RedMagic 9 Pro

Verdict

The RedMagic 9 Pro is a powerhouse gaming phone with the latest Qualcomm flagship chip, active cooling, a gorgeous display and slick looks. It comes at an excellent price, too. If you’re looking for a high-performing gaming handset that won’t break the bank, this should be on your list.

Pros

  • The fastest Android phone we’ve tested to date
  • Beautiful, bright and uninterrupted display
  • Slick design with customisable lighting
  • Competitive pricing

Cons

  • The under-display camera is still terrible
  • No wireless charging
  • No IP rating
  • Minor software bugs to iron out


  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 powerThis is one of the fastest mobile chipsets available, and with active cooling to keep temperatures in check, the RedMagic 9 Pro can keep you gaming at high framerates for lengthy sessions.

  • Improved displayThe display has been a highlight of recent RedMagic handsets, with no notch or camera cut-out, but it’s even better on this model, thanks to the increased brightness output of up to 1600 nits.

  • 50MP ultra-wide cameraGaming phones aren’t known for their camera performance, but the upgraded ultra-wide camera found on the RedMagic 9 Pro is a vast improvement on its predecessors.

Introduction

The RedMagic 9 Pro is the first gaming handset to hit the market with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest mobile chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. So, when it comes to performance, it’s almost guaranteed to be unmatched. Besides the new chip, though, there’s plenty more to get excited about with this device.

The RedMagic 8S Pro was a minor upgrade over the RedMagic 8 Pro, and with the 9 Pro having outwardly similar looks, I initially assumed we were in for more of the same. Thankfully, that’s not the case; this model brings display enhancements, a bigger battery and faster charging, tweaks to the lighting system and software, a new ultra-wide camera and more.

Of course, I was excited to find out what it’s like to game on, but I was also curious about what it’s like to live with on a daily basis. Previous RedMagic models have come with some unfortunate quirks and software bugs that made them hard to deal with, but the last couple of devices delivered a much smoother experience, and I’m hoping that trend continues.

The RedMagic 9 Pro starts at £579 / $649 / €649, just like its predecessor, although this time the base model has a 256GB capacity, rather than 128GB. It’s available for pre-order from December 27 2023, and open sale begins globally on January 3 2024.

Design

  • Transparent rear finish with metal frame
  • Customisable RGB lighting
  • Seamless design with no camera bump

The RedMagic 9 Pro sticks with the blocky rectangular design that was introduced with its 8-series phones. I’m a fan of this, personally, as the sharp edges make the 6.8-inch display feel even bigger than it is, and the lack of a notch or camera cutout makes for a visual feast – precisely what you want from a gaming-focused device.

RedMagic 9 Pro
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There are three colour options to choose between, and I was sent the Snowfall colourway for testing. It features a transparent glass back, with white textured elements underneath and a matte silver metallic bumper around the edge. It’s very reminiscent of the Nothing Phone, and that’s no bad thing. In fact, I’d go as far as saying this might be RedMagic’s best-looking handset to date.

If you prefer a darker phone, the Cyclone colour option is essentially identical but has a primarily black finish with gold accents. If both of these are a little flashy for your tastes, the Sleet option has a solid black back panel that won’t draw quite as much attention.

RedMagic 9 Pro flat camera housing
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From a practical standpoint, one of the biggest changes this time is that the camera array is seamlessly integrated under the rear glass. This means there’s no camera bump whatsoever, a true rarity in this day and age. I’m not too bothered by camera bumps, myself, but there’s no denying that this is an improvement to the overall aesthetics.

RedMagic’s signature RGB cooling fan is present on the new model, only this time it has been disguised as a camera lens, which is a nice touch. Its lighting capabilities have been improved, too; you can now select multiple colours for the fan to fade between, whereas previous models had fixed rainbow lighting that couldn’t be adjusted. I was delighted to finally see some customisation options here.

