RedMagic 6 first look review: High performance gaming phone with big display and battery to get work done

Big phones are great for long daily commutes on mass transit and another way to pass the time during these commutes is gaming. The new RedMagic 6 is optimized for mobile gaming, but its flagship specifications also make it a solid phone for getting work done too.

Starting today, you can pre-order the RedMagic 6 for $599 from the RedMagic website with shipping starting on 15 April. $599 is a reasonable price for the quality of the phone and the components found inside. LTE and 5G support is available in the US, but connectivity is more limited than phones designed for the US market.

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I’ve been gaming, calling, watching media, and working from the RedMagic 6 for the past couple of weeks. While I’m not likely to purchase one for myself, it has inspired me to play more games on my phones and my gameplay is improving in a few games.

RedMagic 6 specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Display: 6.8 inches, 2400 x 1080 pixels resolution, AMOLED 165Hz refresh rate
  • Operating system: Android 11 with RedMagic OS 4.0
  • RAM: 12GB LPDDR5
  • Storage: 128GB internal storage, UFS 3.1
  • Cameras: 64MP f/1.79 main camera, 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera with 120 degree field-of-view, and a 2MP macro camera. 8MP front-facing camera.
  • Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS/GLONASS, NFC
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor, Gyroscope, Electronic Compass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
  • Battery: 5050 mAh non-removable with included 30W quick charging, supports 66W quick charging (charger sold separately)
  • LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 66
  • strong>5G bands: Sub-6GHz 5G supported on bands n41/78
  • Dimensions: 169.86 x 77.19 x 9.7mm and 220 grams
  • Colors: Eclipse Black

RedMagic also announced the RedMagic 6 Pro, priced $100 more than the RedMagic 6. Looking at both phones, we see 16GB of RAM instead of 12GB, 256GB of storage instead of 128GB, color differences, and an aluminum back panel on the Pro model that is also used to help with heat dissipation.

Hardware

The RedMagic 6 is a lovely phone with a dense, solid feel in the hand. It’s a bit heavier than some of the large phones I’ve tested recently, but I personally like a phone that feels substantial. The smooth curved back glass panel transitions into metal sides with the top and bottom edges having concave metal edges to add a bit of style to the phone.

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The large 6.8-inch display looks great and a full screen experience is provided with the tiny front-facing camera tucked up into the top bezel to the right of the top speaker. The bezels are a bit wider than some other phones, but this phone is designed for gaming where you need two hands to hold the phone in landscape orientation. It’s also a flat panel so no accidental finger activations will occur.

There are various screen refresh rates you can select for the phone, including up to a stunning 165Hz level for serious gaming with compatible games. The screen refresh rate will dynamically adjust to match the scenario. The display also supports high touch rates.

The speakers, positioned above the display and on the bottom, sound great when playing games, watching movies, or listening to music. The front-facing camera to the right of the upper speaker is fine for basic selfies, but it isn’t going to win any camera comparisons. The USB-C port is also found on the bottom next to the speaker.

The power button and a vent opening are found on the right side. In addition, there are two haptic shoulder trigger buttons at the top and bottom (left and right in landscape) of the right side. These trigger buttons are designed to work with compatible games and help optimize the mobile gaming experience.

The volume button, another vent opening, and a red color manual fan switch are found on the left side. The RedMagic 6 has a serious cooling system inside with a centrifugal fan with 59 blades that spin at 20,000 RPM. A vapor chamber, thermal conductivity copper foil, thermal pad, and thermal gel are included in the cooling system so you can play high-intensity games for an extended period of time.

A standard 3.5mm audio jack is positioned at the top of the phone. Microphones are also placed at the top and bottom of the phone.

While not an essential feature, there is a rear light strip option where the RedMagic logo on the glass back can be turned on for various gaming situations or notifications.

Software

The RedMagic 6 launches with Android 11 and RedMagic OS 4.0 The March 1, 2021, Android security update is present on the review unit.

The RedMagic OS is a fairly stock Android experience with no ads, bloatware, or duplicate applications like we see in other Android smartphones. Most of the RedMagic OS features are found in the settings and in the gaming optimization.

RedMagic incorporates its Magic Write 2.0 technology to support fast read and write actions with your files. Gaming and user experiences are optimized through this layer of the OS while the end user doesn’t see a burdensome UI.

Also: OnePlus 9 Pro review: No ads, no bloat, and new tech makes it the best Android

Daily usage experiences

The RedMagic 6 has the fastest Android processor, RAM, and internal storage to provide the user with an extremely responsive phone through all interactions. The highest refresh rate available on a mobile phone is found in the RedMagic 6 so you can enjoy a flawless scrolling, gaming, and viewing experience too.

Gaming was a joy on the RedMagic 6 so when you take a break from work, travel on a long commute, or travel for business then you can have a pleasant gaming session right on your phone. The large capacity battery did a great job of letting me play games throughout the day while still providing enough power to help me get work done.

Phone call quality was great on both sides of the call. I used T-Mobile with the RedMagic 6 and while I saw the 5G icon appear, it was clearly the n41 band with download speeds of 60 Mbps and uploads of up to 36.6 Mbps. This n41 band is the 2500 Hz band that T-Mobile acquired when it bought Sprint and isn’t the fastest 5G network. However, coverage was solid with LTE on various other bands, but there are some coverage gaps on this Chinese phone so be aware of that as you consider the phone.

The under-display fingerprint sensor worked flawlessly, and quickly, to unlock the phone. The cameras did well at capturing the world around me, but the RedMagic 6 is not going to beat the best phones optimized for photography. At its core, it is designed as an optimized gaming phone that works well for many other purposes.

The $599 price is reasonable given the high end specifications. A competitor might be the OnePlus 9 Pro and that phone is priced at $969.

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