Gaming phones are a newer niche for Android devices, and Nubia is one of the companies running headlong into this fledgling field. This past May, we took a look at the Red Magic 5, and we did not come away impressed thanks to numerous bugs and compromises. Now that the Red Magic 5S is here, and we can say for certain that features like internal cooling and a high refresh rate come at a cost: the Red Magic 5S is good for gaming but not much else.
The Red Magic 5 isn't a complete wash—its gaming-centric features and performance help to even out the device's lack of polish.
Although we've seen plenty of concepts and prototypes over the last year or so, ZTE is now technically "first" to reveal a phone with an under-display camera. That's right, the Axon 20 5G has no notch, no camera cutout, and almost no bezel. The front-facing camera can work right through the screen.
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.
Chinese telecom gear manufacturer ZTE hasn’t had a particularly good run in the US smartphone market. But every once in a while, its eccentric phones manage to catch our eye, and frankly, they don't give us much to complain about. ZTE is now coming out with a handset that uses an under-display selfie camera — a first for any mass-produced phone on the market. The Axon 20 5G, succeeding last year’s Axon 10 Pro 5G, is set to debut as soon as early next month.
Nubia is following up on the apparent success of the Red Magic 5G with the same formula it used last year: an incrementally improved "S" bump. The new Red Magic 5S packs most of the same specs with a few tweaks like faster shoulder trigger polling, better cooling, and faster storage. It's China-only for now, but a global release is planned for September.
If you're looking for a phone off the beaten path to play around with, there aren't many options quite like the ZTE Axon 10 Pro. This Snapdragon 855 phone is still on sale in the U.S. unlocked market at B&H, and, for just today only, it's on sale for as low as $300.
In the past few years, the FCC has made overtures against Huawei and ZTE, characterizing them as national security threats. Well, now it's official: the commission has passed an order officially declaring the two Chinese tech giants as national security threats to the United States.
This story was originally published and last updated .
If you've never heard of a Red Magic smartphone, we're not surprised: the gaming-focused sub-brand of Nubia (itself a sub-brand of ZTE) doesn't have a lot of name recognition in America, or really anywhere. But this isn't the first time we've reviewed a Red Magic phone, and I've got something of a soft spot in my heart for last year's Red Magic 3S. As an everyday smartphone, it really wasn't fantastic, but its largely stock Android software and strong gaming performance at a seriously low price made it an attractive option as a dedicated gaming phone, for people who want such a thing (and I'm not sure how many such people there are).
The coronavirus outbreak is shaking up the tech world, leading to factory and store shutdowns all over China. This could mean we'll see some production shortages, but fears of the virus spread also have more tangible effects. Many companies have decided to withdraw from or limit their availability at MWC 2020, slated to begin February 24. To hinder contamination, the fair organizer GSMA has put a vast number of actions in motion to keep attendees as safe as possible.
Samsung is going to make the Galaxy S20 official in just a few days with the Snapdragon 865, but ZTE has beaten it to the punch by unveiling the Axon 10s with an 865 inside. The Axon 10s has a big screen, a little notch, and it's the first device with faster LPDDR5 RAM. One thing it doesn't have is a release date.