The RedMagic brand may not ring a bell for many outside the mobile gaming community, but the Nubia brand has made a name for itself by selling affordable high-end gaming smartphones. And that's exactly the niche the company is aiming its next device at again, the RedMagic 6S Pro. It's a step-up compared to the RedMagic 6R and 6, though the similarities are striking outside a few key specifications.
Do you miss the days when you could get a spec-heavy smartphone for less than a thousand bucks? Well, you're in luck because ZTE is finally launching a new flagship phone in the US, and it's competitively priced. For $749, the Axon 30 Ultra packs a Snapdragon 888, a big camera array with multiple zoom levels, and premium build quality. However, there are still rough edges abound, and the phone's 5G connectivity in the US is lacking. While, the Axon 30 Ultra doesn't earn that "Ultra" name like the Samsung and Xiaomi ultras do, but it's still a pretty good phone.
Last year, RedMagic refreshed the RedMagic 5G as the RedMagic 5S, but there weren't many differences between the two, raising the question of why the 5S was necessary to begin with. This year, the RedMagic 6 is seeing a significant change with the looming launch of the RedMagic 6R. The 6R has slimmed down significantly while retaining the majority of its high-end gaming features. For $500, you get a Snapdragon 888, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, a quad camera, a 4200mAh battery that supports 30W charging, all in a package that's easily pocketable. The software still stinks, but there's no arguing that this hardware is a stupendous value.
RedMagic isn't a big name in the US, but it's been busy carving out a niche for budget gaming phones. Gaming phones almost always come with compromises, and a budget option even more so. Still, for $600, the RedMagic 6 is killer on paper with a Snapdragon 888, 12GB of RAM, and a 165Hz display, but prodigious specs aren't always enough when poor support is on the table. Still, some mobile gamers might make that trade-off for super-smooth gameplay when the RedMagic 6 launches later this month.
ZTE isn't exactly a household name for US smartphone buyers. Part of that is because very few of the Chinese company's phones make the journey here, and part of it is because those that do tend to be low-cost budget models given away by carriers. (Also, you know, some other things.) But ZTE is trying to buck the trend: it's bringing its 2020 flagship, the Axon 30 Ultra, to America and everywhere else.
When it comes to smartphone design, the ultimate goal of minimalists seems to lie with a slab containing no protrusions, no ports, just a constant surface with a large, fascia-filling display. ZTE has done some grunt work in bringing a few user-facing features beneath the surface and is showing off some of it at the in-person MWC in Shanghai.
5G was the leading factor making phones more expensive over the last year or two, but now that the new standard is starting to mature and becoming more widely available, 5G phones are finally getting cheaper. The TCL 10 5G UW is an example, packing a Snapdragon 765G processor and mmWave support for just $400, but now ZTE has undercut its competitor with an even more affordable 765G phone: The Blade X1 5G, costing just $384.
We've got one serious love-hate relationship with front-facing cameras on our phones. Sure, everyone likes to take selfies, and their popularity has helped drive multiple social media sites into the stratosphere. But the cameras themselves are just so darn inconvenient, taking up precious phone real estate, and increasingly stealing space from the screen itself. One novel solution involves tucking the front-facer under the display, like we see on the brand-new ZTE Axon 20 5G. Now Zack from JerryRigEverything is putting this model to the test, seeing how it holds up to abuse and also giving us a better look at how this weird camera works.