The Red Magic 5G came out 4 months ago as Nubia's first 5G gaming phone. Today, the ZTE spin-off is at it yet again with a small iteration on the Red Magic 5G — the Red Magic 5S is available for pre-order right now.

If you happen not to know what a gamer phone is supposed to be, well, this thing typifies one pretty neatly. It's got a big screen, big sound, an overbearing user interface mimicking gundam machinery, capacitive shoulder touchpads for extra controls, the ability to "overclock" your performance, high-intensity cooling systems, and, of course, RGB light strips for the full pro-gamer aesthetic.


SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
OS RedMagic OS 3.0 based on Android 10
Storage 128/256GB UFS 3.1
Display 6.65" AMOLED 2340 x 1080, 144Hz, 240Hz touch polling
Battery 4,500mAh, up to 55W charging
Front camera 8MP, f/2.0
Rear cameras 64MP Sony IMX686, f/1.8, PDAF (main) + 8MP (ultra-wide) + 2MP (macro)
Connectivity Dual-SIM, 5G (no mmWave, only two bands: n41 and n78), 4G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth
Dimensions 168.56 x 78 x 9.75mm, 220g
Ports USB 3.0 (Type-C), 3.5mm headphone jack
Colors Sonic Silver, Pulse (red-blue)
Biometrics In-display fingerprint reader
Price Starting at $580

Most of the 5S's spec sheet bears an eerie resemblance to the Red Magic 5G — our review of that phone can give you a good idea of what to expect in this phone — so we'll just point out a few things: memory's newer here with RAM going from LPDDR4X to LPDDR5 and storage bumping up to UFS 3.1 from 3.0; the capacitive shoulder triggers have a touch sample rate of 320Hz, up 20Hz; the selfie camera drops from 12MP to 8MP, and; it only comes in two instead of four colors.

We could talk about the lack of availability for the 16GB RAM option, but that never came to North America anyways for the 5G.

The Red Magic 5S uses a multi-part cooling system which includes liquid transfer, a silver sink plate, and a externally-vented fan that can spin up to 15,000 RPM. Nubia is also promoting an clip-on fan accessory called the Ice Dock (seen above) which is said to provide as much as 25°C of cooling while also allowing for pass-through charging. That ($45) and the wall charger enabling 55W speeds ($25) are extra purchases.

The Sonic Silver device, which comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, is priced at $579 for the U.S. (£539/€579) The Pulse colorway bumps things up to 12GB and 256GB, respectively, is $649 (£599/€649). The 5S is also available in Canada, most of Europe, and a few parts of wider Asia. Shipments begin September 2.