Nubia Red Magic 3 review

Great value gaming, mediocre everything else

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Interface and reliability

  • Android 9 with gaming features
  • Stable performance for the most part
  • Poor translation throughout the UI

Running Android 9, the Nubia Red Magic 3 is in a strong position from a future-proofing point of view, and the phone has access to the apps available in the Google Play Store.

The phone’s interface is also relatively close to stock Android, with a few breaks from tradition, which include no Google Assistant screen, and the game launcher. This launcher is one of the highlights of the Red Magic 3. A slide of the red toggle on its left side, and you’re sent through to a screen with all your games neatly laid out.

The game launcher is also where you can manage connected gaming accessories, set the fan strength, change LED effects, and lock the screen refresh rate to 90Hz.

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The UI was reliably stable in our time with the phone, though compatibility with third-party devices was occasionally problematic. 

We had a couple of failed attempts getting notifications through on our Xiaomi Mi Band 4, for example, which we didn’t have on other devices. After a bit of perseverance, however, we did get it to work.

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Movies, music, and gaming

  • Immersive, big display
  • Loud stereo speakers
  • Great gaming tools and accessories

With a 6.65-inch AMOLED display with 1080 x 2340 resolution and a pixel density of 388ppi, the Red Magic 3 is an immersive phone. With its display tech, it’s best viewed in the dark, especially when watching atmospheric movies.

Audio quality from the speakers is excellent. The front-firing stereo speakers blow the house down with volume, and clarity isn’t bad either.

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As for gaming, the Red Magic 3 gaming hub, accessories and that in-built cooling fan help it to stand out. Starting with the accessories, the Pro Handle is a controller accessory that attaches either side of the phone when gaming in landscape orientation. Meanwhile, the Magic Adapter has a LAN port, so supports speeds of up to 100Mbps, as well as offering kickstand functionality.

And even if you don’t buy anything extra, the left and right touch-sensitive trigger buttons work like a charm and are programmable, while the fundamental gaming performance is top-tier too.

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Specs and benchmarks

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset
  • Up to 12GB of RAM
  • Benchmarks like a flagship

Our review Red Magic 3 device features a Snapdragon 855 chipset, coupled with 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. The phone benchmarks like a champ, with an AnTuTu score of 271,775, a Geekbench multi-core score of 10,611, and a 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme score of 4,832 (OpenGL) / 4,972 (Vulkan). 

In other words, there's flagship power under the hood, and this is reflected in gaming performance.

The phone also offers two-fold biometric security in the form of face unlock and a rear fingerprint scanner. We never had to fire up face unlock in our week with the Red Magic 3 as the rear scanner works reliably well, is fast, and is easy to find with a fumbling index finger.

There’s no waterproofing or wireless charging, which are forgivable, but the lack of a microSD card slot and NFC are less understandable, and more annoying, especially if you’re a fan of mobile payments.

Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is the Head of content at Make Honey and freelance technology journalist. He is an experienced writer and producer and is skilled in video production, and runs the technology YouTube channel TechEdit.