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RedMagic 9 Pro review: Game for anything and everything

The RedMagic 9 Pro offers up a second-to-none mobile gaming experience with few compromises.

RedMagic 9 Pro model pictures
RedMagic 9 Pro
4 out of 5 stars
4
Display
6.8-inch AMOLED, 120Hz
Processor
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RRP
Approx. $1200
Fergus Halliday
Dec 19, 2023
Icon Time To Read5 min read

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Quick verdict: RedMagic 9 Pro

The RedMagic 9 Pro preaches to the converted, offering a highly polished and performance-oriented gaming smartphone experience that's excellent across the board.

pro
Pros
pro Distinct design
pro Overkill performance
pro Incredible battery life
con
Cons
con Generic Android skin
con Expensive to import
con Obscurity hurts optimisation

When the likes of this year's iPhone 15 Pro can run AAA titles like Resident Evil Village and Death Stranding, it's hard to know where gaming-oriented smartphones like the new RedMagic 9 Pro fit into the picture.

The gulf between Snapdragon and Apple's silicon isn't what it once was, but it remains stark in a way that's hard to ignore once you know to look for it. Even before that though, this corner of the Android market has been a bit of an odd end.

It's easy to take a look at the massive growth of the mobile gaming market over the past fifteen years but actually shipping a smartphone that can tap into that market is harder than it looks. The RedMagic 9 Pro ticks all the boxes you'd expect a premium gaming-oriented smartphone to tick, but it still feels like the best version of a flawed idea.

RedMagic 9 Pro

How much does the RedMagic 9 Pro cost in Australia?

Starts at $649 USD

In Australia, the RedMagic 9 Pro isn't available through local retailers. If you want one, you'll have to import it. If that extra step and hassle hasn't put you off the idea, you should expect to pay at least $649 in US dollars. That'll get you the cheaper 'Sleet' variant.

If you want the version of this device with the full 16GB of RAM, you're looking at another $150 for a total of $799 in US dollars. After currency conversion, that is around $1200 in Australian dollars. For comparison, that sum puts it well above the likes of the Moto G84 but below the iPhone 15 and Galaxy S23.

The RedMagic 9 Pro will be available to preorder through the RedMagic website from 27 December 2023 and go on sale on 3 January 2024.

RedMagic 9 Pro - Design and Features

Geared to game on the go
RedMagic 9 Pro

The RedMagic 9 Pro looks like the Nothing Phone 1 spliced with the now-defunct Razer Phone. It's got squared off corners, a flat-screened form-factor plus a transparent back that provides a lightshow whenever you're not looking at the 6.8-inch AMOLED screen found on the front-facing half of the device.

Givne the specs here, that screen is about as good as you'd expect a premium geared around gaming would be. It's got a 120Hz refresh rate and the bezels are as thin as they could be without becoming an issue in of themselves. There's also an under-display selfie camera here, which doesn't deliver particularly great results but does ensure that you're getting every inch of the canvas here when it comes to gaming and consuming content. 

Credit where it's due, there was never a moment here where the display on the RedMagic 9 Pro felt like a compromise. In a pinch and over longer sessions, it delivered a crisp and colorful canvas that I wanted to spend time staring at.

While the screen seen above comes with all the premium perks you'd expect, the sides on the RedMagic 9 are more of a surprise. There are two heat vents, a headphone jack, a set of haptic triggers that can be used as extra inputs plus a boost toggle that turns on the aforementioned fan and launches you right into the Game Space app.

More on this app later, but the short version is that what's here isn't a huge departure from the gaming hub software found over in laptop land. There are a ton of extra settings and plugins that tune and tailor the experience offfered the RedMagic 9 Pro and make it your own in a way that other devices rarely allow for.

In addition to the lighting display, the back half of the RedMagic 9 Pro also plays host to a triple lens camera setup that combines a 50MP wide lens, a 50MP ultrawide lens and a 2MP macro lens. The results it delivers are surprisingly good, though they won't cut it against the likes of the Pixel 8 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro. The lack of a telephoto lens here also limits some of what you can do with it.

