Update (04/26): The Red Magic is now officially on sale to customers in the West, coming in at $399 via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo with a May 2018 delivery window.
One small caveat is that the phone ships with the Chinese firmware, so that means no Google Mobile Services out of the box. Nubia is selling a version of the phone with Google services preinstalled for the same price, but you’ll need to wait until July 2018 for delivery.
If you can’t wait but don’t want the Chinese firmware, you can opt for a limited number of devices available for “early testing” (featuring a May shipping date). This version comes in at $399 as well, but it’s unclear whether the device will offer Google services (the listing merely says “stock Android 8.1”).
Those wanting to buy the version with Chinese firmware have until April 27 at 4 a.m. ET, but the Western variants don’t have a deadline for purchases.
Unfortunately, the Red Magic isn’t shipping to the U.S. just yet, but the company says they’re working on an “optimized version” for the market. To make up for the delay, the firm is selling a $9 voucher to North American customers, giving them $50 off their next purchase on the Red Magic website.
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Original article: Gaming smartphones have seen a revival lately, being kick-started by the Razer Phone last year. Last week saw Xiaomi’s Black Shark surface too, and now it’s the turn of the Nubia Red Magic, by ZTE’s sub-brand.
The device packs a rather unique, angled rear, featuring a single 24MP f/1.7 main camera and tapered edges. But the Nubia brand has gone the stereotypical gaming route and added a customisable LED strip to the back as well.
As for horsepower? The Red Magic is powered by last year’s Snapdragon 835 processor instead of the new Snapdragon 845. The brand claims that it was the best available chip that could sustain performance without throttling. Joining the chipset is 6GB to 8GB of RAM and 64GB to 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage.
In the display department, we’re looking at a 6-inch full HD+ screen, complete with an 18:9 screen ratio. And no, there isn’t a notch on this handset. It’s unclear whether the Razer Phone’s 120Hz refresh rate is here, but the brand isn’t touting it in any promotional material.
All of this is powered by a 3800mAh battery, with the promise of up to eight hours of heavy usage. By comparison, the Black Shark and Razer Phone offer 4000mAh packs.
Much like Xiaomi’s Black Shark, the Nubia phone has a hardware switch, dubbed Gameboost, which enables a performance mode.
What’s the damage going to be though? Well, if you want to be an early bird, you can grab the phone for $399 on April 26 exclusively via IndieGogo in the West. Otherwise, Chinese users can grab the 6GB+64GB model for 2,499 yuan, while the 8GB+128GB variant will cost 2,999 yuan.
One has to wonder whether this can indeed be considered a true gaming smartphone though. After all, Xiaomi’s gaming handset tosses in a controller, and the company doesn’t appear to have any exclusive games on the Red Magic either.
Then there’s the Qualcomm question… Earlier this week, the US government announced their intention to ban the chipmaker from selling components to ZTE for a period of up to seven years. And the Red Magic indeed uses a Qualcomm chipset. Could this mean the company only sells limited numbers of the phone? Could the company swap out the chipset for another one? Only time will tell.