The first thing which stands out as a massive step forward is the Redmagic 9 Pro’s looks.
No-one is going to mistake this as anything other than a gaming phone - RGB lights, turbo-fans and triggers on the side of the device are still very much present and correct.
However, what impresses is the sleek nature of its frame - the angular design and entirely flat rear make for an imposing silhouette, clearly designed for comfort and gaming at its heart.
We have a trio of colour variants this time around with Sleet (black, reviewed), Cyclone (black with gold accents), and the top-flight Snowfall (white) round out a sense of a decidedly mature look for this smartphone sequel.
The tale of the tape suggests quite a substantial phone, and at 164 x 76.4 x 8.9mm and 229g, it’s certainly one which tips the scales in both size and heft, and for good reason.
Coming back to this sleek rear, it’s a novelty in a world of imposing camera lenses - OnePlus is a real front-runner in this arena - and makes for just a phone which you’d be equally happy to leave on the table of a bar or a boardroom without attracting curious stares.
There’s still a flourish in the lighting array around the back and side triggers, which can now be customised to a selection of colours and flashes, much like your favourite gaming accessories.
Those capacitive shoulder triggers have also been refined to improve the gaming experience, with significant tweaks to both area and sensitivity, making them more than functional with haptics giving another level of tactile feedback when pressed.
Whilst not formally rated for protection from the elements - and despite some apparent points of ingress around the all-important fan - its sturdy and durable frame remains both cool to the touch and visually arresting on this Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protected device.
Iterative - yet impressive - steps in the display stakes, as the Redmagic 9 Pro’s 6.8-inch bezel-free screen remains legendary when it comes to gaming. With an up-to 120Hz refresh rate, 93.7% screen-to-body ratio and an improved 1600 nits of peak brightness, this is a formidable screen, with the responsiveness to back it up.
Upgraded to BOE’s Q9+ AMOLED display panel, the makers of an impressive screen found on posh variants of the new Steam Deck have equally delivered for Redmagic with an effort boasting deep contrast against blacks, vivid colours and an incredible screen tailor-made for viewing HDR content.
YouTube videos were crisp, and playing back new additions like The Creator on Disney+ were incredible. That being said, some strange compatibility issues with Netflix meant that it’s not currently compatible...
Trying to watch Netflix's content through the browser points you to the app, where you’re told it’s not working with the 9 Pro…not the first time we’ve seen this issue crop up with devices from this manufacturer, but hopefully one that irons itself out with subsequent updates.
With a resolution of 1116 x 2480 pixels and a decent pixel density of ~400 ppi, there’s no worry about the crispness and clarity of content on display.
That under-display camera? Legitimately invisible. It’s a bit of a marvel, given the multitude of other phones offering similar front facing functionality but are poor in hiding their selfie-snapping credentials, but clearly a non-negotiable when it comes to offering a screen primed for mobile gaming, so extra marks here.
It’s an elongated 20:9 aspect ratio - entirely familiar to fans of Sony devices - and comes with a selection of default colour modes which can also be tweaked to personal preference when it comes to warmth.
It’s a whole lot of phone, which does result in some slight dexterity when attempting some corner-to-corner touches when trying to use one-handed, but entirely comes into its own when firing up the likes of Genshin Impact or Call of Duty Mobile.
Refresh rates can vary from a stock 60fps, with up-to 90Hz and 120Hz settings for those looking for responsiveness - as noted, these do vary by app to maintain battery life where possible. Above all of that is an automatic mode which dynamically selects the right frame rate for the task at hand.
When it comes to audio, two end-firing speakers do the bulk of the work, and both DTS-X Ultra certification and Snapdragon Sound support for lossless music and spatial audio means it's more than ready for the music and movie formats thrown at it.
However, those gaming without headphones may find their hands can either cup the audio in their direction or distort it slightly, depending on how tightly the ends are gripped.
Glad to say that the latest version of Android (14) arrives as stock on the Redmagic 9 Pro, as well as a light sprinkling of the custom Redmagic OS 9 to offer some differentiation.
Immediately we’d suggest swapping out the stock browser for your favourite weapon of choice, as some strange decisions of serving up the expansive desktop version of frequently visited sites made it a tad cumbersome.
Thankfully everything from new fonts to themes, animations to lock screen settings are just a touch away with their extensive range of customisation options on offer.
Software hitches and hiccups are way less frequent than on previous devices, it seems like Redmagic has certainly taken on the feedback with regards to minimal tinkering aside from where it matters most.