Hidden vent in the RedMagic 9 Pro camera bump
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Of course, having a fan onboard means that the phone needs air intakes and vents, which means there’s no IP rating on this device. So, you’ll have to be very careful if you use it in the rain. That said, I’ve been caught out in a few showers with no ill effects, but it’s something to be wary of.

There’s also RGB lighting found on the integrated touch triggers, which are in their usual position, as well as on the “09” text on the rear panel. Again, there are plenty of customisation options, including pulsing and fading options, but I was disappointed to see that there’s no music-reactive option this time around. That was one of my favourite modes on previous RedMagic phones, and it has bizarrely vanished here.

RedMagic 9 Pro side-on
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Screen

  • 6.8-inch 2480×1116 BOE Q9+ panel
  • 120Hz refresh rate, 1600 nits, 960Hz touch sampling
  • Under-display camera with no notch or cutout

The display specifications are very similar to the RedMagic 8S Pro, with one major difference. It now outputs up to 1600 nits, whereas the previous model maxed out at 1300 nits. This means that it’s up there with some of the brightest panels on the market, and it looks fabulous, especially when watching HDR content.

RedMagic 9 Pro in-hand
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Speaking of HDR, it’s worth noting that my review sample wouldn’t allow me to watch Netflix in HDR as it lacks the correct Widevine DRM certification. This hasn’t been an issue on some of the previous RedMagic devices that I’ve tested, so hopefully this is something that will be rectified in a software update before long.

Aside from that small issue, I have nothing but positive things to say about this display. The 120Hz refresh rate makes everything look fluid and responsive, whether you’re scrolling through social media or playing a fast-paced round of CoD Mobile.

The panel has the deep inky blacks you’d expect from an OLED and has great colour accuracy, too, covering 100% of the DCI-P3 spectrum. You can choose between three preset colour profiles, as well as tweak the temperature of each, so it’s very easy to calibrate the display to match your tastes.

Game running on the RedMagic 9 Pro display
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It’s on the large side, and the squared-off edges and 20:9 aspect ratio make it look and feel larger still. Those with small hands might struggle somewhat, but personally, I’m a big fan of the way this phone handles.

Cameras

  • Triple camera setup
  • Dual 50MP sensors
  • Improved under-display selfie camera

The cameras are often a weak point of gaming-focused handsets, and that’s mostly still the case with the RedMagic 9 Pro. However, there are a few key improvements that make the overall experience better on the latest model.

RedMagic 9 Pro rear camera setup
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You get a triple camera array on the rear, comprised of a 50MP main sensor (Samsung GN5), a 50MP ultra-wide (Samsung JN1) and well disguised, but still present, 2MP macro snapper, which is the tiny lens located next to the flash unit. 

This macro camera has never been of much use to me, and its new location hints that RedMagic isn’t too proud of its fidelity either. On rare occasions, it could still be helpful, though I wouldn’t have any complaints if the brand opted to remove it entirely.

The main sensor is the most capable, as usual, but the new ultra-wide is a vast improvement over the 8MP sensor found on the last few generations of RedMagic handset. 

It’s still a noticeable step down in quality compared to the main camera, especially when you zoom in a bit and notice the muddier details, but it’s much more comparable. The colour rendition is very similar, which I’m always pleased to see, but there’s a touch too much contrast and sharpening which makes the images look less appealing.

Still, the ultra-wide comes in very handy, particularly for shooting architecture or groups of people, and the quality here is good enough for most people’s needs.

The main camera remains unchanged from the RedMagic 8S Pro, but that’s not a bad thing. It can produce lovely images in the daylight, and when aided by the night mode, can take some pretty great night shots, too. 

The only thing you’ll need to watch out for is motion blur, which is more prevalent on this phone than most modern flagships. You’ll also need to remember to turn off the RedMagic watermark, which is frustratingly enabled by default.

The under-display selfie camera has been improved on this model, but don’t set your expectations too high. As cool as this tech is, it’s still a long way behind even the most underwhelming punch-hole selfie cameras.

