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Red Magic 3S Review: The Gaming Phone We've Always Wanted

The Red Magic 3S offers a high-performance gaming phone for a fraction of the usual Android price.

Cell phones have become a legitimate gaming platform in just the last year. Between PC ports of major games like GTA and KOTOR and X-COM, Apple Arcade, and the full suite of battle royales including FortnitePUBG, and Call of Duty Mobile (not to mention legit PC game streaming with the Steam Link app) we've come a long way from Bejewled and it's time for mobile hardware to step up.

I've been a phone enthusiast for years. In fact, in a past life I managed the mobile department at a Best Buy. Year after year new models would release with incrementally better cameras, processors, batteries, and not much else. Whether Apple or Android, every phone is more-or-less the same device with the same functions and features. Do you want the power button on the left, or on the right? Boring.

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The Red Magic 3S is an honest-to-god gaming phone so packed full of unique and inventive features that I'm actually in awe this phone isn't already in the hands of every gamer on the planet. It stands out from the crowd at every turn, from design and form to function and power. The Red Magic 3S is THE gaming phone to get.

Like Android On Rocket Fuel

The Red Magic 3S is a performance power house, but that's really to be expected from any flagship device. The real shock is you're getting top end performance for under $500. I'll let the specs speak for themselves:

The Red Magic 3S has got a powerful processor, an insane amount of RAM, tons of storage, and a battery that lasts days. It's also a huge phone with a 6.65 inch full HD display. It's got a 48MP camera that can shoot in 8K resolution. There's also a finger print scanner, headphone jack, USB-C, stereo speakers– the works. As far as I can tell, there isn't a single concession you need to make with this device in terms of performance. It's simply got it all.

It's Pretty Easy On The Eyes Too

The Red Magic 3S doesn't look like any other phone out there. The ultra-thin, slick design comes in three colors: Mecha Silver, Eclipse Black, and Cyber Shade, each with sharp accents and etched details that really make it unique looking. I'm using the Cyber Shade version which has a beautiful blue-to-red metallic gradient on the back.

In the center of back is a fully programmable RGB light strip, a gamer signature that I've never seen on a phone before. It only activates while in Game Boost mode (more on that later) so you're not necessarily looking at it while it's active, but in a dark room it adds such a cool ambient effect to your play time.

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The cost of such a sexy shape and design means that the phone is a bit unwieldy. I didn't have any problem handling it in landscape while I gamed but in normal every day use I find it to be a pretty slippery device, in part because of how large it is. For me, the bigger the phone the better, and I wouldn't trade its size or style for better handling, but it's definitely something to be aware of.

A True Gaming Phone

Performance, lights, and cool colors does not a gaming phone make, so I'm thrilled to share that the Red Magic does so much more than any other phone. First of all, it has built in shoulder buttons which can be assigned to any on screen button. With this Red Magic, you can ADS and fire in PUBG without needing to search around the screen for the right button or stand still to aim. You can legitimately move, aim, and shoot simultaneously just as you would with a controller. I'm not much of a PUBG player but I played one game, got nine kills and won that sweet sweet chicken dinner simply because I was able to engage with the full mobility of the game while everyone else tried to stand still or go prone to fight me. If you're playing BRs on mobile without a controller, this is how you should be playing.

That's not even nearly all this phone can do. Flick the Game Boost button on the side and the Red Magic launches a fully customizable gaming platform. Here you can tweak your performance settings to balance your refresh rate (up to 90hz!) with your visual performance and power consumption. You can block calls and messages while in game to make sure there are no distraction, set up screen recording and screen shots, and monitor your bandwidth, CPU and GPU speeds, and internal temperature. There are even internal cooling fans that turn on in Game Boost to keep your phone cool.

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Some games, like PUBG, feature the 4D Shock setting, which is the Red Magic's take on rumble. I found it to be particularly nuanced and engaging, working with the sound to direct me towards incoming fire and increasing the intensity of the battles I got into. It's the most gimmicky function of the phone but I like it a lot.

I Dare You To Find Something To Complain About In This Phone

The Red Magic 3S is a remarkable piece of hardware that offers so much more than any other Android phone for a fraction of the price. The phone can run any game on max settings and has features like built in shoulder buttons and 4D Shock that make games more fun to play. It's got everything I've ever wanted in a gaming phone without any sacrifices. If you're a mobile player, this is the phone you should absolutely have your eye on.

A Red Magic 3S was provided to TheGamer for this review. You can order a Red Magic 3S from their website.

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