The Big Red Slider is still there on the side, and one flick takes you (complete with dizzying animation) into the dedicated gaming drawer, where you can fiddle to your heart’s content with everything from keyboard and mouse support, ‘Diablo’ mode for the most demanding of titles, as well as the brand's anime avatar Mora resides.
It feels like overkill, but quickly becomes a great place to refine what matters most when in those hardcore online sessions.
Our most constructively critical feedback normally lands on the camera array for prior Redmagic devices - iterative steps towards decent continue once again as the Redmagic 9 Pro takes crisp, clear and vibrant images.
This is obviously a sliding scale, and whilst these aren’t competing with the usual smartphone suspects in this regard, it's an enviable effort which proves the manufacturer is taking the opportunity to double down in areas which needed improvement in earlier models, as well as excelling in Redmagic’s usual places.
A triple camera set-up solves for most snapping situations - a 50 megapixel ultrawide effort is flanked by a second 50 megapixel lens for wide angles, and topped off by a 2 megapixel macro for those close up moments.
Optical image stabilisation (on the wide-angle lens) is nothing short of a godsend, improving light balance and the richness of photos captured on the device.
Selfies are handled by a 16 megapixel under-screen camera, complete with support for both HDR and recording in 1080p at up to 60fps. Images may not be crisp enough for those that are slaves to social media, but more than adequate for cosy family photos or brooding portraits.
Overall it's a marked step up in one area where we’ve frequently seen Redmagic phones losing points, so welcome updates here.
A minimum of 256GB of storage - double that of its predecessors - on the £579 entry level model is a welcome step up, paired with 12GB of RAM to make for a beast in terms of speed and space alike in the Sleet model.
£130 more gets you 16GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of storage and the Snowfall and Cyclone colourways, more than enough room for the most demanding mobile games, as well as the usual photos, movies and content.
When it comes to expanding your storage, that’s unfortunately not an option on the Redmagic 9 Pro, but at this price it’s unlikely you’ll be left wanting.
Few compromises here, as the Redmagic 9 Pro comes equipped with Qualcomm’s latest entry to the mobile space - the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
Found in plenty of flagship devices with far more wallet-worrying price tags - Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra included - as well as forthcoming handsets from Chinese stablemates like Honor and Oneplus - this chip has blazed a trail when it comes to strong benchmarks for graphical horsepower, as well as the cooling to keep it performing at its best.
Their ICE 13.0 Magic Cooling System helps by bringing temperatures down by as match as 25 degrees for the octa-core CPU, and the grates on the sides and dedicated fan ensure that air flows through seamlessly, if not entirely quietly.
Data is handled with support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 standards, and the device also has dual-SIM support as well as 5G capabilities, all of which ran without issue on my standard review SIM.
Solid scores all around in this department, meaning it’s ready for use as a daily driver, as well as being unleashed on the latest mobile titles without issue.
Another category where the Redmagic 9 Pro comes through where it counts is its battery life.
Not getting caught short in the middle of a marathon session is paramount for a gaming device, and as such a frankly phenomenal 6500mAh battery boasting 56 hours of battery life takes centre stage.
Combine that with 80W charging speeds (achievable with the included charger) touting sub-35 minutes from 0 - 100, and you’ve got a device which just keeps going.
Two full days of real-world use (inclusive of music and movies on a two-hour commute, gaming and general browsing over wi-fi when home) were commonplace during the review period, and it’s genuinely painful to retire to a device without as much juice.
Charge times were equally close to the suggested numbers by Redmagic, making for a ridiculously robust device in which both the size and heft are minimal compromises for such a dedicated workhorse (gamehorse?).
One ding is the absence of wireless charging - a miss in terms of those with handy Qi-charging mats or a dedicated cubby in their cars, but a minor one given the price point and whopping battery life delivered - quickly - by its wired equivalent.
The perfect example of a device greater than the sum of its parts, with gaming features placed at the forefront of the Redmagic 9 Pro yet without being a distraction.
The angular accents of its frame are refined and less in-your-face, the display is brilliant and more than up to the task of being a dedicated gaming phone, with both power under the bonnet and a raft of customisation features to support it.
Bolstering the software has made it both more easily accessible and recommendable, yet there is still a delta between itself and more premium competition when looking more closely at content support, the absence of wireless charging and a serviceable - rather than stellar - camera.
Then given its price and what you get for your money, you’re still getting a phone with remarkably few compromises at a £579 entry point, and with battery life that simply blows away the competition.
A great effort and one which truly places the Redmagic 9 Pro into the 'best smartphone' conversation for 2024 - gaming or otherwise.
Sony's latest flagship continues to combine compact design and quality photography. How does it shape up against current competition? Read our review to find out.Learn more