RedMagic says the new 16MP camera can capture up to 30% more detail than its predecessor, and while there is a visible improvement, the same downsides are present, too. The camera has to apply a lot of digital sharpening to avoid a washed-out image, and that’s not an especially flattering look, as it brings out all the blemishes in your skin.

Hidden selfie camera in the RedMagic 9 Pro
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On the plus side, the camera is very well hidden, and you really have to be looking for it to notice the semi-transparent area of the display.

When it comes to video shooting, both the ultra-wide and main rear cameras can shoot at up to 4K@60fps with decent digital stabilisation. The main can go all the way to 8K@30fps, but that resolution comes at the cost of image stabilisation, limiting its usefulness. The front camera can shoot at up to 1080p@30fps, and as you might expect, it looks quite terrible doing so. 

It’s enough to be seen relatively clearly on a video call, but beyond that, it’s not something I’d advise using. 

Performance

  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and dedicated Red Core 2 Pro gaming chip
  • 22,000 RPM fan and advanced cooling system
  • Headphone socket and dual DTS:X Ultra speakers

The RedMagic 9 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, in combination with RedMagic’s own Red Core 2 gaming processor and either 12GB or 16GB of RAM. My test unit is the 16GB variant, and with a spec sheet like this, I had high hopes. 

Unsurprisingly, It storms to the top of the charts in almost every synthetic benchmark test, with the only exception being GFXBench, which seems to be artificially limited to 60fps, for some strange reason.

What that means, in the real world, is that you can max out the graphical settings on just about every game available and enjoy smooth stutter-free gameplay at high framerates. This phone is so powerful that the biggest challenge was finding games that would even begin to tax the processor.

The cooling solution works excellently, and although the frame does begin to heat up during extended play sessions, it keeps the chipset cool – and its sustained performance was notable during benchmarking.

Gaming on the RedMagic 9 Pro
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Outside of gaming, the phone feels exceptionally snappy, fluid and responsive, much more so than my Dimensity 9200-powered daily driver. It’s a delight to use.

The speakers are impressive, too, offering real stereo separation which is great for pinpointing footsteps in games like PUBG Mobile. There’s also plenty of weight to the low end, which adds some impact to gunshots and explosions, and makes music sound better than I’m used to from a phone speaker. 

It’s not all low-end grunt either; there’s lots of detail in the highs and upper mids. For my money, they’re some of the best speakers available on a phone. The audio performance makes watching Netflix around the house an absolute pleasure, and means that you won’t always be reaching for a Bluetooth speaker or earbuds when you want to listen to some tunes.

There’s also a headphone socket, a novelty in modern times, and the phone does a great job of driving analogue headphones. RedMagic hasn’t provided any information about the DAC, but for what it’s worth, it sounds great with both wired IEMs and over-ear cans.

RedMagic 9 Pro headphone jack
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Software

  • Minimal bloatware
  • Tonnes of useful gaming enhancements
  • Dedicated game space activated with a switch

If you’ve used a RedMagic handset before, you won’t be in for too many surprises with the RedMagic 9 Pro. It runs the RedMagic OS 9.0 skin on top of Android 14 and it simultaneously manages to deliver a near-stock Android experience and an incredibly in-depth dedicated gaming space with more customisation options than you can count.

There’s a surprising lack of bloatware, considering the relatively low asking price, with only Booking.com and a couple of RedMagic apps cluttering up the place. It’s really refreshing, especially since the first-party apps are functional and useful.

RedMagic 9 Pro Android OS
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RedMagic has also toned down the use of widgets significantly, and by default, you’ll only get the clock/weather/date widget on your home screen. However, there are plenty of RedMagic widgets that you can add if you prefer, including the ability to control the fan, refresh rate, track your gaming time and more.

RedMagic’s gaming-specific customisations are as in-depth as ever, and tinkerers will have a great time tweaking the performance of their device to match their needs. There are far too many options to mention here, but some highlights include the 4D vibration mode, macro functionality, remote control via Windows PC and, of course, RedMagic’s ever-present capacitive touch shoulder triggers.