Still, I was mostly satisfied with the results it delivered in a pinch. The camera on the RedMagic 9 Pro aren't exceptional, but it doesn't feel like that much of a weak link either. It's not a compromise. It's just not going to be the reason to buy this phone.

You can check out the results for yourself in the gallery below.

RedMagic 9 Pro - Performance

All Android all the time
RedMagic 9 Pro

Under the hood, the RedMagic 9 Pro is powered by the best hardware you can find in an Android phone in 2023 including Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, 12GB of RAM, up to 512GB of on-board storage and a 6500mAh battery.

As you'd expect given those specs, the device felt incredibly fast and responsive to use. Moment to moment, it felt like it overlapped my own modest mobile needs in a way that I haven't encountered since the iPhone 11 Pro.

Short of Apple silicon, what's here is as fast as smartphones get nowadays. Even heavy multitasking proved to be little challenge for the RedMagic 9 Pro. Games like Diablo Immortal, Honkai Star Rail and Warcraft Rumble as smoothly as I have ever seen them run period, not just for an Android smartphone.

It's no great shock that there was a noticeable amount of heat build-up when I ran through the first-time install for games like the above. However, that quality rarely hung around for long thanks to the fan inside the RedMagic 9 Pro. While the speakers on gaming laptops sometimes struggle against the obnoxious thermal tech inside them, the fan found in the RedMagic 9 Pro usually comes out ahead.

Unfortunately, the relative obscurity of the brand behind the device can sometimes work against its performance as a gaming powerhouse. Most games ran incredible well, right up until they suddenly crashed. It's hard to know how much of this is necessarily the fault of RedMagic but it's easy to speculate that many mobile games aren't going to be optimised for this particular device and that might create some issues among the hardware audience that the RedMagic 9 Pro is trying to court.

The same goes for the RedMagic OS 9 skin found here. It lacks the character of Google's Pixel experience, the complexity of Samsung's One UI and the streamlined stylism of Nothing OS. In some ways, it feels similar to the likes of Huawei's old EMUI skin - with a few modern flourishes. It's relatively inoffensive and it doesn't ask all that much of you, but it's hard to love.

On the other hand, the 6500mAh battery inside the RedMagic 9 Pro did a stellar job of both selling itself and sticking it out. I could regularly get through two solid days of use on a single charge and sometimes I'd even make it into a third, though only barely. That's even more impressive when you factor in that the device's natural strengths when it comes to gaming meant that I was doing a lot more of it than I ordinarily would.

There's no support for wireless charging here but a 65W charger like the one that ships with this device ensures that topping up doesn't take all that long. Burned down from 100% to zero using video streamed over WiFi, the RedMagic 9 Pro lasted 29 hours and 46 minutes.

Is the RedMagic 9 Pro worth buying?

Simplicity isn't a silver bullet
RedMagic 9 Pro

The RedMagic 9 Pro is the rare smartphone that does everything right by its target audience. It's big without being too big, it's optimised without feeling overwhelming, it's got a distinct look that isn't too hard to pass off as something other than what it is and its got all the right specs to shortcut you into a great mobile gaming experience.

The very premise of a gaming smartphone still feels fraught but if that's what you are after then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the  RedMagic 9 Pro. It's not going to tick every box out there, but it's definitely going to tick the ones you have in mind.

How does the RedMagic 9 Pro compare?

Product
Our score
Price
Processor
Screen size
More info
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
From
$1649
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor6.8-inches
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
From
$1649
A16 Bionic6.7-inches
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
From
$2199
Snapdragon 8 Gen 26.8-inches
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
From
$1399
A15 Bionic6.1-inches
4 out of 5 stars
4
From
$1499
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 16.7-inches
4 out of 5 stars
4
From
$1399
Snapdragon 8886.55-inches
4 out of 5 stars
4
From
$1249
Snapdragon 8 Gen 16.1-inch
Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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