Nubia Red Magic 5G review

Magic for gaming, less so for some other things

Nubia Red Magic 5G
(Image: © TechRadar)

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Battery life

  • 4,500mAh battery provides impressive life
  • Supports fast charging but not wireless charging
  • Supplied charger was slow

There’s good news on the battery front, as the Red Magic 5G’s hefty 4,500mAh battery delivers impressive results. Even with a few hours of gaming every day, we were getting well into a second day of use before we needed to charge the phone, and sometimes we made it two full days before reaching for a charger.

That’s seriously impressive, and likely linked to the phone’s lower resolution, which draws less power to the screen than rival handsets.

When gaming, we used anywhere between 15 and 20% of charge per hour when running games on default brightness, the highest possible settings, and the highest possible screen refresh rate.

Again, that’s impressive: you’ll be able to play five or six hours straight without needing to charge, which is more than you’ll likely ever need, and you could turn down the refresh rate if you wanted to save on juice.

The phone doesn’t support wireless charging, but it is compatible with a 55W quick charger, sold separately, which Nubia claims will charge the phone from zero to full in 40 minutes.

Unfortunately, our unit didn’t charge quickly at all, probably because it shipped with a European rather than a UK plug unit. Using a plug adapter, it was taking us roughly two and a half hours to reach full charge.

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  • 64MP main, 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro cameras
  • Decent but not class-leading results
  • The camera software is cluttered

The triple camera setup here isn’t the best we’ve tested, but it produces consistently good shots. The main camera is the 64MP Sony IMX686, the same one found in the mid-range Poco X2, and it’s paired with a 2MP macro sensor and an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, which boasts 120-degree field-of-view.

They produce clear shots, with colors true to real life, and images with a wide dynamic range. The camera adjusts quickly to different light levels and focuses in an instant. We were particularly impressed by portrait mode, which captured subjects in plenty of detail while gently blurring the background, and the night mode, which yielded shots with plenty of color after the sun had gone down.

Video looked good too, especially at 4K and 60fps, which the camera can support (it can also produce video at 4K 30fps, 1080p at 60 or 30fps, and 720p at 30fps). Clips were smooth, detailed, and again, the sensors quickly adjusted to light, which means you can comfortably film one long video moving between different light levels.

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The front camera is just so-so: an 8MP sensor that’s good for selfies, but not much else, and the phone doesn’t support face unlock. It can produce 1080p video at 30fps, which makes it good enough for vlogging or recording messages for your friends.

But we didn’t enjoy using the camera software, which is far too busy. The pro mode is welcome, giving you plenty of control over ISO, focus and more, but the 'camera family' shooting mode gives you too many options, many of which are gimmicks.

On the default point-and-shoot mode, the Red Magic 5 has an on-board AI that guesses what you’re taking a photo of and adjusts settings accordingly. Most of the time, this worked fine, but sometimes it was wildly off (it thought a chair was an animal, for example), and other times it led to oversaturated photos, turning a picture of a salmon dinner into a luminous mess.

But overall, for this price, it’s a respectable camera that will serve you well in most settings, whether you want stills or video.

Camera samples