RedMagic 9 Pro game options
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Thankfully, this model had far fewer software issues than I have experienced with previous RedMagic phones, and I was very comfortable using it as my primary device for over a week. 

The only persistent issue I had was trying to access Google smart home controls via the quick settings shade, which just wouldn’t work. I’m sure this will be fixed in a future update, though, and I’ve had similar issues with Google’s own Pixel devices.

Battery life

  • Massive battery capacity
  • 80W charger included
  • Actively cooled during charging

The RedMagic 9 Pro has a massive 6500mAh dual-cell battery and a speedy fast charging rate of 80W. RedMagic says this will deliver up to 56 hours of use on a charge and can be replenished from flat in just 35 minutes using the included charger.

Of course, in reality, this will very much depend on how you’re using the phone, but the battery life of this phone is nothing short of incredible. I timed 45 minutes to charge to 100% from completely flat, but I don’t doubt that 35 minutes is possible in ideal conditions.

RedMagic 9 Pro and charger
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As an example of the great battery performance, during my testing, I went into London for the day and had forgotten to charge the RedMagic 9 Pro overnight. I started the day with around 50% charge, then I spent all day using the phone for navigation with Google Maps, listening to podcasts and watching YouTube on the train – there was lots of screen-on time, even by my standards.

I ended the day with about 20% battery still remaining, I had carried a power bank with me all day, planning to use it when the RedMagic began to conk out, and never even needed it. It’s brilliant.

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Should you buy it?

You want the best gaming phone available today

Simply put, this is the fastest handset we’ve tested to date, and combined with a massive battery pack, a gorgeous display and stunning speakers, it delivers an uncompromising gaming experience.

You’re all about photography

The camera system is improved on this camera, but it’s still not flagship level, and the selfie camera is just not very good.

Final Thoughts

The RedMagic 9 Pro is an impressive gaming phone on all fronts, especially considering its low asking price. You simply will not find a better performer for the money. Adding to its appeal are the slick looks, the beautiful display, the powerful speakers and the suite of useful gaming enhancements.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. There’s no IP rating, no wireless charging and, at present, some issues with Netflix DRM certification. All of which could prove to be deal breakers. There’s also the under-display selfie camera, which isn’t going to impress avid selfie snappers. They should take a look at the Vivo V29, instead.

The RedMagic 9 Pro values gaming performance above all else, and if you do too, you’ll be absolutely delighted with this phone.

How we test

We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry-standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as a main phone for over a week

Thorough camera testing in a variety of conditions

Tested and benchmarked using respected industry tests and real-world data

FAQs

Does the RedMagic 9 Pro support controllers?

Yes, RedMagic has its own peripherals sold separately, but it also works excellently with Bluetooth gamepads and especially vice-style controllers, which work perfectly with the squared-off shape of the 9 Pro.

Is the RedMagic 9 Pro waterproof?

No, since the RedMagic 9 Pro has a fan inside, it needs vents to allow air to flow through the device. This is great for keeping it cool while gaming, but it means you’ll need to be careful around water.

Does the RedMagic 9 Pro have a headphone socket?

Yes, you can use wired headphones or a gaming headset with the 9 Pro’s 3.5mm headphone socket, allowing for a low-latency audio experience.

Trusted Reviews test data

Geekbench 6 single core

Geekbench 6 multi core

1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)

30 minute gaming (light)

Time from 0-100% charge

Time from 0-50% charge

30-min recharge (included charger)

15-min recharge (included charger)

3D Mark – Wild Life

GFXBench – Aztec Ruins

GFXBench – Car Chase

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

Manufacturer

Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Rear Camera

Front Camera

Video Recording

IP rating

Battery

Fast Charging

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

Operating System

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Resolution

HDR

Refresh Rate

Ports

Chipset

RAM

Colours

Stated Power


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